Of all the hopefuls who tried to make it in Hollywood, Marilyn Monroe may have shone the brightest. She was beautiful, funny, undeniably alluring, and the star most prone to elicit that odd mixture of sympathy and lust. The subject of never-ending fascination, interest in the circumstances of her life and death hasn’t wavered in half a century – still the subject of countless books, the world remains besotted with the blonde bombshell.
August 5th was the 50th anniversary of her death. Pay tribute to the semicentennial of the passing of the love goddess at these events around LA.
Phil Stern Gallery
Downtown LA’s Phil Stern Gallery presents an exhibition of award-winning photographer Stern’s photos of the platinum-blonde screen legend. Among the numerous photos Stern, now 92, took of Monroe is one of her most memorable, an image that showcases her vulnerability as much as her beauty. Stern also surreptitiously snapped some shots from Sam Goldwyn’s office at MGM in which Monroe is visibly pregnant. See these photos at the gallery from August 5 through November 1.
The Hollywood Museum
The Hollywood Museum, housed in the splendid art deco building that was once the makeup studio of legendary cosmetic genius Max Factor, is showing Marilyn Monroe: The Exhibit until September 2. The museum’s remarkable collection of clothing worn by Monroe includes a dress she wore both during her honeymoon with Joe DiMaggio and on a USO tour; the lime-green Pucci blouse she wore in the last photo taken of her while she was alive; the cape she donned for the 1955 premiere of East of Eden; her beaded costume from 1957’s The Prince and the Showgirl; and various furs and accessories. Also see never-published photos taken by a close friend, pill bottles found near her body after her death, furniture and artwork from her Brentwood home, her annotated film scripts, personal letters, and numerous other items.
August 14, the Skirball Cultural Center presents a free screening of the 1954 film There’s No Business Like Show Business. Watch Monroe sizzle as she sings “Heat Wave” in this musical also featuring Ethel Merman and Donald O’Connor.
Feminist historian and Monroe expert Lois Banner will be at Book Soup in West Hollywood on August 9 to sign copies of her recently published book, Marilyn: The Passion and the Paradox.
Marilyn Monroe Gravesite
Visit Marilyn’s grave at Westwood Village Memorial Park (at 1218 Glendon Avenue in Westwood). Her gravesite is a pale-pink marble crypt in the Corridor of Memories. Finding the cemetery is a bit tricky as its driveway is nestled between skyscrapers, but the crypt itself is easy to find, as it’s generally covered with lipstick prints and surrounded by flowers and candles.
Beginning in Hollywood, visit Monroe’s Hollywood Walk of Fame star at 6774 Hollywood Blvd, just east of Highland Avenue. Try to pretend that it’s not smack in front of a McDonald’s. Turn the corner and go a few doors south on Highland to see the above-mentioned exhibit at the Hollywood Museum, or head west a block to Grauman’s Chinese Theatre at 6801 Hollywood Blvd., where Monroe and her Gentlemen Prefer Blondes co-star Jane Russell committed their hand and stiletto prints to cement in 1953. Then cross the street to check out the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel at 7000 Hollywood Blvd. Marilyn lived in this gorgeous Spanish Colonial Revival building in a poolside suite for two years before becoming a star. Venturing west, see the West Hollywood apartment Marilyn shared with Shelley Winters in 1951 at 8573 Holloway Drive. Next, head to Westwood to visit Monroe’s final resting place at Westwood Village Memorial Park (address above). Finally, the Brentwood home where she died is less than 3 miles away, at 12305 5th Helena Drive.
Karin E. Baker is a native Angeleno with a passion for classic films. The Deputy Editor of Flavorpill Los Angeles, she was drawn to living in Los Feliz due to its architecture, many mentions in James M. Cain novels, and the fact that Oscar Levant got electroshock treatment nearby. She gets a kick out of champagne.
From top, photos via: Frank Worth, at Hotel Bel-Air, publicity photo by Ed Coonenwerth, and outside Grauman’s with Jane Russell.