Some celebrities are bigger than the industry that made them stars. Even those who don’t listen to a lot of music know who Michael Jackson and the Beatles were. People who never watch sports are familiar with the names of Babe Ruth and Michael Jordan.
Marilyn Monroe is similarly iconic. One of the original blond bombshells, she became arguably the most famous and most popular sex symbols of all time. A pinup model and actress known for making male costars and fans alike swoon, movies in which Monroe appeared combined to gross more than $200 million before she died in 1962. Even long after her death at the young age of 36, Monroe remains immensely popular, among fans of her work and collectors of her memorabilia.
Monroe memorabilia will be featured prominently June 17-18 at Heritage Auctions’ Entertainment & Music Memorabilia Auction in Beverly Hills, when collectors will have a chance to bid on an array of items ranging from photographs to posters and even sheet music.
Among the lots that highlight her glamor and sex appeal include:
1. Collectors of memorabilia from Hollywood, and specifically from Monroe, will be drawn to A Marilyn Monroe-Related Black and White Photograph Depicting the Bedroom Where She Died (est. $750 and up).
Monroe died Aug. 5, 1962; it is presumed that she took her own life by ingesting pills after battling mental illness and substance abuse. The glossy image, which includes a written request that photo credit should be given to United Press International, shows the cluttered room in which Monroe took her last breath and a strip of newsprint reading “Bed and Room in Which the Blond Star was Found Dead.”
2. One of the most captivating images is a Rare Black and White Photograph of Marilyn Monroe and Truman Capote (est. $1,000 and up) from 1955.
An original print with a matte finish, the image shows Monroe’s playful side as she kicks up a leg, showing a black high-heeled shoe, while standing next to the legendary author. The photo is a little bit blurry and shadowy, features that add an artistic feel to it. It is one of just three known photographs of Monroe with Capote, who wrote a famous reminiscence about her entitled A Beautiful Child, which ended up as a chapter in his celebrated work, Music for Chameleons.
3. An early 1950s Group of Marilyn Monroe Black and White Publicity Photographs (est. $1,200 and up) features four images of Monroe, all in glossy finish.
The collection shows two headshots, including the one that Andy Warhol immortalized in his “Marilyn” pop art series, a photo of Monroe in costume from How to Marry a Millionaire and one showing her in a white swimsuit.
4. She is among several who signed on a Collection of Autographs, including Marilyn Monroe and Many Others (est. $5,000 and up) during the early 1960s.
Three separate long pieces of cardboard – all housed in a wooden case – are included, with the first featuring the words “La Pasta Fazula Club” at the top – a reference to a fictitious club made up by Chicago Sun Times photographer Louis Giampa for the sole purpose of collecting celebrity signatures when he was on assignment. In addition to Monroe, the trove of signatures includes those of A-listers like Gary Cooper, Jerry Lewis, Dean Martin, Richard Nixon, Cole Porter and Harry Truman, among others.
5. A Marilyn Monroe-Signed Oversized Color Magazine Page (est. $5,000 and up) was removed from the July 9, 1954 issue of Collier’s and shows a full-body image of Monroe alongside text in the upper left corner reading “Marilyn / Monroe / Hits a / New High / by Robert Cahn” in blue ink.
The page is signed over the lower half of Monroe’s body: “To Lee / Love & Kisses / Marilyn Monroe.”
The Monroe items in the upcoming Entertainment & Music Memorabilia Auction are about more than just glitz and glamour. The collectibles represent an opportunity for collectors to immortalize one of Hollywood’s greatest starlets, one whose legend lived on well after she was gone.
Written by: Steve Lansdale
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