Marilyn Monroe at John F. Kennedy’s birthday gala on May 19th, 1962.
The original costume sketch was drawn by Bob Mackie, who was working as a sketch artist for designers, like Jean Louis and Edith Head. When Marilyn approached Louis, she specifically asked him to create something “historic” for her. When he presented her with two options, one in sequins and the other in rhinestones, Marilyn turned to her sister for her help. “Well honey, you know which side I think is your best, Berniece told her.
Marilyn paid Louis $1,440 for the iconic dress and reportedly had to be sewn into the dress because it was so tight on her. When she arrived forty-five minutes late to the gala, she beautifully took the stage to sing “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” and “Thanks for the Memories.” The dress was sold at Christie's in 1999 for over $1.2m; Ripley’s Believe it or Not later purchased it from Julien’s Auctions for $4.8m.
June 11th, 1961: Marilyn Monroe attends John Gable’s christening, the son of Clark Gable, at St. Cyril’s church in Sherman Oaks, California. Before the christening, Marilyn met baby John, and later recalled the meeting as, “wonderful…kind of sad, too.”
Her invite killed most of the rumors that were going around that Kay blamed Marilyn for Gable’s death. After his death in November 1960, she was inconsolable after reading newspapers filled with articles blaming her behavior on set for his heart attack. Marilyn told her sister, “I step from a car anywhere in town and suddenly hear someone screaming at me, ‘How does it feel to be a murderer!’”
She was not to blame; he was fifty-nine, a chain smoker, and insisted on doing his own stunts in 115-degree heat — all of which could have contributed to his heart attack. Marilyn chose not to attend his funeral for fear she’d breakdown in tears. Shortly after hearing the news, she attempted suicide, blaming herself for his death.
Marilyn told journalist W.J. Weatherby, “I felt guilty when he died, in case I’d put too much strain on him while we were making the picture. But that was stupid. He had a bad heart. No one can give you that. But he was such a strong, upright man.”
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Marilyn Monroe as Pola Debevoise in How to Marry a Millionaire (1953). At the start of shooting, Marilyn hated the idea of her character wearing glasses. The director, Jean Negulesco, tried to convince her it was one of the best parts. He told her, “the only motivation you need for this part is the fact that in this movie you are as blind as a bat without glasses.”
Photo edit credit ➵ @theclassicsdarling ◡̈