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Archive for the ‘Marilyn Monroe’ Category

Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in 1961 film, Breakfast at Tiffany's

Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in 1961 film, Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Actress Audrey Hepburn hated Danish pastries. However, as Holly Golightly in the 1962 film Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Audrey was required to nibble one outside the New York jewelry store Tiffany’s. She asked director Blake Edwards if she could lick an ice cream cone instead, but he said no.

Author Truman Capote wanted Marilyn Monroe to play the part of Holly Golightly. Marilyn wanted the role, too, but her dramatic advisor refused to allow her to play a “lady of the evening.” Capote was busily rewriting the script to suit Monroe, but she was eliminated. Capote was bitter when “Paramount doubled-crossed me in every way and cast Audrey. She was just wrong for that part.”

Audrey considered the film her best work. When she watched it, however, she couldn’t help thinking about why her character would have abandoned her cat and that Capote really wanted Marilyn Monroe for the part.

For more on Audrey Hepburn, click here.

Source: Paris, Barry. Audrey Hepburn. New York: Berkley Books, 1996.

 

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Next month, Kate Middleton makes the cover of the UK magazine “Tatler. ” This February 2011 issue  is a royal special, commemorating the engagement of Ms. Middleton to Prince William.

The cover montage of four brilliantly-colored photos of Ms. Middleton are reminiscent of American pop artist Andy Warhol‘s 1962 silkscreen prints of  movie star Marilyn Monroe.

 Warhol began experimenting with making mass-produced images of famous people in August 1962 when Marilyn Monroe committed suicide. This method became Warhol’s signature style and made him very rich and famous.

This publicity shot of Marilyn Monroe by Gene Korman for the film “Niagara,” made in 1953 was used by Pop Artist Andy Warhol to create his famous 1962 silkscreen prints of the actress, following her suicide by overdose.

This 1962 silkscreen print by Andy Warhol shows the repetitive image of Marilyn Monroe in bright shades of canary yellow, aqua blue, and shocking pink. These tiny prints are still worth millions of dollars.

Princess Diana (1961-1997) was often featured on the cover of "Tatler." This is from 1990.

Readers: For more on Kate Middleton and Princess Diana on this blog, click here.

Readers: For more on Marilyn Monroe on this blog, click here.

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Elizabeth Taylor with husband #2: Michael Wilding: Married 21 February 1952, Divorced 30 January 1957

On May 12, 1956, Anglo-American film actress Elizabeth Taylor and her second husband Michael Wilding threw a dinner party at their Beverly Hills home. It was a bad night for a party. For the first thing, it was foggy and the Wildings lived up a long and winding road in Benedict Canyon. For the second thing, the Wildings’ marriage was on the rocks. Elizabeth was having an affair and Michael’s out-of-control drinking had led to several indiscretions with other women. 

The guest of honor was to be Father George Long, a hip priest who ran with the Hollywood set. Rock Hudson and his new wife Phyllis Gates were invited. So was Kevin McCarthy, who was then making “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” 

Montgomery Clift was another actor on the guest list. That spring, he and Elizabeth were shooting the MGM Civil War melodrama, “Raintree County.” 

Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor in "Raintree County" (1957)

(Elizabeth had just finished filming “Giant” which would be released in October of that same year.) 

Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson in "Giant" (1956)

Monty and Elizabeth had become best friends in 1951 during the filming of “A Place in the Sun.” Monty affectionately referred to Elizabeth as “Bessie Mae.” She was his confidante. Monty Clift was a rising star, known for his sensitive and brooding portrayals of troubled young men. He was very intense and deeply serious about acting. 

"A Place in the Sun" (1951) with Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor

At first Monty declined the invitation at Liz’s. He was awkward being around the Wildings while their marriage was so bad. But he changed his mind and agreed to join the group for dinner, leasing a car and driving up the mountain road to the Wildings’ house. 

The party turned out to be a terrific bore. The guest of honor didn’t even show. Michael Wilding wasn’t feeling well and spent the evening lounging on the couch, saying virtually nothing to the company and acting aloof. That made Elizabeth nervous so she was unusually chatty. Monty grumbled about the way the MGM director Edward Dmytryk was shooting everything in “Raintree County” in giant close-ups. He was depressed and angry. He sensed the film would be a colossal disaster. 

The party broke up about midnight with Monty and Kevin bidding each other goodbye in the driveway and taking off down the road Elizabeth called a “cork twister.” Kevin was in the lead. Within minutes, Kevin was back at Elizabeth’s house, ringing the bell. Monty Clift had had a serious car accident. His car had struck a utility pole as he rounded one of the hairpin turns in the fog. Elizabeth shrieked and demanded that Kevin immediately take her to the scene. 

Montgomery Clift, Elizabeth Taylor, and Eva Marie Saint in "Raintree County" (1957)

Since the 1950, many unflattering things have been written about Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor who is now a Dame of the British Empire, and much of it was justified. (She tended to steal people’s husbands.) But what was to happen next on that foggy stretch of midnight road below her house was to be Elizabeth’s finest hour. 

She and Kevin arrived at the wreck:

“Monty’s car was demolished, an ‘accordion-pleated mess,’ Elizabeth said. A 4,800 transformer, knocked off the pole by the impact, had narrowly missed hitting the car. McCarthy thought his friend was dead. ‘The doors were so jammed that we couldn’t get to him,’ he said.” (1)  

Broken glass was everywhere – but that didn’t faze Elizabeth. She climbed in the car through a back window.  

“‘Adrenaline does something to you,’ she remembered.” 

Elizabeth hauled herself over the bloody seat. Monty’s motionless body lay beneath the steering wheel. His face was barely recognizable. 

“‘It was like pulp,’ she remembered.” 

Elizabeth called out to Monty. He reacted to her voice and indicated to her that he was choking. Several of his teeth had broken off and had lodged in the back of his throat. Reaching inside his mouth, Elizabeth pulled the teeth out, one by one. Elizabeth saved his life. Monty could once again breathe.

It was nearly an hour before an ambulance arrived and, with it, a handful of frenzied photographers. Elizabeth positioned herself between the stretcher carrying Monty and the photographers’ cameras. “She was remarkable,” said McCarthy. She told the photographers that if they so much as snapped one photo of Monty’s bloodied face, she’d never allow her to take another photo of her. (That would never do. Elizabeth Taylor was one of Hollywood’s top actresses and would become one of the most photographed women in the world.) The photographers backed off.

The car accident left Elizabeth with persistent nightmares. She couldn’t get Monty’s bloody face out of her mind.

“It would come up like a balloon in front of me at night.” 

"The Misfits" (1961) stars Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, and Montgomery Clift

Understandably, filming on “Raintree County” was put on hold as Monty underwent a long hospitalization and painful facial reconstruction. Despite these efforts, Monty never looked as beautiful as before. His face remained scarred and partially paralyzed. This was the beginning of Monty’s long and deadly slide into alcohol and drug addiction. He became a wrecked man.

Marilyn Monroe, who appeared alongside Monty in the 1961 film, “The Misfits,”  described him as 

“the only person I know who is in worse shape than I am.” 

Monty’s post-accident career has been called “the longest suicide in Hollywood history.” In 1966, ten years after his car accident, Montgomery Clift died alone in his New York apartment while watching “The Misfits” on TV. He was only 45. 

(1) Mann, William J. How to Be a Movie Star: Elizabeth Taylor in Hollywood. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishers, 2009.

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President John F. Kennedy and singer Frank Sinatra at the 1961 Inaugural Gala

Singer and film star Frank Sinatra (1915-1998) grew up poor and lower class in Hoboken, New Jersey. Once he made it big in showbiz (thanks to help from his Mafia cronies), he obsessed about fitting in with the upper class. He wormed his way into politics, using his Hollywood star power to campaign and fundraise for Democratic heavyweights such as Franklin Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy. In attaching himself to men of honor, Sinatra hoped to achieve the respectability he craved.

Sinatra had cultivated a relationship with President Kennedy through movie star Peter Lawford, who was married to the president’s sister, Pat.

Pat Kennedy Lawford and British actor Peter Lawford

In March 1962, the president was scheduled to fly to Southern California. Peter Lawford asked Sinatra to be the president’s host at his Palm Springs estate. Sinatra was thrilled. He went straight to work. At his own expense, Sinatra installed a helicopter pad, cottages for the Secret Service, and even a flagpole for the presidential flag.

But the president’s brother Bobby Kennedy wasn’t having it. He was the Attorney General of the United States at the time. When he heard about his brother Jack’s proposed stay at Sinatra’s, he went ballistic. Bobby was making the “most single-minded attack on organized crime in American history” and could not abide Jack associating with someone with mob connections. (1) Peter was the one chosen to tell Sinatra that the president would not be staying with him.

Sinatra did not take the news well. He had a notoriously explosive temper:

“Sinatra vented his spleen by destroying the concrete landing pad with a sledgehammer. He applied a different kind of sledgehammer to his friendship with Peter and Pat [Lawford], banning them from his company….Jack ended up staying at the home of Bing Crosby. Marilyn Monroe flew down to be with the president, spending the night in his bedroom….”

Peter Lawford, Frank Sinatra, and Marilyn Monroe ca. 1961-62

(l. to r.) Peter Lawford, Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, ca. 1961-62

…and Frank Sinatra became a Republican.

(1) Leamer, Laurence. The Kennedy Women: The Saga of an American Family. New York: Fawcett Books, 1994.

For more on Sinatra, check out “Sinatra: Pants on Fire!”

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