August 4, 2012 |
Once upon a time, before she was the ultimate screen sex symbol, before she became an icon and source material for generations of writers and artists, Marilyn Monroe was a working actress. She died 50 years ago this Sunday at the age of 36 from an overdose and in the intervening years the actual person has disappeared behind the myth of "Marilyn Monroe. " A visit to her place of rest at the Westwood Village Memorial Park offers testimony to the power of her memory. The wall of her crypt had to be replaced multiple times because of fans who made a pilgrimage there to caress, embrace and kiss it. But she was real, and to those who knew her Monroe was a devoted, if troubled, actress who took her craft seriously.
August 3, 2012 |
Sunday is the 50th anniversary of Marilyn Monroe's death. One of the many disappointments to befall the actress' tragic life was her struggle to have a child, having suffered multiple miscarriages. Very few images of a pregnant Monroe exist but famed celebrity photograper Phil Stern found himself at the right place at the right time during her last pregnancy with third husband, playwright Arthur Miller. In 1958, Look magazine assigned Stern to capture what studio mogul Sam Goldwyn saw through his office window.
August 5, 2012 |
Why is Marilyn Monroe still an American icon 50 years after her death? She is endlessly analyzed in films and biographies; her image appears on T-shirts and posters; her popularity is reflected in the 52,000 Marilyn-related items for sale on EBay. My USC students, fixated on contemporary pop culture, know little about 1950s Hollywood stars, except for Monroe. Like everyone else, they puzzle over her death, respond to her beauty, recognize her paradoxes: the ur-blond child-woman, the virgin-whore of the Western imagination.
November 21, 2004 |
Photographer Phil Stern, 85, is the legendary "Chronicler of Cool." His iconic black-and-white images include actor James Dean (coolly smoking), actor John Wayne (coolly smoking), drummer Shelly Manne (coolly smoking) and the Sinatra Rat Pack (coolly smoking). Before earning his reputation shooting Hollywood and the jazz scene, Stern fought in World War II. He photographed plenty of young warriors. They too were often captured smoking.
August 6, 2012 |
NEW YORK - A tiny apartment in a run-down industrial neighborhood in Brooklyn is not where you'd expect to be looking at original color negatives of Elizabeth Taylor, Natalie Wood, Audrey Hepburn, Catherine Deneuve, Julie Newmar and Sophia Loren - especially using a bare light bulb and sheet of typing paper as a light box. But that is what happened on a recent night, when the iconic commercial and celebrity photographer Bert Stern - perhaps known...