Happy 93rd Birthday Marilyn!

Today would be Marilyn’s 93rd Birthday, she has been in my life for almost a decade and I still find it so surreal to think that in theory, she should still be here. Sadly, we all know that is not the case and the reality is that Marilyn left the world over fifty five years ago. It’s sometimes hard to comprehend that Marilyn wasn’t just a Hollywood Star but a human being, just like you and me. However, today is not for dwelling, it is a very important day to millions of fans and myself, as the worlds Brightest Star is ultimately still shining half a century later!

To celebrate Marilyn’s big day, I usually spend it in the best way I know possible, having a Movie Marathon watching my favourite Actress. Unfortunately, so many people see Marilyn as just another silly Blonde Bombshell who didn’t have much talent and was basically playing herself on the screen. However, I can’t emphasize enough that the sweet, lovable, pretty face was so much more than what people perceive. As someone who has watched her films a countless number of times, I actually appreciate her comedic performances over her dramatic ones. This is because people tend to view dramas with more acclaim and respect and the Award Shows further prove this, when in fact comedies should not be overlooked.

In the wise words of Vivien Leigh – an Actress who yes, was more respected critically than Marilyn, but, ultimately was more appreciated more for her looks too,

“Comedy is much more difficult than tragedy – and a much better training, I think. It’s much easier to make people cry than to make them laugh.”

Marilyn was incredibly dedicated to her craft and spent numerous hours educating herself on the Performing Arts and trying to be the best she could possibly be. When you learn about Marilyn you realize how much she suffered mentally and the strength she must have found to deliver such beautiful performances. It hurts to think that she didn’t always feel like the bubbly Blonde Bombshell so many know and love her for, as no one more than Marilyn deserved to be appreciated and loved. She was such a perfectionist and would spend hours analyzing and being critical of her acting abilities and performance in each film.

“We not only want to be good, we have to be. You know, when they talk about nervousness, my teacher, Lee Strasberg, when I said to him, “I don’t know what’s wrong with me but I’m a little nervous,” he said, “When you’re not, give up, because nervousness indicates sensitivity.” Also, a struggle with shyness is in every actor more than anyone can imagine. There is a censor inside us that says to what degree do we let go, like a child playing. I guess people think we just go out there, and you know, that’s all we do. Just do it. But it’s a real struggle. I’m one of the world’s most self-conscious people. I really have to struggle.”

– Marilyn to Journalist Richard Meryman for LIFE Magazine, published on August 17th 1962.

Therefore, I thought it would be appropriate to choose five of Marilyn’s films in which she believed she gave the best performances or received great critical acclaim, to recommend for others to watch. If there is any day that Marilyn should be celebrated (personally, I believe it’s all day every day) than it is on her Birthday.

Whilst looking through reviews of Marilyn’s films that were published during their original releases, it’s shocking to me to read the downright prejudice, sexism and ignorance surrounding her as an Actress. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, in my belief Marilyn was the greatest Actress of all time as it seems that even then, 99% of people believed she was just playing herself. Therefore, in believing their own ignorance, critics could continue their lack of acclaim and respect for ultimately, an extremely talented woman.

The Asphalt Jungle (1950) and The Seven Year Itch (1955)

Person to Person television appearance interview on April 8th 1955.

“Marilyn, what’s the best part you ever had in a movie?” – Edward R. Murrow

“Well one of the best parts I’ve ever had was, in The Asphalt Jungle, John Huston’s Picture and then, The Seven Year Itch, Billy Wilder’s Picture.”  – Marilyn

“You think that’s going to be a big one too, don’t you? The Seven Year Itch.” – Edward R. Murrow

“I think it will be a very good Picture and I would like to continue making this type of Picture.” – Marilyn

Dallas Morning News Review by Harold Hefferman published on June 18th 1950.

“Virtually unbilled and unidentified in a current movie, Asphalt Jungle, Marilyn’s breathtaking appearance immediately piques fandom’s curiosity and imagination. Not since the brief introduction of another tempestuous blond, Shelley Winters, three years ago in A Double Life, has a newcomer stirred up so much interest.” 

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)

LIFE Magazine Interview with Journalist Richard Meryman published on August 17th 1962.

“I remember when I got the part in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Jane Russell – she was the brunette in it and I was the blonde. She got $200,000 for it, and I got my $500 a week, but that to me was, you know, considerable. She, by the way, was quite wonderful to me. The only thing was I couldn’t get a dressing room. Finally, I really got to this kind of level and I said, “Look, after all, I am the blonde, and it is Gentlemen Prefer Blondes!” Because still they always kept saying, “Remember, you’re not a star.” I said, “Well, whatever I am, I am the blonde!” – Marilyn

The Los Angeles Times Review by Edwin Schallert on August 1st 1953.

“Miss Monroe sparkles much of the time just as the diamonds do. Her work is insidiously intriguing in this picture, and at the same time almost childlike in its utter lack of guile. Her portrayal demonstrates that much may be maneuvered in her instance in the future to humorous advantage. She discloses a surprising light comedy touch.”

Time Magazine Review on July 27th 1953.

“As Lorelei Lee, who believes that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, Marilyn Monroe does the best job of her short career to date. [She] sings remarkably well, dances, or rather undulates all over, flutters the heaviest eyelids in show business and breathlessly delivers such lines of dialogue as, “Coupons – that’s almost like money,” as if she were in the throes of a grand passion.”

• Bus Stop (1956)

Speaking to reporters upon her arrival back in Hollywood to film Bus Stop, on February 25th 1956.

“Marilyn, are you happy to come back and do this Picture, are you pleased with the Bus- Picture Bus Stop?” – Reporter

“Oh yes, very much, I’m looking forward to working with Josh Logan, doing the Picture and it’s good to be back.” – Marilyn

“Was he in your selection as a Director?” – Reporter

“Twentieth Century Fox selected him and I have Director Approval and they asked if I would approve of him and definitely.” – Marilyn

“So you’re very happy, you think you’re going to make a very good Picture?” – Reporter

“I hope we do make a good picture, yes.” – Marilyn

The New York Times Review by Bosley Crowther published on September 1st 1956.

“HOLD onto your chairs, everybody, and get set for a rattling surprise. Marilyn Monroe has finally proved herself an actress in “Bus Stop.” She and the picture are swell!”

• Some Like It Hot (1959)

Variety Film Review published on February 24th 1959.

“To coin a phrase, Marilyn has never looked better. Her performance as “Sugar,” the fuzzy blonde who likes saxophone players “and men with glasses” has a deliciously naive quality. She’s a comedienne with that combination of sex appeal and timing that just can’t be beat.”

The New York Times Review by A. H. Weiler published on March 30th 1959.

“As the hand’s somewhat simple singer-ukulele player, Miss Monroe, whose figure simply cannot be overlooked, contributes more assets than the obvious ones to this madcap romp. As a pushover for gin and the tonic effect of saxophone players, she sings a couple of whispery old numbers (“Running Wild” and “I Wanna Be Loved by You”) and also proves to be the epitome of a dumb blonde and a talented comedienne.”

I hope however you choose to spend this day, you take a moment to think about Marilyn and in her own words, hold a good thought for her as if anyone deserved that, it was she.

“I Love Marilyn” by Sidney Skolsky published in Modern Screen Magazine in October 1953.

“Before the picture flashed on the screen, Marilyn whispered to me in that low, sexy voice that is natural with her: “Hold a good thought for me.” She always says that when embarking on an venture. She feels much better when you tell her you will.”

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56 Years Without Marilyn.

Fifty six years ago, the World’s Brightest Star took her final breath and left millions of fans in a state of shock and disbelief. No one could understand why this young beautiful talented woman, loved by so many, could leave Earth in such a heartbreaking manner. An autopsy was performed and the official cause of death was ruled as, “probable suicide” noting how Marilyn had experienced, “severe fears and frequent depressions” throughout her lifetime. However, an extremely large number of people still to this day could not except this as fact, fueling an enormous amount of conspiracies from the incredulous to down right bizarre about this very special human.

Ultimately, the only person who knows what happened to Marilyn on the night of her death is the lady herself and many can speculate for hours and hours but will still not have the precise answer they’re looking for. Marilyn’s tragic death should not and does not define her, she lived for 36 years and experienced and achieved more than many could wish for in a whole lifetime. She pursued her dreams fearlessly, constantly striving to reach her goals and become the best actress and person she could be – that should not be forgotten.

Personally, I believe her death was due to medical negligence, either accidental or possibly intentional – Marilyn did have a few attempts of suicide over the years, but her anxiety and depression could often change and I don’t think she wanted to leave the world forever, maybe just in that moment.

However, I don’t want to dwell on Marilyn’s final moments on Earth and I’m sure she wouldn’t want that either, the focus should be on the beautiful person she was and the unique life she had. When people pass young and unexpectedly, conspiracies and in some cases, morbid curiosities take over and in time this can dehumanize the person and make many forget about who they truly were. Furthermore, when someone has already obtained legend status in their lifetime, it can be further exaggerated and influenced when they are no longer here to speak for themselves.

Just because Marilyn was and will always be Hollywood’s most brightest star, that doesn’t mean she wasn’t a real person – she deserves just as much respect and love as we would give to any other human. I understand how people can forget this, as it’s almost hard to accept that someone so legendary as Marilyn was ultimately, one of us mere mortals. As she left the world over half a century ago, people seem to dismiss her as a real person and think they can repeat morbid conspiracies and disrespectful myths. Everyone has their right to freedom of speech, but that doesn’t mean a beautiful person should be lost over hearsay and flat out lies.

I always think to myself how lucky I am to have taken the time to learn about Marilyn and appreciate her for the amazing person she truly was. Sadly, so many people will miss out on this because they believe everything that’s posted on the internet and automatic judgement steers them away from any authentic research. If there’s anything I can do for Marilyn after all she’s done for me, is to spread the truth and facts about this wonderful lady who blessed us with her presence.

Marilyn was a woman always ahead of her time, she believed in equality, feminism, speaking out and most importantly, kindness and generosity, none of these should be forgotten. She used her platform to share her story and was continuously giving with both her time and money, never forgetting her fans throughout her ever growing stardom. 

On this day I will of course always feel sadness, that is simply impossible to ignore considering how much I adore Marilyn. However, I will focus on Marilyn herself and her incredible life, in all the years before and through all the years after, there will truly never be another one like her. So wherever you are beautiful Marilyn, I will always think of your wonderful words which remind me that no matter how hard life can be, there is always hope. 

“Remember now, cheers, no tears.”
– Spoken by Marilyn to the cast and crew of The Misfits after filming had finished in November 1960.

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Happy 92nd Birthday Marilyn!

If Marilyn was alive today, it’s incredible to believe that she would be turning ninety two years old. In the seven and a half years I’ve known and loved her for, I still find it incomprehensible, due to Marilyn leaving the world at such a young age. I guess I almost have to remind myself that even the most famous woman in the world was just like us, she was human too. However, I’ll openly admit that I don’t know if that fact will ever sink in, not because I view Marilyn as an Icon, although she undoubtedly is, but because it’s amazing to think that she walked the earth we all live on.

Although it’s been over fifty five years since Marilyn left us, in many ways it feels like she’s still here, almost like she never really left. What I mean by that is her spirit and presence is so prevalent in today, I bet there’s not one person in the world that doesn’t know her name or face. Of course, with such fame and status comes the dreaded myths and conspiracies, which myself and many strive to dispel, but, I do like to think that the majority of people smile and feel happiness when they see or watch Marilyn. She has such a unique warmth and kindness that truly lights up the screen when she appears and I’m sure it’s true that she lit up a room when she entered one over half a century ago.

Every year Marilyn’s Birthday and Anniversary come around, I always wonder to myself what I should write and how do I go about not being repetitive. After all, there’s only so much that can be said on one particular person, however, to me it’s all about spreading love and enlightening others on the real Marilyn and if I can do that through writing a few words, I’ll definitely try. I’ve mentioned many times how inspiring I find Marilyn, how unbelievable her story is and how she achieved so much considering the odds against her were beyond enormous. I’ve also said how Marilyn was so much more than a beautiful Blonde Bombshell, she was a special soul who was always striving to perfect her talents and be the best person she could be. However, even as I reiterate previous statements, I can’t help but thinking about how true they are and how incredible Marilyn really was.

Of course I absolutely adore Marilyn and there’s no doubt that I truly cannot say many, if any bad things about her, some would say I’m extremely biased and I would to an extent admit to that. However, I pride myself in being honest and speaking the truth and everything I state about Marilyn’s life and achievements are historically proven. Therefore, this is the main reason why I’m so dumbfounded when people don’t like or respect Marilyn, I mean, how can you possibly not? Not everyone has to become a huge devoted fan like myself, but to be so judgmental, inaccurate and assuming is such a huge annoyance to me – we should all be supportive and admire anyone’s achievements and why should Marilyn be any different? Just because a person has their struggles doesn’t make them someone not to admire, to me it makes them even more inspirational in that they achieved so much when they were suffering.

Ultimately, today is a very special day for myself, all of Marilyn’s fans and Hollywood, for without Marilyn the world would definitely have been a little duller. Not only did she accomplish so much and forever make her mark in Cinema, she was a kind person and just wanted to put a smile on people’s faces. I always love reading little anecdotes showing Marilyn as a person and not the star as they show her beautiful soul and caring nature. Things like her anonymously gifting money to crew members in need or bringing a cow inside because it was raining, just show how generous she was and how little material things actually meant to her.

Wherever Marilyn may be I hope she knows how appreciated, loved and respected she is by so many. There may be a few ignorant and judgmental people still out there but she had that during her lifetime and I like to think it wouldn’t phase her all too much. Marilyn always knew that people didn’t expect much from her other than a pretty face and she never failed to prove them wrong. At 24 years old I think about Marilyn every day and have done since I first discovered her in late 2010, she fills my heart with love and joy and I will never not stick up for her. I like to think that however old we all get, Marilyn will continue to always be with us in spirit and never fail to place a smile on a sad face. It takes an incredibly special person to have the ability to make someone feel such love and emotion for someone they have never met and Marilyn is one of those rare people. I love you with all of my heart beautiful Marilyn and I undoubtedly always will.

“I don’t understand why people aren’t a little more generous with each other. I don’t like to say this, but I’m afraid there is a lot of envy in this business. The only thing I can do is stop and think, “I’m all right but I’m not so sure about them!” – Marilyn to Richard Meryman in Life Magazine, August 1962.

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Gift of Glam by Marilyn Monroe Eyewear.

If you’ve followed me on Social Media for the past 6+ years, then I’m 99% sure you know how much I love the beautiful soul, Marilyn Monroe. Ironically, it feels almost strange for me to type out her full name, as I like to think of Marilyn as almost an Guardian Angel to me, definitely not a stranger. Some will understand that and relate, others may judge – but Marilyn will always have a special place in my heart.

A few weeks ago, to celebrate Marilyn’s 91st Birthday, I wrote, as I do every year, a Tribute for my favourite lady and was pleasantly surprised when I noticed, Marilyn Monroe Eyewear like my post and follow me on Instagram. Marilyn Eyewear is Officially Licensed by The Estate of Marilyn Monroe and is one of the many Brands they have created which is all inspired and influenced by this very special woman. As my beautiful friend, Laura has previously worked with Marilyn Eyewear, I decided it would be worth a try contacting the Brand and thanking them for following my Instagram Account. I also proposed the possibility of a collaboration. Once again, I was surprised and very thankful to receive a reply agreeing to my suggestion about a collaboration!

After just four days, my parcel from Marilyn Eyewear arrived, all the way from America! I can’t emphasize how appreciative I am of such a quick delivery, especially from so far away – I was already beyond impressed. However, little did I know that I was going to be completely blown away when I opened the parcel. Not only was I gifted a pair of beautiful Sunglasses, there were also three beauty products from Marilyn Monroe Spas! It wasn’t until I looked on their website, that I realized I had been sent the, Limited Edition Gift of Glam! Thank you so much Marilyn Monroe Eyewear and Marilyn Monroe Spas!

The packaging is a classic chic black matte box, finished with gorgeous gold writing and Marilyn’s iconic signature – what could be better!? As soon as you open it, you’re greeted by dazzling red tissue paper and inside are the iconic products all inspired by my favourite girl – Marilyn! Nail Polish in Marilyn Red, a red Beauty Blender, a Lipstick in Marilyn Red 03 and if that wasn’t enough, a pair of Marilyn Eyewear Sunglasses in Annabel Noir 001! If you’re a Marilyn lover or simply adore the Vintage look, then this is without doubt a must have – it’s simply timeless!

The Sunglasses come in an absolutely beautiful gold metallic case, featuring Marilyn’s signature, the product is wonderful quality and a great protection for the shades also. What I was most impressed by with the Marilyn Sunglasses was the attention to detail, which super Marilyn fans, or Marilynettes as we’re known, would definitely notice and appreciate. If you look at all the Sunglasses on the Marilyn Eyewear Website, you’ll see that the majority of the shades are named after Marilyn Film Characters! I think this is such a lovely statement and a unique concept which makes Marilyn Eyewear different from others. The Gift of Glam shades are named after Marilyn’s character, Annabel Jones Norris from her film, We’re Not Married! (1952) one of her earlier film roles and the only chance she had to play a Mother. (Something’s Got To Give (1962) was never completed.)

If you’re after an everyday, classic retro look than Annabel are the must have Sunglasses for you, but fear not, there are three other shades available if you’re after something different. Out of all the amazing vintage style Sunglasses on Marilyn Eyewear, if I had to choose my favourites it would be either, The Marilyn, Elsie, Iris or Rose and yes, that is my attempt at trying to narrow my choices down! All come in different colours and styles, so there are more choices to choose from and they feature Marilyn’s iconic signature – so much beauty!

The Marilyn Monroe Spas Beauty Products all have one thing in common, they are all – you guessed it, red! Anyone who knows anything about Marilyn will associate this bold colour with her, as it was without doubt her signature lipstick shade to wear. As someone who adores the Vintage Look, this was such a wonderful surprise and even better that each item is based on the signature Marilyn look.

The Beauty Blender is a must have in my every day makeup bag and ironically enough, I was just thinking a few days ago that I needed a new one! Plus, I’ve not seen many sponges that are this unique shade, so it will definitely stand out in my collection. Furthermore, the packaging has Marilyn’s beautiful signature on, so yes, I will be keeping the box! I also love how on the back of the packaging it says, “Be Wonderful” which I’m assuming is inspired by one of my favourite, genuine Marilyn quotes.

Also within the Glam Kit is the stunning, True Red 03 Lipstick. Red is the ultimate retro colour and my absolute favourite to wear pretty much every single day and I can confirm, True Red 03 definitely has my approval. The product features Marilyn’s signature in a stunning red and a gorgeous kiss print, which contrasts dramatically with the bold black packaging. I also love the shape of the lipstick as it’s perfect for creating that beautiful full pout. There are so many amazing beauty buys available on Marilyn Monroe Spas, I could honestly spend hours browsing through all the variety of shades!

The final product in the Marilyn Eyewear Gift of Glam is the Marilyn Monroe Red Nail Polish, which features a gorgeous portrait of Marilyn herself – so unique! The shade is eye catching and will definitely make your nails be the centre of attention! Plus, even if you’re not a red lover like myself, it’s worth having just for the stunning packaging with our beautiful blonde bombshell!

Please note, I pride myself in making sure I write honest reviews and although I was fortunate enough to be gifted these items, I was not told to say any of the following statements I have made.

Lastly, I simply must say a huge thank you so much to Marilyn Monroe Eyewear for gifting me these beautiful products, which I will truly cherish.

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Happy 91st Birthday Marilyn!

Today marks the Birth Date of probably my favourite human who ever blessed the Earth with their presence, the beautiful soul that was Marilyn Monroe. As she left it at such a young age, it’s almost incomprehensible to believe that she would be ninety one years old if she was still alive.

Each year I like to pay tribute to my angel by writing about the incredible person she was, the unique life she lived and all of her accomplishments in such a short space of time. I feel as a devoted fan of Marilyn’s that it is my duty to help spread the truth about this beautiful soul, by aiming to let society learn about the real woman she was and to not be influenced by the unsubstantiated conspiracies and myths.

Therefore, instead of writing my usual styled posts on my favourite girl, I have decided to be slightly more creative and this time share a number of anecdotes that you may or may not know about Marilyn. In doing this, I hope that it will give you an insight into the kindhearted soul she was and hopefully you will take a moment to think about her on this very special day. 

When Marilyn was a little girl and occasionally spent time with her mother, Gladys, she noticed a photo of a dark haired man with a mustache displayed in her home. The man bared a similar resemblance to one of her favourite Movie Stars; Clark Gable and Norma Jeane Baker liked to think of him as her father. She had loved going to the cinema ever since she was a child and must have seen Clark on the big screen many times. In reality, this man was Marilyn’s actual father – Charles Stanley Gifford, who had been seeing Gladys before she became pregnant. Ultimately, he never acknowledged Marilyn as his own and they never had any relationship.

On a happier note, many years later in November 1954, Marilyn would finally fulfill her childhood dream of meeting Gable at Romanoff’s, where The Seven Year Itch Wrap Party was being held in her honour. They danced with one another and shared how they would both love to work together, with Gable telling Marilyn, “You have the magic.” This wish would eventually happen in 1960, with The Misfits generally being cited as one of their best performances.

During Marilyn’s first marriage to James Dougherty, she noticed a cow on it’s own, standing in the rain. Deeply upset about this, when Jimmy returned home he saw his wife desperately trying to bring the cow inside the house, even asking him to help her do so. Jimmy’s nephew, Wes Kanteman recounted to Author Michelle Morgan about this sweet memory saying,

The cow was a young Jersey Heffer that had beautiful eyes and Norma Jeane used to stand by her pen and just stare at her, remarking at how pretty she was. Then the torrential rain came one night and the cow was standing by the fence and Norma Jeane used to stand by her pen and just stare at her, remarking at how pretty she was. Then the torrential rain came one night and the cow was standing by the fence and Norma Jeane and apparently thought she wanted in so she opened the gate and was going to bring her into to the house. After much conversation about the matter, Uncle Jim convinced her that she belonged in her pen and Norma Jeane finally gave in and it was over, but she still thought that the cow would have been better off in the living room.”

On 1st June 1952, Marilyn turned 26 years old and celebrated by finding out she had landed the coveted role of Lorelei Lee in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, beating out the previous Top Blonde at 20th Century Fox – Betty Grable. She was to be starring opposite Jane Russell, who would be receiving $100,000 dollars compared to Marilyn’s contract salary of $500 per week  – shocking, I know. Still, Marilyn didn’t complain and put her heart and soul into making one of her most iconic movies. However, when Marilyn found out she didn’t even have her own dressing room, despite being the star of the film, she finally spoke out and recalled this story to Journalist Richard Meryman for LIFE Magazine, which was released two days before her death in August 1962.

“I remember when I got the part in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Jane Russell – she was the brunette in it and I was the blonde. She got $200,000 for it, and I got my $500 a week, but that to me was, you know, considerable. She, by the way, was quite wonderful to me. The only thing was I couldn’t get a dressing room. Finally, I really got to this kind of level and I said, “Look, after all, I am the blonde, and it is Gentlemen Prefer Blondes!” Because still they always kept saying, “Remember, you’re not a star.” I said, “Well, whatever I am, I am the blonde!” And I want to say to the people, if I am a star, the people made me a star. No studio, no person, but the people did.”

Marilyn was a huge lover of animals and during her life owned quite a few pets, from dogs, to cats and even two parakeets called Butch and Bobo. During her time in New York she adopted a cat and to Marilyn’s delight, she became pregnant. She was so happy and looked after the beloved pet dearly, reading up on how to care for her during the pregnancy, repeatedly ringing her maid to check on how she was doing and spoiling her with treats. When the labour finally came during the middle of the night, Marilyn rang her good friend Norman Rosten, asking him to come over and help to which he politely declined and went back to sleep.

He later said, “There was never a more spoiled prenatal cat in feline history.

Marilyn was known to be extremely generous, even saying in her last interview, “I don’t understand why people aren’t a little more generous with another.” and it’s most definitely fair to say she followed what she believed in. Her giving nature didn’t just involve her friends, even acquaintances received this kind treatment as retold by Author Donald Spoto.

Maggie Banks, an assistant choreographer, recalled that a wife of a company electrician was seriously ill. “I saw Marilyn hand the man a roll of bills; he started to cry, and Marilyn just hugged him and walked away.” Likewise, Evelyn Moriarty never forgot that Marilyn anonymously donated one thousand dollars to defray the funeral expenses of a crew member’s wife.”

Marilyn famously said, “I only know I want to be wonderful.” and I think it’s definitely fair to say, although she may not have achieved true happiness, she the utmost worthy of being called wonderful.

Happy Birthday beautiful, I think of you daily and I love you dearly. ♡

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Yours Retro Magazine.

As a true vintage girl at heart, I was absolutely thrilled when I heard about Yours Magazine bringing out a specific retro style issue with all things Classic Hollywood and pre 2000s. Special thank you to Fraser from Immortal Marilyn and everlasting-star.net for kindly sharing this!  At £3.99 this isn’t the cheapest magazine but as far as I’m aware it’s the only one like it out there so personally, I’m happy to pay the price.

If you love Old Hollywood as much as I do then this is definitely the magazine for you, with my favourite Hitchcock Blonde, Grace Kelly featuring as Cover Girl. Not only is there a wonderful article on her inside, the magazine features many stories on stars such as, Ingrid Bergman, Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy and Hedy Lamarr to name just a few.

I know reading the articles isn’t for everyone but, fear not, the magazine is full of photos and not just the ones you have seen so many times before. As someone who knows a fair amount about the Golden Age of Hollywood, I was pretty impressed with the magazines research, I even learned a few new things myself!

However, there were two noticeable mistakes that stuck out and did slightly frustrate me. Grace Kelly’s age when she died was listed as 53, when she was actually 52 and it was claimed Marilyn held her first ever press conference at The Savoy Hotel in July 1956 – the press conference of course happened, but it was mostly definitely not her first. Of course these pet  peeves may be of little concern to a lot of readers, but as someone who is incredibly passionate about this subject, it is important for me to know that the writers are also just as informed.

Furthermore, although the majority of the magazines content is spot on with following the, “retro” content, I feel the magazine needs to be aware that it will not just attract an older audience. At 22 years old I am probably one of the younger readers, but I know I’m not the only modern girl with an old soul who loves learning about this subject. Not every single reader is buying this to, “reminisce” or feel, “nostalgic as the survey seems to imply.

What I really enjoyed about the magazine was the survey left for readers to give their opinions on the contents for research purposes. It’s very heartwarming to know that your views and interests are being considered and noted for future issues, you feel a part of the Yours Team’s aim and believe it is their aim to produce  a quality product.

As someone who’s interests lie in the bygone era of Hollywood, it’s wonderful that such a unique magazine is so accessible and easy to find. If you’re not in the UK I think you can still purchase the magazine online, so fear not! I really hope it sticks to pre 1970s content, if I wanted to read about today I could easily just buy a modern day magazine .

If I could ask the magazine to stick to one thing it would be pre 1970s content, if I wanted to read about the stars of today, I could easily buy a modern day magazine. I really hope Yours Retro continues for many more issues to come, I for one will definitely be looking out for the next one! 

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My Top Five Alfred Hitchcock Films.

Sadly, a lot of people today won’t know much about the classic movies from Hollywoods Golden Age. To many, CGI and blockbuster budgets are a lot more appealing than dialogue and black and white films. However, what I would guess quite a few people recognize is the name Alfred Hitchcock.

A man like no other, he revolutionized movies and has inspired many Directors and Stars of our day. As a person? Well,  from what I’ve read he was definitely one of a kind and not everyone’s cup of tea, but as  Director? He’s without doubt one of the best.

During his fifty year career, he was forever breaking boundaries and daring to do what others could never imagine. I think one film that everyone will know about, well one scene especially is Psycho (1960), the chilling music by Bernard Herrmann is forever etched in viewers minds.

Hitchcock was always using recurring themes in his films, from his signature cameo appearances, (To Catch A Thief has to be a favourite) to his love of icy blondes who often meet a gruesome end, he was a Director like no other! Although he made nearly seventy movies, I’m going to pick my top five that I’d recommend you watch. I’ve seen the majority of this films from his best years; the 1940s through 1960s so I think I have a fairly good judgement.

James Stewart and Grace Kelly in Rear Window (1954)
James Stewart and Grace Kelly in Rear Window (1954)

Rear Window (1954)

Ironically enough, the first time I watched this film, I didn’t understand the hype around it. It revolves around a recovering Photographer, L.B. “Jeff” Jefferies, (played by James Stewart) who watches his neighbours out of boredom and convinces himself that one has committed a murder. With Hitchcock’s most famous blonde, (Grace Kelly) being James Stewart’s leading lady and looking ever so beautiful in Edith Head’s costumes, I assure you, you’ll be gripped! They don’t call him the Master of Suspense for nothing. A huge hit during it’s original release and #37 on IMDB’S Top 250 Movies, this is a must see! 

Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint in North By Northwest (1959)

North By Northwest (1959)

Not only is Cary Grant at his sauve best at fifty four (!) but the chemistry between himself and the wonderful Eva Marie Saint is absolutely thrilling. Cary plays Roger Thornhill, a man framed for a murder and on the run. In the late fifties, Hitchcock was well into his obsession with his leading ladies and actually picked out Eva Marie Saint’s clothes himself and made her cut her hair (sobs) specifically for the role. The two things that make this film stand out have to be Cary’s iconic grey suit and him running from a Plane. I must say that he shows great comedic talent in this film despite its dark theme, yet sadly so many beautiful stars were only appreciated for their looks, Cary Grant is one of them.

James Stewart and Kim Novak in Vertigo (1958)
James Stewart and Kim Novak in Vertigo (1958)

Vertigo (1958)

Although not a big success when first released, Vertigo is now considered once of Hitchocks finest films, if not his best. James Stewart was unfairly blamed for the lukewarm reaction of Vertigo, being twenty five years older than his leading lady Kim Novak and he and Hitchcock never worked together again. Jimmy plays Scottie Ferguson, a now retired Police Offier suffering from Vertigo who is hired by an old acquaintance to investigate his wife. This film is full of twists and turns and has a shock ending, classic Hitchcock. Once again he was so specific with the aesthetic look of his movies that he personally styled Kim Novaks iconic updo himself!

Tippi Hedren and Sean Connery in Marnie (1964)
Tippi Hedren and Sean Connery in Marnie (1964)

Marnie (1964)

Considered by many to be his final masterpiece, Marnie stars Alfred’s last, “Hitchcock Blonde”, Tippi Hedren. Although their relationship started off full of optimism, with this film it came to a sad abrupt end, due to Hitchocks obsessive behaviour with his leading lady. Tippi was groomed to be the new, “Grace Kelly” after she had married Prince Rainier of Monaco and retired from films. Therefore, Tippi was signed to an exclusive contract with Hitchcock and made The Birds (1963) and Marnie (1964) before escaping his controlling nature. Besides Psycho, I would say this would be Hitchcocks most controversial film, he reportedly wouldn’t make the movie if the censors cut the disturbing rape scene, which fifty years later is still incredibly uncomfortable to watch.

Alfred Hitchcock directs Janet Leigh in Psycho (1960)
Alfred Hitchcock directs Janet Leigh in Psycho (1960)

Psycho (1960)

By 1959, Alfred Hitchcock was arguably the biggest Director in the world and there he was making a highly controversial movie that no Studio would touch, on a budget less than one million dollars. Not only did he decide to do this, he hired leading lady Janet Leigh and killed her off less than fifty minutes into the movie. Although Psycho cemented Anthony Perkins into cinema history, he was forever type cast after playing the infamous Norman Bates. Even watching Psycho fifty years on, it’s incredibly hard to believe that this movie past through the censors in 1960. Everyone thought Hitchcock was killing his career, however, he had the last laugh, not only did the film make over $32,000,000 – the majority of the profits went to him as no one believed the film would be successful.

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Blonde Sinner – Diana Dors In The 1950s Exhibit.

As most of you will know by now, not only do I adore Old Hollywood but I especially love the incredible Blonde Bombshells of that era. I love to learn about their talent and lives, sadly so many just see them as pretty faces – when they are so much more than that!

Last week on at FACT for their Vintage Sundays was one of Diana’s films, Tread Softly Stranger (1958) and it was shown in collaboration with the Diana Dors Exhibit being held at The Gallery in Liverpool. It was also in association with Pride as Diana is often associated as an icon for the LGBT Community, so that was wonderful.

Since discovering Marilyn in October 2010 and thus learning about Old Hollywood, I’ve known about Diana for a number of years. She was known as Britain’s Version of Marilyn Monroe and although she embraced the nickname, she ironically said,

“I was the first home-grown sex symbol, rather like Britain’s naughty seaside postcards. When Marilyn Monroe’s first film was shown here [The Asphalt Jungle (1950)], a columnist actually wrote, “How much like our Diana Dors she is.”.

After becoming a huge star in the UK and Europe in the 1950s, Diana ventured out to America and was offered a three picture contract with RKO Pictures in 1956. Ironically, when Diana came to America, Marilyn went to England to film The Prince and The Showgirl with Laurence Olivier and the two never met.

The Exhibit which is being shown at The Gallery until mid December, is a beautiful collection of Diana in her heyday – the 1950s. The room is filled with stunning vintage movie posters and magazines, as well as a lot of rare photos. I was even more thrilled when I learn that I was allowed to take pictures, which of course I will be sharing with you all! The Guide who showed us around the exhibit kindly showed us some more of the collection which was not on display. I asked about the Collector and how he discovered Diana and was told that he first bought a Diana Vintage Poster, (Tread Softly Stranger) when he was just 14 years old and 34 years on he’s still collecting!

Although I don’t have any vintage movie posters as they are sadly too expensive for me, over the years I’ve collected a good amount of vintage magazines and movie stills – especially of Marilyn. I would absolutely love to show my collection some day, it’s such a wonderful idea to have it all on display and shared with other fans. Before I left I purchased my own print of Diana, although it was £35 it is without doubt worth the money. It’s such a unique item for my collection and rare and beautiful picture.

Out of all of the amazing peices in the exhibit, my favourite would have to be a group of photos from Diana’s personal collection. I was told the top right is her as Marilyn and bottom right as Mae West. I’m guessing the top left is Marlene Dietrich and bottom left Clara Bow, very similar to Marilyn’s 1958 photos by Richard Avedon! I also adored the candid rare photos from the 1950s.

I know that a lot of you may not be able to see the exhibit, therefore I hope you enjoy the photos I took and I really hope the exhibit will be displayed in other galleries!

Diana Films I’d Recommend:

Diana Books I’d Recommend:

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Old Hollywood Actresses I Relate To.

As you probably know by now, Old Hollywood is a huge passion of mine and I have spent a lot of time learning about the stars and watching movies from the Golden Age of Hollywood.  I was tagged on Instagram to post six Old Hollywood Actresses I relate to and I must say, I found it a lot harder than I expected! After  narrowing my list down to about nine stars, I finally picked my beautiful six.

Marilyn Monroe

(1926 – 1962)

I think it’s safe to say that I relate to Marilyn the most out of all of the Stars I’ve picked. Marilyn suffered with depression and anxiety, she was her biggest critic and a very sensitive soul. She also loved to read, learn, adored animals and looking after others. Marilyn was also very misunderstood and people often judged her on their perceptions, without knowing who she really was.


Gene Tierney

(1920 – 1991)

Gene suffered a mental breakdown and experienced depression and anxiety throughout her life. During her lifetime she was very candid about her mental health and contributed to lowering the stigma considerably in today’s society. I absolutely adore Gene, she was a beautiful soul and I relate to her suffering, but her recovery gives me hope.

Brigitte Bardot

(1934)

Brigitte is strong willed, passionate and determined, never following societies expectations and always being her own person. She fights for what she belives in and loves to love and be loved. She adores animals and fights for those who can’t fight for themselves. Brigitte is also misunderstood and has been judged by certain perceptions which are not accurate.

Audrey Hepburn 

(1929) – (1993)

I like to think I have Audrey’s caring heart and sensitive soul. She had so much joy for life and was very humble. She thought other people were more important than herself and gave so much to those in need. I can relate to her passion about what she believed in and her determination to help in whatever way she could.

Katharine Hepburn

(1907) – (2003)

Katharine was always a bit of an outsider and rarely followed societies expectations. She was quirky, an individual and a bit different. She was very ahead of her time and could be quite sassy and I like to think I have some of her spirit. She was reliable, loyal and devoted a lot of her time to those who needed her.

Carole Lombard

(1908) – (1942)

I like to think that I have Carole’s sense of humour, she was witty, loved to laugh and could be a bit cheeky! She didn’t always act like the lady people expected her to be in a time when women were meant to behave in a certain way and I love that about her. 

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Brunette Beauties.

As most of you know, my favourite Actress with all of my heart is Marilyn and it just so happens that a lot of my other favourite stars happen to be blondes; Veronica Lake and Brigitte Bardot for example. I think this is because so many Old Hollywood Blondes were only appreciated for their appearance and never given enough credit for their talent and I’ve always rooted for the underdog.

However, I happen to adore a lot of Old Hollywood Stars and I thought I’d make a post on my other loves that I may not talk as much about.


Hedy Lamarr.

November 9th 1914 – January 19th 2000

“Any girl can be glamorous. All you have to do is stand still and look stupid.”


Hedy Lamarr was known as, “The Most Beautiful Girl In Films” and seventy years on, it’s not hard to see why. Her dark shoulder length hair and porcelain face were admired by millions of fans, so much so that movie goers did not expect to see her act, they just looked forward to seeing her on the screen. However, behind the beauty was a brain, a brain that sadly went under appreciated but, nevertheless created one of the most important technologies which is to this day still used in the basis of Mobile Phones and Wifi.  When learning about Hedy it’s quite easy to see how much she worked tirelessly to learn her craft and perfect her acting. At least today she is not only known for being one of the most beautiful women of the Silver Screen, but also, as an Actress and more importantly, an Inventor.

Book Recommendations:

Beautiful: The Life of Hedy Lamarr by Stephen Michael Shearer

Film Recommendations:

Ziegfeld Girl (1941)
The Strange Woman (1946)
Samson and Delilah (1949)


Vivien Leigh.

November 5th 1913 – July 7th/8th 1967.

“I’m not a film star, I am an actress. Being a film star is such a false life, lived for fake values and for publicity.”


Recognized by millions as Gone With The Wind‘s Scarlett O’Hara and Sir Laurence Olivier’s Wife, Vivien was not just a Southern Belle, she was an incredible actress. Like Hedy, though more critically appreciated, Vivien often found her beauty a blessing and a curse. Although she won two Academy Awards throughout her career, she often felt people preferred to see the beautiful Scarlet O’Hara, instead of the actress. Also, being married to Olivier, considered one of the finest actors of the generation was not always an easy task. She was a prolific stage actress and often put the importance of roles ahead of her mental well being. She suffered from Manic Depression, which lead to the separation with the love of her life and  bouts of Tuberculosis, which ultimately lead to her death. Although only having 20 Film Credits, today she’s considered to be one of England’s finest Actresses and her talents are forever being re evaluated and recognized.

Book Recommendations:

Vivien Leigh by Kendra Bean
Vivien Leigh: A Biography by Anne Edwards

Film Recommendations:

Gone With The Wind (1939)
Waterloo Bridge (1940)
Anna Karenina (1948)


Elizabeth Taylor.

February 27th 1932 – March 23rd 2011.

“I don’t entirely approve of some of the things I have done, or am, or have been. But I’m me. God knows, I’m me.”


Elizabeth became known to the world as just a small child, when she appeared in National Velvet in 1944. After that she stayed on the motion picture screens for many years and her beauty and violet eyes was highly applauded, however, it wasn’t until George Stevens’s Giant (1956) that she started to be respected as a, “Real Actress.” After achieving high acclaim for her performances in Cat On A Hot Tin Roof (1958) and Suddenly Last Summer (1959) she was awarded her first Academy Award for BUtterfield 8 (1960) in 1961. After falling in love with Richard Burton during the filming of Cleopatra (1963) her name would fill the gossip magazines for, at the time, scandalous affair. However, this did nothing to damage Elizabeth’s career and she would earn her second Academy Award for, Who’s Afraid Of Virgina Woolf? (1966) in 1967. I don’t think until the 1980s Elizabeth was finally respected for the amazing woman she was, she helped raise awareness for the victims of Aids and contributed to removing a lot of the ignorance about the disease. She even created The Elizabeth Taylor Aids Foundation in 1991 to help millions saying, “It is bad enough that people are dying of AIDS, but no one should die of ignorance.”

Book Recommendations:

Elizabeth Taylor: A Life In Pictures by Yann-Brice Dherbier and YB Editions
Elizabeth Taylor by Donald Spoto.

Film Recommendations:

A Place In The Sun (1951)
The Last Time I Saw Paris (1954)
Cleopatra (1963)

 

Sophia Loren.

September 20th 1934.

“I said before I am not a sexy pot. Now I can prove it.”


Born an illegitimate child in Rome Italy, Sophia did not have an easy upbringing, in her Autobiography she recalls living through the frequent bombings in Pozzuoli and the lack of support from her father during her childhood. After competing in a Beauty Pagent in 1950, in the early 1950s she became a well known face in Italian Cinema. However, it wasn’t until she joined Paramount in 1958 that she became an International Star. Nevertheless, Sophia never lost site of her roots and frequently went back to Italy to make films. becoming the first Actress to win an Academy Award for a Non-English Performance in Two Women (1960) in 1961. After this critical acclaim, Sophia continued to shine in Motion Pictures, had a wonderful marriage to Carlo Ponti  and her talent was finally recognized and appreciated. She still acts to this day and is loved and admired by millions, not only for her beauty but her incredible story.

Book Recommendations:

Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow: My  Life by Sophia Loren
Sophia Loren: A Life In Pictures by Yann-Brice Dherbier

Film Recommendations:

Houseboat (1958)
Arabesque (1966)
A Special Day (1977)


Gene Tierney.

November 19th 1920 – November 6th 1991

“Wealth, beauty, and fame are transient. When those are gone, little is left except the need to be useful.”


Gene will forever be remembered as the hauntingly beautiful woman and painting in Laura (1944) however, although she was blessed with beauty, she was not given the Fairytale life of  a Movie Star. After five years or so being seen as a glamorous screen presence, she finally achieved critical acclaim for her performance as femme fatale Ellen in Leave Her To Heaven (1944which garnered her an Acadamy Award Nomination for Best Actress. During World War Two, whilst helping out in The Hollywood Canteen while in the early stages of pregnancy, Gene tragically contracted German Measles and her beloved daughter Daria was born severely disabled. After she was three years old, Gene could no longer take care of her at home and she had to move to an institution. Although her career continued to flourish, her emotional pain eventually caught up with her and she suffered a nervous breakdown and attempted suicide due to depression in the mid 1950s. After staying in multiple clinics for treatment, some of which included Electric Shock Therapy which resulted in memory loss, she recovered and returned to the screen fora few brief appearances in the 1960s. She remarried in 1960, ironically to one of Hedy Lamarr’s ex husbands,  W. Howard Lee and wrote her wonderful Autobiography in 1979. Gene was not only a wonderful actress, but she is an incredible inspiration for her candid honesty with her mental health.

Book Recommendations:

Self Portrait by Gene Tierney
Gene Tierney: A Biography by Michelle Vogel

Film Recommendations:

Laura (1944)
Leave Her To Heaven (1945)
Never Let Me Go (1953)


Ava Gardner.

December 24th 1922 – January 25th 1990.

“I have only one rule in acting, trust the director and give him heart and soul.”


Ava Gardner was considered one of the most beautiful women of her time, she was signed by MGM in 1941 and was continually used for publicity pictures, but sadly not films. It wasn’t until The Killers (1946) that MGM finally realized that they had something special. Ava continued to be in successful films and was the ultimate beauty, finally in 1953’s Mogambo, her talent was recognized and her performance garnered her an Academy Award Nomination for Best Actress.  Her intelligent wit and honesty were some of her best qualities and are captured wonderfully in her Autobiography in 1990. Although she married some of Hollywood’s most famous men including, Frank Sinatra, she continued to give fine performances in movies such as, On The Beach (1959) and The Night Of The Iguana (1964) Directed by John Houston.

Book Recommendations:

Ava: My Story by Ava Gardner (1990)

Film Recommendations:

Mogambo (1953)
The Barefoot Contessa (1954)
On The Beach (1959)

Hopefully whoever sees this finds these incredible women as inspirational as I do and reads their books and films and I also hope this reminds us all to remember to not judge a book by it’s cover.

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