Honoring an icon – Marilyn in the Hollywood Museum

Due to popular demand “Marilyn Monroe: The Exhibit” which was an intimate look at the legend and the nation’s largest exhibit of authentic memorabilia celebrating the actress’ life, was extended through September 22 of this year at The Hollywood Museum.  This past August marked the 50th anniversary milestone of Monroe’s passing and to honor her life, many of her most famous items were gathered in one place for literally millions of people to see.

The scope of the exhibition encompasses Marilyn Monroe’s costumes from her films, publicity gowns, garments and furs from her personal wardrobe, original documents from her private files, furniture from her final home in Brentwood, original Marilyn Monroe artwork, photographs and many Marilyn Monroe personally owned artifacts including:

~~ The million dollar honeymoon dress that Marilyn wore on her honeymoon with husband, baseball legend Joe DiMaggio in 1954.  This was Marilyn’s favorite personal gown, designed by Ceil Chapman, hand-beaded in Marilyn’s signature style.  She wore this gown on numerous occasions over the balance of her life, including on her USO tour to Korea (1954) where she entertained 10,000 troops over the course of several days.

~~ Marilyn’s famous cream-colored, beaded costume worn in The Prince and the Show Girl (1957).

~~ Personal wardrobe items including the lime green Pucci blouse Marilyn Monroe wore in the last ever photos of her taken alive, when she was staying at the Cal-Neva Lodge in Lake Tahoe, California.

~~  Marilyn’s favorite furs and accessories including  the natural mink fur collar Marilyn often wore in New York and London in the 1950s.

~~  Never before seen photographs, including the last photo ever taken in a photo shoot of Marilyn Monroe by her close personal friend George Barris.

~~  NBC’s critically acclaimed “Smash” has a special costume display featuring their Marilyn Monroe dresses.

~~  “Red Velvet” photo session and infamous “Golden Dreams” calendar. In 1949, Marilyn Monroe was a struggling young actress. To earn some quick money to make a car payment, Marilyn was paid $50 to pose for photographer Tom Kelley, for what became known as the legendary “Red Velvet” photos.

~~  The evening cape worn by Marilyn to the world premiere of the James Dean classic East of Eden (1955).

~~  Max Factor ‘s “Marilyn Monroe” makeup room where he created the famous “Marilyn Monroe blonde” hair including Marilyn’s makeup case and other personal items on display.

~~  A prescription pill bottle and the Decadron vial found on Marilyn’s bedside table the morning after she died.

~~  Furniture and artwork from Marilyn’s Brentwood home, including the solid wood dresser that was next to Marilyn’s bed in her bedroom the night she died.

~~  Original works of art by famed artists Robert A. Delgado.

~~  Original works of art by artist LUDVIC.

 ~~  A vast photograph collection of many never-before-seen photos of Marilyn’s childhood, family and early modeling career, including an array of photographs showing how Monroe lived, worked and played in Los Angeles.

~~  Marilyn Monroe’s annotated film scripts, personal letters, invoices, receipts and financial accounting documents, showcasing in great detail the personal and very private life of the greatest film star of all time.

~~  The Nikon camera and lens that Mr. Barris used for Marilyn’s photo sessions is also on display.

~~  And much more…

Another interesting fact is that The Hollywood Museum, in the Historic Max Factor Building, was considered the perfect venue for this exhibit since it was actually where the legendary Max Factor originally designed Marilyn’s hair and coloring. President Donelle Dadigan of the museum says, “When you walk into the ‘FOR BLONDES ONLY ROOM,’ you feel Marilyn Monroe’s presence.”

During the pilgrimage, fans of all ages flocked to Hollywood from around the world (as they do each year) to honor Marilyn’s life and memory.  The Hollywood Museum was just one of the places where devoted Marilyn fans found meaning and were able to pay tribute to the one and only.

K.R. and I had hoped to be there ourselves, but sadly we could not fit it into our schedule.  So for us, it had to suffice to see the literally hundreds of pictures that have been posted on the internet and to read the story’s that went along with them.  We lived the event through her loving fans.  Not a bad way to experience the 50 year celebration, with the many who are devoted to Marilyn not only on the anniversary of her passing, but daily throughout the years.  People from all over the world still love her and honor her life with their own.


K.R. Hughes and T.L. Burns

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