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Photography

Monday, June 4, 2007 The Living Dead

June in Hollywood - Marilyn Monroe just turned eighty one, except she's quite dead.  She was born Norma Jeane Mortenson on June 1, 1926, in the charity ward of the Los Angeles County Hospital, and passed away August 5, 1962, over in Brentwood. Much happened in between. On August 8, 1962, Monroe was interred in a crypt at Corridor of Memories, Number 24, at the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles, California see The Stars at Rest from September 2005 for more on that place. Lee Strasberg delivered the eulogy.

The Lee Strasberg Theater and Film Institute is just down the hill on Santa Monica Boulevard.  She spent a lot of time here.  She learned what she needed.  With all the remembrances in film and entertainment press, you do tend to notice "her" theater there.  So it is June again, and here's your photograph late afternoon, Monday, June 4, 2007.

Marilyn Monroe Theatre at the Lee Strasberg Theater and Film Institute, Santa Monica Boulevard
The Lee Strasberg Theater and Film Institute, Santa Monica Boulevard

In her will, Monroe left Lee Strasberg control of seventy-five percent of her estate. She expressed her desire that Strasberg, or, if he predeceased her, her executor, "distribute [her personal effects] among my friends, colleagues and those to whom I am devoted." Strasberg willed his portion to his widow, Anna. She declared she would never sell Monroe's personal items after successfully suing Odyssey Auctions in 1994 to prevent the sale of items which were withheld by Monroe's former business manager, Inez Melson but in October 1999 Christie's auctioned the bulk of the items Monroe willed to Lee Strasberg.  That brought in 12.3 million dollars. The dead are useful.

Anna Strasberg is currently in litigation against the children of four photographers to determine rights of publicity, which permits "the licensing of images of deceased personages for commercial purposes."  The decision as to whether Monroe was a resident of California, where she died, or New York, where her will was probated, is a tricky one. On 4 May 2007, a federal judge in New York ruled that Monroe's rights of publicity ended upon her death, thus allowing the family of photographer Sam Shaw to sell his photos of Monroe. The other three cases are pending.

But she's long gone, and the storefront to the immediate left of "her" theater provides a bit of ironic comment. You could walk in the wrong door.

Hollywood Vacuum, Santa Monica Boulevard

Directly across the street from "her" theater, the angels dance.

Neon Angels at Cha, Cha, Cha - a Caribbean restaurant on Santa Monica Boulevard
Neon Angels at Cha, Cha, Cha - a Caribbean restaurant on Santa Monica Boulevard

From before Marilyn Monroe's crypt at Corridor of Memories, Number 24, at the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles, California

Marilyn Monroe's crypt at Corridor of Memories, Number 24, at the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles, California

A final bit of creepiness

    Playboy founder HUGH HEFNER wants to be buried next to screen goddess MARILYN MONROE.

    The 79-year-old considers Los Angeles' Westwood Cemetery the ideal final resting place, and has earmarked an ornate vault alongside the SOME LIKE IT HOT STAR, who he considers "the major sex icon of the 20th Century."

    He says, "My dear friends are buried there MEL TORME, BUDDY RICH, DOROTHY STRATTON.

    "When I found the vault next door to Marilyn was available it seemed natural."

He is an odd man.

If you wish to use any of these photos for commercial purposes I assume you'll discuss that with me. And should you choose to download any of these images and use them invoking the 'fair use" provisions of the Copyright Act of 1976, please provide credit, and, on the web, a link back this site.

Technical Note:

Most of these photographs were shot with a Nikon D70 - using lens (1) AF-S Nikkor 18-70 mm 1:35-4.5G ED, or (2) AF Nikkor 70-300mm telephoto, or after 5 June 2006, (3) AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor, 55-200 mm f/4-5.6G ED. They were modified for web posting using Adobe Photoshop 7.0.  Earlier photography was done with a Sony Mavica digital still camera (MVC-FD-88) with built-in digital zoom.

[The Living Dead]

All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 - Alan M. Pavlik