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Miss Marilyn Monroe calls to mind the bouquet of a fireworks display, eliciting from her awed spectators an open-mouthed chorus of ohs and ahs ...” - Cecil Beaton, June 1956
In 1956, when she entered the suite of the Ambassador Hotel in New York City, to meet
with Cecil Beaton, it was without the girlish pin-up attitude the public was used to seeing in her photos. She was sexy, yes, but sophisticated, too. Playful, yes, but with a new sheen and class. Child-like, yes, but combined with a mature style. A year or two previous, people may have laughed at the notion of
a photographer of Beaton’s stature being matched with Marilyn Monroe. But on the day they spent together, with their beloved camera between them, they created magic.
Marilyn arrived to Beaton’s suite with only a simple black dress and a white puffy evening gown. Ed Pfizenmaier, Beaton’s assistant, said that Marilyn took care of her own make-up “which most people, they can’t believe it nowadays ... she came just by herself, with these two little dresses and ... it was as
simple as that.” Beaton added a few props: an artificial Bluebird, flowers, and scarves. He provided the unique backgrounds, as he’d actually redecorated the suite himself in what he called a “Japanese Nouveau art manner”. Beaton himself described Marilyn’s method as subject of the session: “The initial
shyness over, excitement has now gotten the better of her. She romps, she squeals with delight, she leaps onto the sofa. She puts a flower stem in her mouth, puffing on a daisy as though it were a cigarette. It is an artless, impromptu, high-spirited, infectiously gay performance. It may end in tears.” His diary entry read: “She was the greatest fun.” Pfizenmaier said “I found her just a delight to work with, we just had a magnificent time.
Music is "Say It Isn't So", Lou Brig Orchestra, vocal, Al Jolson from a 1948 radio show.