The Archives’ Blog



Milton H Greene Show at Gary Marotta Fine Art
September 29th, 2015 2:45 pm

Marilyn Monroe's My Story: My Own Recipe For Fame
August 27th, 2015 11:24 am

Photograph of Marilyn Monroe surrounded by reporters by Milton H. Greene, 1956.

   There are three different ways of becoming famous in the movies. The first way more often happens to men than to women. It happens suddenly as the result of a single performance in a movie.
   An actor will go along getting jobs and doing good work and getting nowhere. Then all of a sudden, like John Garfield long ago or Kirk Douglas, Marlon Brando, Jose Ferrer, more recently—he will appear as a lead in a picture and wake up after the reviews as star for the rest of his life.
   Occasionally this also happens to an actress, but the occasions haven’t been recent. The actress usually becomes a star in two other ways. The first way is the Studio Buildup. When the Front Office is convinced that one of their contract players has star possibilities in her, a big campaign is started. The Star Possibility is surrounded by various teachers and coaches. Word is sent out to all the Producers in the Studio that the Possibility is the biggest coming box-office attraction in the industry. And all the producers in the studio start fighting to get her as the lead for one of their pictures.
   In the meantime the publicity department goes to work on the Star Possibility and floods the press, the wire services, and the magazines with stories about her wonderful character and fascinating oddities and thousands of photographs.
   The columnists are bombarded with announcements about the possibilities of every sort, from a half dozen impending marriages to an equal number of starring vehicles.
   Pretty soon the whole country gets the impression that nearly all the eligible romantic males of the land are trying to marry the Possibility and that she is going to appear in half the important movies produced in Hollywood.
   All this takes a great deal of money and powerful efforts on everybody’s part except the young actress on whose brow the Studio has decided to weld a silver star.
   The other way to fame open to the actress is the way of scandal. Sleep with a half dozen famous Don Juans, divorce a few husbands, get named in police raids, café brawls or other wives’ divorce suits, and you can wind up almost as much in demand by the movie producers as a Bette Davis or Vivien Leigh.
   The only trouble with becoming famous as a result of a half dozen scandalous happenings is that the scandal-made star can’t just rest on her old scandals. If she wants to keep her high place in the public eye and on the Hollywood producer’s casting list she has to keep getting into more and more hot water. After you’re thirty-five getting into romantic hot water is a little difficult, and getting yourself publicized in love triangles and café duels over your favors needs not only smart press agents but also a little miracle to help out.


Excerpted from My Story written by Marilyn Monroe. Published by Taylor Trade Publishing.

Marilyn Monroe: The Ballerina Sitting
August 19th, 2015 10:04 am

Marilyn Monroe photographed by Milton H. Greene, New York City, 1954

"The first Christmas Marilyn spent with us, I thought it would be nice to get her some Anne Klein clothes. I went to Ben, told him what I wanted and he sent over six outfits. When it arrived, I put a big ribbon on the box without opening it. Christmas day, I gave the box to Marilyn. She was like a squealing child; each dress was heaven. She especially liked the white ballerina dress with an under slip. Two separate pieces. “Milton, you have to photograph me in this,” she said. The following week, we all went to New York, her hair and makeup was done and now it came time to slip into the famous ballerina dress. Marilyn wasn’t fat; but she wasn’t what I would describe as trim. She was on a perpetual diet, drinking one glass of wine at dinner. There was no bloat, just that the damn dress was a size too small. My mistake!
She came out of the dressing room disappointed. She so had been looking forward to this. When told of the problem, Milton said, “It doesn’t matter. Get into whatever you can and leave the rest opened.”  Which is exactly what they did. I love her red toenails in the full-frame pictures and in the most well-known image from that sitting, there again is the line, from the red toenails, to the knees, ending with the index finger pointing to the red lips and soft smile. That is the true story of the famous ballerina sitting.

Excerpted from But That's Another Story, by Amy & Joshua Greene. Published by powerHouse Books.
Milton's Marilyn: The Bitter End
August 5th, 2015 2:45 pm

Milton H. Greene and Marilyn Monroe during their first photographic sitting together for Look Magazine, 1953.

   Early in July, 1962, after four years without contact, Amy dreamt about Marilyn. She seldom dreams, especially not unpleasant dreams, but having been suckled by a Cuban witch, she is sensitive to all outside vibrations. When they awoke the next morning, she turned to Milton and said, "Marilyn needs you."

   "What are you talking about?"

   "In my dream, she's alone, she doesn't have anybody she can trust. She was sending me signals to tell you to go to Los Angeles."

   "You know we're leaving with Sally Kirkland in three days to cover the Paris collections. I can't do it."
   "Milton, for once in your life listen to what I'm saying. She needs your help. Get on a plane, don't take the assignment. Go and help her."

   "OK, I'll call her. And if she tells me she needs me I'll get another photographer to do the assignment." He called and said, "Amy had this dream..."

   "I've been thinking so much about the two of you," Marilyn interrupted. "It's incredible that Amy felt, not you, but she felt that I wanted to talk to you." And they talked for an hour and a half. She told him that she had been fired from another of those "Fox epics" with Dean Martin, but they were trying to get her back. "You know, I'm right back where I was before MMP (Marilyn Monroe Productions). They're giving me the worst roles. It's like the last ten years never happened. I'm right back to where I don't want to be."

   "Don't do it," Milton told her. "If you want me to come out there, I'll leave today. I'll cancel the Paris couture."

   She backed down: "No, no, come on, you've already committed. Of course, I'll be all right. And, I'll tell you what, let's have a date when you come back in August." He spoke to her again before they left for Paris and everything seemed fine.

   On Saturday, August 4, Amy and Milton dined with Marlene Dietrich and Alicia Corning Clark, a "nothing," according to Amy, "who married a much older millionaire who conveniently died on their wedding night." Clark said something derogatory about Marilyn, and Amy jumped to her defense: "What do you know? You don't know what this woman's been through. She's very unhappy and, who knows, she may end up killing herself and you'll feel very sorry for talking like that."

   On Sunday, the Greenes had a picnic lunch at Fountainbleau. The phone was ringing when they got back to their room. It was Alicia Corning Clark, and in the most arrogant, know-it-all voice, she announced, "Your friend, Marilyn Monroe, just killed herself." Amy, dumbfounded, did not believe her. She handed the phone to Milton, who talked to her for a while and then called Arthur Jacobs, the MMP publicist who had become a producer in Hollywood. Jacobs confirmed the story. Milton turned to Amy, his face drained of color: "You were right," he said. "I should have gone to her."

Excerpted from Milton's Marilyn, written by James Kotsilibas-Davis & Directed by Joshua Greene. Published by Moss Run, LTD.
Amy Greene on Marilyn Monroe's death
August 4th, 2015 12:39 pm

"Everyone that meets me always asks the same questions: 1) What was Marilyn really like?  2) Do I think she was murdered or committed suicide? 

To answer question one, she was fine. She was one of us. Marilyn was full energy and she loved being who she was. She liked being a movie star. Actually, she relished being a movie star. Marilyn never tired of the public or they of her. There must have been some kind of radar going back and forth.
As for question number two, Milton and I believe in our hearts that it was an accident. She took the wrong combination at the wrong time. We had spoken to her from Paris, where Milton again was filming another collection for Life. They made a date to meet in 10 days. Marilyn sounded strong, happy, confident, energetic and she was looking forward to seeing him and working together again. I remember her saying to him, “Old friends are the best friends, now don’t forget me!”  There was no way that the day after this conversation she would have deliberately taken her own life."

Amy Greene

Excerpted from But That's Another Story, by Amy & Joshua Greene. Published by powerHouse Books.