Described as a "Limited Edition Headshot of Marilyn Monroe by Lawrence Schiller," this is being offered for sale for $4,500 at the (I think) decidedly creepy size of 26x30 inches. (The seller advertises on AllMusic, which is how I encountered the photograph.)
I've only ever seen Marilyn Monroe in one movie—Asphalt Jungle, one of my favorite noir films—and I don't think I'm big on celebrities, especially deceased ones—although I have not interrogated that. But I question who would want this ever-so-slightly motion-blurred portrait at that huge size...I think I'd be embarrassed, as such prominence would seem to betoken obsession. I'd much prefer a more modest 8x10. But then, what do I know—maybe M.M. is appropriate larger than life. Her cultural status deserves the much-overused word "iconic."
Lawrence Schiller, of Brooklyn, is 81 now. He has had a remarkable career. You can read his interesting bio on his website here. A brief excerpt:
Perhaps nothing in Schiller’s career proved more remarkable, though, than his collaboration with Norman Mailer—a friendship unique in American literary history. For nearly thirty-five years the two worked closely together, on books including Marilyn (1973), The Faith of Graffiti (1974), Oswald’s Tale (1995), Into the Mirror (2002), and The Executioner’s Song (1979), for which Mailer won the Pulitzer Prize. Schiller, who did much of the legwork, interviews, and research for Executioner’s Song, outmaneuvered numerous other reporters to gain exclusive access to the book’s subject, Gary Gilmore, and went on to produce and direct the award-winning television miniseries based upon it, starring Tommy Lee Jones.
It's a beautiful picture.
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Featured Comments from:
Ken Tanaka: "A beautiful picture, yes, but perhaps too much so for the subject. Marilyn was so over-photographed her beauty became trite. She became an icon of herself. This 'portrait' looks as if it was cropped from a larger movie scene. Naw, not my favorite.
"Personally, the MM images I find most engaging are the 'tweeners.' That is, the snaps grabbed between moments when she wasn't posing, when the light wasn't perfect, when the lens wasn't quite perfectly focused. So among Schiller's MM images offered for sale on that site this is the one I would most enjoy having:
"At first glance you don't realize who it is. But unlike Richard Avedon's famous 1957 MM tweener, Schiller hasn't captured her in a sullen, dark moment that saddens the viewer. Here on the set of the 1960 film 'Let's Make Love' she appears on top of the world, as though someone's just made a clever quip. She's a person who's with you. You can almost hear her laugh.
"Yes, Lawrence Schiller did some nice Hollywood work, often outside the same ol' mold."
Paul de Zan: "You have never seen Some Like It Hot? Oh my."
Joe: "You've never seen Some Like It Hot? Holey smoke, Mike, get on the stick!"