16 April 2015

Dear turkey foot

Marilyn Monroe and photographer Andre de Dienes met in 1945 when Marilyn, 19 years old and still known as Norma Jeane, was working as a model for Emmeline Snively's Blue Book Model Agency. After Marilyn had been suggested by the agency to De Dienes, she did her first modelling job for him, and then they later went on a road trip together so he could photograph her in natural settings. Apart from having a working relationship (until 1953), they also briefly had an affair. Today, De Dienes' photographs of Marilyn are amongst the best and most famous ever taken of her. 

Marilyn Monroe photographed by Andre De Dienes on Tobay Beach, 1949.
In its issue of April 1960, fashion magazine McCalls published a biography on Marilyn Monroe but never mentioned Andre de Dienes' name. Annoyed but not surprised by this flagrant omission, De Dienes took out his typewriter and wrote Marilyn the following letter:

Via: mostly marilyn monroe


March 29, 60

Dear turkey foot:

I glanced through your biography in the April issue of Mccall's and as usually, I did not find my name somewhere where it should have been mentioned- after all, I was a turning point in your life I always belived [sic], and you yourself know it very well. 

But I am not surprised you never mention me, for years now you did that same thing- got even with me. I shall never forget the incident when one Sunday we were driving along and had a short dispute about something and I told you angrily "you will never be an actress" and you got out of the car at the next corner. Well, that's what did it I know, and perhaps other things.

I have no hard feelings toward you even if you never think of me, however I think it is a little bit funny that you did not mention all the lovely photos I took of you back in 45, 46, 47, 49, and so on.
Some day, when I will have time I will write my memoires also, and will be kinder than you are and will mention you in it.

I have always been a disreet [sic] person, did not want to make a lot of hallaballoo [sic] about things- I was wrong I admit it- while you made such an enormous story about yourself -or rather- others did it for you.
Well, that's the way life goes sometimes.

Incidentally, I left a short letter to you at your hotel, a few weeks ago, wanted to photogaph [sic] you for a magazine. You have probably left already, or was bored to do it, or perhaps you thought thosose [sic] kind of lousy photos like I saw in Life Magazine a week or so ago when the strike began at the studio- will do you more good. Well, you looked pretty thin and old, and so did the other actors too in that layout. I was kind of peeved, how a great magazine like Life could send out a photographer to shoot such miserably looking photos.

Have to run now. Bless you, little mushroom- will see you some day- Am going up north this summer, through the redwoods, will think of you in the big forests. 


Note: De Dienes' memoirs were published after his death in 2002 (click here to read excerpts concerning his relationship with Marilyn).

Andre de Dienes

Photographs by Andre de Dienes

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