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In Bed with Marilyn Monroe | Christie's

11.11 Single Day
Photographer Douglas Kirkland remembers the night he ‘made magic’ with the film icon Marilyn Monroe — and the camera that captured it all.
On a dark November evening in 1961, 27-year-old Canadian photographer Douglas Kirkland waited nervously for Marilyn Monroe in the Hollywood studio he had rented for their scheduled photo session. The fresh-faced photographer, who had made his name photographing Hollywood stars such as Elizabeth Taylor and Marlene Dietrich, had been commissioned to capture a ‘sizzling’ picture of the screen siren for Look magazine’s 25th anniversary issue.
In 1961 Monroe was at the peak of her stardom. She had a string of Hollywood blockbusters to her name, including Some Like It Hot, Gentleman Prefer Blondes, Bus Stop, The Seven Year Itch and The Misfits, but her marriages to Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller had foundered. Aged 35, she had recently moved back to California after six years away.
Kirkland had moved to New York in his early twenties to take up a position as Irving Penn’s assistant before being hired as a staff photographer at Look. He had been with the magazine for only 18 months when he was assigned his most exhilarating challenge to date.
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