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Marilyn Monroe: Metamorphosis

Marilyn Monroe: Metamorphosis


It Books, an imprint of HarperCollins, has released Marilyn Monroe: Metamorphosis, which appears to be the most comprehensive collection of Monroe photographs ever released. Gathered by curator and photo preservationist David Wills, the book traces the photographically preserved memories of the Hollywood icon from her earliest days as Norma Jeane Baker, through her brief marriage, her earliest appearances in Hollywood, her rise to super-stardom, and finally the last photos of her that were ever taken.

Photographers whose works appear in the book include Richard Avedon, George Barris, Cecil Beaton, Bernard of Hollywood, Andre de Dienes, Elliott Erwitt, Milton Greene, Philippe Halsman, Tom Kelley, Douglas Kirkland, Willy Rizzo, Sam Shaw and dozens of others.

The book is divided into five sections covering 20 years of Monroe's life, beginning in 1942 with "Chrysalis," her Norma Jeane days, to "Icarus," her days on and around the set of her final unfinished movie, 1962's Something's Got to Give. In between the photos are quotes from some of the people Monroe lived with, loved and worked with, including Hollywood gossip columnist Sid Skolsky, MGM president Dore Schary, 20th Century Fox president Darryl Zanuck, artist Andy Warhol, photographer George Hurrell, actresses Barbara Stanwyck, Anne Bancroft, Betty Grable, Bette Davis, Shelly Winter and Susan Strasberg, and actors Cary Grant, Joseph Cotton, Jack Lemmon and Montgomery Clift.

The photographic reproductions are fabulous; most in gorgeous Kodachrome, plus plenty in stunning black-and-white and sepiatone, many never before seen in any publication—and yes, it does have her nude calendar shot, and the one with her dress blowing up over the subway grate from The Seven Year Itch.

The book concludes with what may be her very last interview, by Richard Meryman for Life magazine. Her final printed words were, "I believe you're always as good as your potential. I now live in my work and in a few relationships with the few peopole I can really count on. Fame will go by, and, so long, I've had you fame. If it goes by, I've always known it was fickle. So at least it's something I experienced, but that's not where I live."

This is a book that every Marilyn Monroe fan will want—and adult retailers probably know how popular this blonde demi-goddess still is, so with its multitude of candid and behind-the-scenes images, it's a piece of pin-up history that customers will likely want to own.