The Archives’ Blog



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.

Diahann Carroll, New York City 1959
July 16th, 2015 1:45 pm

"Fortunately in my youth I had the joy of working with the brilliant Milton Greene. He added such vitality and beauty to his work, which greatly influenced me for the rest of my life.
I just had my baby and went to the studio wearing this fitted yellow jacket.  I came out of the dressing room wearing a bustier, tights and heels. Milton would love to experiment and try things. He looked at me and noticed that I was still a little pudgy from baby. He looked at the color background and told me to go put on the jacket I was wearing. Being a pupil in the presence of a master, I put it on and Viola!  It was perfect.
One night he and Joe picked me up to go to a party in Los Angeles. He looked at what I was wearing and said “What are those satin bows on your shoes”. I said “What about them”.  He said they are distracting and ruining the line of the silhouette. He and Joe immediately removed them and the three of us looked at me in the mirror and saw a great pair of legs and a new pair of shoes. The affect of this attention gave me a whole different confidence and body language.
I wasn’t accustomed to a man who took the initiative to alter my clothing so that I would appear more beautiful. Milton would walk over to me and say “You don’t need that extra pin or accessory. Always remember the cleaner the better.” He did teach me to take advantage of what I had and it gave me confidence, which was good for a young girl who grew up in Harlem or is it Yonkers."                                                             

Diahann Carroll, Singer/Actress

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

Marilyn Monroe's My Story: Marilyn and Groucho Marx
June 26th, 2015 3:01 pm

Marilyn Monroe by Milton H. Greene 1953

Groucho Marx by Milton H. Greene 1956

Someone I met at a lunch counter told me they were making retakes on a movie called Love Happy and needed a girl for a bit part. Harpo and Groucho Marx were in the movie.

I went on the set and found the producer Lester Cowan in charge. He was a small man with dark, sad eyes. He introduced me to Groucho and Harpo Marx. It was like meeting familiar characters out of Mother Goose. There they were with the same happy, crazy look I had seen on the screen. They both smiled at me as if I were a piece of French pastry. 

“This is the young lady for the office bit,” said Mr. Cowan.

Groucho stared thoughtfully at me.

“Can you walk?” he demanded.


I nodded.

“I am not referring to the type of walking my Tante Zippa has mastered,” said Groucho. “this role calls for a young lady who can walk by me in such a manner as to arouse my elderly libido and cause smoke to issue from my ears.”

Harpo honked a horn at the end of his cane and grinned at me.

I walked the way Groucho wanted.

“Exceedingly well done,” he beamed.

Harpo’s horn honked three times, and he stuck his fingers in his mouth and blew a piercing whistle.

“Walk again,” said Mr. Cowan.

I walked up and down in front of the three men. They stood grinning.

“It’s Mae West, Theda Bara, and Bo Peep all rolled into one,” said Groucho. “We shoot the scene tomorrow morning. Come early.”

“And don’t do any walking in any unpoliced areas,” said Harpo.

I played the next day; Groucho directed me. It was hardly more than a walk-on, but Mr. Cowan, the producer, said I had the makings of a star and that he was going to do something about it right away.

When you’re broke and a nobody and a man tells you that, he becomes a genius in your eyes. But nothing happened for a week. I sat every evening listening to my lover argue about my various shortcomings, and I remained blissfully happy.

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