In Pictures | Marilyn Monroe: NYC, 1955
— March 8, 2013 —
In Pictures is a still and moving image gallery for significant works, events and places
Marilyn Monroe, 1955 Photography by Peter MangoneIn 1955 fourteen-year-old Peter Mangone had the chance to meet his idol. Skipping class, he waited outside the Gladstone Hotel in New York where Marilyn Monroe was living. She had recently split up with Joe DiMaggio and was taking classes at the Actors Studio.
Mangone had been coming to this spot regularly for a month. He had taken a few photos and secured an autograph from the star, and she had even given him sweets. On this day, Monroe emerged with two men and spotted her fan with his Revere movie camera. She beckoned to him to follow her as she made her way down 5th Avenue, and Mangone spent the afternoon filming the three walking through the city. At times Monroe played to Mangone’s camera, smiling, waving, and blowing kisses, at other times she seemed lost in thought, unconcerned about being filmed.
"It may be a cliché that Monroe loved the camera and the camera loved her, but it was the perfect symbiosis”
Years later, Mangone became a roller derby skater and then a hairstylist to the stars, and for the next fifty years he thought the footage had been lost, until it was rediscovered in a box in his father’s attic. The New York Times ran an article about this rare discovery, which photographer Joshua Greene read, recognising one of the men with Monroe as his father, the photographer Milton H. Greene (the other was fashion designer George Nardiello).
The young Greene contacted Mangone, and they started the process of scanning every frame of the film. That was nine years ago. In January, the Danziger Gallery in New York ran an exhibition of the stills. “Within this ordinary context Monroe has never looked more extraordinary, natural, or beautiful,” wrote gallerist James Danziger, in the introduction to the book that accompanies the exhibition. “It takes an unusual generosity of spirit to enable an encounter like this and that warmth glows throughout the film. It may be a cliché that Monroe loved the camera and the camera loved her, but it was the perfect symbiosis.”
Mangone passed away in December of last year, but before this he got to share his fascinating film with the world, and relive his stolen moments with Marilyn.
Marilyn Monroe: NYC, 1955 is published by Turnaround Press.
Text by Ananda Pellerin
Ananda Pellerin is a London-based writer and regular contributor to AnOthermag.com.