'Sex ran high on the evening we shot': A photographer candidly recounts the night he spent with Marilyn Monroe
08:36 GMT, 3 July 2012
In an revealing new photographic memoir, the famed photographer Douglas Kirkland recounts an evening he spent with Marylin Monroe just one year before she died.
Compiling Mr Kirkland's iconic photographs in their entirety for the first time, With Marilyn: An Evening/1961, reveals the intimate moments the then 27-year-old photographer shared with the sexiest woman in the history of Hollywood.
During an interview with MailOnline, the photographer, now age 78, recalls his unforgettable encounter with an icon that has transcended generations for over 50 years.
Sex symbol: In a new photographic memoir, the famed photographer Douglas Kirkland showcases an evening he spent with Marylin Monroe just one year before she died
'Sex ran high on the evening we shot,' he recalled.
Douglas Kirkland: The prominent photographer has shot celebrities such as Andy Warhol, Coco Chanel, Brigitte Bardot, Judy Garland, Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren and Marilyn Monroe
'I was 27, but mentally like a 16-year-old, alone with Marilyn Monroe, and only a white silk sheet draped across her nude body. Can you
imagine the charge I felt as a young man'
Shooting her for Look magazine's 25th anniversary issue in 1961,
the photographer, who has also captured iconic images of Audrey Hepburn,
Elizabeth Taylor and Brigitte Bardot, met with Marilyn
on three separate occasions.
His encounters with the superstar enabled him to capture a series of timeless portraits that have helped to define how we remember her today.
And just how she came to be dressed in only a white silk sheet, Mr Kirkland, originally from Fort Erie, Canada, says he owes to the icon herself.
'It started with me visiting her with my
colleagues [from Look]. I wanted something really hot but in my small
town way I didn’t feel comfortable articulating that,' he said.
Behind the scenes: Compiling his iconic photographs in their entirety for the first time, With Marilyn: An Evening/1961, reveals the intimate moments the photographer shared with the sexiest woman in Hollywood
One on one: The photographer, now age 78, reveals the truths behind the book, and his unforgettable encounter with the icon that has transcended generations for over 50 years
'I was embarrassed to say what I really had in mind, she invented the idea. She said, “I know what we should do! We should have a bed, and get a white silk sheet, it must be silk. I'll be there and I'll wear nothing, just that silk sheet.”'
When they started shooting the next day, Mr Kirkland said it began slowly, heating up gradually.
The white silk sheet How she came to be dressed in just a silk sheet, Mr Kirkland, originally from Fort Erie, Canada, says he owes to the icon herself
The shoot: The pair began at 9.30am in the small apartment, the superstar was an hour and a half late, and an hour into shooting, Marilyn ordered everyone to leave the room
'It got really hot. It’s all real. They’re not poses. It's all Marilyn herself, I didn’t say turn this way turn that, I just encouraged her as she got excited.'
MARILYN MONROE: 'MY LITTLE SECRET'
The 50th anniversary of Marilyn Monroe's death falls on August 5th, 2012.
To commemorate, another iconic story, told
by Jane Lawrence to the author Tony Jerris, reflects upon her fondest memories of the
blue-eyed, screen goddess and how she became the superstar's confidante,
whom Marilyn used to call, 'my little secret.'
He believes that the reason she felt an uninhibited comfort with him, was because of his modest background, and his young age.
'I had an innocence about me, my eyes were
wide open. I was very young for my age, just because of where I grew up in
Canada, and suddenly I was with this superstar of all superstars, and she
responded to me, and I, of course, responded to her.'
He admitted he was surprised by the closeness she felt
'I was the new kid on the block,' he said. 'But she was warm and caring and at one point at the end of our photo session
I lay down beside her, she was on the bed, and we just shared stories about our
lives. She had been in foster homes and all
places, but she found her way through it.
'She got knocked
around a lot on her move to the top. But at the base of Marilyn… she
was a very sweet, wonderful woman,' he said, before adding,
Remembering her: Mr Kirkland recalls, 'She got knocked around a lot on her move to the top. But at the base of Marilyn… she was a very sweet, wonderful woman,' he said, before adding, '…wonderful, girl'
After the shoot: Mr Kirkland recalls 'At the end of our photo session I lay down beside her, she was on the bed, and we just shared stories about our lives'
With Marilyn: An Evening/1961 by Douglas Kirkland, $40, is available July 16 on Amazon.com
pair began shooting at 9.30am in the small apartment, the superstar was
an hour and a half late, but an hour in their session, just before
lunch time, the icon ordered everyone to leave the room.
'”I wanna be alone with this boy, I find it usually works better this way…”' Mr Kirkland recalls her whispering. 'And before I knew, I heard the door close.'
Mr Kirkland, who is and was married at the time to his wife Francoise, says that even though 'nothing happened' between the pair during their 16 hours of shooting, he admits, 'This is Marilyn seducing, period.'
'It didn’t happen, but it could have happened. The magnitude of the images are a result, I put all of it into the pictures,' he explained.
'Had I probably taken the opportunity to make love with her, the pictures wouldn’t have had the same power.
'What we did, was put the power of that love I was feeling, and what she was projecting, we put that into the images, and those are the images you see.'
With Marilyn: An Evening/1961 by Douglas Kirkland, $40, is available July 16 on Amazon.