Lawrence Schiller/Vanity Fair
By now, you'd think the world has seen every picture of Marilyn Monroe in existence and heard every story there is to tell about the iconic actress, who would have turned 86 on June 1. But the June issue of Vanity Fair proves there's more Marilyn scoop to be had, even 50 years after her death. The magazine has published a set of six never-before-seen suggestive pictures of the star taken by photographer Lawrence Schiller (who was 23 and went by Larry Wolf back when he took the pics) during a legendary poolside photo shoot.
It was 1962 and Schiller, on assignment for Look magazine, captured a near-naked Monroe as she frolicked by a shimmering swimming pool. In one photo, she holds a towel to her chest as she climbs out of the pool, smiling softly at the camera, one leg pointed towards the sky. But before you start assuming that the male photographer talked a vulnerable Monroe into shedding more than she wanted to, check out some of what Schiller reveals in an adaption of his memoir, Marilyn & Me: A Photographer's Memories, excerpts of which are included along with the photos in Vanity Fair.
Lawrence Schiller/Vanity Fair
"Fox [Studios] should start paying as much attention to me as they are paying to Elizabeth Taylor," Schiller recounts Monroe telling him, referring to her disappointment that not only was the movie studio not taking her seriously enough, but she was also jealous of her fellow actress' success, especially after Taylor got a huge publicity boost from her affair with "Cleopatra" co-star Richard Burton and a media frenzy ensued.
According to Schiller, Monroe hatched a plan to make their shoot a lot sexier by offering to jump in the pool with her swimsuit on, and emerge without it. "If I do come out of the pool with nothing on, I want your guarantee that when your pictures appear on the covers of magazines Elizabeth Taylor is not anywhere in the same issue," she insisted. Monroe was only being paid $100,000 for what would be her last film, "Something's Got to Give," (she died before it was finished) while Taylor was collecting a cool $1 million for "Cleopatra."
Eventually Playboy founder Hugh Hefner agreed to shell out a record-breaking $25,000 for a nude shot of Monroe and when Schiller thanked her for the windfall, joking about what a little nudity can do, the actress responded with, "That's how I got my house and swimming pool. There isn't anybody that looks like me without clothes on."
Despite her beauty and movie-star status, Monroe began revealing her unhappiness to Schiller, pointing out that she'd never been nominated for an Oscar, felt her whole life had been one big rejection, and feared she might end up in a mental institution the way her mother had. She also confided her thoughts on becoming a mother … something that never happened.
"I've always wanted a baby," she said. "Having a child, that's always been my biggest fear. I want a child and I fear a child. Whenever it came close, my body said no and I lost the baby," Schiller recounts.
As for being Marilyn Monroe, she simply never felt like she actually was the famous sex symbol. "I never wanted to be Marilyn — it just happened," she also told him. "Marilyn's like a veil I wear over Norma Jeane."
The June issue of Vanity Fair hits newsstands Tuesday, May 8.