Category: sex symbol

Jayne Mansfield circa 1950s

Italian singer and model Sabrina Salerno (1988)

Jayne Mansfield circa 1950s

Jean Harlow photographed by Clarence Sinclair Bull, 1932.

Jean Harlow photographed by George Hurrell, 1933.  

Heartthrobs of the Silent Era

Sessue Hayakawa

(June 10, 1886 – November 23, 1973)

Rudolph Valentino

(May 6, 1895 – August 23, 1926)

Cullen Landis (July 9, 1896 – August 26, 1975)

Ramón Novarro

(February 6, 1899 – October 30, 1968)

Gary Cooper  (May 7, 1901 – May 13, 1961)

Rudolph Valentino in “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” (1921)

Marilyn Monroe photographed by Douglas Kirkland for Look magazine on November 17, 1961.

Douglas Kirkland: The first time I met Marilyn to talk about the shoot, my colleagues and I went to her home on Doheny Drive – right on the edge where Beverly Hills and Hollywood connect. She was very disarming because she didn’t seem like a big superstar; she seemed more like the girl next door. I wanted to get some hot pictures of her, but in my shy Canadian way, I didn’t know how to say that. In the end Marilyn was the one to take charge. She said, ‘I know what we need. We need a bed, and we need white silk sheets – they must be silk. Frank Sinatra records, and Dom Pérignon champagne.’ She totally pre-empted what I wanted to go for on the shoot, and I was so relieved. We scheduled it to be done about three days later, at 7.30pm on a Friday evening.”

“The day came and I arrived promptly at the studio, which we’d we rented in Hollywood. I waited and waited, and 9.30pm came and she had not yet appeared. I said to myself, ‘If Marilyn doesn’t show up, it’s going to be a disaster. I’m still new at the publication, I’ve been sent to California, and if I don’t take back pictures it will be very difficult to explain.’ Just at that moment, at the other side of the studio, I heard the door open and in came Marilyn, with a lady carrying some clothes – ultimately she didn’t use them very much. She came in a completely different person to the girl I’d met last time – I saw the real Marilyn, the Marilyn we all think of. She seemed to move in slow motion to me; she had a luminescence about her and she didn’t step, she almost floated. That’s my memory of it, that’s the impression she left me with.”


Marilyn Monroe photographed by Douglas Kirkland for Look magazine

on November 17, 1961.

Douglas Kirkland: “I got overhead so I could shoot directly down on her. I started to take pictures, but I didn’t need to direct her – I just talked with her. It was like flirting, both ways, it became very hot, the charge in the air. I had one assistant, and she had her woman who worked with her. We took a break, and then she said, ‘I want to be alone with this boy, I find it usually works better that way’. So everybody left the room, I heard the door close, and I realised I was alone with Marilyn. Then I came down from up above, and she said, ‘why don’t you come down and do some close-ups down here’. I came down from the stairs that I was up on, and I was a little over one metre away from her.”