Daily photographs by HANS VON RITTERN, with humorous, artistic and social commentary on life in the big city.

Posts tagged “Marilyn Monroe

MARILYN MONROE June 1, 1026 – August 5, 1962


Marilyn Monroe June 1, 1926 – August 5, 1962: the ethereal eternal beauty.
This stunning painting is one of my treasures by friend and artist See Tf.

Photo of the day: MM = MACY*S + MARILYN


Photo of the day: MM = MACY*S + MARILYN – As part of department store Macy*s current Americana theme, the flagship  store in Herald Square has been decorated with giant banners of what they feel is ‘Americana’. Mount Rushmore, hot dogs, apple pie, the American flag and…Marilyn, the eternal all American girl!
America = the Grand Canyon, light houses and Marilyn!

America = the Grand Canyon, light houses and Marilyn!


Marilyn Monroe Champagne

Marilyn Monroe Champagne

My 1990 & 1992 Cuvées/Champagnes!
The Marilyn Cuvées Champagnes were sold in 1995 and 1996. Both of these sparkling wines were traditionally made, vintage dated, methode Champenoise sparkling wines from high quality Carneros Chardonnay. Cuvée One (1990 vintage) and the Cuvée Two (1992 vintage) were aged nearly four years sur lees in their bottles. Now extremely rare!. $1,000 a bottle. Any offers?
MARILYN MONROE MERLOT WINE Mint750ml - Full Bottles, 1991-2002

MARILYN MONROE MERLOT WINE Mint750ml – Full Bottles, 1991-2002


Photo of the day: DEBBIE HARRY, CHRIS STEIN, BLONDIE, EARTHA KITT AND HANS – 35 YEARS LATER – or “How a Russian, an old concert ticket and Eartha Kitt got me to meet Blondie”


Photo of the day: DEBBIE HARRY, CHRIS STEIN, BLONDIE, EARTHA KITT AND HANS – 35 YEARS LATER – or “How a Russian, an old concert ticket and Eartha Kitt got me to meet Blondie” – Last night one of music’s most influential and iconic duo, Chris Stein & Debbie Harry of “Blondie” gave a very rare 90 minute audience participation interview about their lives and the formation of “Blondie” the new wave group that we all know. All you need to hear is Debbie’s “oooohh oh oh-oh” from “Heart of Glass” and you recognize it instantly. The venue – The 92nd Street ‘Y’.
I brought with me my 1979 Blondie concert tickets from Asbury Park’s Convention Hall for the then expensive price of $8.50. ‘The Laughing Dogs’ opened for them. On the day of the concert my friend Susan and I begged the promoters not to tear our tickets so as to preserve them and they obliged! In today’s times that would never happen. So, I showed up at the ‘Y’ stage door last night at 5:30 for the 8:00 show. The Ebayers all started showing up. “She doesn’t like to pose with people.” OK, I thought, a photo is out, autograph is the main goal then.
One of the security guards saw that I had a very rare French 12″LP of ‘Sunday Girl’ with me and was eager to see it. He winds up showing me his record collection on his iPhone, proudly exclaiming he knew all the songs on his records and that they are in mint condition. “Do you have this one?!” “Remember that one?” The last one he showed me was Eartha Kitt’s first lp “That Bad Eartha”, I told him that I had been friends with her and the stories she had told me of making that first album, well…that sealed the deal. “Come back after the show,” he said.
At 7:20 a black town car pulled up and she emerged. Hair in curlers, radiant as can be. Rushed right in. Her driver told me she was exhausted, fighting a cold and was unnerved that she did not know who the interviewer was.
A few moments later Chris Stein pulled up willing to sign a few autographs. The Ebayers pressed forward. The ‘record collector’ security guard made room for me. I showed Chris my 1979 concert tickets and he laughed and said ‘you deserve an autograph after all this time!’. In he went.
Debbie’s driver and I wound up being all alone at the stage door and he started to tell me about his life. He is a Russian scientist who immigrated here in 1989, became a Wall Street trader but lost it all in the stock market crash. He decided to take his knowledge and educate his daughter on the principles of science and economics. She is now graduating with a Masters Degree in physics. We spoke of politics, America’s influence on music, only to discover he sold his piano and bought and electric guitar and knows the riffs to all the hard core rock bands of the 60’s and 70’s and starting playing air guitar for me – Blondie’s chauffeur is playing air guitar for me – surreal !
The interview was conducted by Anthony DeCurtis, co-author of Clive Davis’ autobiography. Chris in his white hair, all black suit and boots, wearing blackout shades he evoked the 1980’s all over again. Debbie looked stunningly radiant. Her now coifed hair had transformed her into a luminescent modern day Marilyn Monroe, same color, same tossed soft curls. She was dressed in a white cotton blouse with parachute style yellow shawl, tuxedo pants and combat boots. Total Blondie.
Speaking of clothes, they explained their original look came from the thrift shops of New York in the early 70’s. “Disco was big lapels, bright colors and we wanted to be the antithesis – the early Beatles black suits with the narrow lapels, secondly also because that shit was the cheapest in the stores and nobody wanted it, now it’s all gone. No one looked like us, we would get stared at in the street in those days.” Debbie laughed.
Debbie’s voice actually has a Marilyn quality, soft spoken, she takes a moment to think before she speaks, and just answers the question, short and to the point yet often reflective. When asked about being the first breakthrough rap recording artist (who happens to be a white female) with the song “Rapture” (the man from Mars is eating cars!) and how did it come about she explained, “I didn’t know the word ‘reggae’ but Chris heard there was this festival going on up in Harlem and we went. I loved that the music and that it had a message, told a story and so connected with the people, I loved the rhythm. We basically stole/copied their style…the rest is history.”
But their influences came from the opposite direction as well, “Dreaming”/(Eat to the Beat) is blatantly lifted from Abba “not enough so I could get sued” chuckled Chris. Debbie said, “yeah I listened to them, but I could never get past that polka-like sound that crept into their music.” She grinned and laughed.
When Debbie laughs or reflects she leans back and pulls her hand through that platinum ‘Marilyn’ hair and as the evening progressed and as the hair became more tossed – she morphed more and more into a 68 year old radiant Blondie/Marilyn.
When asked what rock group from the CBGB era to you feel should have been more recognized, Chris instantly and angrily said “The Ramones, I mean come on, their were fucking brilliant, they should be up there today with the Beatles and The Stones!” What was so great about CBGB’S? Debbie answered: “No one watched you, we just did shit, if we fucked up it didn’t matter and that’s how we evolved, we were not under a microscope.”
How does she feel about being such a music icon? Was she harassed? “It felt great. We weren’t thinking of the future, we were just in the moment. I mean I did wind up becoming a feminist mainly because of Billie Holiday and Janis Joplin. I wanted to get even for those ladies, I felt so sorry for them. ‘Here world take this!’ and here’s to you Billie and Janis. I was never harassed because I was with Chris, the band didn’t lay their hands on me because I was ‘Chris’s girl’. At one point though it did become us versus them, but we got past that.” On meeting Warhol: “We met in passing at Studio 54 and became friends. He was determined to photograph me in 1979, he did my hair for the shoot! He used to shoot with these crappy Polaroid cameras, I mean like the oldest archaic models, so we used to look for them in thrift stores as we toured and would give them to him,” said Debbie. That happened to be the 1979 poster advertising the Warhol Blondie issue that I had brought with me to be signed.
They have just released a new double VINYL lp with re-recorded classic hits as well as 12 new songs. The double albums has two titles “Blondie 4(0) Ever/Ghosts of Download.” Sadly they did not have a signing afterwards. They plan to tour “with festivals” in Europe later this year and tour in the USA in 2015! Chris Stein’s book of awesome photography will go on sale in August. Many of the photos were shown in a slide presentation and they both humorously reminisced about the ‘old times’. Audience questions were taken during the last 20 minutes and were very insightful.
At the show’s end I ran to the stage door already besieged with Ebayers and fans. Luckily the her driver and the security guard placed me near her car door. As Debbie noticed the Ebayers had pressed forward she didn’t want to sign anymore but her driver and the guard steered her towards me and both the guard and I said simultaneously “He’s/I’m not an Ebayer!”. Debbie looked, warmly smiled at me, squeezed my hand and signed her full name unlike the initials she had dome for the others. I floated on an ‘Atomic’ cloud all the way home. Here is my incredibly awesome rare signed treasure above – 35 years later!!
BLONDIE 1979 Village Voice ad

BLONDIE 1979 Village Voice ad

           Warhol’s Interview, June 1979 -Illustration by Richard Bernstein. Bernstein created more than 120 portraits for Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine in the 1970s, including this one of Blondie’s Debbie Harry.

“Rapture” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHCdS7O248g

“Dreaming” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOnv8lXDzhg

Photo of the day: ZEN TAG


Photo of the day: ZEN TAG – Seen in the side streets of the west 50’s in Manhattan, was this service entrance gate to a grocery store. Being so cold outside I was walking at a brisk pace but my eye still caught the Zen Buddha up ahead. But as I passed I noticed something clever. One of the grocery clerks had gotten creative with his pricing gun and created a ‘price sticker Buddha’ and place of Zen in an otherwise dreary garbage filled side alley. Namaste.








Tuesday November 19, 2013 is a day I will not long forget. It was a twist of events and cruel fate that brought many powers of good and evil together.



My dear friend and fellow tour guide Tom Orzo and I picked up 6 German tourist guests at the Queen Mary 2 at the Brooklyn piers for a 3 hour city tour. Normally Tom and I end our tour with a surprise visit to 5Pointz. Since we were coming from Brooklyn, Tom (doing the driving) insisted we make 5Pointz our first fateful stop. At 10:45 we were heading down Jackson Avenue when Tom kept calling out “Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God!”. I thought it was his over-reaction to a smaller building in front of the Graffiti Museum that was being torn down. My back was to the museum, I’m facing my German guests telling them how extraordinary a site they are about to see. Now I realize their faces seemed odd and puzzled, so I turn around to the shock of seeing men on high cranes slopping white paint all over the building, obliterating 12 years of spectacular intricate art. I quickly got out to see if I recognized anyone.



I ran back to the van and we sped to the main loading dock/entrance to the building. And there it was, a vandalized, obliterated work of art – 12+ years destroyed. I ripped open the door to the van and ran into the arms of curator Marie Flaguel and held her as tightly as I could. I cried deep from the gut. I couldn’t stop, I could not speak, I kept gasping for air. I was afraid to let go for fear of seeing Marie’s face. Finally I had to. “It’s all gone…” she said as tears streamed  down her face. The owner Jerry Wolkoff, the same man who had asked the artists to paint the murals on his building, had hired non union thugs to destroy over 1,500 pieces of art outside and even throughout the entire inside of the building. Murals that would take your breath away now had erratic white brush strokes all over them. Oddly enough, the greater more powerful murals – had extra coats of white paint over them, it was deliberate, fearful, vindictive and hateful. How do you find words in a moment when you realize it was one of the greatest mass desecrations of art in the 21st Century. An art genocide.

One of the most haunting incredible  unseen inside murals by Carlos "See TF" Game

One of the most haunting incredible unseen inside murals by Carlos “See TF” Game

As Marie was filling me in on what happened, one of my German guests, Andrea Pröscholdt-Krulich, ran over in tears. “Why?! Warum?!” she kept asking. She was quite shaken. You see – her son was a graffiti artist who had recently committed suicide. She had planned on this trip to New York to visit 5Pointz to pay homage to her son. She never thought that a ‘routine Manhattan city tour’ would have included our surprise visit here. Andrea and my guests were stunned at the amount of press around us and the unexplainable goings on. They looked on in wonderment – here they were in ‘free’ America’, in ‘progressive’ New York and they were watching Hitler-like tactics unfold before their stunned eyes. Some of my older guests were survivors of World War II. I had to get back on the coach and explain what was happening. Then  I realized something. I was with a group of Germans, some of whom had been through a time in Germany when Hitler from 1936 to 1937 rounded up all “modern” art – “Entartete Kunst“ and declared it ‘degenerate’ and had it all destroyed. Over 5,000 works were seized, including 1,052 by Emil Nolde, 759 by Heckel, 639 by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and 508 by Max Beckman, as well as smaller numbers of works by such artists as Alexander Archipenko, Chagall, James Ensor, Matisse, Picasso and even Van Gogh. What Jerry Wolkoff did was no different!





But we were not there to mourn the destruction of the museum, their clock was ticking and I was there paid to give a tour. We continued with our tour, but every time we came to a red light or got stuck in traffic, the conversation always went back to the disbelief of 5Pointz. We dropped off our guests and I headed to a candle light vigil that was held at 5pm.



The vigil’s atmosphere was like a tomb, what had been vibrant was dead. At night the ‘white” was even more ‘deadly’ and eerie. People kept coming, looking up in silent tearful disbelief and anger. Poster boards were taped onto the building for us to leave our messages. The purpose of the posters is – we will never ever again grace his walls with a single piece of art, line, scribble name or even a dot. Wolkoff had the audacity to claim he too cried. He claimed he had done this so the artist wouldn’t have had the pain of seeing their art work torn down over a period of months.  This scumbag reasoning is because he was afraid of the momentum we were gaining. On last Sunday’s rally, when 5Pointz was packed, Marie and Meres (co-curators) had gathered over 1,000 signed petitions in ONE day, to have the building land marked and saved. The owner Wolkoff cleverly erased the value of the building. Let us also not forget, the approval of the two twin glass towers that he plans to build on the same spot were approved by the weasel of a lying two-faced councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, the lowest form of politician there is: big smiling child like innocent face, with his hand holding a knife behind his back, ready to strike for his financial gain.  Wolkoff and Bramer – greed is the intoxicant but karma is the bitch.



So joining the ranks now of Picasso, Matisse and Van Gogh are artists Onur Dinc, Esteban Del Valle, Meres One, Spidertag, Kidlew, Kkade, Rubin, Aka Shiro, Veronique Barrilot, Contort, Jekl and Dyzer5, Bisco, Bishop203, Just One, Leias, Zeso, and Zimad, Lord Roc, Bisc1, one of my favorites Carlos “See TF” Game and so, so many, many more. Who is anyone to say they aren’t the next Keith Harring, Basquiat, or Matisse? It is a knife in the soul of a fading New York.



Rest In Paint 5POINTZ





Photo of the day: CHRISTMAS DINNER AT BENDEL’S WITH LIZA, SARAH-JESSICA, WOODY, MARILYN, CAROL AND AL HIRSCHFELD  – Since I was a little boy the magical drawings of Al Hirschfeld have absolutely fascinated me! The fact that a few twists of the pen could totally capture a person and their character was astounding to me. Every Sunday I would get up early to run to the corner store to get a Sunday New York Times and pull out the Arts & Leisure section to see who had been ‘Hirschfelded’. That was a steadfast tradition from about 1964 till Al Hirschfeld’s death in 2003. I have boxes and boxes (and boxes) of clippings of all the Hirschfelds I could find from then till now.
The great Hirschfeld

The great Hirschfeld

My dream of meeting him came true one day in the year 2000, in the theater that was later to be named for him, The Martin Beck now The Hirschfeld.  The story of meeting him is a story unto it’s own. I had met the greatest of the greats until then: Ingrid Bergman, Bette Davis, Elvis, Elton, Cher, Liz Taylor, Katherine Hepburn, but meeting Hirschfeld had topped them all. I had met the man that had documented close to 100 years of America’s entertainment history. It was the most humbling and breath taking moment of my life.
Jerry Stiller meets 'Jerry' with Margo Feiden and Bendel's

Jerry Stiller meets ‘Jerry’ with Margo Feiden and Bendel’s

When Hirschfeld died, I bought many of his possessions at the 2011 Doyle Galleries estate sale, his pens and pencils, his large wooden pencil box, his shoulder bag and many, many other items, all lovingly displayed in my home.
Fast forward to November 14, 2013 and I am standing in front of Henri Bendel’s windows waiting for the grand unveiling of their Christmas window featuring a three dimensional tribute to the great beloved Hirschfeld.
Bendel's president and top executives and creative team

Bendel’s president and top executives and creative team

I waited front row, clutching my Hirschfeld owned shoulder bag which still has his handwritten name tag attached written in his trademark squared signature. Due to arrive were Jerry Stiller who is featured in the window and Margo Feiden, the sole curator of the Hirschfeld collection. They were followed by the president of Bendel’s, the artistic director, and by Tom Carroll who created the pieces and Bendel’s Assistant VP of Visual, Gilberto Santana. Once inside, I showed the president of Bendel’s my Hirschfeld bag, “You must meet Margo!” (Shades of ‘All About Eve’!!) She welcomed me with open arms and warmth. There I was, after 49 years of collecting, sitting with Margo Feiden, holding hands and telling her my Hirschfeld stories. She so very much reminded my of my dear aunt “G” (see older posts here.) I told her: “Back in the 1960’s and 70’s I was the quintessential stage door Johnny. I had met Bergman, Davis and Crawford…” Margo squeezed my hand and cut me off, “but when you met Hirschfeld…” she interrupted. “Yes!” I proclaimed, “how did you know?” “I can see it in your eyes, it’s still there.” She held my hand tighter. I will not forget that moment. Bendel’s has a limited edition ($100.) poster available for sale commemorating the evening which I asked Margo to sign. “I hope you can read this,” she said as she rolled it up before I could read what she had written to me. I was on cloud 9 as I thanked her and left.
Hans, Jerry Stiller, Margo Feiden

Hans, Jerry Stiller, Margo Feiden

I called mom and told her of the wonderful evening and how my Hirschfeld story had come full cycle. “Well what did Margo write to you?!” mom asked. I didn’t know, because shortly thereafter it was tied up in the traditional brown/white polka dotted Bendel bow and into to fancy large shopping bag it went. “I’ll stop by your apartment on the way home and we can unveil it together.” I rushed home holding onto to it for dear life.
Margo Feiden

Margo Feiden

Once in mom’s living room, we carefully untied the bow and unrolled the large parchment poster, our eyes transfixed on the small handwriting on the poster, trying to make out the inscription. Then we both looked at up each other and were speechless when we saw what Margo had written: “To Hans, with your enthusiasm Bendel’s won’t need lights, Margo Feiden.”
My heart is full.
"To Hans..."

“To Hans…”

The celebrated party guests translated into three dimensions in the window include from left to right: Whoopi Goldberg, Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Woody Allen, Matthew Broderick, Liza, Sarah Jessica Parker,  Jerry Stiller, Bernadette Peters, Carol Channing and Hirschfeld himself. (Omitted in error is Margo Feiden.)
The Margo Feiden Gallery
15 East 9 St Between 5th Ave & University Place
New York, NY 10003 (212) 677-5330 : http://www.alhirschfeld.com/index2.html

Photo of the day: DEAD MARILYN ~ DAY OF THE DEAD


Photo of the day: DEAD MARILYN ~ DAY OF THE DEAD – Day of the Dead / Dia de Meurtos is a fascinating holiday celebrated in Mexico October 31 and November 1 & 2. Even though this coincides with the Catholic holiday called All Soul’s & All Saint’s Day (Halloween), Mexicans have combined this with their own ancient beliefs of honoring their deceased loved ones. They believe that the gates of heaven are opened at midnight on October 31, and the spirits of all deceased children (angelitos) are allowed to reunite with their families for 24 hours. On November 2, the spirits of the adults come down to enjoy the festivities that are prepared for them. I think this is wonderful. Elaborate altars are prepared with food and drink, skulls made of sugar, marigolds and lots of flowers, cigarettes for the departed and incredible folk art replicating and honoring their dear departed.
So on my annual trip to Tijuana, Mexico this August it was close enough for the approaching holiday that the Day of the Dead folk art abounded. Eagerly I shopped the markets – I saw dead Frida Kahlo of course, dead Elvis and my two treasures – dead Marilyn. Upon seeing them, my first reaction was with excitement. Second reaction with revulsion. Third reaction “I have to have them!” (Fourth reaction ‘Which do I choose?’) So here are my two hand made folk art Dead Marilyns (I’ve gotten used to them in my living room). Feliz Dia de los Muertos! .
This explains it colorfully and best:  http://www.mexicansugarskull.com/support/dodhistory.html
PS – There was a short lived punk rock group called ‘Dead Marilyn’, I have the picture sleeve 45 tucked away somewhere.

Mondays on Memory Lane: MARILYN DEAD (murdered) August 5, 1962


Mondays on Memory Lane: MARILYN DEAD (murdered) August 5, 1962 – The glaring headline sent shock waves around the world, that the world’s most beloved blonde sex symbol had “committed suicide.” I can still remember that Friday summer’s morning in August, as a six year old boy was visiting his local grocery store with his grandmother, when suddenly a woman rushed into the store waving a newspaper over her head yelling something. The next thing I remember is the grocery store becoming absolutely silent. I didn’t understand at all what was going on, I had never witnessed anything like this. I remember I tugged on “Oma’s” skirt and asked her what had happened, I clearly recall her saying to me in a hushed tone “a beautiful woman has died.” We left in silence, the people around us were transfixed on the newspaper, many crying.

Today Marilyn would have been 87 years old, the same age as my mother. I wonder, what would she have been like? A woman’s libber? A dramatic actress? A recluse? We will never know. I choose to think she would be happy, having found love again with Joe DiMaggio (they were seeing each other again, seen walking hand in hand on the beach), outspoken, not face lifted and a beautiful graceful wise old woman. I wish that for her.
“How sad that the universal symbol of love and sex appeal died so alone.” No, she didn’t die alone – she was murdered, there were many people there that night. There is all the proof in the world that has conveniently been suppressed to keep the Kennedy’s reputation clean and clear. How intense that America’s ‘Camelot’ first family would be tied to the murder of the most famous woman of all time.
New York Daily News, August 5, 1962

New York Daily News, August 5, 1962

Marilyn knew too much. She was seeing John F. Kennedy who had to end the affair for obvious reasons and passed her on to Bobby Kennedy. When Bobby wouldn’t return her calls anymore she made a pest of herself at the White House and the Kennedy household. How is it, that during the night she died, all of her phone records magically disappeared? No one  has the power to do that – except the White House. Weeks before her murder, her house was broken into. What was stolen? Jewels? Furs? Her bra? Memorabilia? No – the  infamous diary that she foolishly kept. Not wanting to be considered the dumb blonde, after her visits with the Kennedy’s and political figures, she would jot down notes of what she had overheard. She would study those notes so as to sound ‘intelligent’ at the next gathering. This was at the volatile time of the Cuban missile crisis which undoubtedly MM overheard details of. She simply was “a piece of meat” (Marilyn’s own words) who knew too much.
It is said she was depressed for being fired from her unfinished film “Something’s Got To Give” – not true, Dean Martin refused to continue filming unless MM was rehired, and she was. It is said she was loveless, as I said, she was seeing DiMaggio again. She was also living for the future, she had made plans to go furniture shopping in Mexico for her Spanish style home – a depressed person does not plan to buy furniture. She was known to be and said to be by her maid, Eunice Murray, a slob and would sleep rebelliously in dirty sheets for weeks and that the bed had not been made. Magically that night, new sheets appeared.
Anyone who knew her or had even seen her, saw and knew she couldn’t take pills without lots of water – there was no glass found in her room. How did she take all those pills?? The medication she is supposed to have overdosed with, leaves you dying cramped up, her body was found smooth. If she did take all the pills – where were they? The autopsy to this day shows only tea and toast in her stomach, that which her neighbor saw her eat. Her autopsy also, originally hundreds of pages long, mysteriously disappeared and was replaced with the greatly abbreviated version that exists today. The detective on the scene said he had never seen such a fishy fake set up as her bedroom death scene, but he never confessed this until shortly before he died.
So how did she die? Poisonous injection and suppository. MM wanted to get attention, having been rejected by both Kennedy’s. So, she had planned a press conference for that following Monday August 8th and was going to innocently leak some of the political scoop she had overheard, so as to get the brother’s attention. (Some old newspaper records still exist of the press conference she was to have had.) Oddly she was gone Friday night. Peter Lawford was sent with MM’s psychiatrist Ralph Greenson to quiet her up. The doctor knew exactly what drugs she had been prescribed and knew exactly what drugs would lethally interact with them. That drug was injected into her arm pits – one needle mark in each armpit  is indicated in the autopsy report, her colon was discolored from the poison inserted into her.
Time has very conveniently been the best cover up of the most sensational murder of all time. People fearful of reprisal kept quiet, or confessed when it was too late. The afterlife must be one helluva an interesting place when all those guilty souls have to meet. Hundreds of books have been written about her, more so than any other woman in history. I own about 300 of those books and have read about half of them. It fascinates me endlessly! As a college student, I had to write a term paper on ‘a controversial subject’ – I chose her murder, which, at the time, was still very, very hush-hush and just rumored about. In 1969, there was only one book that existed about the subject, Fred Lawrence Guiles’s ”Norma Jean: The Life of Marilyn Monroe,” which was translated into 14 languages. It was followed by Bob Slatzer’s 1974 book “The Life and Curious Death of Marilyn Monroe”, I devoured them both and determinedly wrote my term paper for which I begrudgingly got an “A”.
Macy's American Icon banner, summer 2013

Macy’s American Icon banner, summer 2013

To this day she remains the eternal blonde. The eternal symbol of American sex appeal. The eternal love goddess. The epitome of ‘blonde’. The eternal American success story, from orphanage to the goddess of Hollywood. What person today doesn’t recognize that luminous face? She will radiate eternally. RIP.
Hauntingly beautiful, Norma Jeane Baker windswept

Hauntingly beautiful, Norma Jeane Baker windswept



Mondays on Memory Lane: PLEASE HELP GIVE CAROL CHANNING A 2013 KENNEDY CENTER AWARD – If you are of a certain age, or you know your entertainment history, there are certain voices that on first note you recognize instantly. The Brooklyn of Jimmy Durante, the heart of  Louis Armstrong, the belt of Ethel Merman, the breathiness Marilyn Monroe, the growl of Eartha Kitt, the shaky quality of Katherine Hepburn, the accent of Marlene Dietrich, the staccato speech pattern Bette Davis and above all the big hearted gravely “hello” of Carol Channing!
Carol is larger than life, she is a living caricature of herself, a favorite of the best caricature artist of all time Al Hirschfeld.  She is also living Broadway history having created two of the most iconic characters in theater history, Lorelei Lee of ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’ and Dolly Levi of ‘Hello Dolly’. No matter who you remember playing these characters on screen, Marilyn Monroe or Streisand – Carol originated them! But above all, there is no other creation like Carol herself. You fall in love with her the moment you set eyes on her.
HIRSCHFELD DOLLYhirschfeld_carol_channing LORELEI LEE
At age 92, nothing has changed, her saucer eyes, her broad grin, that bowl cut hair style, the platinum blonde hair, that child-like enthusiasm with a heart of gold and above all, above all – that voice!  I have had the thrill of seeing her on stage many times in my lifetime: 3 times as Dolly in 1970, 1978 and 1995. Once as Lorelei Lee the ultimate diamond loving gold digger the 1974’s ‘Lorelei’, the musical stage version of ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’. In film she will be forever remembered as Muzzy Van Hossmere in Julie Andrews’ ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’ as Carol sang in a vocal range from a high ‘C’ to the lowest note possible in ‘I’m Just A Jazz Baby’ and ‘Raspberries!’
On April 30, 2011, my good friend Jeffrey Shonert and I had the thrilling absolute surreal honor of sitting in front of Carol Channing and her late husband  Harry Kullijian at the premier of her life story documentary “Larger Than Life” at the Tribeca Film Festival here in New York. This was thanks to the larger than life heart and love of my dear friend, entertainer and author Richard Skipper. As the film ran I could hear Carol commenting on the film to her husband – two Carol voices at once – surreal!! Richard, I am forever indebted to you!
Once a year The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C hands out lifetime achievement awards to the greats of entertainment. Since their inception in 1978, in all this time, Carol Channing has never been honored. How they have overlooked and bypassed this legend is a travesty and embarrassment. What to me makes it worse, last year seemingly having run out of names to give it to, they gave it to mad magazine poster child David Letterman. How throwing watermelons off a roof while stupidly grinning into the camera merits a lifetime achievement award over the life’s work of  Carol Channing is beyond me! She has entertained us since the 1940’s, has worked tirelessly for Arts In Education. She IS theater!
228549_167645113293705_4137456_nRICHARD SKIPPER right
My dear friend Richard Skipper, personal friend of Carol Channing, is championing the cause to finally having Carol be given her due. PLEASE, if you love Carol, are a friend of mine or just a show biz lover, please sign the enclosed petition to correct this unjust oversight and GIVE CAROL CHANNING THE 2013 KENNEDY CENTER HONOR ! Please sign the petition here: http://www.change.org/petitions/the-kennedy-center-honors-give-carol-channing-a-2013-kennedy-center-honor
Thank you !
Hans Von Rittern
The trailer for ‘Larger Than Life’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJ_aQMAP5xM
Two of the biggest hearts in show business, both Hello Dolly’s themselves – Carol Channing and Pearl Bailey = priceless! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcazoYIRIoo