The Rock & Roll Pop Culture Auction November 2020
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Marilyn Monroe's 1950's personally owned and worn gown and shawl from the Estate of May Mann (exhibited at Magic Castle Museum). Marilyn and May are shown here in a photo together. This stunning 1950s gown and shawl were both personally owned and worn by Marilyn Monroe. Marilyn Monroe can be seen wearing a gown very similar to one she wore in a 1950's advertisement (for copyright reasons it cannot be featured on the auction listing but a copy will be sent to the winner of the lot) following the success of her first big film "Niagara". The gown was later given to Hollywood reporter and socialite May Mann, who began her journalism career in Utah in 1934 and quickly gained her way up the social ladder, branching into Hollywood news by waiting at the Union Station to meet the stars passing through. She began frequently traveling to Hollywood becoming friends with the likes of Jayne Mansfield, Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe and writing articles and interviews which were syndicated to over 400 newspapers and publications. Mann was known to ask for mementos from her celebrity friends, and she acquired this dress and shawl from Marilyn Monroe. Mann owned the gown until April 1992, when she gave it to Arlene and Milt Larsen, founders of the historic Magic Castle, along with gowns owned by Mary Pickford and Jayne Mansfield to exhibit at their museums. This gown owns the title of being the first gown owned by Marilyn Monroe to be featured at any exhibition.

May’s Relationship with Monroe: In 1956, May Mann became one of Marilyn Monroe's favorite reporters and confidantes. As such she received a telegram from Monroe setting up a call for a specific time to confide to Mann that she and Arthur Miller would be wed 'at midsummer" but was told, 'don't print it yet.'

Mann later reported on Marilyn Monroe's wedding to Arthur Miller (after it was announced) for the New York Tribune. Mann continued to write about Monroe up until Marilyn's death in 1962. Mann reported on what she considered to be an "inept probe" into her close friend, Marilyn Monroe's untimely death. She received a call from Chief Parker about the article. Mann relayed, "He said it would be bad for my health if I kept writing stories like that". The gown is accompanied by accompanied by what is left of the probe Mann was writing. Unfortunately, many pages are missing.

The gown bears an interior Emerson's, Studio City - Hollywood - Las Vegas clothing label. Emerson's was a wardrobe company in the 1950's that provided clothing to various film and television projects and dressed Jayne Mansfield and others. Marilyn was known to borrow pieces from the studio wardrobe collection. This was probably borrowed by Monroe for a photoshoot and later kept by her. The photograph of Marilyn wearing a more elaborate version of this gown was recently uncovered and will be included in this lot.

The gown will come with an inventory sheet on Mann's personal letterhead listing the items loaned to the Larsen's, along with correspondence from Arlene Larsen regarding a previous sale of the gown dated 2016 (22 years after they received the gown the Magic Castle sold it at auction). This inventory sheet lists descriptions of the items along with notes from Mann telling how she wanted the items to be handled in the future, as she was 84 years old at the time. The gown will also come with extensive research and documentation about the life and career of May Mann. The gown also has a in-depth investigation written up about the gown which details the psychological relationship between Mann and Monroe. This gown is accompanied by an unpublished manuscript written by May Mann on the life of Marilyn Monroe (the one that Mann was threatened if she did not stop writing). The gown also is accompanied by a signed card May Mann signed to Frank, which could be Marilyn's close friend Frank Sinatra. A museum tag from when the gown was exhibited is also included a swell as a vintage Polaroid of the gown with two other gowns from the Mann estate which were sold at various high-end auctions. In vintage condition, the gown and shawl also come with a Gotta Have Rock & Roll™ Certificate of Authenticity. The winner of this auction will also receive a photo of Marilyn in a near identical piece floral patterned gown.
Marilyn Monroe Owned & Worn Gown and Shawl
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