Marilyn Monroe: Fag Hag, Civil Rights Activist, Studio Nightmare

A photograph of Marilyn Monroe never before seen in its entirety recently surfaced, and with it some old Hollywood gossip. The photograph is part of The Travilla Tour, a exhibit of costumer William Travilla’s designs and memorabilia currently on display in Palm Springs. Seems the designer and Monroe once got in trouble with their employers for (gasp!) being photographed with a black man. Details from the Travilla Tour website:

The story of this photo, as Travilla and [longtime partner] Bill Sarris tell it, is that he and Marilyn spent the evening at an almost exclusively black club in Los Angeles – something that just wasn’t done in 1952. The studio was outraged, especially after her nude photograph scandal in March of that year, and the fact that she had just been on the April cover of Life magazine and hailed as ‘The Talk of Hollywood.’ As a result of being ‘caught on camera,’ they fired Travilla from the film they were working on. But Marilyn – one of Travilla’s closest friends – stood up and said ‘If he goes, I go.’ And of course, they let him stay, but they were successful in keeping this picture out of the press.