Marilyn Monroe’s Personal Tissue Box Covers
Two tissue box covers from the personal effects of Marilyn Monroe. Both covers are made of plastic. One has the effect of tortoise shell, and the other is constructed of clear plastic. The clear plastic cover was likely custom made for Marilyn as it appears to be hand crafted and not mass produced.
The tortoise shell tissue box cover can be seen in the photo below, circled in red. This photo was taken on May 22, 1958, as Marilyn and Arthur entertained Arthur’s friend and producer Kermit Bloomgarden at their apartment at 444 East 57th Street, New York City.
These covers were donated for auction by the Estate of Marilyn Monroe, with all proceeds benefiting her childhood orphanage, Hollygrove Children’s Home in Los Angeles.
As Marilyn regularly suffered from colds and bronchitis it’s likely that she reached for tissues from these tissue box covers on a regular basis.
Marilyn was particularly susceptible to heavy colds which tuned into bronchitis and, once, after entertaining the troops in sub-zero temperatures in Korea, full-fledged pneumonia. Bronchitis or flu forced her to take time off filming many of her movies, including A Ticket to Tomahawk (1950), Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), and Bus Stop (1956). Not surprisingly, she caught a chill during the three hours standing bare-legged over an updraft for the skirt scene in The Seven Year Itch (1955). More often than not studio executives believed she was making up convenient illnesses like colds and bronchitis to cover up for her failures to arrive at work on time, or at all.
Marilyn began work on her final film, Something’s Got To Give (1962) a week late because of an acute sinus infection and fever. She managed just one day on the set before her physician advised her that she needed bed rest for at least a week. She was unceremoniously suspended from the production after too many days absent. Some say Twentieth Century-Fox merely used this as an excuse to close down the production. Marilyn publicly exclaimed her frustration with this situation: “Executives can get a cold and stay home and phone in, but the actor? How dare you get a cold or a virus! I wish they had to act a comedy with a temperature and a virus infection!”
Provenance: Christie’s Fine Manuscripts – Including a Collection of Marilyn Monroe Memorabilia Sold to Benefit Hollygrove Children’s Home, Los Angeles, September 12, 2001