Marilyn Monroe Productions, Inc. Bank Statement

From Marilyn Monroe’s personal files, a 1961 Colonial Trust Company bank statement for Marilyn Monroe Productions, Inc. business accounts:

April, 1961: A Bankers Trust Company monthly statement for Marilyn Monroe Productions, Inc. The beginning balance on this statement was $23,265.07; the closing balance was $20,173.84.

Important activities in Marilyn’s life around this time include:
-Marilyn receives a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Comedy, Some Like It Hot – March 8
-Psychoanalyst Ralph Greenson begins seeing Marilyn on a daily basis (June)

Marilyn Monroe Productions, Inc.

In 1954 Marilyn finally had enough of mediocre sex-role typecasting and a salary pegged to just $1,500 per week, many times lower than the vast majority of her colleagues. In November she divorced Joe DiMaggio, and in December, after months of planning with photographer Milton Greene, she left for New York and put the finishing touches to her brainchild, Marilyn Monroe Productions.

The world learned of the formation of Marilyn Monroe Productions on January 7, 1955, when a public statement was read out to eighty journalists and friends at the East Sixty-forth Street home of her lawyer, Frank Delaney. Marilyn was appointed company president, with Greene named vice president; 51 percent belonged to Marilyn, the remaining 49 percent to Greene.

A few months later, Marilyn explained on live national television, Edward R. Murrow’s “Person to Person” show, exactly why she had taken this step: “It’s not that I object to doing musicals and comedies – in fact, I rather enjoy them – but I’d like to do dramatic parts too.”

In going it alone, Marilyn was single-handedly taking on the all-powerful studio system. The immediate reaction at Twentieth Century-Fox was outrage. She was sued by the studio. It took a full year of negotiations before the fledgling company was in a position to announce that it had struck a revised non-exclusive deal with Fox. The huge success of “The Seven Year Itch” the previous summer considerably strengthened Marilyn Monroe Productions’ hand, and Marilyn beat Fox into submission. Her new deal brought a check for past earnings, a new salary of $100,000 for four movies over a seven year period, and approval over all major aspects of her productions. Her victory created one of the first breaches in the Hollywood studio system.

Marilyn Monroe Productions sponsored two projects – “Bus Stop” in 1956 for Fox, and its first (and only) independent production, “The Prince and the Showgirl” in 1957, for which Marilyn won the David di Donatello Prize (the Italian equivalent of the Oscar) as Best Foreign Actress of 1958 and the Crystal Star Award (the French equivalent of the Oscar) for Best Foreign Actress of 1959.

Undoubtedly, the fact that she was president of her own production company gave Marilyn far more power than most actresses at that time. For a start, her new Fox contract gave her script, director, and cinematographer approval.

Through 1956, relations between the company’s two shareholders slowly but surely deteriorated. Marilyn’s new husband Arthur Miller wanted to make his own contribution to his wife’s future business plans, and Marilyn began to feel that Greene was not worth his share of her earnings. Marilyn and Greene finally separated in April, 1957.

Marilyn Monroe Productions made no more movies, though it continued to exist for tax purposes to handle Marilyn’s earnings. This ultimately led to problems with the tax authorities, which had, from the company’s foundation, suspected the Marilyn had created the company purely for purposes of creative accounting.

Marilyn Monroe and Milton Greene: The New York City offices of Marilyn Monroe Productions, Inc.