An Original Marilyn Monroe Print by Richard C. Miller
A large print of Marilyn Monroe taken by photographer Richard C. Miller. The Milton Greene Archives donated this print to The Marilyn Monroe Collection.
In the early 1940s, Richard C. Miller began working as a commercial photographer. When Emmeline Snively from the Blue Book Modeling Agency called Dick to tell him about a model named Norma Jeane Dougherty, he was doubtful that he could sell images of her, because she had already appeared on the covers of various magazines. At the time editors did not like to use a model who had posed for their competitors.
On April 30, 1946, Miller contracted with Norma Jeane for a day’s shoot. They went to the Sheraton Townhouse on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, which had a pool that he had used as a setting for another series of images. He used a speed graphic with 4×5 Kodachrome film, which has stood up perfectly in the intervening years.
This image of Norma Jeane, on the cusp of dying her hair blonde and transitioning into screen legend Marilyn Monroe, was shot in the Sheraton Townhouse swimming pool in 1946.
In March and April 1946, Dick photographed a model provided through the Blue Book Models agency, run by Emmeline Snively. Emmeline said, “I’ve got a real cute girl. You ought to see her.” The model’s name was Norma Jeane Dougherty.
“She was a cutie, and they had sold some covers of her already,” Dick said. He hesitated because the magazines did not like to use a model more than once. But on March 2, Dick and Norma Jeane took a trip. He posed her leaning against a tree, then on the beach, and finally on a fence because they had to leave the beach abruptly. “I remember the crowd was collecting very fast. A lot of men.”
“I did not shoot her for very long. The market was already saturated,” he recalls. But Dick did sell a cover of Norma Jeane to True Romance. “She was nice when she was Norma Jeane, very sweet. She came to dinner at the house. A nice, friendly girl.” Then she went to work for the studios, eventually becoming Marilyn Monroe. Dick photographed her after she became a celebrity. “I met Marilyn Monroe again on Some Like It Hot. I was the still photographer.” She smiled and said, “Hi, Dick” but was not interested in reviving their friendship.