Famed Marilyn Monroe Korea Dress Surfaces in Bendigo

The Marilyn Monroe exhibit at the Bendigo Art Gallery in Bendigo, Australia, opened to huge fanfare on Friday, March 5.  Locals, collectors, fans and politicians participated in a black tie gala to commemorate the opening of the exhibition, which is the largest Monroe exhibit ever in Australia, comprising items from my collection, the Greg Schreiner collection, the Maite Minguez Ricart collection, and other collectors from Australia.  For exhibit photos, click here.



The town of Bendigo has absolutely embraced the Monroe exhibit. Nearly every store and shop window references Marilyn in some way, regardless of the items and products the store sells.  For photos of Bendigo, click here.

Many of the items on exhibit have been seen around the world, including the US, Italy, Germany, Japan, Canada, Spain and Prague.  However, one item in particular hasn’t been seen by the public in over 20 years, and that’s the striking purple gown that Marilyn Monroe wore throughout her Korean USO tour in 1954 when she performed for US troops stationed there.  Marilyn is often quoted as saying performing in Korea was one of the highlights of her life.



The dress and matching bolero jacket, owned by a private collector in Australia, is quite simply, stunning.  It sparkles in the light today exactly as it must have in February of ’54 as Marilyn sang “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend” in front of thousands of US servicemen in freezing temperatures.  It was an absolute thrill to see this treasure live and in person.  And for those who may doubt it’s the actual Korea USO dress, I’ve done a bit of analysis, and I’m convinced it’s THE dress Marilyn owned and wore throughout her USO tour.  Many have speculated the whereabouts of this dress, yet those of us “in the know” have known it was in the hands of a private collector in Australia.

See below images and clips of Marilyn performing for the troops in Korea wearing this dress.