(ORIGINAL BLOG POST UPDATED BASED ON STATEMENT RELEASED BY RIPLEY’S ABOUT THE HAIR GIFTED TO KIM KARDASHIAN)
Breaking News: Ripley’s updates website story on Kim K.’s dressing room to REMOVE any mention of hairdresser Robert Champion’s JFK gala Marilyn Monroe hair because it’s fake…and then confirms that they gave Kim Kardashian a lock of Marilyn Monroe hair…from Robert Champion. Confused? Me too. Read on…
My blog post and social media posts about the Marilyn Monroe lock of hair gifted to Kim Kardashian by Ripley’s Believe It or Not actually NOT being Marilyn’s hair is now circulating throughout news cycles across the globe.
In today’s People.com article, a representative from Ripley’s is reported as stating the lock gifted to Kardashian was in fact authentic and not the same hair displayed in her dressing room. “Ripley’s exhibit collection contains six different samples of Marilyn Monroe’s hair — all authenticated and truly Marilyn’s,” they said.
“The hair gifted to Kim was given by Marilyn Monroe to Robert Champion,” the rep added. “This clipping was authenticated by John Reznikoff, one of the most respected and trusted experts in the field of hair collecting.”
UPDATE: Since this news broke, Ripley’s has responded with the following statement posted to their Instagram account:
Ripley’s exhibit collection contains six different samples of Marilyn Monroe’s hair – all authenticated and truly Marilyn’s.
The hair gifted to Kim was given by Marilyn Monroe to Robert Champion. This clipping was authenticated by John Reznikoff, one of the most respected and trusted experts in the field of hair collecting. It was gifted to Kim at Ripley’s Orlando HQ on April 23, 2022 – not the night of the Met Gala. A second, different clipping was exhibited in Kim’s Met Gala dressing room on May 2, 2022.
The statement goes on to read:
The article on Ripleys.com detailing the sample displayed in Kim’s dressing room has been amended. Attached is Reznikoff’s 2006 letter detailing his opinion on the hair’s credibility.
AMENDED? Sorry but simply editing the caption of the photo on your website doesn’t change the fact that you’re displaying fake Marilyn Monroe hair as being authentic. Alternative facts? I don’t think so.
Ripley’s then shows a letter on University Archives letterhead dated May 22, 2006. The letter is signed by John Reznikoff, and reads:
To Whom It May Concern:
I purchased the following lot from the Willis Henry Auction held on October 29 2005, which are from the Robert Champion Collection. I find the provenance to be 100% credible and stand by the authenticity of this lot.
See below a screenshot from their Instagram account:
Well which lock of hair is Reznikoff referring to in his Letter of Authenticity (LOA)? The hair displayed in Kim’s dressing room or the hair gifted to Kardashian that Ripley’s now says WASN’T from her dressing room? With either option there are problems:
- If the LOA is about the hair displayed in the dressing room, are they simply changing the story? Previously, Ripley’s claimed the hair on display in Kardashian’s dressing room was cut by Champion on May 19, 1962 AND AUTHENTICATED BY REZNIKOFF, which we now know isn’t true. See below:
- If the LOA is about the OTHER hair Kim was gifted and not from the lock of hair displayed in Kardashian’s dressing room…then that “other” hair is STILL from Robert Champion.
Let’s break this down:
- Reznikoff states he bought the hair in 2005 from the Willis Henry auction, which sold items from the Robert Champion collection. For a link to the auction, click here.
- The lot with Marilyn Monroe’s hair that Reznikoff won was lot #C-18. The lot description reads, “A lock of blonde hair attached to a white card and in a pink envelope titled “Marilyn Monroe’s Hair, 1962”; along with a newspaper photograph of Maria Callas, Robert Champion and Marilyn Monroe pictured following the Birthday Party in May 1962 for President Kennedy; along with a business card of “Mr. Robert Champion of Bergdorf Goodman, Coiffures Americana Beauty Salon”. A copy of Chapter 37 titled “Marilyn Monroe” from Robert Champion’s unpublished memoir “He Made Stars Shine”, will accompany the lot.”
There is no information provided in the lot description as to how, where, or when Champion acquired the lock of hair from Marilyn.
In the photo below, the hair on the left is the hair sold at the Willis Henry auction. Is this the hair specified in the COA from Reznikoff posted by Ripley’s? (Note that Marilyn’s name is spelled incorrectly on the envelope, believed to have been written by Champion himself.) The photo on the right shows the hair gifted to Kardashian. Both of these locks of hair look similar. Perhaps this is the hair Kardashian was given. Again, no information provided as to provence yet it is “100% credible” as claimed by Reznikoff. Note also that throughout 1962, Marilyn’s hair was platinum blonde, not honey blonde as shown below.
- Just how many locks of Marilyn Monroe hair said to be sourced from Robert Champion has John Reznikoff authenticated? While he has said the hair above is “100% credible,” evidence shows that he has also “deemed credible” some locks of Marilyn Monroe’s hair from Robert Champion with provenance stating they cut on May 19, 1962 just before the JFK gala. And we now know that Champion did not do Marilyn’s hair for the JFK gala on May 19. See the screenshot below from Reznikoff’s website. University Archives sold this hair in 2019.
Here is the COA from the above auction.A very interesting point of note, in the COA Reznikoff says, “Approximately ten strands of Marilyn Monroe’s hair cut by stylist Robert Champion just before her famous May 19, 1962 birthday salute to President John F. Kennedy. Robert Champion describes the event in Chapters 36 and 37 of the book titled “He Made Stars Shine.””
We know, with certainty, that Champion did not do Marilyn’s hair for the JFK gala. Kenneth Battelle did, verified by this invoice from the Lilly Dache Beauty Salon from May of 1962, specifying dates of services as May 18th and 19th, 1962.
Ripley’s has updated their original story about their outfitting Kim’s dressing room with authentic Marilyn Monroe memorabilia. They originally stated the lock of Marilyn Monroe’s hair they displayed was “Clipped by her hairstylist Robert Champion just prior to her Madison Square Garden performance.”
A screenshot of the photo with the original caption.
Now they’ve changed the caption to the photo and they’ve removed the reference to Robert Champion.
So Ripley’s updates their website story about the inside of Kim Kardashian’s dressing room having been outfitted with Marilyn Monroe memorabilia and have removed any mention of Robert Champion as the source for THAT hair, and they then release a statement saying Kim did not receive hair from the Robert Champion John Reznikoff authenticated hair from her dressing room, but a DIFFERENT lock of Marilyn Monroe hair (authenticated by John Reznikoff?)…that is also attributed to Robert Champion. (Huh?)
Whether Kardashian recieved hair believed to have been cut from Marilyn’s head on May 19, 1962 by Robert Champion OR associated with Champion in any other way, there is ZERO evidence that Robert Champion ever took scissors to Marilyn’s hair. There are no invoices, receipts, or checks written to Champion as recorded in Marilyn’s personal files. I happen to own Marilyn’s complete record of financial transaction statements reflecting the activities in her bank accounts at City National Bank and Irving Trust Company from January 1, 1962 to August 3, 1962. Out of 99 pages in total detailing monthly withholds, receipts and disbursements broken down by type of expense, there is not one mention of paying Robert Champion for services in 1962. There are, however, mentions of many other hairdressers and makeup artists.
The hairdressers Marilyn actually did frequent, such as Kenneth Battelle, Sydney Guilaroff, Pearl Porterfield, Agnes Flanagan, Peter Leonardi, George Masters, Gladys Rasmussen, and even the very first person to dye Marilyn’s hair blonde, Sylvia Barnhart, is very well documented, either via invoices, bills or payments to them for services, photo evidence of them actually doing her hair and/or as listed in her personal phone books. Champion is not listed in either of two Marilyn Monroe personal phone books, which I own.
Robert Champion isn’t mentioned as having been a hairdresser for Marilyn Monroe in any documentary or book, (other than his own).
Any and all Marilyn Monroe hair stated as having come from Robert Champion is believed to be fake as there is no evidence that she ever went to him for is services.
But here’s another issue that’s just as important, also calling into question the integrity of the company. Why did Ripley’s display a box of candy in Kim Kardashian’s dressing room, said to be from Marilyn Monroe’s makeup case, with an expiration date in October of 2010?
Check out my full investigation on my Instagram page here.