Sixty years ago, Nicky Haslam, working for Vogue, delivered this dazzling picture to the dazed, haunted star just before she died
Two indelible images were engrained in my mid-teen mind. The first was seeing, one blustery June day in 1953, the just-crowned Queen: youthfully pearlescent, sensitive, smiling through rain from that great ornate carriage as she passed, quite close, beside the windows of my father’s club in St James’s. And, not very long after – having hared across those hard-won playing fields of Eton, over lanes and ditches, to the Gaumont in Slough – seeing, in celluloid colour, the world-heralded Marilyn Monroe in There’s No Business Like Show Business (1954). While an afternoon audience of housewives swooned at the gyrations of co-star Johnny Ray, I was enraptured by the sashaying form, the lyre-like arms, the wide luscious mouth, the mouche – the trembling, exquisite being that was Marilyn. These two women, born six weeks but worlds and time and cultures apart, both young, assured and vivacious at so early a milestone...
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