Cecil Beaton and Marilyn Monroe

In New York, 1956, Cecil Beaton was commissioned to photograph Hollywood star, Marilyn Monroe, in a room at The Ambassador Hotel. The room, designed by Beaton himself, was to be the setting for a typically flirtatious and energetic photo shoot with the actress. Having booked the shoot three months in advance, Beaton waited over an hour for Monroe to turn up, and was eventually greeted by what he described in his diaries as “an artless, impromptu, high-spirited, infectiously gay performance”, as she leapt and squealed around the hotel room. He added, “it will probably end in tears.”

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