Celebrating Marilyn Monroe’s British Connection

Marilyn Monroe , 1956 by Jack Cardiff © Jack Cardiff
(Jack Cardiff)

To commemorate 50 years of Marilyn Monroe’s death, the National Portrait Gallery is launching a new display showcasing photos that link the star with Britain. 

“Marilyn Monroe: A British Connection” exhibit rare intimate photos of the Hollywood actress by British photographers and will be shown alongside select magazine covers that highlight her career throughout the 1950s.

It also documents the star’s four-month stay in Britain in 1956 when she was in the country shooting “The Prince and the Showgirl” opposite Lawrence Olivier. This is same timer period that the movie “My Week with Marilyn” takes place. 

Some of these photos are of her working life in the UK, with images from the press launch of the movie, to private photo shoots, such as the one with Jack Cardiff, the cinematographer on the set of “The Prince and the Showgirl”, in which she famously showed up nine hours late. There are also portraits of Monroe with British director, Roy Ward Baker, and poet Edith Sitwell, as well as images of her with Miller, Olivier, and his wife Vivien Leigh at the Comedy Theatre. 

Others were taken by British photographers working in America that were sent on assignment to photograph the iconic star. Some of the images on display include Antony Beauchamp’s 1951 shoot of Monroe in a yellow bikini and an early photo dating back to 1947 when she was still known as Norma Jean Baker.

“Marilyn Monroe: A British Connection”, September 29 – March 24, 2013, National Portrait Gallery, free entry

For a selection of images from the exhibition, click here