Was Marilyn Monroe known for having poor personal hygiene?

  • Not that I was aware of. During the filming of the Misfits, I was teenager who was there as an extra. I have a photo of me with Marilyn signing her autograph for me. I’m the boy standing right next to her and I swear on a stack of Bibles, everything about Marilyn was heaven sent (or is that heaven scent). We were both holding the paper while she signed the autograph. Now Clark Gable, on the other hand, was another story. He was a total jerk, told me to get lost, and by his looks, seemed to have terrible hygiene. (my mom took the photo above— I also have a number of other photos my mom took that day of Clark Gable, Montgomery Clift and others).

    When I asked Marilyn for the autograph, the man standing behind her in the photo told her not to stop for autographs and said she needed to get to the shoot. Marilyn just ignored him and was extremely nice to me (I think he may have been her masseur, he also had a small part in the Misfits as well). As I recall she called me sweetie or something similar (I admit that was an awful long time ago and memories do fade). I think my cousin may have taken the autograph while I was away in Vietnam, as I can’t find it. My stepfather and our neighbor were the two men that rounded up the wild mustangs that were used in the movie. We actually lived in old Washoe City at the time. Marilyn also attended the first ever Camel Races in Virginia City that same week (my mom took some photos of the races). I always wonder what I should do with all the photos as they are 35mm Kodak slides.

    On Dec 19, 2021 I added the photo below. I had recently found the slide as it had slipped below my desk drawer. This slide could use some serious professional restoration. I cropped the photo to emphasize Marilyn Monroe. This shot is interesting. Note both of her hands. I believe something was about to happen when my mother snapped this photo. It might explain why the shot is a bit blurry, which is unusual for my mom. Feel free to guess and then comment! I have my theory.

    I added a photo that I found online of my next door neighbor, Eugene having some fun with Marilyn. Digital copies can be bought online. Eugene’s father, Wendell, and my step-dad were the two that rounded up the wild mustangs for the movie. Eugene kept one of the wild mustangs for himself. I’ve tried to locate Eugene, but haven’t seen him since before 1965. As you can see from the photo below, Marilyn was being playful. The shot was taken on location where the wild mustang scenes were obviously shot.

    I just came across a short clip with Eugene Taylor walking with Marilyn Monroe in the same area as the above photo. Gene was a couple years younger than me as I remember.

    I’m also adding another photo (see below) that includes Clark Gable (top center), that my mother took while the Misfits were being filmed in Dayton, Nevada. Clark Gable had just refused to give me an autograph, and instead turned his back on my younger brother Jerry and myself. The actual photo is in color, but I changed it to B/W to add it online here. This was Clark Gable’s last movie before he died. Maybe his failing health might help explain why he was being “rude” to me. Or perhaps, I was just another nuisance nerd.

    I updated my answer today (July 5, 2021) to include an edited colorized version of the above photo. While the original was a colored slide in somewhat poor condition, so I had made it into a B&W to avoid a lot of color correction. Today, I took the B&W and basically used MyHeritage to colorize and enhance the photo. MyHeritage also has a feature to “animate”, which was awesome but I didn’t include the results here.

    While I’m at it, I thought I should honor my step-father Richard, below. Richard and our neighbor rounded up the wild mustangs that were used in the Misfits. In the photo, Richard looks out over part of Washoe Valley in the early 60s. It was a great place to grow up as a boy. Richard was a WWII hero, half Cherokee and loved hunting and fishing.

    I’ve indicated that I would add a photo from time to time. My scanned photos are apparently scattered over several hard drives so it’s been difficult to find them easily. Of course, I should re-scan the slides and put the new tiff files on a thumb drive so that I have them all in one place. The photo below was shot during the sidewalk scene in Dayton. The scene had to be retaken several times. I remember there was some aggravation with having to reshoot the scene. That ended up being a good thing for my mom, as she was able to capture the scene from an even better angle. For the time being, I’ll show this side shot.

    The next photo below is Montgomery Clift posing for my mom. It’s obviously in late afternoon based on the long shadows. The shooting is most likely done for the day and some of the actors and crew have headed back to the trailer. There are three people standing near the trailer. I’m thinking the woman with her back turned is likely Marilyn Monroe and that she has already changed clothes. I think the man to her right has a beer in his hand (just a guess). I’m also guessing Montgomery has already had a few and may be why he is hamming it up for my mother. As I recall, this area was off limit to the “public”, although, my mom was obviously determined to get a few photos.

    I’m humbled in that there has been some interest regarding Richard, my step father. Richard was a heavy duty mechanic during this time in his life. As I’ve already mentioned, our next door neighbor and Richard rounded up the wild mustangs for the Misfits. The location of the roundup I believe was in Virginia Highlands area which is relatively close to Virginia City. This is where we lived growing up. I was about 10 when Richard built us a home here in Old Washoe City. In the first few years, we were one of the only families for miles around. Richard was a good father teaching me how to hunt and fish at an early age. Trout and venison were somewhat a staple for dinner. By the time the Misfits was filmed, we were starting to see other folks moving into the area.

    I found the envelop of my mom’s slides and ran one of them through my Nikon Coolscan IV. My mom apparently must have kept bugging Clark until she got him to “sort of” pose for her. The slides appear to be in about the same condition as I remembered four or five years ago when I first scanned them in. I’m not taking any time for touch up, and you can easily see the scratches on the Cadillac. My mother was a heavy smoker (Lucky Strikes, two packs a day) and so you can easily see the nicotine/smoke damage in the sky. Luckily I don’t see her fingerprints as she was fond of looking at them in a tiny projector on occasion. When I talk of restoration, this is what I’m referring to. I cropped out some of the dirt driveway in the foreground.

    The next old slide I just rescanned is another of Clark Gable with three other gents. I was able to use the infrared filter in my VueScan app to remove some of the damage. The slide itself looks a lot worse than what my scanning software produced. If there are any film buffs that can help identify the other three men of the rodeo fence railing, I’d be grateful. Clark Gable died not long after filming the Misfits.

    In the next photo below, I’m going to give theers first chance to identify as many people as possible in the photo (I think I know most of the names, other than a couple). I really have to give my mother an awful lot of credit for getting this particular photo. I’m pretty sure you’ll never see another like it. The 35mm Kodachrome slide needs to be professionally cleaned. If there is interest, I should also post a photo of my mother in her memory, as she deserves all the credit for all these old photos taken in Dayton NV.

    I’ve been having difficulty identifying the “shirtless” crew member, but I think I at least found another photo of him with Marilyn. The partial shot of the fellow stepping out of the trailer is Frank Taylor (producer). I took a screen shot and I may have to remove the photo if there is a copyright problem. All I can say is, wowza! Here goes.

    Updated July 31, 2020. I finally believe I tracked down the mystery man in my mom’s photos. It’s none other than Whitey, the man famous for doing all of Marilyn makeup.

    “Whitey Snyder was Marilyn Monroe’s makeup artist throughout her career: from her first screen test at Twentieth Century Fox in 1946 to her funeral makeup in 1962. The pair developed a very close working relationship. Towards the end of her life, Monroe asked Snyder to prepare her face if she were to die before him. This was a promise that he fulfilled, after her death in August 1962. Snyder was also a pall-bearer at her funeral.”

    Having seen Marilyn up close, I can say the man was a genius of a makeup artist. Up until I discovered this online photo of the shirtless Whitey (could be copyrighted?), as well as the story about Whitey, I would have bet $1,000 that Marilyn wasn’t wearing makeup the day when she signed her autograph for me. This is the trailer where Whitey was doing his makeup magic on The Misfits, the same trailer, where my mother took some of her photos.

    Of all the photos my mom took in Dayton, the following is definitely the most iconic of the lot. I just rescanned the slide so you can see for yourself that it needs professional cleaning/restoration. I doubt there is another photo like this one in all the world. The gentleman on the right with his back showing and in plaid shorts, without a shirt and very tanned, is the person that told Marilyn not to stop to give me an autograph. I’m the only person that she gave an autograph to that morning. The shot is very busy, so take some time to study. Note the huge light, overhead mic, the camera, the film crew, producers and cast of actors. it’s an amazing photo that captures so much action. Please enjoy.

    Below is zoomed in on the photo above. Marilyn and Clark, so low resolution.

    The camel races in Virginia City were reborn in 1960 during the filming of the Misfits. Virginia City is just a short drive from Dayton, and so Huston, Monroe and Gable attended the event. The films director, John Huston borrowed a camel and won the event racing against a horse. Naturally, I was there with my brother. The following photo was taken along the old V&T railroad right of way during the 1960 event.

    My brother and I wait for the Ostrich races to begin next. Nevada is a great place for “kids” to grow up. Always something fun to do in northern Nevada, pretty much, all year long. I honestly don’t remember seeing Marilyn or Clark at the “races” that day, although they were there.

    Below. The Piper Opera House in Virginia City during the 1960 Camel Races & the filming of the Misfits. The E Clampus Vitus (ECV) is a fraternal organization dedicated to the preservation of the heritage of the American West. Clampers were notorious for getting drunk and parading in public. I haven’t seen a Clamper parade in a long long time. Thank goodness.

    Perhaps the greatest good that came out of the movie, was a national awareness of the inhuman treatment of wild mustangs. I’ve grown up around mustangs most of my life. Wild Mustangs are free spirits and often curious. This fun pair of Nevada “misfits” seem to be “horsing around” for me; a few feet from my camera lens. I recently rewatched the Misfits in order to remind myself of the cruelly against these majestic animals, commonly slaughtered for pet food. Even today, folks where I live will talk about these beautiful wild mustangs end up at the “glue factory”. Can you even imagine? It makes me sick down deep in my soul.

    Much of the real credit of awareness goes to Wild Horse Annie. “During the 1950s, Velma B. Johnston, later known as “Wild Horse Annie,” became aware of the ruthless and indiscriminate manner in which wild horses were being treated on western rangelands. So-called “mustangers” played a major role in harvesting wild horses for commercial purposes during this time.

    Wild Horse Annie led a grassroots campaign, famously involving many school children. Newspapers published articles about the exploitation of wild horses and burros.”

    I spooked a small herd of Nevada’s wild mustangs trying to sneak up to get a picture. Some 10 or so miles east of Reno – Oct 31, 2008.

    As my family was poor, my stepfather was provided a quarter-horse by the producer so he could round up the wild mustangs for the movie. It ended up being a great gift for me, as I became responsible for the care. We had to eventually sell the horse as we couldn’t afford the feed. I learned a lot about riding in the next couple of years. Here I am with my younger brother Jerry.

    My early life as an orphan on Mary Bird’s Farm near Fairfield, Ca. Dressed in our Sunday School finest: Left to Right: John, Thomas and Stephen. I dedicate this photo to my new found friend here, Sierra Schwartz who I feel a special kinship. This is the last photo taken that includes my brother Johnny as he died suddenly of complications to the measles. Thomas stayed on the farm and joined the Army and was activated during the Bay of Pigs under John F Kennedy. I’m the runt on the right and was eventually re-united with my mother, which is quite a story in and of itself. My younger brother Jerry wasn’t sent to the farm, as he was a baby. Jerry was raised by my mother’s cousin. Jerry visited me for a month in the summers and shows up in my Marilyn Monroe collection. Thank you Sierra for your interest.

    Gary Heil commented about the old cars in some of the previous photos, so I am adding this photo of Cal Neva Lodge and Casino parking lot at Lake Tahoe, Nevada. My mom took this photo back in 1961, as she was working during the summers for Frank Sinatra, who bought Cal Neva in 1960 along with Dean Martin and other partners. I cropped my brother Jerry and myself out the photo (we looked like two dweebs). It’s claimed that JFK had numerous affairs at the lodge, including with Marilyn Monroe. The lodge was a favorite of the Kennedy family. Frank Sinatra put on a lot of great shows before his gaming license was yanked. I remember my mom talking about the “famous” entertainers she met while working there.

    During the summer, we would vacation at Lake Tahoe every year. When my mom had a little free time she would get some sun here at Sandy Beach. Most all of the above photos were taken by my dear mom, Doris Wilson. She might have had me take this photo of her.

    Our other next door neighbor in Washoe Valley ran a pack station out of Bishop on the eastern Sierra. As Michelle O’Leary gave me a suggestion, including a nice compliment, I figured I show a couple of photos that she hopefully will enjoy.

    I got my driver’s license the year Marilyn died. For the antique car buffs, this is a photo of my first vehicle (my younger brother Jerry looks a bit bored).

    Today (July 30th) I came across a great Marilyn Monroe resource on Youtube. There are lots of rare footage videos. If you love Marilyn Monroe, you’ll have to visit the link below.

    Marilyn Monroe Video Archives

    For whatever reason, my lengthy “answer” continues to draw interest (even internationally!). I never realized Marilyn Monroe still has such an appeal! As such, I realize a lot of folks might enjoy a few more glimpses of what Nevada was like back in 1960. My brother Jerry (11) and myself (14) are posing here with Bad Water Bill in Virginia City. I’m glad now that my mom loved taking photos! The Misfits was being filmed just a short drive away, down a dirt road through Six Mile Canyon, which is the back way between VC and Dayton. These days, the old canyon road has since been paved. I’ll add a few more images occasionally if there appears to be any interest. I’ve said it once, so I’ll say it again. Nevada was a great place to grow up (and still is). (2/4/2021).

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