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Marilyn & Me: A Photographer's Memories

Marilyn & Me: A Photographer's Memories

3.7 4
by Lawrence Schiller

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Marilyn Monroe gave a young photographer his big break just months before her death, and this is his story“You’re already famous, now you’re going to make me famous,” photographer Lawrence Schiller said to Marilyn Monroe as they discussed the photos he was about to shoot of her. “Don’t be so cocky,” Marilyn replied,


Marilyn Monroe gave a young photographer his big break just months before her death, and this is his story“You’re already famous, now you’re going to make me famous,” photographer Lawrence Schiller said to Marilyn Monroe as they discussed the photos he was about to shoot of her. “Don’t be so cocky,” Marilyn replied, “photographers can be easily replaced.” The year was 1962, and Schiller, 25, was on assignment for Paris Match magazine. He already knew Marilyn — they had met on the set of Let’s Make Love — but nothing could have prepared him for the day she appeared nude during a swimming pool scene for the motion picture Something’s Got to Give.

Marilyn & Me is an intimate story of a legend before her fall and a young photographer on his way to the top. Schiller’s original text and extraordinary photographs—over two thirds of which have never or rarely been published—take us back to that time, and to the surprising connection that allowed Marilyn to bond with a kid from Brooklyn, a kid with a lot of ambition but very little experience. Now, 50 years later, TASCHEN is publishing Lawrence Schiller’s story as a signed, numbered monograph limited to 1,962 copies, for the year of Monroe’s untimely death. Schiller’s is a story that has never been told before, and he tells it with tact, humor, and compassion.  The result is a real and unexpected portrait that captures the star in the midst of her final struggle.

  • Collector’s Edition of 1,712 numbered copies (books numbered No. 251–1,962) signed by the photographer. Also available in two Art Editions of 125 copies, each with an original photograph
  • The book and clamshell box are covered in a custom woven duchesse silk from one of the world’s most distinguished silk mills, Taroni, of Como, Italy
  • Printed on archival paper
  • Four foldouts, with one gatefold measuring a full 110 cm (44 in.) across
  • Translation booklet of the text available in German, French and Spanish with purchase upon request

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Photojournalist Schiller had photographed plenty of celebrities before, including Jimmy Stewart and Lee Remick, but when he was sent by Look magazine to shoot Marilyn Monroe on the set of 1960's Let's Make Love, he realized he had never met a star like Monroe. To hear him tell it in this brief memoir—the companion to Taschen's oversized ,000 tome of some of Schiller's most famous and unpublished pictures of Monroe— the two quickly established a sort of professional camaraderie that enabled him to get shots that other photographers couldn't, including pictures of Monroe in the nude. A handful of iconic shots and unpublished photos are included here, like the "ethereal" portrait that graced Life magazine's cover when she died, and a moving shot of Joe DiMaggio (her second husband) at the star's funeral. But folks interested in gossip won't find it here—Schiller's interactions with Monroe and his efforts to sell his shots to Life magazine and other media outlets dominate the slim book. While not particularly revelatory, fans of the late actress will appreciate his sympathetic approach and the release of new images timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of her death. Photos. (May)
From the Publisher
"With the precision of a surgeon, Schiller slices through the façade of Marilyn Monroe in his unflinching memoir. Revealing and readable, it’s a book I couldn’t put down."
—Tina Brown

"In this short, splendid memoir, Lawrence Schiller offers us another cut on the scintillating diamond that is Marilyn Monroe. In clear honest straightforward prose, Schiller allows us to dwell in the heart of another time. He captures Marilyn, both in photographs and words, and in so doing he gives us intimate access into one of the great stories of the 20th century: the complicated cocktail of joy and sadness that goes along with both beauty and fame."
—Colum McCann

Kirkus Reviews
A photographer's unfocused memoir of his time with Marilyn Monroe. Accomplished photojournalist Schiller (Into the Mirror: The Life of Master Spy Robert P. Hanssen, 2002, etc.) recounts his brief access to Monroe in a curiously sour volume that does little to reveal new facets of the famously troubled actress' life or art. Schiller photographed Monroe during the production of her final films, Let's Make Love and the unfinished Something's Got to Give, undistinguished entries in the Monroe filmography made as the actress' irresponsible behavior on set sabotaged her faltering career and the personal problems that would lead her to commit suicide began to dominate all aspects of her life. In Schiller's recollection, Monroe was alternately warm and wary, chatty and chilly, personable and remote. More consistent was her mercenary understanding of her sexual allure and a single-minded focus on exploiting her mystique to its fullest commercial potential. Schiller is equally self-interested, and the narrative is as devoted to his wheeling and dealing with various magazines and attempts to outmaneuver rival photographers as it is to presenting a compelling portrait of his most famous subject. The author's zeal in maximizing the profits from his shots of a nude Monroe, who desperately hoped their notoriety might improve her shaky position with the film studio, may strike some as offensive, and the memoir, ostensibly a compassionate look at a troubled star, becomes instead a queasy document of the ways in which prurience, opportunism and crass calculation drive the entertainment industry and exact a tragic human toll. An unhappy little book that fails to illuminate the Monroe legend or the woman underneath.

Product Details

Taschen America, LLC
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
16.10(w) x 19.70(h) x 6.10(d)

Meet the Author

Lawrence Schiller began his career as a photojournalist for Life, Playboy, and Paris Match, among others, photographing some of the most iconic figures of the 1960s, from Lee Harvey Oswald to Robert F. Kennedy, from Ali and Foreman to Redford and Newman. His many book collaborations include the Pulitzer Prize-winning book with Norman Mailer, The Executioner's Song; and he has written five New York Times bestsellers. He has also directed seven motion pictures and miniseries for television; The Executioner's Song and Peter the Great won five Emmys. He is also the founder of The Norman Mailer Center & Writer’s Colony in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

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Marilyn & Me: A Photographer's Memories 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not what i expected... hardley any pictures... it would have been better if he showed alll the pictures he is talking about
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
happifeet More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book from the photographers point of view. Seemed honest about his subject and that the new information gleaned was interesting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago