Date of birth : December 12, 1914, Philadelphia.
Date of death : January 8, 1984, Los Angeles.
Profession photographer; he worked for the Associated Press.
Addresses of his studio
* 736 North Seward Street, Hollywood ()
* 1960 : 8525 Santa Monica Boulevard
He learned photography in a studio, in New York City.
He worked for the Associated Press, helping the most experienced photoreporters, and was one of those who covered the Lindbergh kidnapping in 1932.
He ventured to Hollywood at the beginning of the 30's and was employed by David O.Selznik to take pictures of the stars.
He worked for almost 50 years, establishing himself as one of the most important photographers with pictures exhibited in many galleries and museums.His studio was a vast space riddled with cameras, spotlights, with different kind of furniture, pedestals, plastic trees and painted decors.
Assisted by his wife Natalie Grasco and his brother Bill, Tom Kelley was considered as a designer. His productions differed from the others by the quality of the light, the originality of the images, plus a new approach of the connexions between the human world and the differents products its represented.
The first time he met Marilyn was on Sunset Boulevard, when she had just caused a collision. Clearing a path through the crowd, he would have given her a 5$ note (she hadn't any money to take a cab and had to go to an urgent appointment), and a business card.Marilyn turned up at his studio, without warning, after having found Kelley's card in her stuff : she needed money, because she hadn't any offer. Excessively made up, she wore a costume which didnt' hide anything of her body : white low-cut blouse, bright red skirt so tight-fitting that it held her walk up and of course, assorted stiletto heels.
She didn't really evoke the American ideal of the tall and healthy girl, celebrated in the fashion adverts, but Tom Kelley's drilled eye didn't stop with the appearence; yes, he had a job for her. He was working on a project for an advert for a beer company and the model he had engaged had just let him down. Natalie Kelley led her in a salon where she touched up her make up before givong her a one piece swimsuit and a multicolored beach ball
On May 25, 1949, Tom Kelley recontacted Marilyn. The beer advert had drawn the attention of John Baumgarth, a rich calendar producer from Chicago, who had contacted Kelley; for the next issue of the calendar, he wanted a new model. A nude artistic picture that Marilyn agreed to do.She was not under contract with the studios anymore, didn't have any job and needed money.
The session took place on May 27, 1949 and lasted 2 hours ().
One of the picture, untitled "A New Wrinkle" appeared in one of the calendars of the Baumgarth Company, but the picture which attracted attention was "Golden Dreams".
Kelley received 500$ royalties and Marilyn 50$.
The other pictures taken this day disappeared mysteriously from Tom Kelley's office and didn't reappeared.
It was the reporter
It was the reporterAline Mosby who, on March 1952, revealed on the radio, that Marilyn had made this picture. There are 2 versions about the way she had obtained the information.
Some says that she learned it from Jerry Wald and Norman Krasna, who had produced "Clash By Night" (1952) for the RKO and wanted to gain more free publicity. Aline Mosby contacted the Foxto obtain a confirmation. The Fox executives (Marilyn was under contract with the Fox and had been "borrowed" to the RKO for one movie) panicked and questionned Marilyn, who confessed. An interview was organized to allow the studios to keep their head high and to look to control the situation.
The second version wants that Marilyn, at the end of an ordinary interview, would have taken Aline Mosby aside to confide to her, tear-filled, that she had posed naked for a calendar and that she needed to open herself to an understanding ear.The studios first reaction was to reject everything outright. At the beginning of the 50's generally reigned a morality quite prissy, and none of the Hollywood stars had ever dare to do such a thing.
Marilyn convinced the studios, above all, not to deny the facts. Harry Brand who ran the publicity department, contributed to take advantage of a situation that could have brought him troubles.
Marilyn gave an exclusive interview, and her confession was published in the American newspapers on March 13, 1952, under the title "Marilyn Monroe confessed she is the blonde who posed naked for a calendar".
She had already posed a year or two earlier, for the illustrator Earl Moran, who had taken pictures of her for the Brown and Bigelow Calender Company calendar, distributed in the USA and Mexico.
The calendar was reprinted many times at the beginning if the 50's; it's estimated that in 1955,
4 millions issues of it had been sold. The original calendars, those
who haven't the name of Marilyn, are negociated around 500$.
The calendar was reprinted many times at the beginning if the 50's; it's estimated that in 1955, 4 millions issues of it had been sold. The original calendars, those who haven't the name of Marilyn, are negociated around 500$.
Kelley didn't receive a penny from all the calendar publications; it was Hugh Hepfer, director of Playboy, who bought the calendar copyrights, directly to the Baumgarth company.
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