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August 13, 2018

Marilyn Monroe in New York, 1955 - The Lost Film of Peter Mangone

In 1955, Peter Mangone was 14 years old, a skinny boy from the Bronx with a Marilyn Monroe fixation, like so many teenagers of his generation. What distinguished Mangone was that he got to meet his idol, and a remarkable five-and-a-half-minute amateur movie that he shot of Marilyn Monroe on the streets of Manhattan in March 1955 captured a rare glimpse behind the legendary actress.

For several months, he had played truant from school to stake out the Gladstone Hotel on Manhattan's East 52nd Street, where the 29-year-old Monroe was staying after her unhappy divorce from Joe DiMaggio and her dismissal from the Twentieth-Century Fox studios, hoping to get an autograph or a snapshot with his Brownie camera that he borrowed from his brother.

One day, he somehow summoned the courage to approach the star. “She said, ‘You were here yesterday. You had a red tie on. Weren't you cold?’ She noticed," Mangone remembered. "She befriended me. She used to give me rides to the subway if it was raining."

“Once you saw her, she was burned into your head,'' Mangone said. Another day, as luck would have it, Monroe came out of the hotel, mentioned that she was going shopping and told Mangone that he should tag along. Arm in arm with photographer Milton Greene and fashion designer George Nardiello, the star breezed down 5th Avenue, enjoying a level of privacy that today's stars would envy. All the while, young Mangone filmed her.

(Photos © Peter Mangone)



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