Today we are remembering George Barris, who passed away on this date 2 years ago. Barris was an American photographer and photojournalist was best known for his work photographing Marilyn Monroe at various points during her career. George was also a beloved member of the “Marilyn Remembered” Fan Club, attending many meetings, memorials and parties throughout the years.
Marilyn Monroe and George Barris first met on the set of “The Seven Year Itch” in New York in 1954. Barris recalls:
“When I first caught sight of Marilyn, she was leaning out the window of a brownstone on fashionable 61st Street on the East Side of Manhattan, posing for a film scene. Actually my first glimpse was of her behind. When I took some photos of that now famous backside, the sound of the camera’s shutters surprised her. She quickly turned around, spotted me and smiled. I took a dozen more pictures, we both laughed and the ice was completely broken. She certainly had a sense of humour. I subsequently followed Marilyn around for days, interviewing her and taking photos. She was great to work with.
What I particularly liked about Marilyn was that she didn’t act like a movie star. She was down to earth. Although she was then twenty-eight, she looked and acted like a teenager. Sure, she was beautiful and sexy, but there was almost a childlike innocence about her. I was most impressed that Marilyn was always polite and friendly to everyone on the set. She was no phony or snob.”
Arguably, some of the most famous photographs that Barris ever took of Marilyn, turned out to be her last professional photoshoot taken July 1962, just a few weeks before her untimely passing. The photos show Marilyn looking beautiful, carefree and so full of life.
“Marilyn was a real trooper. Even when the sun went down and the wind blew and it became cold, and she shivered and her skin turned red and her lips blue, she hardly whimpered or complained. Only when the day was almost over and I had just one last bit of film in the camera, she said “This is for you George.” The she puckered up her lips and blew a kiss my way as I took the last picture of her ever on that beach. It was around 7.0pm, Friday, July 1th, 1962.
At the end of that same day I lost one of my shoes when a huge wave came and took it away. I asked her, “What do I do with one shoe?”
“The ocean apparently needs it more than you do,” she said, and with that, both of us barefoot, we left Santa Monica beach forever.