Lawrence Schiller: At the Heart of the Sixties
February 1, 2009 6:23 PM   Subscribe

Since the last link is about wringing a few more bucks out of the dead woman's pictures, here's something in her Wikipedia article that I found interesting:

In her will, Monroe left Lee Strasberg her personal effects, which amounted to just over half of her residuary estate. ...

Strasberg then sued the children of four photographers to determine rights of publicity, which permits the licensing of images of deceased personages for commercial purposes. The decision as to whether Monroe was a resident of California, where she died, or New York, where her will was probated, was worth millions.

On May 4, 2007, a judge in New York ruled that Monroe's rights of publicity ended at death. In October 2007, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Senate Bill 771. The legislation, which was supported by Strasberg and the Screen Actors Guild, established that non-family members may inherit rights of publicity through the residuary clause of the deceased's will provided that the person was a resident of California at the time of death.

In March 2008, the United States District Court in Los Angeles ruled that Monroe was a resident of New York at the time of her death, citing that the executor of her estate told California tax authorities as such, and that a 1966 sworn affidavit by her housekeeper quoted Monroe as saying that she considered New York City to be her primary residence. The decision was reaffirmed by the United States District Court of New York in September 2008.

posted by Joe Beese at 6:39 PM on February 1, 2009

Thanks for the post terranova. Really enjoyed those wonderful, iconic Lawrence Schiller photographs.

Joe Beese, man, that's weird about the estate wrangling going on that long! Incredible. It seems disgusting that Strasberg would sue the *children* of the photographers? Mind boggling. What greed!

"In her will, Monroe left Lee Strasberg her personal effects, which amounted to just over half of her residuary estate. She expressed her desire that he "distribute [the effects] among my friends, colleagues and those to whom I am devoted". Instead, he stored them in a warehouse, and willed them to his widow, Anna." And this is the same guy who started the Actor's Studio, method acting?

So strange the malice that went on around Monroe, when she herself seemed so child-like.
posted by nickyskye at 7:08 PM on February 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

"Marilyn was foul-mouthed and smart." huh. Never knew that. Thanks for the education JB.
posted by nickyskye at 8:12 PM on February 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

it seems to me she lived her life like some kind of light source in some sort of moving air current.

Anyway, was Strasberg trying to profit by seizing rights to the pictures, or just trying to prevent others from exploiting them all over the place?
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:17 PM on February 1, 2009

Schiller is a hustler, from the Gary Gilmore to OJ -- a classic Hollywood hustler, purchasing rights to tabloid-worthy material, that kind of stuff. The peeping tom images of Marilyn Monroe ("Look! Marilyn's tits! OMFG!") in her last days are no exception -- a class act as always. I seem to remember a story in a magazine like The New Yorker in the 1990s where his hustling re: the OJ thing was explained quite thoroughly, the way he shoehorned himself in the middle of the story -- he lives for access to material he can then repackage and re-sell. Anyway, mediocre director, average photographer (these Marilyn shots are good but keep in mind it was a movie set so someone else did the lighting for Schiller), tabloid bottom feeder -- I'm just grateful he had the good sense to attach himself to Mailer, and hiring him to write the material he had purchased rights to -- I think The Executioner's Song is one of Mailer's two best books, by far (the other is The Armies of the Night).

But this doesn't change the fact that Schiller is a bottom feeder, only smarter than most of his bottom feeding colleagues, and with better literary taste.
posted by matteo at 4:26 AM on February 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

(oh, and I can't really be bothered to google that up, but if you're interested do some research re: the Strasbergs and Marilyn's will, and you'll see this is not the family brightest moment)
posted by matteo at 4:28 AM on February 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

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