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I had the pleasure of meeting David Gainsborough-Roberts

in 2000. We met at an event where I was entertaining

guests. His brother Paul introduced us. David was

larger than life, a towering man dressed in his Marilyn

Monroe tie and other trinkets. With his rosy cheeks David

reminded me of Sir Francis Beekman from Gentlemen

Prefer Blondes, more affectionately remembered as

“Piggy.” The resemblance was strong, yet David was

much kinder and more honest than the character in the

film. We got to know each other while sharing a bottle of

champagne. David spoke endlessly about his collection of

memorabilia: The dresses, the costumes, the possessions.

While he collected articles from many other stars and

public figures, Marilyn was always his favorite.

We became fast friends and soon I was attending events

with David. In many ways, David kick-started my career

as a Marilyn Monroe performer. We went to parties,

galas and social events. When the events were Marilyn

related, David would allow me to wear something of

Marilyn’s, either jewelry or clothing. It was during those

times that I would be as close to Marilyn as a girl could

possibly get. Performing as Marilyn was one thing,

but wearing something that she’d worn was something

altogether different and special. It was more than I ever could have imagined, and a dream come true for a

lifelong Monroe fan.

I often attended auctions with David, sharing his joy as he continued to add to his collection through the years. I

was with David on several occasions as he bought items that are now being offered by Julien’s Auctions. Several

years ago, an auction company hired me to model the earrings Marilyn wore in “How To Marry A Millionaire.”

David was at that auction, and as the highest bidder he added them to his collection. At another auction, I

watched with glee as the hammer fell and David added Marilyn’s Ceil Chapman cocktail dress to his collection. I

had modeled this dress also, and David and I were starting to see a pattern forming. If I’d worn it, he’d win it. It

was exciting to be with David during those times. Expanding his collection brought him great happiness. With

each new addition, he was almost like a child on Christmas morning. He has a love and respect for Marilyn that

is special and unique, like I’ve never seen in anyone before. All the years I have know him, David has taken great

pleasure in not only adding to his collection but sharing it with fans. He’s participated in countless exhibits around

the globe, including the UK, Europe and the US.

Because of my friendship with David I’ve experienced Marilyn in a new and different way. Through her film

costumes and clothing, her jewelry and other personal possessions I’ve been lucky enough to be close to her like

few will ever experience. It’s hard for me to see David’s collection disbursed. It’s been a labor of love for him for

many decades now, and I’ve come to cherish the items he’s collected just as he has. My hope is that fans and

collectors lucky enough to acquire these pieces will cherish them just as much as David has for many years.

Suzie Kennedy

www.suziekennedy.com

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Marilyn Monroe 2016

photo: Botond Istvandi