This year we celebrate Marilyn Monroe’s 90th birhtday,
and just as it was during her lifetime, she continues to
be the most celebrated and recognized film star of all
time. She is impersonated, copied, digitally recreated,
and embodied. She is an icon like no other, and much
like the woman herself, the David Gainsborough-Roberts
Marilyn Monroe collection is also iconic. Amassed
over nearly thirty years, the archive includes famous
movie costumes, personal gowns and clothing, jewelry,
and property owned by Marilyn Monroe, together with
original photographs and film posters. Through David’s
collection, we’ve seen shining visions of the screen
legend and intimate views of the private woman.
The first Monroe costumes in David’s collection were
purchased in the late 1980s, long before the era of
online auctions. He was strategic in his approach to
collecting, and today David’s archive includes pieces
from many of Marilyn’s films, including Niagara, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, There’s No Business Like Show Business, The Seven
Year Itch, Bus Stop, The Prince and the Showgirl, Some Like It Hot, and Let’s Make Love. Several gowns in the collection were
created by award winning designers and well known costumers from Hollywood’s silver screen era, including Orry-Kelly, William
“Billy” Travilla, and Beatrice Dawson.
Along with film worn pieces, David purchased items from Marilyn’s red carpet appearances. Items of note include the shimmering
simulated diamond waterfall pendant earrings she wore to the Seven Year Itch premiere on June 1, 1955, and the custom made
evening gown she wore to the Rose Tattoo premiere on December 12, 1955. From her personal and private life, David acquired
Marilyn’s 1952 “New Faces” award from the Detroit Free Press, her St. Christopher pendant, and a handwritten Beverly Hills
Hotel postcard to friend and confidant Ralph Roberts confirming that she wasn’t pregnant.
This prolific and historic collection is undoubtedly the most important Marilyn Monroe archive of combined professional and
personal property to hit the collecting market in decades. While David has expressed sadness over letting go of these cherished
items, he feels it’s time to share Marilyn with the world and what better time than the year of her 90th birthday. David has said, “I
have very special feelings for Marilyn. The last thirty years have been a marriage made in heaven. I will always keep a special
place for Marilyn in my heart.” I’m sure we all will David. Thank you for your love of Marilyn, and for sharing your collection
with the world.