Marilyn’s own musical career began when she was five years old, when mother Gladys Baker found the extra money to pay for piano lessons with a teacher named Marion Miller. Norma Jeane never became very proficient-though her one on-screen performance, the chopsticks number in The Seven Year Itch (1955), was the only scene in the entire film to be filmed in a single take-but the piano remained a potent symbol for Marilyn throughout her life. During the brief time she lived with her mother as a child, a white piano had pride of place in the house on Arbol Street. That piano, or one very like it, accompanied Marilyn through many of her moves in later life (The Marilyn Encyclopedia).
Some Like It Hot was set in the 1920s, when the ukelele was popular, and Marilyn learned to play the instrument for the film (MM-Personal).
And while I can’t find a direct source, Marilyn also learned how to play the song on guitar from River of No Return.
Some jewelry found in DiMaggio’s jewelry case that might have been Marilyn’s.
1. This side of the DiMaggio men’s jewelry case, with the initials J DiM embossed on it in gold letters. The case is made of burgundy leather stamped as alligator. It has a tan suede interior, with a removable tan suede divided tray inside.
2.A gold-tone metal starburst brooch with thrity-five rhinestones and earrings to match.
3.An ornate foliate brooch of gold-tone metal set with sixty-nine faux-diamond, clear-cut round stones and signed “483/60 Boucher 7704.” It is from the well-known jewelry designer and maker Marcel Boucher and dates from 1955 to 1958.
4.A strand of sixty-nine pearls.
5.Rhinestone jewelry from famous Hobe jewelry company. Hobe jewelry was popular among Hollywood stars in the 1950s and 1960s.
6. Jade is a favourite souvenir from Japan, this is a strand of seventy-two nephrite jade beads, with a gold-tone metal floral clasp.
Marilyn’s relationship to jewelry was ambivalent. Unlike Elizabeth Taylor, who liked expensive jewelry and put together an admired collection, Marilyn staked a claim to being a working-class girl and used her indifference toward jewelry to prove to the press that she wasn’t materialistic. Following the fashion of evening wear set by Rita Hayworth in the 1940s, she often wore a tight gown of satin or sequins, usually low-cut or strapless, with her chest area bare to set off her face. The dangling diamond or rhinestone earrings that she wore with those dresses also drew attention to her face, while a diamond bracelet on her wrist picked up the sparkle of the glittery earrings. Marilyn occasionally wore a pearl necklace or a pin of pearls or rhinestones; the glow of pearls around the neck softens the look of the skin. Moreover, costume jewelry was popular in the 1950s, and the high-end created such jewelry for the well-to-do.
-MM-Personal, Lois Banner
Marilyn liked to take photographs. In 1954 Joe DiMaggio gave her a camera, and Sam Shaw taught her “a few things about the camera.”
1. Taken by Marilyn on the beach at Amagansett and on the farm Arthur and Marilyn rented there, where Jane (Janey; Arthur’s daughter) opens presents at a birthday party. Hugo(the dog) is in some of the photographs.
2. Arthur with Jane, and Jane with Bobby (Bobby-bones; Arthur’s son) on the beach at Amagansett.
3 and 4.Photos of Hugo and Jane at her birthday party. Patricia Rosten, Hedda and Norman’s daughter, is also present.
A high point of Marilyn’s career was her four-day trip to Korea in February 1954- a detour during her honeymoon with Joe DiMaggio in Japan. The trip was her thank-you to the troops for their many fan letters. Wearing army fatigues when traveling by helicopter and a purple sequined cocktail dress when performing, she visited ten bases, each with audiences of ten thousand servicemen. The Los Angeles Times reported that she electrified these audiences, who sometimes acted like “bobbysoxers besieging a crooner.” Marilyn often said that the enthusiasm of her audiences in Korea finally made her feel like a star. -Lois Banner, MM-Personal