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Thursday, 7 March, 2002, 15:46 GMT
Monroe fans snap up memorabilia
Marilyn Monroe
Monroe's gold dress was designed by William Travilla
Fans of screen icon Marilyn Monroe have snapped up more than half of the clothes and jewellery once owned by the star and on offer at a London auction, even before it has opened.

The Bel Air gallery, Finchley, north London, is exhibiting more than 30 items owned and worn by her, assembled as The Marilyn Monroe Collection.

A bustier she wore in the film Some Like it Hot, the only film for which she won a best actress Golden Globe, is among the items on display and should fetch 8,500.

Owner and exhibition director Tony Wynbourne said the appeal of Monroe will never fade.

He said: "She was probably the most famous person of the 20th Century. She was a top-notch icon."

'Silly money'

A gown designed by William Travilla for Monroe to wear in the film There's No Business Like Showbusiness also features in the exhibition.

The bustier Marilyn Monroe wore in Some Like It Hot
Monroe wore this bustier in the film Some Like It Hot

Mr Wynbourne said: "Inside the dress it says 'M. Monroe, Scene 5' but in reality they cut that scene from the film.

"It's going for 9,500, but had it been in the film it would be going for silly money."

Other items are a negligee, a summer outfit with halter top, a cocktail dress, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, sunglasses, a hat, shoes handbags, gloves, a brooch and objects from Monroe's home in Brentwood, California.

Also among the collection are several signed photos and a cheque signed by her in 1961.

There is also a large selection of photographs of Monroe.

Mr Wynbourne said it was not only hardcore fans who had made purchases.

He said: "It wasn't only the collectors, it was people who said 'I'd never even thought of collecting Monroe, but when I saw this was on, I thought just to own a bit of history."

Marilyn Monroe's shoes
These shoes came from Saks department store

The exhibition also features a tie clasp that belonged to President Kennedy, who was romantically linked with the actress.

Last month, never-before-seen photographs of Monroe went on display in London.

The collection, Timeless Beauty, includes 70 mainly black and white portraits of the Hollywood star, went on show at Gallery 27 in Mayfair, central London.

Marilyn Monroe, who was born Norma Jean Baker in 1926, starred in films including Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, The Seven Year Itch, Bus Stop and The Misfits.

She died in 1962, at the age of 36.

Click here to go to London
See also:

12 Feb 02 | Arts
Monroe photos make UK debut
23 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Row over Monroe photos
13 Apr 01 | Showbiz
Poland sells Monroe photos
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