Marilyn Monroe Auction Holds Hidden Treasures—Including Proof of a Family Secret
A card written from Monroe's biological father is up for grabs.
Fans and collectors hoping to own a piece of Marilyn Monroe history will be interested in the latest auction of personal items that once belonged to the star. In December, Julien's Auctions will hold a live auction of dresses, makeup, books, and more, with prices on some items expected to go as high as $80,000.
But, amongst the clothing and beauty products, there is one item that holds a special connection to Monroe's life before she was a Hollywood star. The auction will include a card from Monroe's biological father. This item stands out in particular because there was just recently a new development in the previously contested identity of the late icon's father. Read on to find out more.
Monroe didn't grow up with her father.
Monroe was born Norma Jeane Mortensen to her mother, Gladys Pearl Baker. Prior to adopting her stage name, she used the last name of her mother's husbands, Mortensen and Baker.
Monroe's mother had an affair with a man she worked for, Charles Stanley Gifford, and it was long suspected that he was Monroe's father.
According to the book Marilyn Monroe: The Private Life of a Public Icon by Charles Casillo (via the Daily Mail), Baker told Monroe that Gifford was her father when she was a child and showed her a photo of him. "He was a mystery, a fantasy," Casillo writes. "It was the man in the photo to whom she related. Norma Jean would spend a lifetime looking for this man in others, wanting to know him, loving him, passionately wanting him to love her back."
The identity of her father was recently proven.
A documentary released earlier this year, titled Marilyn, Her Final Secret, features proof that Gifford was Monroe's father. A DNA test was done on a strand of Monroe's hair and the saliva of Gifford's great-grandchild. The director of the film, Francois Pomès, told Variety, "The thing that I touched me [sic] the most was seeing the reaction of Gifford's family who were overwhelmed by this irrefutable evidence."
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Gifford wrote a get-well card to Monroe.
While it was not publicly confirmed that Gifford was Monroe's father during her lifetime—or that they shared any communication—they are said to have met when she was in the hospital, at which point he gave her a get-well card.
The card, which will be part of the auction, is printed with the text, "This cheery little get-well note comes specially to say that lots of thoughts and wishes, too, are with you every day." Above the message, Gifford wrote, "Dear Marilyn" and below he added, "a little prayer too" and signed, "Stanley Gifford, Red Rock Dairy Farm, Hemet, Calif."
Monroe is said to have recalled meeting Gifford.
A press release from Julien's Auctions explains that the book My Sister Marilyn, A Memoir of Marilyn Monroe by Monroe's half-sister, Berniece Baker Miracle, and Berniece's daughter, Mona Rae Miracle, says that Monroe recalled her father visiting her in the hospital
According to the Miracles, Monroe once said, "The first time I saw my father, I was lying flat on my back in the hospital. I looked at him and I studied his face and features, and I saw that mother had told me the truth, that he was my father." This could mean that Gifford hand-delivered the card to Monroe in the hospital.
The card was stumbled upon unexpectedly.
The card from Gifford was spotted when Monroe historian Scott Fortner was looking through other items.
"I discovered the card purely by chance while I was preparing Marilyn's personal archives for auction at Julien's Auctions," Fortner said, according to People. "This is the only known documented evidence of a relationship between Monroe and Gifford, which solves the mystery of whether or not she knew or had contact with her biological father."
The card is expected to be auctioned for between $2,000 and $3,000, and will be part of the auction Julien's Auctions and TCM Present: Icons and Idols Hollywood. It will be held live online and in person on Dec. 17 and 18.