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Extraordinary Images

Sweetheart of the Month (1953)

Sweetheart of the Month (1953)

Regular price £1,250.00 GBP
Regular price Sale price £1,250.00 GBP
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Probably the most famous Playboy image of all time, this iconic photograph of Marilyn Monroe was taken by renowned pinup photographer Tom Kelly.
Monroe had refused many offers to pose nude before. 20th Century Fox and Columbia had decided not to renew her contracts and she was struggling to pay her rent & keep up with outstanding payments on her car which had been impounded.
On May 27, 1949, a few days before her 23rd birthday, Monroe decided to pose naked for a two hour shoot for $50. Kelly’s wife set the red velvet background while Kelly himself took the images from a ten foot high ladder. To protect herself, the aspiring actress signed the model release forms as ‘Mona Monroe’.
This is one of a series of photos of Monroe on a red velvet background that would eventually appear four years later in the inaugural December 1953 issue of Playboy magazine. Monroe never agreed for the photo to be used in Playboy & Hugh Hefner never paid her for the use of the image. The Western Lithograph Co. bought the Red Velvet series images from Kelly for $900 and they would later appear in the 1955 ‘Golden Dreams’ calendar.

Embossed with the Playboy Bunny seal
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