May 1962 / Marilyn Monroe during the shooting of the film "Something's Got To Give" (Photos by Lawrence Schiller)
In May 1962, Lawrence Schiller was commissioned, with his colleague William Woodfield, by "Paris-Match", to cover the shooting of βSomething's Got To Giveβ.
On May 28, 1962 they were at the Fox studio when Marilyn shot the pool scene; at a certain moment, either on the order of director George Cukor, or of her own accord, Marilyn took off her flesh-colored swimsuit and posed naked for the photographers for nearly an hour, in the pool and outside.
Usually anxious to know which photos were going to be published or not, this time she gave her consent to Schiller for the marketing of the photos. He knew perfectly well what was in his hands and persuaded Jimmy Mitchell, the photographer who accompanied them, to get rid of his negatives for the sum of $10,000. Thus, with Woodfield, they had the exclusivity of Marilyn's last nudes, the first for 13 years.
He sold the photos to magazines in 32 countries; in the United States they were bought by "Playboy"; at the beginning, he succeeded in persuading Marilyn to pose for other photos, for the first and the back cover of the magazine, but then she broke her engagement. He visited her on August 4, 1962 during the day, to discuss the photos she approved. Four days later, he attended her funeral and was one of the few photographers who could get close enough to take pictures. He was present at her funeral on August 8, 1962.
To mark the tenth anniversary of her death, Schiller organized a traveling exhibition of photos of Marilyn taken by fifteen great photographers. In one of the cities on the tour, a gold-framed nude by Tom Kelley (the famous calendar) and half a dozen other original photos were stolen. A book accompanied the exhibition, and he asked Norman Mailer to write the text of an anthology of photos of Marilyn. The synthesis of the two (a choice of the best photos of Marilyn and the semi-fictionalized biography of Mailer) was a huge success.
In 1980 he produced βMarilyn: The Untold Storyβ (New York: βGosset and Dunlap publishersβ, 1973), an adaptation of Mailer's biography published in 1973.