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12 Stunning And Rare Photos Of Marilyn Monroe

A look at the celebrated actor as seen through the lens of her close friend and collaborator Milton H. Greene.

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Milton H. Greene might not be a name you instantly recognize, but you certainly have seen his work. Throughout his four-decade-long career, the celebrated photographer shot some of the biggest and most iconic celebrities from the Golden Age of Hollywood, including Marlene Dietrich, Frank Sinatra, Grace Kelly, Cary Grant, Elizabeth Taylor, and Audrey Hepburn. But Greene is probably best known for his work with Marilyn Monroe, who he befriended in 1953 after photographing her for Look magazine. Over the course of four years, not only would Greene take some of the most recognizable photos of the legendary actor (during 50 photo sessions), but he would also help get her out of her contract with 20th Century Fox and go on to create Marilyn Monroe Productions, Inc. with her (where they went on to produce two films together).

Recently Greene’s son, Joshua Greene, compiled and restored some of his father’s best-known photographs of Monroe (Greene died in 1985), as well as never-before-seen shots, for a new retrospective book, The Essential Marilyn Monroe: Milton H. Greene, 50 Sessions. BuzzFeed got a look at some of the photos from the book, as well as some behind-the-scenes tidbits.

"Ballerina" (October 1954)

Milton H. Greene / Photographed by Milton H. Greene ©2017 Joshua Greene

Easily the most iconic shoot Greene did with Monroe. The reason she is seen holding up her bodice throughout the photos is because Greene's wife, Amy, had bought it for the shoot, but it was two sizes too small — so she could not zip it up and was forced to hold it in place.

"Nude" (1953)

Milton H. Greene / Photographed by Milton H. Greene ©2017 Joshua Greene

This was taken during the very first sitting they did together for Look magazine. Monroe is seen here wearing just Greene's wife's sweater. While this is pretty tame by today's standards, it was actually considered risqué for a mainstream magazine at the time. Also, she is sitting in the photo due to a sprained ankle.

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"Negligee" (September 1953)

Milton H. Greene / Photographed by Milton H. Greene ©2017 Joshua Greene

This was the second look for their first photo session for Look magazine. (The shots were taken over the course of three days.) Despite her sprained ankle, Monroe can be seen standing here.

"Oriental" (February 1955 )

Milton H. Greene / Photographed by Milton H. Greene ©2017 Joshua Greene

This was part of an Asian-themed photo shoot (problematic, I know) for Look. The Pekingese dogs were chosen due to their association with China.

"Gypsy" (1953)

Milton H. Greene / Photographed by Milton H. Greene ©2017 Joshua Greene

Monroe raided the wardrobe department at 20th Century Fox and decided to dress up as a gypsy palm reader (problematic, I know). Greene then photographed her in the facade of a psychic shop in the backlot.

"Wicker" (March 1955)

Milton H. Greene / Photographed by Milton H. Greene ©2017 Joshua Greene

This striking shot was taken in Greene's New York studio. The two wanted to take a series of "loose and relaxed" photos of her.

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"Prince and the Showgirl" (July/August 1956)

Milton H. Greene / Photographed by Milton H. Greene ©2017 Joshua Greene

This photo of Monroe alongside her co-star and director Laurence Olivier was taken on the set of their film The Prince and the Showgirl. Greene and Monroe produced the movie through their company, Marilyn Monroe Productions, Inc.

"Black Cape" (October 1955)

Milton H. Greene / Photographed by Milton H. Greene ©2017 Joshua Greene

Greene captured this as he tested lighting for a shoot he was going to do the next day and used Monroe as a model. She is wearing a cape that had been left over from a fashion shoot Greene had done earlier that day.

"Hotel Room" (September 1954)

Milton H. Greene / Photographed by Milton H. Greene ©2017 Joshua Greene

The very candid photo was taken after Monroe decamped for New York, following contractual problems she was having with 20th Century Fox.

"Bed Sitting" (October 1953)

Milton H. Greene / Photographed by Milton H. Greene ©2017 Joshua Greene

This simple shot was taken in the guest villa of 20th Century Fox cofounder Joseph Schenck's Holmby Hills estate.

"White Robe" (March 1955)

Milton H. Greene / Photographed by Milton H. Greene ©2017 Joshua Greene

Greene took this impromptu photo after Monroe had just gotten her makeup done, but was still dressed in her favorite thing to wear: a terrycloth bathrobe.

The Essential Marilyn Monroe: Milton H. Greene, 50 Sessions by Joshua Greene is in stores now.