Skip To Content
    Updated on Jan 16, 2019. Posted on Aug 12, 2013

    31 Candid Photos Of Marilyn Monroe In New York

    In March 1955, photographer Ed Feingersh followed Marilyn around the city for a week — the results were some of the most iconic photos ever taken of her.

    In early 1955, a 29-year-old Marilyn Monroe -- on the advice of her acting coach Lee Strasberg -- left Hollywood for New York, in an attempt to break free from her contract with Twentieth Century Fox and her "dumb blonde" persona.

    Once in New York, Marilyn moved into a suite at the Ambassador Hotel and formed a production company, Marilyn Monroe Productions, with photographer and friend Milton Greene.

    Both Milton and Marilyn agreed that her image needed a boost if she wanted to be taken seriously as an actress. Milton arranged for a cover spread in Redbook magazine, in hopes that they would depict the "real Marilyn."

    For one week, Redbook photographer Ed Feingersh followed Marilyn around New York, capturing intimate images of her in both her private and public life.

    1. Marilyn entering Elizabeth Arden's Red Door Salon on Fifth Avenue.

    Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Image

    2. Unlike in most of her previous photo shoots, Marilyn agreed to be photographed without her hair and make-up done.

    Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Image

    3.

    Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Image

    4. Striking a pose on Fifth Avenue.

    Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Image

    5. The iconic shots of Marilyn gazing down over the city from the balcony of her suite at the Ambassador Hotel.

    Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Image

    6.

    7.

    Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Image

    8. Marilyn admiring the cartoons on the wall, drawn by celebrated The New Yorker writer and cartoonist James Thurber, at Costello's restaurant on E. 44th Street.

    Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Image

    9. Deep in conversation with Redbook editor Robert Stein at Costello's.

    Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Image

    10. A playful moment, modeling an Ambassador Hotel bathrobe.

    Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Image

    11. Marilyn carefully applying her makeup, as she gets ready to attended the premiere of Tennessee Williams’ play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

    Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Image

    12. Wanting to make an impression, she wore a showstopping, formfitting, gold lamé dress.

    Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Image

    13. The iconic photo of Marilyn seductively applying Chanel No. 5.

    Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Image

    14.

    Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Image

    15. Giving a coy smile, sitting at a restaurant after the premiere.

    Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Image

    16. Taking a quick nap in the lobby of her hotel.

    Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Image

    17. A more intimate photo of Marilyn that perfectly captures her vulnerability.

    Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Image

    18. Picking up a copy of the New York Post on her way to the subway.

    Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Image

    19. Waiting for the train at Grand Central Station.

    Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Image

    20.

    Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Image

    21.

    Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Image

    22. Traveling incognito on the subway.

    Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Image

    23. Marilyn accompanied by Milton Greene.

    Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Image

    24. Marilyn getting ready to attend a benefit performance of Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus at Madison Square Garden.

    Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Image

    25.

    Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Image

    26.

    Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Image

    27. As part of the benefit, Marilyn agreed to ride a pink elephant into Madison Square Garden.

    Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Image

    28. She became frustrated when her wardrobe fitting did not go well...

    Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Image

    29. ...and broke down in tears.

    30. But in the end it all worked out.

    Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Image

    31. Marilyn made a triumphant entrance atop the pink elephant.

    Weegee(Arthur Fellig)/International Center of Photography / Getty Images

    Ed Feingersh's pictures of Marilyn in New York were published in the July 1955 issue of Redbook. Although he took some of her most iconic photos, the two would never work together again.

    Nostalgia Trip

    Take a trip down memory lane that’ll make you feel nostalgia AF

    Newsletter signup form