R.I.P., Bert Stern, the Mad Man photographer who got Marilyn to loosen up

July 1, 2013
Bert Stern with one of his Monroe images in 2011. (Neilson Barnard / Getty Images for The Weinstein Company)
Stern with one of his Monroes in 2011. (Neilson Barnard / Getty Images for The Weinstein Company)

 

“If she had said, ‘Let’s go for a drive in the desert’ or ‘Come to my house,’ then who knows. But nothing ever happened between us.”

 

Bert Stern in a 2011 interview recalling his incredibly flirtatious photo shoots with Marilyn Monroe. The photographer — he preferred to think of himself as a “designer with a camera” — was a pioneer of the edgy, iconoclastic advertising style of the late 1950s and early ’60s that we now think of as the “Mad Men” scene, but is perhaps best known for the loose and playful photos he captured of Monroe just weeks before her 1962 death. An accomplished ladies’ man, Stern arrived for the Vogue shoot armed with a couple bottles of Dom Perignon; within minutes, she “was out of her clothes and posing with rumpled sheets, diaphanous silk scarves, clusters of jewels and strings of pearls.” He even caught a particularly giddy one of the two of them on the bed together. He died in New York last week, and his obituary, by our colleague Matt Schudel, is definitely worth your time: Bert Stern, photographer of celebrities, dies at 83

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