Within minutes, Mr. Stern said, Monroe was out of her clothes and posing with rumpled sheets, diaphanous silk scarves, clusters of jewels and strings of pearls. He snapped photographs until dawn, as the bottles emptied. With no one else in the room, Mr. Stern sometimes sat beside Monroe, shooting their reflection in a mirror.
“I was interested in her as a personality, not as a model,” he said, “so I only took a few accessories. I didn’t want to shoot ‘fashion.’ ”
But the editors at Vogue wanted at least some clothing in the photographs and sent Mr. Stern back to Hollywood for two more sessions in July 1962, weeks before her death on Aug. 5 at age 36.
Mr. Stern’s photographs became known as “The Last Sitting.” Many were published in a 1982 book, but it wasn’t until 2000 that all 2,571 images were published in “Marilyn Monroe: The Complete Last Sitting.”
Monroe saw the contact sheets and used an orange marker to cross through some of the images she didn’t like — highlighting them even more. In the photographs, Monroe looks radiant, fun-loving, tipsy and eternally seductive.
“Maybe she trusted me,” Mr. Stern said.
Bertram Stern was born Oct. 3, 1929, in Brooklyn. After leaving high school, he worked in the mailroom at Look magazine, where he became an assistant art director. He moved to Mayfair magazine as art director and began to shoot pictures on the side. He was a photographer and film cameraman in the Army in the early 1950s.
An early marriage to model Teddy Air ended in divorce. Mr. Stern was married to ballet star Allegra Kent from 1959 until their divorce in 1975.
In addition to Laumeister, his survivors include three children he had with Kent; a sister; and three grandchildren.
After a long addiction to amphetamines, Mr. Stern published a collection of unadorned clinical close-ups of prescription pills for “The Pill Book,” which may be his most widely seen work. Published in the 1970s, the book has sold almost 20 million copies.
As time went on, Mr. Stern became more deeply identified with his intimate photographs of Monroe. She seemed radiant during their hours together, Mr. Stern said, and more than a little flirtatious.
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime event,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “I knew I’d never shoot her again.”
Mr. Stern was known to have had affairs with many women, and people often asked how close he became to America’s best-known sex symbol.
“If she had said, ‘Let’s go for a drive in the desert’ or ‘Come to my house,’ then who knows,” he said in 2011. “But nothing ever happened between us.”