Arts & Entertainment

Spend Some Time During The Holidays With Marilyn In New York

Marilyn Monroe's bathrobe, fan mail, and Erno Laszlo skincare, on display at The Institute's press opening. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Check written by Marilyn Monroe, December 24, 1959. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Ted Stampfer during the press opening. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Christine Krogull in front of Marilyn Monroe's hats during the press opening. The hat in the middle is from Christine's collection. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Marilyn Monroe cousin, Jason Kennedy, by items put in the exhibit in honor of Marilyn Monroe Family: the check, the Dom Perignon receipt, and, the poetry book. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
A blouse once owned and worn by Marilyn Monroe on display, next to a photo of her wearing it. Ted Stampfer now owns this item, as well as most of the others on display in New York through December 31, at The Institute in New York City. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller

It was Christmas Eve, 1959, in New York City, when a 33-year-old blonde business woman took one of her company checks, placed her signature onto it, and then, most likely with a smile, wished her personal secretary a "Merry Christmas," and sent her on her merry way to take her check to the bank before the holiday officially kicked off.

This business woman was none other than one of the most famous movie stars of all time, Marilyn Monroe, and the transaction took place with her personal secretary, May Reis, who, was likely to have typed the $104.72 check up for Marilyn on a Marilyn Monroe Productions check, before Marilyn autographed it into infamy.

Why is this check so significant that it earns a place on this column? It isn't just because I have been a fan of Marilyn's since childhood, or even more so, that this check celebrates its 53rd anniversary today since Marilyn signed it, and handed it to May.

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This purpose of my column is to typically crow about all the great things to do in New Jersey that are low to no cost...and there are plenty.

However, this deserves mention with so many Jerseyans heading to New York during the holiday season, and this item ties back to New Jersey because it is something that typically resides in the Garden State...with me.

Yes, the check is something I am proud to say I am blessed to be able to be the guardian of, as well as several other items once touched, seen, or used by Marilyn Monroe.

And my items are part of a larger display in New York through New Year's Eve at a free Marilyn Monroe Exhibition, "To Marilyn, With Love," from the collection of Ted Stampfer/Brentwood, GmbH, at Erno Laszlo's The Institute, located at 382 West Broadway, between Spring and Broome Streets.

Dr. Erno Laszlo, a dermatologist, first launched his institute in Hungary in 1927, where he hailed from, catering to the European rich and famous. In 1939, he brought his expertise to New York, where he guided American elites in a private atmosphere, how to care best for their skin. Known as "the hands that launched a thousand famous faces," Dr. Laszlo provided counsel and care to the likes of Grace Kelly, Katharine Hepburn, Jackie Kennedy, Audrey Hepburn (who said she owed 50 percent of her beauty as coming from her mother, and 50 percent to Erno Laszlo), and of course, Marilyn Monroe.

This year, Dr. Laszlo's brand has experienced a rebirth, with the new "The Institute," where clients can find the Erno Laszlo Brand, and, the personal, private, and individualized attention to skincare that he specialized in. Here at The Institute, clients can find year-round consultations, and treatments, with The Institute Membership, from a Skin Therapist.

Marilyn Monroe was naturally beautiful, and she believed in the importance of good skincare, even in her youth before she was famous.

The Erno Laszlo Brand was an important part of her skincare routine, obviously so integral to it, that a jar is seen in photos taken of her bedside at a devastating time; when the iconic beauty was found lifeless in her bed at age 36 in 1962. Click here for Erno Laszlo's page, and look in 1962, to learn more. 

Although she is now an angel, those who would like to, can learn more about The Institute's famous client, Marilyn Monroe at their newly opened location.

And, you will see some of Marilyn Monroe's own personal Erno Laszlo skin care products on display at the exhibit.

Ted Stampfer, who is a well-known Marilyn Monroe collector, and friend of mine for a number of years (I have also collaborated with him on a number of projects with him already, and studied a prescription that is in his collection, and was a focal point of an article I wrote: the article I wrote, which is featured in The Alternative Press, "Was Phenergan Marilyn Monroe's Silent Killer...". click here for the article in its entirety) is the main collector whose items are featured at this event. This is the United States premiere of The Ted Stampfer/Brentwood GmbH Collection.

Ted has items on display from all facets of Marilyn Monroe's private life, from clothing and accessories, to books, and mementos, and more. You will see such famous items as Marilyn Monroe's black checkered pants and black sweater (which she was photographed in frequently), her sunglasses, her bathrobe, some of her fan mail, her hats, and more.

Ted is from Germany, and, one of the other collectors, Christine Krogull, is from there as well. Christine has some unique items of Marilyn's, including an item from before she was famous, a gift to a young Norma Jeane, her given name, her Christian Science Hymnal. This cherished item has an inscription in it in the star's own childhood handwriting.

As I mentioned, I have a check of mine in there, and I also have a book of Robert Burns' poetry, that had once been in Marilyn's personal library, and a receipt for Dom Perignon, her favorite brand of champagne.

Anyone who has a chance to visit the exhibition will be wowed by the items on display, which give a honest glimpse into the real Marilyn Monroe, who held dear many of life's simple things, like her books, some special trinkets, or a pair of black checkered pants, which she wore as a starlet, and later as a great movie star.

Although not noted in the exhibit under my items, I have also entered my items in in honor of Marilyn Monroe Family, in tribute to the legacy of Marilyn Monroe left behind through her relatives. Her cousin, Jason Kennedy, I had the chance to get to know as a result of writing the article about her. Little did I realize, he was on a similar quest for truth about Marilyn Monroe, and especially her sudden and untimely death, as I researched from my end about the Phenergan prescription from Ted Stampfer's collection (written on August 3, 1962; Marilyn Monroe was found dead on August 5: she took one Phenergan before her death, and, I believe this pill was one factor, which contributed to her passing). I found Jason's Marilyn Monroe Family Facebook Page, and learned of his research into her death with the "Surgeon Story," something he was the first to interpret as something very sinister behind his cousin's death. The "Surgeon Story," was written by Marilyn Monroe in New York's Waldorf Astoria Hotel in 1955, and chronicles those who emotionally and financially abused her, and how they did it; these are the same individuals responsible for her death. Go to:,, and the Marilyn Monroe Family Facebook Page to learn more. Also, click here for more photos of the press event from the Marilyn Monroe Family Facebook Page.

Click here for more information about Ted Stampfer's collection too.

When you're in the city, go to The Institute at 382 West Broadway through December 31, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, noon until 6 p.m., to see Marilyn's items, and of course, learn more about the phenomenally famous Erno Laszlo skincare. Click here for the company's website and Facebook Page

The Institute can also be reached by phone (646) 370-1536, and, subway lines: C,E, N,R, 1, 6.

Speaking of the subway, while in New York, Marilyn Monroe photos can be found on display at the 42nd Street, Bryant Park Station at the B, D, F, M, and 7 subway lines, for a MTA's Arts For Transit program, of photos taken by photographer Sam Shaw. One of Shaw's images on display is the famous photo of her taken over the subway grate on Lexington Avenue during the filming of "The Seven Year Itch." The other photos by Shaw show Marilyn enjoying her time in New York City. Although Marilyn Monroe died in California, she maintained a residence at 444 East 57th Street by Sutton Place and Sutton Park, was officially a New York resident at the time of her death, and said she planned to retire in Brooklyn. Some of the photos on display were taken by her home, in Central Park, and other places throughout the city. The exhibit at the Bryant Park Station are said to be on display for the next year.

Jennifer Jean Miller is the Managing Editor, and CEO of The Alternative Press of Sussex County, a licensee of She is a freelance reporter, photographer, and marketing consultant, and has worked with Straus News, LH! Weekly, and, The Alternative Press.  Her adventures have led her all over various parts of New Jersey, and beyond, and, she enjoys sharing her travels, and interesting places to visit and experience, with her readers.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

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