And that was eons before My Week With Marilyn.

Hello, everybody. Joe Morella and Frank Segers, your classic movie guys, here to report back about those two Fox ‘contract players‘ we asked you to identify in our Nov. 24 blog.

Almost everyone in the world would recognize the star in the first picture above, but how many of you recognized the other actress?  Now, c’mon. Be honest!

Frank swore it was Terry Moore.  Reader Stefano Iovinelli  (Stefy56), who emailed on Dec. 7 with the correct identification, knew better.  Thanks Stefano.

Of course that is Marilyn Monroe posing (above) outside of what appears to be a bay-side hotel restaurant. What an inane setting!

Marilyn looks great. She’s meticulously made up, and for a bathing suit shot, is elegantly dressed.  Dig those earrings and provocative shoes.

The photo dates from the early Forties during Marilyn’s first tour at Fox, which ended later in the decade when studio boss Darryl F. Zanuck, in one of his most boneheaded personnel calls, fired her.

She was subsequently hired by Columbia Pictures (at a reported weekly salary of $175), and plopped into role of a singing dancer in 1948’s Ladies of the Chorus. But when her six-month option there was up, Columbia’s Harry Cohn declared, “the girl can’t act,” and he fired her. (After she became a star back at repentant Fox, Cohn was never allowed to forget that he had dismissed Marilyn Monroe.)

Tony Curtis recalls in his American Prince: A Memoir falling in love with Monroe shortly before this publicity shot of her was taken.

“Marilyn had been spending time at the (Fox) studio. She was changing her style, her look, even her persona. When we first started going out, she spoke in a normal voice, plainly and directly….By the end of our relationship she was beginning to talk with that breathy, sexy affectation that became her trademark. She also had changed her hair color from red to platinum blond.

Curtis also wrote of their affair that Marilyn was the first woman I felt truly close to. … No other woman I’ve known made me feel that way until I met my (sixth and final) wife Jillie almost fifty years later. (So much for first wife Janet Leigh.)

Our second Fox ‘contract player’ at Fox was around for many years; after movie offers dried up in the Fifties, she worked in TV and on the stage until the 1960’s.

Although she starred opposite some of the top leading men of her day (including Henry Fonda and Don Ameche), she never attained top tier stardom. Among her some 150 movie credits is 1944’s The Bridge at San Luis Rey written by Thornton Wilder and costarring Francis Lederer, Louis Calhern, and one of our personal favorite character actors, the great Akim Tamiroff.

OK, enough of the foreplay. Our second mystery ‘contract player’ is Lynn Bari, born Margaret Schuyler Fisher in 1913, and died nearly 76 years later in Santa Barbara, California.  She was married to Sid Luft for seven years beginning in 1943.  That was before Luft (pictured below with Bari) wed Judy Garland.

With a head shot, it’s hard to appreciate perhaps her most notable attribute — her knockout figure.

Final note: there is no record of Bari having ever being romanced by Tony Curtis.

 

 

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