Tom Kelley (photographer)

Last updated
Tom Kelley
Tom Kelley, 1973.jpg
Kelley with A New Wrinkle calendar
Born
Tom Kelley

(1914-12-12)December 12, 1914
DiedJanuary 8, 1984(1984-01-08) (aged 69)
OccupationPhotographer
Known forEntertainment, commercial, and advertising photography
Children1

Tom Kelley Sr. (December 12, 1914 – January 8, 1984) was an American photographer who photographed Hollywood celebrities in the 1940s and 1950s. He is best known for his iconic 1949 nude photographs of Marilyn Monroe, which were distributed widely as calendar art—one of which was featured in the inaugural issue of Playboy magazine in 1953. He paid Marilyn Monroe only $50 for the shoot.

Contents

Biography

Kelley was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He learned photography as an apprentice in a New York photo studio, and then worked for the Associated Press and Town & Country magazine. After moving to California in 1935, Kelley established a photography studio in Hollywood and produced promotional photographs of motion picture stars. David O. Selznick and Samuel Goldwyn retained Kelley to take promotional photos of their stars and starlets for magazine covers and advertising. Later, Kelley's business shifted to commercial and advertising photography.

Some of Kelley's most famous photo subjects have included Gary Cooper, Greta Garbo, James Cagney, Clark Gable, Winston Churchill, Bob Hope, Marlene Dietrich, Joan Crawford, Jack Benny, David Bowie, John F. Kennedy, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Yma Sumac and, of course, Marilyn Monroe, with and without clothes. Tom Kelley had a way of making his subjects feel comfortable behind the camera. He would bring his wife with him to his shoots to create a more soothing and relaxed atmosphere. [1]

Kelley served on the panel of judges at the Miss Universe 1952 and Miss Universe 1956 pageants. Kelley was one of the judges for the famed annual Cavalcades of Jazz beauty contests from 1955 to 1958 which was held at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles and the last one at The Shrine Auditorium. [2] These concerts and beauty pageants were produced by an African-American Leon Hefflin, Sr. [3] Kelley appeared in the 1966 documentary film The Legend of Marilyn Monroe .

The Red Velvet photos

When Kelley originally approached Marilyn about the nude shoot, she turned him down. Monroe was concerned initially about the potential negative effects that such publicity could bring her young career. She was aware that at that time it was not considered traditionally "appropriate" to be nude. Nonetheless, a few days later she gave in and decided to pose for the photos, signing them ' Mona Monroe'. [4] Kelley believed that it was in part because she owed him a favor, having lent her a few bucks for a cab ride home. But Monroe herself said several times that she really just needed the money when she was hungry and needed to make a payment on her vehicle. She joked, however, that she was glad she wasn't eating much at the time because it gave her "a real washboard stomach" in the photos. [5] Upon doing the shoot, Kelley stated "all of her constraints seemed to vanish with her clothes", and that she seemed to be more "herself" in the nude. He even went as far as to say that she was "graceful as an otter". [4] Kelley gave Marilyn fifty dollars for the shoot and, despite its aggressive popularity, she never received any additional remuneration.

Playboy Past

The photos of Monroe also succeeded in building a relationship between Tom Kelley and Hugh Hefner. In 1953 Hefner was getting serious about introducing his new sexually charged magazine, Playboy. Featuring Kelley's now-classic photo of Marilyn Monroe on the cover of its very first issue significantly factored in Playboy's launch into popularity, selling over 50,000 copies. Continuing to partner with Hefner for future editions, Kelley always seemed to make his models more relaxed in order to obtain uniquely appealing and popular photos. One model, Neva Gilbert, Miss July 1954, remembered the experience in a 2016 Associated Press interview, again recalling how he would always bring his wife with him to the shoots. [1] Kelley had her lay on a tiger rug with red painted nails for $20 an hour. Neva said of the photos, "I didn't think it was dirty. I felt they were in good taste. I thought nudes were lovely."

Legacy

Tom Kelley Jr. attempted to auction off not only his father's photographs of Marilyn Monroe, but also their intellectual property rights such that the buyer could remarket them in any way they so chose. Kelley Jr. set the price high, but when the bid reached only $840,000, he decided not to sell. [6]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hugh Hefner</span> American magazine publisher (1926–2017)

Hugh Marston Hefner was an American magazine publisher. He was the founder and editor-in-chief of Playboy magazine, a publication with revealing photographs and articles that provoked charges of obscenity.

<i>Playboy</i> American mens lifestyle and entertainment magazine

Playboy is an American men's lifestyle and entertainment magazine, formerly in print and currently online. It was founded in Chicago in 1953, by Hugh Hefner and his associates, funded in part by a $1,000 loan from Hefner's mother.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dorothy Stratten</span> Canadian Playmate and actress (1960–1980)

Dorothy Ruth Hoogstraten, known professionally as Dorothy Stratten, was a Canadian model and actress, primarily known for her appearances as a Playboy Playmate. Stratten was the Playboy Playmate of the Month for August 1979 and Playmate of the Year in 1980, and appeared in three comedy films and in at least two episodes of shows broadcast on American network television. She was murdered shortly after starring in the movie Galaxina at the age of 20 by her estranged husband and manager Paul Snider, whom she was in the process of divorcing and breaking business ties. Snider committed suicide after he killed Stratten.

<i>Star 80</i> 1983 film by Bob Fosse

Star 80 is a 1983 American biographical drama film written and directed by Bob Fosse. It was adapted from the Pulitzer Prize-winning Village Voice article "Death of a Playmate" by Teresa Carpenter and is based on Canadian Playboy model Dorothy Stratten, who was murdered by her husband Paul Snider in 1980. The film’s title is taken from one of Snider's vanity license plates. The film was Fosse's final film before his death in 1987.

<i>Playboy</i> Playmate Female model featured in a centerfold of Playboy magazine

A Playmate is a female model featured in the centerfold/gatefold of Playboy magazine as Playmate of the Month (PMOTM). The PMOTM's pictorial includes nude photographs and a centerfold poster, along with a pictorial biography and the "Playmate Data Sheet", which lists her birthdate, measurements, turn-ons, and turn-offs. At the end of the year, one of the 12 Playmates of the Month is named Playmate of the Year (PMOTY). Every Playmate of the Month is awarded a prize of US$25,000 and each Playmate of the Year receives an additional prize of US$100,000 plus a car and other discretionary gifts. In addition, Anniversary Playmates are usually chosen to celebrate a milestone year of the magazine. The use of the word "Playmate" in a sexual sense did not originate with Playboy, and was seen at least as early as 1950 in Vue magazine.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Alberto Vargas</span> Peruvian-American painter of pin-up girls (1896–1982)

Joaquin Alberto Vargas y Chávez was a Peruvian-American painter of pin-up girls. He is often considered one of the most famous of the pin-up artists. Numerous Vargas paintings have sold and continue to sell for tens of thousands around the world.

Pornographic magazines or erotic magazines, sometimes known as adult magazines or sex magazines, are magazines that contain content of an explicitly sexual nature. Publications of this kind may contain images of attractive naked subjects, as is the case in softcore pornography, and, in the usual case of hardcore pornography, depictions of masturbation, oral, manual, vaginal, or anal sex.

Milton H. Greene was an American fashion and celebrity photographer and film and television producer, best known for his photo shoots with Marilyn Monroe.

Neva A. Gilbert was an American model. She was Playboy magazine's Playmate of the Month for its July 1954 issue.

Arline Hunter was an American actress and model. She was perhaps best known as Playboy's Playmate of the Month for August 1954. Her centerfold was the first not to be purchased from the John Baumgarth Co. by Hugh Hefner, and was instead photographed by Ed DeLong, who went on to become one of the more prolific Playboy photographers in the 1960s.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Miss America 1984</span> 57th Miss America pageant

Miss America 1984, the 57th Miss America pageant, was held at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey on September 17, 1983, on NBC Network. Miss America 1983, Debra Maffett crowned her successor, Miss New York 1983, Vanessa Williams of Millwood, New York at the end of the nationally televised event. In July 1984, Williams was forced to resign over the unauthorized publication of nude photographs and was succeeded by first runner-up, Miss New Jersey Suzette Charles, who served as Miss America until September 15, 1984. Among the contestants who did not place among the ten finalists, Miss New Mexico 1983 Mai Shanley, eventually went on to win the Miss USA 1984 pageant on May 17, 1984.

Joanne Kandy Latham is an English former glamour model.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lamonte McLemore</span> American vocalist

Lamonte McLemore is an American vocalist, composer, and photographer. He was a founding member of The 5th Dimension, a popular vocal group of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Vikki Dougan</span> American model and actress

Vikki Dougan is an American former model and actress.

Stephen Wayda is an American professional photographer, best known for his photography for Playboy magazine.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ed Feingersh</span> American photographer (1925 - 1961)

Ed Feingersh (1925–1961) studied photography under Alexey Brodovitch at the New School of Social Research. He later worked as a photojournalist for the Pix Publishing agency. His talent for available light photography under seemingly impossible conditions was well recognised. His pictures of Marilyn Monroe are his best known, but he was a prolific photojournalist throughout the 1950s. Two of his moody photographs of jazz performers were selected by Edward Steichen for MoMA’s world-touring The Family of Man exhibition.

References

  1. 1 2 Aydlette, Larry (December 26, 2016). "Neva Gilbert Recalls Her Life as 1 of Playboy's Original Playmates". The Ledger . Associated Press.
  2. "Jeanna Limyou Chosen Miss Cavalcade of Jazz". Jet Magazine. August 11, 1955.
  3. Reed, Tom. (1992). The Black music history of Los Angeles, its roots : 50 years in Black music : a classical pictorial history of Los Angeles Black music of the 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's and 60's : photographic essays that define the people, the artistry and their contributions to the wonderful world of entertainment (1st limited ed.). Los Angeles: Black Accent on L.A. Press. ISBN   096329086X. OCLC   28801394.
  4. 1 2 Halberstam, David (1994). The Fifties. Ballantine Books. ISBN   978-0449909331.
  5. Mailer, Norman (1973). Marilyn: A Biography. Grosset & Dunlap. ISBN   978-0448118130.
  6. Alvarez, Fred (March 23, 2001). "Famous Marilyn Monroe Nudes Fail to Attract Minimum Bids". Los Angeles Times .