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Monday, 6 April 2009

Dreams Unwind... Love's estate of mind...

marilyn monroe Pictures, Images and Photos

With an apology for continuing in the same vein about Marilyn, love and loss, I stumbled back in to the stone Temple to see the Goddess Wiki last week, and found out something I did not know about Marilyn, but which is another sad reflection, perhaps on human behaviour and avarice...

By the way, you might find it interesting to note that, in some lights, La Wiki looks a little like Marilyn, likewise Marilyn did a pretty good job of looking like a goddess! Marilyn in bed-photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Here it is...

"In her will, Monroe left Lee Strasberg (her Method Acting coach) her personal effects, which amounted to just over half of her residuary estate. She expressed her desire that he "distribute [the effects] among my friends, colleagues and those to whom I am devoted".

Marilyn Monroe Pictures, Images and Photos

Instead, he stored them in a warehouse, and willed them to his widow, Anna. After successfully suing Los Angeles-based Odyssey Auctions in 1994 to prevent the sale of items taken by Monroe's former business manager, Inez Melson, in October 1999, Christie's auctioned the bulk of the items, including those recovered from Melson's family, netting US $13,405,785.

Strasberg then sued the children of four photographers to determine rights of publicity, which permits the licensing of images of deceased personages for commercial purposes. The decision as to whether Monroe was a resident of California, where she died, or New York, where her will was probated, was worth millions.

Marilyn Monroe Pictures, Images and Photos

On May 4, 2007, a judge in New York ruled that Monroe's rights of publicity ended at death. In October 2007, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Senate Bill 771. The legislation, which was supported by Strasberg and the Screen Actors Guild, established that non-family members may inherit rights of publicity through the residuary clause of the deceased's will provided that the person was a resident of California at the time of death.

Marilyn Monroe Pictures, Images and Photos

In March 2008, the United States District Court in Los Angeles ruled that Monroe was a resident of New York at the time of her death, citing that the executor of her estate told California tax authorities as such, and that a 1966 sworn affidavit by her housekeeper quoted Monroe as saying that she considered New York City to be her primary residence. The decision was reaffirmed by the United States District Court of New York in September 2008."

And so, the facts appear to be, when Marilyn died the year before I was born, in 1962, she left an estate valued at $92,781. She bequeathed her money to her half-sister, her mother and a few of her friends.... Her personal effects and clothing were to go to Lee Strasberg, their value at the time was $3,200.

"Christie's New York auctioned off those belongings for an astonishing $13.4 million. $612,600 went to the Literacy Partners, $441,650 to the World Wildlife Fund and the rest -- $12.3 million -- to one Anna Mizrahi Strasberg, widow of Lee Strasberg, a woman whom Marilyn Monroe had never even met...

Marilyn Monroe on location, Nevada, "The Misfits" (1961) Pictures, Images and Photos

Another beneficiary of Monroe's estate was the Anna Freud Centre in England, an institute dedicated to "helping children in emotional distress, and to train child experts and conduct research into the best ways to help children suffering mental ill-health". (Source)

Marilyn's biographers have suggested that, toward the end of her life, her relationship to both her acting coach and her therapists, had cooled significantly. Did Marilyn intend for her legacy to end up where it did?

And why do people do that, do you suppose? I am certain that we have all experienced this, or heard of it happening - Relatives, some of whom we might not have seen in years, descend from on high to sift through the possessions of our recently departed loved ones, weighing properties and objets d'art in the balance of their hands, coldly calculating what they feel that their neglect of that person has entitled them to, or rather seeing what they can get away with silently stealing...

My paternal grandmother died a short while before I was born, leaving behind her husband, and my dad who, like me, was an only child... He was in the Royal Air Force, and it took him some time to get permission to travel home at that time. He once expressed some sadness when he told me that people he didn't know were in the house taking away her few possessions, and so much had already gone -- His dad too distraught, and probably a little too drunk, to do anything about it. My grandmother didn't have much to show for her hard working life - My dad could remember she had a small but heavy flat iron he later saw on an episode of the Antiques Roadshow. She also had some musical instruments in the attic that had belonged to her father, who although a pitman, was also the lead violinist in the Sir Norman and Lady Barrington local orchestra around the time of the Second World War... By chance, I later took up the violin at school, which is a very odd co-incidence, as my dad had never mentioned this fact... So, his violin, a banjo, and an odd stringed instrument, perhaps a lute, with a built in trumpet speaker had gone by the time dad got home... I think he would have liked a few things just to remember her by. He was never bitter about it, merely incredulous, and all he had left were his memories of this woman who had loved him devotedly, and he said would have adored me too... I don't even have any photos of my dad as a child, because the few there were got scattered amongst relatives, or were lost...

What lesson might we draw from this? Perhaps to make all our wishes very clear to our loved ones, to ensure we leave nothing left unsaid, and don't avoid sharing what wishes matter to us, even writing it down, very lucidly, so there is no doubt and so that people aren't disappointed or, heaven forbid, unwittingly manipulated, at a time of great love, huge grief and overwhelming vulnerability...

This is so not like cheery Fhina at all, n'est-ce pas? But it is a corner of my creased wild heart nonetheless, mes bloggy treasure troves...

Toodles, mes dahlinks -- Hang on, no you can't go before I kiss that soft, dimpled cheek you are proffering... Mwah! ... Ooh, look at that; I'll just have to wipe off a smidgeon of lipstick I've left there before you leave. Wait, I have a tissue... There... All ready for work now, you see? Must love you and leave you... Sois gentil! Be good, mes dahlinks!

Marilyn Monroe Pictures, Images and Photos

22 comments:

Protege said...

The collage is stunning; you really are a devoted Marilyn fan.;))

It is important to discuss even grave issues with our loved ones; even though most of us do not like to think about anyones passing.

I hope your Monday is lovely.;))

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Zee: You are such a fabulous counsellor - I felt it was a difficult message, and one I feel necessary to voice, as you say. Have a splendid day, Z! x

Dumdad said...

This "mess" over wills etc reminds me of Peter Sellers and his children. He married his fourth wife and left her everything but just before he died, as their relationship soured, he was going to change the will. But he didn't and died and Lynne Fredericks inherited the lot. She then died and the Sellers estate and royalties went to her daughter who was born after Sellers died and is not related.

So, a young woman who has no link to Sellers nor met him has millions. Meanwhile, his three children were left with nothing. Not fair, huh?

Michelle said...

It seems all so complicated to me. But I suppose what you want done after you die is so important to be documented before you die. UGH!!! I don't like to think about such things. Just not my style.

GOOD LUCK AT WORKY TODAY!!! Your going to rock the house!!!

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Dumdad: That is right, Sir - And I recently saw the elder daughter on one of those Rehab programmes... She is still very troubled by that life and the 'what if' outcomes... Her brother recently died, well before his time, I think. Not just unfair, but tragic really...

Michelle: I know, sweetie - None of us want ever to speak about these things, but it is important to leave our wishes known - Says Fhina, who still has to put pen to paper for her will, admittedly! Have a lovely week, my chumster xxooxx

French Fancy said...

Fhina, to me this is the sort of post you do so very well - a mix of dry facts from Wiki interspersed with personal memories and, of course, always the stunning photographs.

My parents had a few friends who gave away their valuables in their lifetime - which I think is what I am going to do in about 30 years time. Find all the youngsters in the family and pick who gets what and watch them take it. The downside is of course empty shelves but at least I will have taken control.

blognut said...

You continue to fascinate me with Marilyn's story. Mystery, beauty, and heartache all wrapped into one person; so like regular folks, no?

Love to you, Lady Fhina. Have a beautiful day!
Bloggus
xo

jinksy said...

Don't work too hard - delegate! xxx

carma said...

You raise a great point about making ones wishes clear. I like French Fancy's idea of giving most of it away while still amongst the living.

Take it easy at work!
carma

Belle said...

This post is closer to my heart than you could ever possibly imagine.
x

Diane said...

Even when you're not cheery, you're still lovely, dear Fhina.

Ryan has made her afer-death wishes very clear to me. Not in a morbid way at all - just very matter-of-factly. When I remind her that it is very likely I will die before she does, she tells me that's not allowed. But if I do, she'll keep my ashes with her and then after she dies, she'll have SOMEONE (she doesn't like to think about herself with children) scatter our ashes in the same place, so we'll always be together. I say that's fine, as long as she doesn't spend eternity talking ;)

Bee and Rose said...

This is so important:) My husband and I recently completed our wills. In Arizona, if you do not have a will, all of your belongings and property go to the state!

Chairman Bill said...

Well, I'm going to leave all my debts to the Chancellor.

Jan said...

Fhina my love you're so sweet mwaaa - your blogs really lift my heart

Maternal Tales said...

Reading your blog is like having a history lesson - all this stuff I didn't know - fascinating! x

Lola said...

Although I don't like to think about anyone's passing, I agree with you that it is very important to discuss grave issues with our loved ones in advance (shiver).
Thank you for the Norma Jean epic, I truly loved it.

lizspin said...

I want to inherit 13.4 million from someone I've never met!!!

I've never met you. . .have I? Will you put me in your will, Fhina????

Vodka Mom said...

There is quite a lesson to be learned there.

Never bequeath anything to your acting coach.

jenniferw said...

You are so right, Fhina. My darling husband has provided me with a few pieces of not terribly expensive -- but terribly beautiful -- "real" jewelry, and it is my wish that each of my daughters, and my future daughter-in-law, receive an item upon my demise (our only son will get a few nice things his father owns, and I guess the sons-in-law will have to be content with having gotten our daughters). But you are right: I should update my will and write it all down, having thought through carefully which piece belongs best with each beneficiary. Thanks for bringing this important topic to the fore! *kiss kiss*

lakeviewer said...

You got us all thinking about the end, and the disposal of everything. Better hand it out to those people who will appreciate your things, I say. Don't wait. Let others appreciate your pearls, your paintings, your charm bracelets. You can't take them where you are going anyway.

Derrick said...

Hi Fhina,

What a lot of thinking you have provoked. There's nothing like a will to bring out the greed in people! The sad fact is that, even if you have recorded your wishes meticulously, the will can still be challenged by the dispossessed and disgruntled! Perhaps the best course is to give it all away while one is still here!

A Woman Of No Importance said...

FF: Thank you, precious FF... I loved your post today - Tuesday on this - Many, many thanks for shouting out, and for listening - Now I just need to listen to myself too! I think those of us who enjoy control, will then have the pleasure of knowing our things shall be taken good care of and not just discarded or sold off with ill thought... x

dear blognut: Marilyn has that beauty edged with sadness that is a part of all our hearts, I think, dahlink BN... Have a fine week, my darling friend xxooxx

La jinksy: I shall delegate - I shall!!! If I remember how to work, that is... Yikes! x

carma: None of us wants to think about such things, eh carma - But it's comforting to know that we have reached settlements in life that help us to heal, non? That is karma to me, dearest carma x

Belle: Bless you, dahlink Belle x

Diane dahlink: You gave me such a big smile when you mentioned how Ryan thinks - She is such an old soul that one, non?! Such a little star... And your retort is just priceless... Is she still skreeking on her instrument, as well as talking like a professional counsellor, bless her! And bless you, beautiful D xox

Bee and Rose: That would be a shock, non... Probate has also got more complex here in the UK than it used to be... If someone dies alone without relatives that can be traced here, then it all goes to the state - So sad, really and so unnecessary - Goddess knows what they end up doing with all the money - but we pay enough in taxes...

Chairman Bill: I think that is a good strategy, Sir!

Jan: Mwah sweetie Jan! I am pleased my little bits of madness occasionally help others, or give us some 'headspace' to think! x

Maternal Tales: History, and lecturing at the same time - Lucky no-one knows who I am or else I could be had up for harrassment!

Lola: No-one wants to discuss such things, dahlink - No-one. And yet unless we believe we will never pass over to somespace else, it is good for us to have a settled heart, and in that way to reach a better space in our minds... Sometimes these things can be discussed years in advance, or gifts given to family years in advance, it doesn't have to be such a serious, or a sad thing to do, I feel... I know what my OH wants, for example, and he has hopefully at least 30 years left in him... and vice versa. That way if he goes ga-ga, or I become Lady Ga-Ga, we are sorted! Chortle x

lizspin: Liz, I bequeath you forthwith my collection of old bank statements (useful as gerbil bedding), and small priceless set of cats' whiskers... (Sentimental value only)... I wish I had such a sum of money myself! How much do you think I would get for cats' whiskers on e-bay??! xx

Vodka Mom: True, true, VKMom! Mwah!

jenniferw: And my husband and I (don't I sound like the Queen?) also need to prepare our wills sooner rather than later... I also think, as others have said, that it is good to give away our things in life - Making our souls lighter - You can tell I'm going back to work, I am over-gushing with sentiment and philosophy, but giving away things can be a very healthy and life-enhancing thing to do... Big x's to you too!

lakeviewer: I know, what have I begun, darling?! It wasn't intentional, but the sadness surrounding the legal fight for Marilyn's kibble just set me off - Although I really found that site interesting where you can see what books someone had in their library - The link was there a couple of days ago in my comments... V. interesting! And you are always so wise and so right x

Derrick: I know exactly what you mean, Sir, just so - Remember Bleak House and Jarndyce vs Jarndyce? That's what I wanted to express - Why do people come out of the woodwork to behave so badly - How do they live with themselves?? And I think you have hit the nail on the head - Give it all away while we still have choice - Vital! x

Something I wrote earlier...

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