Fifty years after her death, hundreds of United Way supporters got a look into the private life of Marilyn Monroe this weekend.
Scott Fortner’s collection of Marilyn’s most intimate items were on display at Chaminade Resort and Spa Friday and Saturday, to raise money for the United Way of Santa Cruz and celebrate both the 70-year anniversary of the United Way and the 50th year since Marilyn died.
Fortner, the Human Resource and Administrative Services Director with the Central California Alliance for Health is considered an authority on Marilyn Monroe.
The heavy rains didn’t stop many curious Monroe fans from checking out the display of Fortner’s extensive collection.
One woman viewing the exhibit says she also collects Marilyn memorabilia. But not these kind of things, says Zenaida Castillo.
“Pictures, jewelry with her, anywhere you look I have her stuff. So it was just kind of fun to come and see her real stuff,” says Castillo. “My favorite, believe it or not is to see her creams and stuff, I love her personal things.”
Polly Hormel of Santa Cruz agrees.
“I love it,” she said. “I’ve been a fan of hers for years. Especially her make up,” says Hormel, pointing out Marilyn’s Elizabeth Arden perfume and cashew cream make up.
Fortner has been collecting Marilyn's items and original photographs for years. He says he obtains things for his collection at auctions and private transactions.
"Believe it or not, people give me things," says Fortner. "Like the yearbook was given to me by someone who was in school with Marilyn. She wanted it to go to a fan. Someone who appreciated Marilyn and someone who would really appreciate the book."
Raelynn McGraw of Santa Cruz appreciated the ‘Marilyn cocktail’ created for the event containing vodka, Chambord, pineapple juice, and champagne.
“They said she liked champagne,” says McGraw. “It was very interesting with the pineapple but it was very good…like a martini.”
Marilyn's personal correspondence was especially intriguing for June Ralston of Santa Cruz.
"Everything is so different and unique, i kinda just enjoy reading the letters," says Ralston.
There were many letters, notes, receipts, film scripts, skin care items, gowns, garments and much more to enjoy viewing along with videos of Marilyn wearing some of the very same clothing items on display.
At the main dinner gala Saturday night, the guests were treated to a $125-a-plate dinner and music and met the winner of a Monroe lookalike contest. Winners of the silent auction were announced and the raffle winners from both nights were informed on Sunday.
The event was sponsored by Plantronics, the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds, Tina Shull, and the Pacific Cookie Company.