09:33 AM EDT 05/16/2013
Originally posted 05/14/2013 10:30AM
His full name may have been Kenneth Battelle, but to a half-century's worth of fashion editors, First Ladies and society women, he was simply "Kenneth."
Sunday at his home in Wappingers Falls, N.Y., two years after his retirement, he died at age 86, his company announced to The New York Times.
Among his clients: society doyenne Brooke Astor, stars such as Marilyn Monroe, Lucille Ball, Joan Rivers, Judy Garland, Lauren Bacall and Audrey Hepburn, as well as Jacqueline Kennedy, whose hair was done by Kenneth right before she accompanied her husband on the fateful trip to Dallas in November 1963.
Mrs. Kennedy, even when she later became Mrs. Onassis, also continued to visit his salon just off Fifth Avenue in New York, where she was always ushered into her own private area, another client of longstanding tells PEOPLE.
Originally posted 02/06/2013 10:20AM
Smash is back! And NBC's musical about musicals is delivering a new diva – and even more drama – in season 2.
After a solid preview in Boston, the cast of the Marilyn Monroe musical Bombshell – including dueling divas Karen Cartwright (Katharine McPhee) and Ivy Lynn (Megan Hilty) – are back in the Big Apple and hoping to make their Broadway debut at the fabled St. James Theatre.
But opening isn't going to be easy: Bombshell producer Eileen Rand's ex-husband launches a plan to make her funding disappear and close down the show. While Eileen (Anjelica Huston) and her team, director Derek Wills (Jack Davenport) and writers Julia Houston (Debra Messing) and Tom Levitt (Christian Borle), do their best to keep up appearances, Smash's characters deal with a variety of other problems.
Originally posted 10/07/2012 08:00PM
Lois Smith, a much-admired veteran movie publicist and the mother of Grey's Anatomy actress Brooke Smith, died Sunday afternoon after suffering a brain hemorrhage due to an accidental fall, Deadline reports. She was 84.
The New York-based industry trailblazer was in Maine, where her husband, Eugene Smith, was set to be recognized for his philanthropic work. Smith fell down the stairs late Saturday night at the bed-and-breakfast where they were staying.
A maternal figure to both stars and journalists who tended to adore her in equal doses, Smith, along with Pat Kingsley and Patricia Newcomb, helped establish the publicity firm of PMK (initially known as Pickwick, it merged with Maslansky/Koenigsberg) as an A-list leader. As a publicist, Smith was as involved in shaping images as she was in promoting specific movies, and always with a personal touch.
Among her clients were Robert Redford (their professional marriage went back to the late '60s, when his star was launched with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid), as well as Marilyn Monroe, Martin Scorsese, Meryl Streep, Susan Sarandon and Whitney Houston.
Originally posted 08/01/2012 04:45PM
The story made headlines around the globe: Marilyn Monroe, the world's most celebrated starlet, had apparently committed suicide.
But many who knew her didn't believe she'd take her own life, and as the 50th anniversary of her death at age 36 approaches, her tragic end remains shrouded in mystery.
In the new issue of PEOPLE, guest writer J.I. Baker – author of The Empty Glass, a new murder thriller based on her death – uses his research and fresh reporting to explore the truth.
Originally posted 05/19/2012 10:10AM
It's been 50 years since Marilyn Monroe offered a sultry musical greeting to then President John F. Kennedy on his 45th birthday. The song, "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" has become iconic – parodied and celebrated in pop culture for the past five decades ever since it was performed on May 19, 1962.
PEOPLE.com is paying homage to the cultural moment with this roundup of equally star-studded renditions – from Mike Myers in character as Wayne Campbell to Madonna's 1993 version on SNL to the stars of Smash, vying for a role in a Marilyn-themed musical, this year.
And then there's Marilyn's version, sung at a celebration for Kennedy 10 days before his actual birthday: It was followed up with a snippet of the song "Thanks for the Memory," which she amended with lyrics written specifically for Kennedy.
Originally posted 02/16/2012 08:00AM
Katharine McPhee's character might be up for the role of Marilyn Monroe on NBC's Smash, but on next week's episode (Monday, 10 p.m. ET), she proves she's still a "Redneck Woman" at heart.
In a sneak preview (see video above), McPhee's Karen Cartwright returns to Iowa for a baby shower, where she performs karaoke at a bar to Gretchen Wilson's country hit "Redneck Woman."
Meanwhile, back in New York, the writing-producing team played by Anjelica Huston and Debra Messing are working on getting investors for the show and looking to cast someone as Yankee hero – and Monroe husband – Joe DiMaggio.
(In 1983 there really was a Monroe musical, the short-lived Marilyn: An American Fable. It featured, in his Broadway debut, a pre-Quantum Leap Scott Bakula as DiMaggio. Alyson Reed played Monroe.)
Originally posted 02/06/2012 11:00PM
Smash has finally arrived!
After months of heavy promotion (and access to the pilot on iTunes), NBC's buzzed-about musical drama that goes behind the scenes of a Broadway show premiered Monday night – but will it be a hit? Caution: Spoilers ahead.
In the first episode, we meet the players – struggling actors, conflicted writers, an egotistical director and an ambitious producer – involved in launching a musical about the life of Marilyn Monroe.
"Everyone's doing her now," says Debra Messing's character, writer Julia Houston. "There's a Marilyn movie, diaries. You know what there's an app for the iPad now? You blow on it and the skirt goes up."
Originally posted 01/24/2012 08:45AM
Comedy counts in Hollywood, for once, with two surprise nominations for Bridesmaids, for Supporting Actress Melissa McCarthy and Best Screenplay writer Kristen Wiig, according to this year's Oscar nominations, announced early Tuesday at the Beverly Hills headquarters of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
As anticipated – given earlier honors from critics' group and the Golden Globes – nominations in the Best Picture category included those for director Alexander Payne's family drama set in Hawaii The Descendants (five nods) and the love letters to early movies, The Artist, with 10 nominations, and Martin Scorsese's Hugo, with 11. In all, nine films received Best Picture nominations.
Acting nods went to, among others, those friendly rivals George Clooney, for The Descendants, and Brad Pitt, for Moneyball.
For Best Actress, Michelle Williams was cited for her turn as Marilyn Monroe in My Week with Marilyn, as was Meryl Streep, who plays former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, in The Iron Lady.
Streep's nomination is her 17th – an all-time Academy record. (Both Jack Nicholson and Katharine Hepburn received 12 nominations; he won three times and she won four.) Streep has won twice, as Best Supporting Actress for 1979's Kramer vs. Kramer, and as Best Actress for 1982's Sophie's Choice.
Originally posted 11/14/2011 02:20PM
She added a few pounds, had the blonde wig, and spent hours in makeup each day to play Marilyn Monroe in the upcoming film My Week with Marilyn. But Michelle Williams had to learn to move like the Hollywood legend, too.
"I wasn't watching what I ate, let's put it that way," Williams, 31, told PEOPLE Sunday, at the film's New York premiere, about her physical transformation, which also included some helpful wardrobe tricks that helped her jiggle a bit more.
"The costume designer and Michelle came up with some great stuff," said director Simon Curtis. "But an awful lot is Williams's understanding of the way Marilyn walked, and the way Williams herself took on the wiggle."
Originally posted 11/04/2011 08:25AM
There's a lot of buzz surrounding Michelle Williams's sultry new role as Marilyn Monroe in the upcoming film My Week with Marilyn.
Even Queen Elizabeth is said to be screening the film, which includes their meeting in 1956.
But in this new clip, you see what the fuss is all about. Williams's giggling Marilyn hides in the backseat of her "getaway car" to steal a young Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne) off the studio lot for an "adventure."
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