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Allan "Whitey" Snyder and Marilyn Monroe had a unique relationship. Her makeup artist and friend, Snyder, took photos of Monroe on set from their first meeting at a screen test in 1946 until her death, and now those photos are going up for auction.
"It's spectacular," said Martin Nolan of Julien's Auction House on Today. "He was involved with her on the set and off the set, so he had amazing, privileged access."
The shots show Monroe filming some well-known and some lesser-known films. Snyder would reportedly photograph the star to calm her jitters.
"The camera loved Marilyn Monroe, but Marilyn loved the camera," said Nolan. "When the camera was rolling she became Marilyn Monroe. She became distracted from her own issues and just played the role. She loved the camera."
Monroe trusted Snyder, and once she asked a peculiar favor of him. Would he be the makeup artist for her if she died before he did?
"Sure, drop off the body while it's still warm and I'll do it," he joked. Soon after she sent him a gold Tiffany money clip engraved with the note, "Dear Whitey, While I'm still warm, Marilyn."
Snyder's money clip is also up for auction along with letters, telegrams, other memorabilia from his estate and a clipping that shows Snyder carrying Monroe's coffin at her funeral. The rights to some of Snyder's photos are being auctioned as well, so the buyer could make a profit from republishing the prints.
"(Marilyn memorabilia) continue to increase year over year, it's unbelievable," Nolan said. "She's still relevant today, and of course that adds value. She's a global icon."
Check out some incredible shots of Marilyn at The Mirror, including photos of Norma Jean from before she skyrocketed to stardom.