Beautiful Photos of Marilyn Monroe in the 1950s taken by John Florea

Johnny Florea (known as ‘Johnny’) was born in 1916 in Alliance, Ohio, and grew up in Los Angeles. He began working as a photographer for Life magazine in 1941. As he developed photographs of Jane Russell in a darkroom, he received the news of the Pearl Harbour bombing. After heading to San Diego’s military camps, Florea created a photo essay, ‘A Day in the Life of the Marine Corps Raiders.’ The photos were highly acclaimed, and Florea was one of America’s earliest war correspondents. While working on the frontlines for V-E Day and V-J Day, he covered the liberation of the Belsen death camp in Germany, the battles between marines in the Pacific, and the liberation of the Belsen death camp. “I busted a lot of lenses,” he recalled in 1995. “It’s hard to run with cameras, and you have to hit the deck when the bombs whistle by.”

Florea returned to Hollywood after World War II. As a photo editor for Collier’s magazine, he worked for Life and the San Francisco Examiner.

Florea photographed Marilyn Monroe for the first time in 1951. She had already appeared in two acclaimed movies before her 24th birthday, ‘The Asphalt Jungle’ and ‘All About Eve’. Twentieth Century-Fox recently signed her to a seven-year deal. Although Monroe was an excellent model, she lacked the photographer who can turn her into a Sex Symbol. Most of Florea’s publicity photos fit the ‘cheesecake’ mould during this period, and she was happy to oblige. On the sets of Marilyn’s movies, Florea photographed her throughout 1953 and 1954. For the filming of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, she posed cross-legged and was counting money while portraying Lorelei Lee, a golddigger. Florea photographed Monroe performing Irving Berlin’s “There’s No Business-Like Show Business” in a recording studio during her last major shoot with him.

In 1988, a Los Angeles Museum of art exhibition featured Florea’s Hollywood images. He died at Summerlin Hospital in Las Vegas on August 25, 2000.

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Written by Orla Morris

Full-time dress and costume designer, Half Persian half Italian. I still don’t know how to write, but i'm writing and you are reading :)

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