Peter Mangone

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Peter Mangone



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Page Six

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Personal Motto:

“Did I Tell You...”

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He was 14 she was 29. He was a skinny,big eared kid from the Bronx, she a blond bombshell from Hollywood. They said it would never work out, and sure enough, it didn’t. But for one brisk day in the spring of 1955, Peter Mangone and Marilyn Monroe were in love, and he has the film to prove it.

Back in the 1950’s Peter, now living in Fort Lauderdale was such a Marilyn fan that for several months he staked out the Gladstone Hotel on East 52nd Street where she was recovering from her divorce from Joe DiMaggio and her summary dismissal from her contract at 20th Century Fox.

On one of those truant mornings, Peter took an eight millimeter Revers camera from his brother and headed downtown and met Marilyn Monroe just as she was leaving the hotel for a therapeutic shopping spree. Then, just as in the movies, she waved winked and asked him to come along.

“Once you saw her your eyes fixed into her, she was burnt into your head, I haven’t been able to look at another woman the same way since,” Peter said.

Peter shot Marilyn Monroe in fits and starts over the course of the day,developed the film and watched it in his house on Starling Avenue in The Bronx.

He did not see it again for 50 years.

“When I was about 17, I remember cleaning my room and throwing a bunch of stuff out, movie magazines, and other stuff, because I was a mature person now. I thought the film went out with the stuff .”

The imaginary couple grew apart. Peter became a speed skater, a Roller Derby star and eventually a celebrity hair stylist working with Hollywood stars doing Vegas style shows in Florida (see Sammy Davis, Liza Minelli, Wayne Newton, Debbie Boone, Donna Summer, Zsa Zsa, Steve and Edie- to name a few). Marilyn Monroe returned to Hollywood and continued to struggle with fame, men, drugs and depression. She died of an overdose in 1962 at age 36.

It wasn’t until last year that Peter Mangone and his Marilyn Monroe (the film) were reunited when his brother found it among their father’s possessions and returned it to him. “I thought he was joking, then I saw the case.” Peter said.


The film, ignored and stored in a beat- up cardboard box, was in mint condition. It had suffered none of the ravages of time because no one had ever seen it or screened it.

Walking backwards Peter Mangone captured Marilyn Monroe in classic New York City poses, like strolling arm-and-arm down Fifth Avenue with her friend and photographer, Milton Greene, and stepping gingerly over a subway grate (this was the year of the “ Seven Year Itch” and that famous whoosh of air and her revealing white dress.)

The camera also caught unguarded, unglamorous moments: her yawns, stumbles and a speck of dust flying into her eye.

Peter Mangone never saw Marilyn Monroe again after 1955, but the fascination lived on and the love affair has bloomed again. The future of the film and story has endless possibilities, a book, a film, licensing, who knows. Peter Mangone and Marilyn Monroe are reunited once again.

Finding Marilyn Monroe has been a gift. Peter Mangone said, “Discovering Marilyn Monroe again was like refinding my high school sweetheart, and you know what? She is more beautiful than I remember.”

----taken from the New York Times by Jesse Mckinley