Magic of Marilyn reborn in exhibition of images that enraptured the world

Louise Jury Arts Correspondent
Saturday 15 March 2003 01:00

Marilyn Monroe's iconoclastic status is to be celebrated in London next month with the world's largest exhibition of her image. More than 250 works by 70 artists including Andy Warhol and Peter Blake and the photographers Richard Avedon and Henri Cartier-Bresson will go on display at the County Hall Gallery next to the London Eye.

Organisers believe up to 200,000 people are likely to visit the show, from 9 April to 14 September. Already, fan clubs are phoning for mass bookings.

As well as many previously unseen images, on show will be memorabilia, including the bed she slept in, the dress and jewellery she wore on her first date with the baseball star Jo DiMaggio, whom she married, and a drawing she did when she was a model known by her real name of Norma Jean Baker. Other works are by contemporary artists such as Conny Holthusen and Ernesto Tatafiore.

And there are plans for screenings of favourite films, including Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and The Seven Year Itch, which featured the skirt-blowing incident. She died of a drug overdose in 1962, when she was 36.

Thomas Levy, a Germany gallery owner who curated the exhibition, said: "Along with so many others, I have always had a passion for Marilyn. She has been such an inspiration to so many and I wanted to put together an exhibition that reflected her immense influence on the art and culture of today."

Tickets for Marilyn Monroe – Life of a Legend are £8.50 but concessions will be available. The show will tour Japan, Australia and the United States for two years after London.

Or did her hands hold her secret?

People on a first date who lack the ability to judge whether their partner is attractive can now tell from a simple observation: by checking the length of their fingers.

Psychologists say when ring and index fingers are close to the same length, the people are more likely to have symmetrical faces, widely thought to be the most attractive.

Men whose ring and index fingers differ substantially in length are more likely to have asymmetrical faces, seen to be less attractive.

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The report was presented to the British Psychological Society's annual conference in Bournemouth yesterday by Nick Neave, of Northumbria University. He said differences in finger-length and facial shape were set by pre-natal testosterone levels.

Jeremy Laurance

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