The Unspoken Friendship of Ella and Marilyn
I recently located these pictures of two very iconic women, film legend Ms. Marilyn Monroe and Jazz legend, Ms. Ella Fitzgerald sitting together like old gossipy girlfriends. I almost fell out of my seat! Who knew that these two ladies were BFFs!? What might they even be saying to one another in that first picture anyway?! Well apparently the story goes like this:
Marilyn was a HUGE Jazz fan and an equally HUGE fan of the talented Ella Fitzgerald. When she discovered that Ella was not allowed to perform at certain Jazz and Lounge clubs due to the color bar; she made a deal with the manager of her favorite hotspot, The Macambo in Los Angeles, that if he allowed Ella to perform, she would sit in the front row of his club 5 nights a week in exchange. This was an offer that even the manager could not deny. He lifted the bar and welcomed Ella; marking a major breakthrough in Fitzgerald's successful career.
Over time, both women discovered that their bond was built not only out of a mutual admiration, but also out of a common pain that revealed a past mired with child abuse, domestic abuse, loss, a desire to be accepted as they were, and a life sometimes burdened with the pressures of an unfair and often demanding entertainment industry. Although neither women spoke a great deal of this friendship in their respective biographies, it is said that Ella had spoken of "owing Marilyn and great debt" and that in this unlikely friendship, what these ladies had was very real and endearing.
Monique, Twirl Vintage Co.
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