I was surprised by the respect Marilyn’s fans showed her during the sessions at Santa Monica Beach. No one bothered us; the people who gathered around spoke in whispers.
Of course there were exceptions to the generally respectful treatment by the fans: A very regal lady once paraded majestically into camera range and, with a slow sideways glance, indicated that it would be perfectly okay to include her in a photo or two (pictured above). On another occasion, a couple of picnickers positioned themselves for a clear view of our work and politely asked anyone blocking their front-row view of the star to please move on. The teenage boys were the funniest—they would mimic Marilyn’s sultry poses, much to their own amusement, as well as our own.
But the “mystery lady” intrigued us. Wearing a large straw hat that concealed her face, she stood silently and almost motionless as she watched the goings-on. All of us wondered who this presence might be. Sometime later, when I was visiting Mae West, she revealed that she had been the mystery lady. Although she’d never met Marilyn, the sex queen of years gone by was an admirer of the work of the current sex queen. Mae West said, “Oh, if only I could have met her. It would have been such an honor to talk to her. She’s such a beautiful and talented actress.”