Marilyn Monroe's 1956 Thunderbird expected to fetch up to $500K at auction

Marilyn Monroe rides in a car with her friend, photographer Milton Greene, and her husband, Arthur Miller, right, in 1956 in New York City. (Photo: Paul Schutzer/The Life Images Collection/Getty Images)
Marilyn Monroe rides in a car with her friend, photographer Milton Greene, and her husband, Arthur Miller, right, in 1956 in New York City. (Photo: Paul Schutzer/The Life Images Collection/Getty Images)

Marilyn Monroe is still a hot property.

More than half century after the Some Like It Hot star’s tragic death on Aug. 5, 1962, a black 1956 Ford Thunderbird she once owned is expected to fetch between $300,000 and $500,000 at an upcoming auction. Julien’s Auctions will sell the piece as part of its “Icons & Idols: Hollywood” event on Nov. 16-17 in L.A. and online at JuliensLive.com.

Monroe bought the cool ride in 1955, the year before she married her third husband, playwright Arthur Miller. According to Julien’s, “A published report at the time suggests that Monroe and Miller drove this vehicle to their civil wedding ceremony on June 28, 1956, and likely their private wedding on June 30, 1956,” though many online sources say the wedding was on June 29.

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In 1962, Monroe reportedly gave the car to John Strasberg, the son of her acting coach and close friend, Lee Strasberg, as a birthday gift. Monroe died of a drug overdose a few months later.

She ended up leaving most of her estate to the elder Strasberg. After he died in 1982, Lee’s third wife, Anna, inherited Monroe’s belongings and sold them to a company called CMG Worldwide. According to NPR, Anna Strasberg worked with Christie’s to auction off some of the late actress’s possessions in 1999, kicking off the frenzy for Monroe auctions.

The Hollywood legend’s name and likeness continues to draw millions. Forbes magazine last cited Monroe in its annual list of the top-earning dead celebrities in 2015, when she ranked sixth for the $17 million she pulled in between Oct. 1, 2014, and Oct. 1, 2015. Her property is still earning big bucks at auction. In 2016, just two locks of Monroe’s hair, originally obtained by her hairdresser, sold for $37,000.

Last month, a free public exhibit featuring items from Monroe’s life, including her personal script with handwritten notes from The Seven Year Itch and many of her costumes, went on display at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills. Profiles in History plans to auction off the items in October, with an exact date to be announced.

Another auction house, Santa Monica Auctions, announced this week that 1946 photographs of the actress, shot on a modeling assignment before she had taken her famous name, will be part of an auction set for Oct. 7.

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The pictures are currently on display for free at Bergamot art space in Santa Monica, Calif.

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