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Rare Marilyn Monroe Artifacts on Display at SoHo Spa

By Andrea Swalec | December 6, 2012 8:42am

SOHO — Marilyn Monroe wore a silky eye mask to combat insomnia, her black stilettos were size 7.5 and her library included the book "The Roots of American Communism."

Those items from the actress' personal life — along with clothing she wore on screen and behind the scenes and other possessions — are now on display in SoHo through the end of December.

The exhibition, "To Marilyn, With Love," is being shown in the United States for the first time at the Erno Laszlo Institute, 382 W. Broadway, a skincare store and members-only luxury spa.

The Monroe items — including an ivory satin robe the star wore on the set of the 1958 film "Some Like It Hot" — are owned by German collector Ted Stampfer, who began buying them at auctions in the late 1990s after they were put in storage following the actress' death in 1962.

Stampfer said seeing Monroe's possessions allows a glimpse into her life beyond the scandals.

"The pieces allow us today to get closer to Marilyn Monroe and her true identity," he said in a written statement.

Monroe was a former devotee of the Laszlo Institute, which Hungarian-born skin care guru Dr. Erno Laszlo opened on posh Fifth Avenue in 1939. The institute, whose skin treatment services cost $3,000 a year, once counted actresses Katharine Hepburn and Ava Gardner as members.

“Marilyn held a special place in Dr. Laszlo’s heart. He famously formulated unique products for her," company CEO Charles Denton said in a statement.

Laszlo's name appears in Monroe's phone book, which is on display at the shop that opened in November.

Store manager Gabriella Czukker said Monroe fans have poured into the opulent, 10,000-square-foot shop to see artifacts like this. 

"People are shocked to see her personal items," Czukker said.

The Marilyn Monroe Exhibition will be on display at the Erno Laszlo Institute at 382 W. Broadway through Dec. 31. The spa and shop are open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.