George Barris: The Last Person to Photograph Marilyn Monroe

By Phin Upham

Marilyn Monroe was one of Hollywood’s most iconic figures, and few people had the intimate knowledge of her life that George Barris possesses. He shot the last photo of her before her death, a shoot that took place on Santa Monica Beach.

Barris, who was born in New York City in 1922, had worked his way up to become the most sought after photographer during the 1960s stars and starlets. Barris had a lifelong interest in photography, which he put to use in a professional capacity first for the Army. His photography captured General Dwight D. Eisenhower, and provided a glimpse into the war effort for those watching from home.

After the War, he made his living as a freelancer who found work primarily in Hollywood. Elizabeth Taylor, Marlon Brando, Charlie Chaplin, Frank Sinatra, Clark Gable and more posed for Barris’ trained eye.

Barris shot Marilyn Monroe on multiple occasions, the first time being on the set for the 1954 movie The Seven Year Itch. The next time the two met was on Santa Monica Beach in 1962, and then again in the Hollywood Hills. That final set, which would come to be known as “The Last Photos” marked the last time Marilyn Monroe was captured on film.

Rumors persist that Barris and Monroe were close, and Barris has given several interviews discussing the mysterious circumstances of Marilyn Monroe’s death. According to Barris, it was no accident.

Barris remembers Monroe as being “one of a kind”, and was recently part of an exhibition of memorabilia and photography focused on Marilyn Monroe.

About the Author: Phin Upham is an investor at a family office/ hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media and Telecom group. You may contact Phin on his Phin Upham website or LinkedIn page.