This photo, according to Travilla’s business partner and long-time friend Bill Sarris, shows Monroe and Travilla with an unidentified African-American man at the 5-4 Club in South Central Los Angeles in 1952. It has been in print only a handful of times, and has always appeared cropped, without the second man.
The story of this photo, as Travilla and Bill Sarris tell it, is that he and Marilyn spent the evening at an almost exclusively black club in Los Angeles - something that just wasn’t done in 1952. The studio was outraged, especially after her nude photograph scandal in March of that year, and the fact that she had just been on the April cover of Life magazine and hailed as ‘The Talk of Hollywood.’ As a result of being ‘caught on camera,’ they fired Travilla from the film they were working on. But Marilyn - one of Travilla’s closest friends - stood up and said ‘If he goes, I go.’ And of course, they let him stay, but they were successful in keeping this picture out of the press.”
“Marilyn was ahead of her time in terms of racial equality and civil rights. Even Ella Fitzgerald credits Marilyn with getting her into some of the ‘upper-crust’ jazz clubs of the day. She knew how to throw her weight around and it fits that she would stand up for Travilla.
“We’re searching for this mans identity,” He’s a part of history now that we’re revealing the photograph in its entirety for the first time.
Please email and let us know if you have any idea who this man was. | http://www.travillatour.com/