LOS ANGELES (CN) – Marilyn Monroe LLC claims that Millington Conroy wrongfully acquired and hid Monroe’s personal property, including “letters, notes, financial records … jewelry, fur coats, hats, purses and perfume bottles,” in violation of court orders, and now plains to sell the stuff “for millions of dollars” to memorabilia collectors.
Marilyn Monroe died on Aug. 5, 1962. Her will bequeathed her “personal effects and clothing” and the “residue of her Estate” to Lee Strasberg. “Ms. Monroe did not bequeath any property to Inez Melson,” the suit claims. Melson had been Monroe’s personal assistant.
Los Angeles Superior Court appointed Melson a special administratrix for Monroe’s estate, and directed her to prepare an inventory of Monroe’s property, including personal effects and clothing. Plaintiff claims that Melson filched a lot of stuff and hid it.
Melson died in 1985. Plaintiff claims Melson’s sister in law, Ruth Conroy, then came into possession of Monroe’s property, and then turned it over to her son, defendant Millington Conroy. It claims Conroy delivered some of the stolen items to William Miller and Odyssey Group, to be auctioned. These items includes “Ms. Monroe’s personal phone and address book, her tax returns, and her Screen Actors Guild card,” the suit states. The auction was scheduled for May 14, 1994, in Hollywood.
Two days before the auction, Anna Strasberg, on behalf of Lee Strasberg’s estate, sued Miller, Odyssey and Ruth Conroy for conversion and unjust enrichment. During litigation, Millington Conroy testified under oath that he had had other Marilyn Monroe property, but it had been stolen from his vehicle on or about May 21, 1994, the suit states. He testified that he had “no other documents or items relating to Marilyn Monroe” other than two letters between Monroe and Inez Melson and a photo, signed, “To Inez.”
Plaintiff claims the defendants had lots of other Monroe items, which they had turned over “to third parties for safekeeping.” After a jury trial, the court ordered all of Monroe’s property to be returned to Anna Strasberg. The defendant claimed he had done that, except for the three items named.
The plaintiff, MMLLC, was formed in 2001 to manage the intellectual property assets of Monroe’s estate. Seventy-five percent of the LLC was assigned to Anna Strasberg and 25 percent to the Anna Freud Centre.
“In September 2007, MMLLC learned for the first time that Marilyn Monroe properties remain in Defendant’s possession,” the suit states. “Defendant has allowed these items to be photographed by a professional photographer for purposes of publishing a book. Defendant has allowed additional third parties to view the Marilyn Monroe properties in his possession. … Defendant now imminently intends to sell the Marilyn Monroe properties to memorabilia collectors for millions of dollars. Plaintiff is informed and believes that Defendant has already sold portions of the Marilyn Monroe properties subsequent to the 1995 judgment against him.”
Plaintiff demands an injunction, an accounting and damages for conversion and fraudulent concealment. It is represented in Superior Court by Laura Wytsma with Loeb & Loeb.