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Acclaimed Photographer Douglas Kirkland Celebrates Release of New Marilyn Monroe Book

His seductive shots of the icon, who died 50 years ago, were taken over the course of a day in a small apartment.

Thursday night, photography lovers and fans of Marilyn Monroe alike gathered to celebrate the work of Douglas Kirkland and his newest book, An Evening/1961 With Marilyn ($60, Glitterati Incorporated), at a private residence in the Hollywood Hills. Party goers were treated to wine and hors d'oeuvres, an opportunity to mingle with and have their book signed by the author, and even a Marilyn impersonator to take pictures with.

The acclaimed photographer has had the privilege of capturing images of such names as Elizabeth Taylor, Orson Welles, Audrey Hepburn, Michael Jackson, Jack Nicholson and Angelina Jolie over the past five decades but says, "No one interests people more than Marilyn Monroe." Though it has been 50 years since she died, Kirkland thinks, "50 years from now people will still be talking about her."

Monroe died the year after the shots were taken.

His books collects his shots of the icon in their entirety for the first time. In the photos, taken in a small apartment over the course of one day. She lays seductively in bed draped only in a white silk sheet in the photos. The set-up was suggested by Monroe.

The 78 year-old -- who recently was on the set of Baz Luhrmann's upcoming The Great Gatsby in Australia snapping photos -- began his career at Look magazine in his early 20s where he captured his famous images of Monroe for the magazine's 25th anniversary issue. He then joined the staff at Life magazine. " I have been very, very lucky," he says, adding that he has had "extraordinary opportunities to make the most of everything I do."

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