Monroe estate files suit

Assistant sued over memorabilia

A relative of Marilyn Monroe's personal assistant was sued by the actress' estate Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court for failing to turn over property that belonged to the screen icon.

The lawsuit marks the second case in a little more than a decade against Millington Conroy, who allegedly is in possession of letters, notes, financial records, recipes, jewelry, fur coats, hats, purses and perfume bottles that belonged to Monroe.

Conroy inherited the items from his mother, whose sister-in-law was Monroe's assistant Inez Melson. For the year after Monroe's death, Melson was appointed by the court to administer and take inventory of the estate. But when she was discharged, rather than turning everything over to the estate, Melson kept several items, according to the lawsuit.

Monroe left nothing to Melson. All her personal effects and clothing were inherited by acting coach Lee Strasberg, whose estate is managed by his widow, Anna.

In 1994, the Monroe estate learned of Conroy's plans to sell memorabilia and sued to stop the sale, claiming they were illegally owned. The courts agreed, ordering him to turn over whatever Monroe property he testified to owning.

But in September, the estate learned that Conroy still possessed some of Monroe's items. He allegedly allowed a photographer to take pictures of the items for a book, and the estate believes Conroy intends to sell them to collectors for millions.

The lawsuit seeks to enjoin Conroy from selling any of the items and to order him to turn over all Monroe property to the estate.

Conroy could not be reached for comment.