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More Marilyn Up for Auction

Autographed photo on the block

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A candid autographed picture of Marilyn Monroe is headed to the auction block this fall, billed as "the most important signed photograph in Hollywood history."

The oversize photo was taken during the filming of the 1955 romantic comedy "The Seven Year Itch" and presented to 20th Century Fox executive Ben Lyon, who launched the career of the former Norma Jean Mortenson with a 1946 screen test and gave her the stage name of Marilyn Monroe.

"Dear Ben," Monroe wrote on the never-before-seen photo, "You found me, named me and believed in me when no one else did. My thanks and love forever. Marilyn."

The picture and other Monroe memorabilia will star in "Essentially Marilyn: The Auction/The Exhibit," which opens to the public August 18 at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills, California. The free display closes September 30.

The California-based auction house Profiles in History says the sale will be staged "at the end of October."

Among the other exhibition highlights: 15 costumes worn by Monroe, including a showgirl outfit from "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," a sequined dress from "How to Marry a Millionaire" and a replica of the famous dress lofted skyward while she was standing on a subway grate in "The Seven Year Itch."

Photo by Baron/Stringer

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