Old Friend Releases Marilyn Monroe Keepsakes

ByABC News via logo

July 17, 2006— -- Marilyn Monroe was a frequent guest at the Sherman Oaks, Calif., home of Dolores Hope Masi, and one time stayed for 10 months to escape the press.

Now Masi is releasing some never-before-seen footage of the screen icon playing golf, which was filmed by her one-time husband, New York Yankees legend Joe DiMaggio.

"I found this old camera in a chest about three years ago," Masi told "Good Morning America." "I knew the camera was there but I had no idea there was film inside. And I had it developed. First, it was my dad shooting Joe and Marilyn by the car. And then when they were playing golf, he handed Joe the camera, and it's my dad teaching Marilyn and my mom to golf."

Masi, 60, was a child when she knew Monroe, who died in 1962 from what has been called an overdose of sleeping pills. Masi's father, Chic Masi, grew up with DiMaggio and worked in the movie industry, serving as an unofficial manager to Monroe.

Monroe, Masi said, appreciated the simple things in life, like brushing each other's hair during the popular 1950s TV show "Hopalong Cassidy"

"She would come in and plop down on the couch and say, 'Is it Hopalong time?'" Masi said. "It was time when she would chill out. And she would always say to me, 'Someday I will have a little girl just like you.'"

Masi said that Monroe would go with her family to a private beach in Malibu. One time, she said, the two of them almost got swept away by a riptide.

"My dad swam out and got us," Masi said. "I remember she [Monroe] looked at me and said, 'That was a close one.' There was a part of her that loved to play like a kid. I think that's why she was my instant friend, my instant mother. She loved to play. She had a little kid inside her."

The last time Masi spoke to Monroe was on Masi's 16th birthday, when Monroe called her to tell her "you are a young lady now."

After a discussion with her son, Masi -- who was named after Bob Hope's widow -- decided to release some of her never-before-seen Monroe to the public.

"He says it seems that everybody should be able to share the joy that these things bring to you," said Masi, who wore some of Monroe's items during the interview, such as the earrings Monroe wore in "The Seven Year Itch." "I would never sell the items. I've had people offer me ridiculous amounts -- one person offered me 22 million for the jewelry. That was a lot of money, but it's never been about the money for me."

Masi showed "Good Morning America" a photo of Monroe with Masi's mother and another of Masi's father teaching Monroe how to skate for the movie "Monkey Business." When the potato industry was in trouble, Masi said, her father suggested that Monroe shoot an ad for the industry wearing a potato sack, a photo she has also released to the public.

Another photo Masi released showed Monroe in an untraditional light -- in her bathrobe and not wearing makeup. The photo, taken in the early morning during Monroe's 1954 stay with the Masi family, showed the screen siren as a regular person.

"It was just a typical morning -- Marilyn reading the paper or a script," Masi said.

To learn more about Masi's Monroe collection, click here.