Rivals make headway on Marilyn Monroe property

Thu Nov 1, 2007 5:15am EDT

A photographer takes pictures at an exhibition of Marilyn Monroe property in a file photo. A ''significant collection'' of Marilyn Monroe's personal property has been moved to a secure location pending the outcome of a lawsuit filed by her estate last week against a relative of her former personal assistant. REUTERS/File

A photographer takes pictures at an exhibition of Marilyn Monroe property in a file photo. A ''significant collection'' of Marilyn Monroe's personal property has been moved to a secure location pending the outcome of a lawsuit filed by her estate last week against a relative of her former personal assistant.

Credit: Reuters/File

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LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - A "significant collection" of Marilyn Monroe's personal property has been moved to a secure location pending the outcome of a lawsuit filed by her estate last week against a relative of her former personal assistant.

In a statement issued Tuesday by the estate's New York attorney, both sides in the dispute appear to be working on a resolution.

"Both parties are pleased with the progress of the discussions, which are directed to ensuring the continuing safety of this most valuable collection," Martin Pollner of Loeb & Loeb said.

Monroe's estate sued Millington Conroy on October 25, claiming he was illegally possessing letters, notes, financial records, recipes, jewelry, fur coats, hats, purses and perfume bottles belonging to the screen icon.

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 over everything to the estate, Melson kept several items, according to the lawsuit.

Monroe, who died in 1962, left nothing to Melson. All her personal effects and clothing were inherited by the late acting coach Lee Strasberg, whose estate is managed by his widow, Anna.

The lawsuit is the second against Conroy, who was ordered by the court in 1994 to turn over the Monroe property he had inherited. Conroy claimed some of that property was stolen from his car. The estate attempted to locate it at the time, but never could.

Recently, the estate learned that Conroy still had a large amount of Monroe's property, had allegedly allowed a photographer to take pictures of it for a book and may be planning to sell some of it at auction, according to the lawsuit.

With the items moved to a neutral location, Monroe's lost property may soon be on display.

"The Monroe Estate is actively exploring appropriate institutions for the preservation and display of this historic collection," Pollner said.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

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