Death of Douglas Kirkland, the eye that immortalized Marilyn Monroe, Liz Taylor, Brigitte Bardot…


Canadian photographer Douglas Kirkland died on October 2, 2022 at the age of 88. Valerie MACON / AFP

DISAPPEARANCE – The Canadian photographer died Sunday in Los Angeles at the age of 88. His shots of the star of Some like it hotbut also Audrey Hepburn and Romy Schneider are part of the history of cinema.

Photography and cinema were his two great passions. His legend will remember that he had enough of an appointment in 1961 with Elizabeth Taylor for him to obtain the right to photograph her for the magazine. look. Douglas Kirkland’s career was launched. Then very quickly, he immortalized Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Romy Schneider, Brigitte Bardot… The great Canadian photographer died on October 2 in his house in Los Angeles, where he lived with his wife, Françoise. He was 88 years old.

Liz Taylor, Marilyn… and Charlie Chaplin

Douglas Kirkland was born on August 16, 1934 in Toronto. He began in photography as an assistant to Irving Penn (1917-2009), a recognized specialist in portraits and still lifes. We owe him memorable shots of Picasso, Jean Cocteau and Alfred Hitchcock.

By picking up Elizabeth Taylor for look in 1961, Douglas Kirkland established himself as an essential photographer of the stars. Look/Kirkland

In 1961, the American fortnightly looks, where Stanley Kubrick honed his first weapons, hired the young Canadian. With crazy sass, this talented image captor convinces Liz Taylor to pose for him. After this feat, he almost immediately became the photographer of the stars. His photo album will become a real Who’s Who. Marilyn Monroe, of course, for which he signs a unique report entitled An Evening with Marilyn. The 55 shots of the icon at the height of her glory show a crazy sensuality. Kirkland’s talent is to have been able to immortalize the star of stars, without pageantry, without charms or decor that could have drowned out his personality, his sensitivity. He will give his secret a few years later: “I only needed a bed and silk sheets“.

After this series of memorable shots, the biggest movie stars will agree to pose for him. The list is impressive: Romy Schneider, Audrey Hepburn, Mick Jagger, Sting, Björk, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Morgan Freeman, Orson Welles, Andy Warhol, Oliver Stone, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Leonardo DiCaprio, Coco Chanel, Marlene Dietrich, Brigitte Bardot, Judy Garland , Sophia Loren, Catherine Deneuve, Michael Jackson, Paris Hilton and Diana Ross. And, in sign of honor, his portrait of Charlie Chaplin is now kept at the National Portrait Gallery in London. Now forever.

Some images from the series An Evening with Marilynby Douglas Kirkland


SEE ALSO – She was in a “good mood”, recalls the photographer of the last shot of Elizabeth II

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