What do Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren, and Brigitte Bardot have in common besides eternal fame? They were all clients of the late fashion photographer icon Bert Stern, who passed away on June 26 2013.

image: bertsternmadman.com

Despite his impressive resume, he is most famous for his photographs of Marilyn Monroe taken weeks before her death that were published in Vogue magazine shortly after her passing. The shoot happened over three days and consisted of over 2,500 photos ranging from black and white to nudes. 20 years after Monroe’s death, Stern published the photos in a book titled Marilyn Monroe: The Complete Last Sitting.

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His rise to fame came as a strike of luck when Stern dropped out of high school, landing a job at the mailroom of Look magazine and befriending Stanley Kubrick, who was a staff photographer at the time. Stern found his niche in advertising, photographing products for clients, most notably for his Smirnoff campaign, which helped add some vodka to America’s alcohol diet.

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Stern also dipped his toes in the movie industry with his film Jazz on a Summer’s Day, however, photography continued as his strongest suit. Up until 2008 Stern kept adding to his résumé, photographing celebs like Madonna and Lindsay Lohan. In 2008, Stern attempted to recreate his Marilyn Monroe shoot with Lindsay Lohan but it was not as successful.

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Stern’s wife, Shannah Laumeister, directed a film about him in 2011 titled Bert Stern: Original Madman. The exact causes of Stern’s death have yet to be revealed but his wife says he had undergone testing shortly before his death. Laumeister survives Stern along with his three children Trista, Susannah, and Bret from his previous marriage to ballerina Allegra Kent.


Bert Stern: Original Madman official trailer on YouTube

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image: fashiongonerogue.com

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