Framework

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Feb. 29, 1956: Actress Marilyn Monroe arrives at Beverly Hills Municipal Court to take care of her traffic citations.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

Feb. 29, 1956: Actress Marilyn Monroe in Beverly Hills Municipal Court for traffic offenses. She was fined $55.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

Feb. 29, 1956: Actress Marilyn Monroe, with attorney Irving Stein, poses for photographers inside the Beverly Hills courthouse.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

Feb. 29, 1956: Actress Marilyn Monroe outside Beverly Hills Municipal Court after paying $55 to settle traffic violations.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

Feb. 29, 1956: Actress Marilyn Monroe leaves the Beverly Hills courthouse, where she paid a $55 traffic fine. This photo was published in the March 1, 1956, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

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Feb. 29, 1956: Marilyn Monroe, followed by photographers, at Beverly Hills Municipal Court to dispose of outstanding traffic ticket.

A story in the March 1, 1956, Los Angeles Times reported:

Actress Marilyn Monroe paid a traffic fine in Beverly Hills Municipal Court yesterday, but don’t think for a minute that’s all there was to it.

The affairs of the municipality practically came to a standstill during her presence in court. The flash bulbs of 21 photographers bathed the scene in a supernatural light, and even Justice slipped her blindfold and winked.

From the moment Marilyn came freewheeling into the courtroom until the payment of her $55 fine and departure, she was the central figure in a courtroom drama that was something less than taut.

The glamorous blonde’s worst moment was when Judge Charles J. Griffin intoned solemnly:

“The People vs. Marilyn DiMaggio.”

She took her place before the bench and was visibly shaking as the judge recited her catalogue of crimes, which included driving without a license, driving after her license had expired and failing to appear in court after receiving the citation.

Such words as “willfully,” “wrongfully” and “unlawfully” swirled around her high-piled platinum hair as the judge chided her for letting the minor violation slide until it had reached such monstrous proportions.

She stood with her head slightly down, leaning forward with the tips of her black-gloved fingers on the table in front of her.

She bit her lips. She wiggled slightly in her tight-fitting black dress. She looked at the judge with her wide eyes. And every time the judge asked her anything, her attorney answered.

Judge Griffin finally turned to the lawyer and said, “Your name isn’t Marilyn Monroe, is it?” And the lawyer, whose name was Irving Stein, admitted as much and let Miss Monroe do her own talking.

She made a small effort to explain her failure to take care of the ticket between Nov. 21, 1954, when it was issued, and now, by explaining that she had been in New York for a year.

But it was no go, and she knew it, so she stopped abruptly and smiled.

“Well,” she said, “I am very sorry.”

And the judge, who had earlier ventured the opinion that Miss Monroe might be using the entire incident as a means of getting publicity, smiled back.

“I would suggest, Miss Monroe,” he said, “that in the future I would much rather pay to go and see you perform than have you pay to come and see me.”

The court recessed. Attorney Stein handed over the $55. Miss Monroe undulated out of the courtroom in an aura of photographic light. The city workers returned reluctantly to their desks in the Courthouse building. Beverly Hills slowly returned to normal.

The last photo in the above photo gallery accompanied this story in the March 1, 1956, Los Angeles Times.

In 1954, Marilyn Monroe married baseball great Joe DiMaggio in January but divorced him in October. For more, check out this previous From the Archives post:  Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio divorce.

scott.harrison@latimes.com

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