James Dean with children (on set of Giant) from the Richard Miller photography archive collection.

James Dean on set of Giant, 1955. Photo by Richard Miller

Legends Licensing, LLC (www.legendslicensing.com) has signed on as exclusive worldwide commercial licensing agent representing photographer Richard Miller’s extensive portfolio, which includes James Dean and Marilyn Monroe photographs, most of which has not been seen or licensed commercially for over half a century, it was announced today by Gary Saal, director of licensing. Miller’s work profiles the legendary Marilyn Monroe during her early days as a photo agency model and aspiring actress when she was known as Norma Jeane Dougherty, and the enigmatic actor James Dean. 

“With the signing of this deal, we’re adding a new major legend to Legends Licensing – James Dean – and significantly expanding our existing library of Marilyn Monroe images,” said Saal. “This is truly an historic event, since many of these images have not been seen for over 50 years. We’re very excited about this partnership, and we look forward to working closely with Richard Miller, his daughters, Peg and Jan Miller and their representatives.”

Richard Miller, now 96 years young, began his photography career over 70 years ago. The Norma Jeane Dougherty/Marilyn Monroe and James Dean photographs and negatives had been stored in boxes along with the rest of his portfolio for the past five decades. Only recently, at the urging of several photographer friends, did Miller decide to make this exceptional collection of images available for licensing.

Miller can still recount clearly the exciting days of early Hollywood where he wielded his camera with artful aplomb. First an actor at the famed Pasadena Playhouse in 1935 alongside the then-neophyte thespian Robert Preston, he discovered his photographic calling when he shot some snaps of fellow players with a borrowed Leica. By 1939, Dick left acting for a career in photography, creating his first dark room in a spare room at his parents’ home in Los Angeles.

Soon Miller’s images graced the covers of top magazines Saturday Evening Post, Liberty, This Week and more. He honed both technical and artistic skills in film processing and developed his own images, becoming one of the first professional photographers shooting and developing early color photos, known as the tri-color carbro process which preceded the invention of color film.

In March and April 1946, Dick photographed a model provided by the Blue Book Models Agency named Norma Jeane Dougherty, selling a cover photo to True Romance. “She was a really sweet girl,” Miller reminisced. “We took a ride out to the ocean where I photographed her leaning against a tree, then on the beach. She knew how to pose, a real natural. We had to leave the beach abruptly as a large crowd was gathering, a lot of men.”

From 1955 to 1962, Miller freelanced for Globe Photo, covering the entertainment industry. His first on-location assignment was Giant (1955) where his job was to shadow James Dean. They developed a friendship based on a mutual interest in Porsches, and Richard had many opportunities to photograph Dean both on and off set.

“When I was first introduced to Dean on the set,” said Miller, “I made a comment about how much I liked Porsches. We were friends from that moment on. I was very sad when he died a little while later – I think the friendship would have lasted.”

Interested parties should contact Gary Saal directly at 707-566-7825 or at gary@legendslicensing.com. Samples of these recently uncovered images can also be viewed by visiting www.legendslicensing.com.


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