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Photographer behind Monroe photos dies


Bert Stern, a self-taught photographer who created high-concept images for advertising in the 1950s, made a renowned jazz film and captured Marilyn Monroe in a revealing series of photographs weeks before her death, died Tuesday at his home in New York City. He was 83.

Shannah Laumeister, a filmmaker who made a documentary about Stern in 2011, confirmed his death to The Associated Press but did not indicate the cause. She was his companion and said they were secretly married in 2009.

Stern took film cameras to the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival in Rhode Island. His original idea of making a feature film with a story line and dialogue didn’t pan out, but the resulting documentary, “Jazz on a Summer’s Day,” is considered a landmark.

Stern was in constant demand for his portraits, including film stars Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren, Brigitte Bardot and Marlon Brando and 1950s supermodel Suzy Parker.

In 1962, Stern received what would become his most celebrated assignment, when Vogue magazine asked him to photograph Monroe. He met her at Hollywood’s Hotel Bel-Air, with three bottles of Dom Perignon champagne on ice.

Within minutes, Stern said, Monroe was out of her clothes and posing with rumpled sheets, diaphanous silk scarves, clusters of jewels and strings of pearls.

But the editors at Vogue wanted at least some clothing in the photographs and sent Stern back to Hollywood for two more sessions in July 1962, weeks before her death on Aug. 5 at age 36.

Stern’s photographs became known as “The Last Sitting.”

Actor Jim Kelly dies at age 67

Actor Jim Kelly, who played a glib American martial artist in “Enter the Dragon” with Bruce Lee, has died. He was 67.

Marilyn Dishman, Kelly’s ex-wife, said he died Saturday of cancer at his home in San Diego.

Sporting an Afro hairstyle and sideburns, Kelly made a splash with his one-liners and fight scenes in the 1973 martial arts classic. His later films included “Three the Hard Way,” “Black Belt Jones” and “Black Samurai.”

During a 2010 interview with, Kelly said he started studying martial arts in 1964 in Kentucky and later moved to California where he earned a black belt in karate. He said he set his sights on becoming an actor after winning karate tournaments. He also played college football.

The role in the Bruce Lee film was his second. He had about a dozen film roles in the 1970s before his acting work tapered off. In recent years, he drew lines of autograph seekers at comic book conventions.

Lopez defends Turkmenistan show

Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to the leader of Turkmenistan during a show, but her representative said she wouldn’t have performed there at all if she had known there were human rights issues in the country.

The singer and actress performed in the former Soviet-bloc country on Saturday night. A statement released Sunday by her publicist to The Associated Press said the event was hosted by the China National Petroleum Corp. and wasn’t a political event.

However, the country’s leader, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, did attend. Berdimuhamedow has been criticized for oppressive rule by human rights organizations. Human Rights Watch describes Turkmenistan as “among the most repressive in the world.”

Lopez’s publicist says the event was vetted by Lopez’s staff: “Had there been knowledge of human rights issues any kind, Jennifer would not have attended.”

The birthday serenade was a last-minute request made by the corporation to Lopez before she took the stage, and she “graciously obliged,” the statement said.