Bruno Bernard (Bernard of Hollywood)

Bruno Bernard, famously known as “Bernard of Hollywood,” took some of the most iconic photographs of Marilyn Monroe. He had a very close relationship with the actress; he photographed her before she was famous and throughout the rise of her career. In a letter to Bernard, Monroe wrote, “Remember Bernie, you started it all.”

Bernard had come from severely less glamorous roots. He was raised an impoverished orphan in Nazi Germany. A Jewish leader in the underground movement, he was a target for the Gestapo. He fortunately was able to flee Germany in 1937 and move to San Francisco.

He was well educated, receiving a degree in criminal law from Kiel University, but he had no formal training in photography. In 1941 he moved to Hollywood, where he became an apprentice for Max Reinhardt’s acting studio. The artistry of the film industry inspired Bernard to pursue photography. He would go on to photograph some of the biggest stars of our time: Clark Gable, Rita Hayworth, Lucille Ball, and Elvis Presley, to name a few.

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