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Bert Stern Biography

Bert Stern was born and raised in Brooklyn from 1929, the son of Jewish immigrants. An influential artist and photographer, he developed a love for photography from a young age, following the footsteps of his father, who was taking professional pictures of children. He started his career at Look magazine as an art director and after a few years, he became the director of Flair magazine where started developing his first films. Around the same time, he began developing his own professional pictures. His marriage to Allegra Kent, a celebrated ballet dancer and actress, was cut short in the 1960s due to his heavy work schedule and his amphetamine addiction. Shortly after, he entered the US army where he was appointed head of photography.

In the 1970s, Bert Stern married his childhood sweetheart Shannah Laumeister, the director of the documentary ‘Bert Stern Original MadMan’, which was based on his life. A career boost occurred in 1955, when he took a photographic assignment for a Smirnoff vodka advertisement. However, he is better known for ‘The Last Sitting’, a collection of 2,500 photographs of Marilyn Monroe for Vogue. These pictures were taken over the course of three days and six weeks before the actress’s demise. During his long career, he also photographed Audrey Hepburn, Elisabeth Taylor and Madonna and in 2000 he recreated ‘The Last Sitting’ with Lindsay Lohan. He died in New York in 2013, aged 83.

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