A nude photograph of screen goddess Marilyn Monroe taken in the year of her death (1962) is one of 150 iconic images up for auction at Christie's in London.

The risque portrait, taken by photographer BERT STERN's photographic assistant LEIF-ERIK NYGARDS just two months before her mysterious death, is part of the private collection of former SUNDAY TIMES MAGAZINE picture editor JAMES DANZIGER.

The items are to be sold off on 18 May (05) at the swanky auction house - and the collection in its entirety is expected to raise the staggering sum of $740,000 (GBP400,000).

The set of pictures also includes pop art legend Andy Warhol's Polaroid snaps of Rolling Stones frontman SIR Mick Jagger, boxing icon Muhammad Ali training under water - captured by FLIP SCHULKE (1961) - and DENIS STOCK's image of tragic actor James Dean walking in the rain (1955).

The stunning photograph of Monroe, which is thought to fetch around $1,900 (GBP1,000), is particularly coveted, as it was shot in her famous 'Last Sitting' with Stern. The photographer left the shoot temporarily leaving the Some Like It Hot star alone with his assistant Nygards - and the legendary moment which followed was captured forever.

Danziger says, "Without being asked, Marilyn removed the sheet that been partially covering her and let Nygards take this one shot."

15/05/2005 09:42