Frank Worth was born in New York City in 1923. During his senior year he approached the New York offices of the International News Service (INS) with some of his photos and was offered a trial position. His first assignment was to photograph actors and actresses as they arrived at Grand Central Station getting off the California Express train. This was his introduction to Hollywood.
Frank was charming, witty and immediately struck up a rapport with those he was photographing. As a result, INS sent him to Hollywood as a staff photographer after he graduated in 1940.
Frank Worth soon left INS and became a member of the Hollywood Photographers Guild, although he continued to work for INS as a freelancer.
Frank quickly met and became close friends with many top stars, including James Dean, with whom he shared a fascination for sports cars. Frank was invited by Dean to go behind-the-scenes on the sets of “Rebel Without a Cause” and “Giant.” Frank Worth was a regular at many other movie sets and film premieres including “The Vikings,” “Reap the Wild Wind,” “Magnificent Obsession,” “How To Marry a Millionaire” and “The Seven Year Itch.”
Frank Sinatra came to Hollywood a couple of years after Worth and they too became close friends. Through Sinatra, Frank met and became friends with „Rat Pack‟ regulars Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. Lewis even had a part in Frank Worth‟s unreleased film, “The Silent Treatment” (1967), a movie that included many of his friends such as Peter Lawford, Phyllis Diller, Aldo Ray, Barry Sullivan, Pat Carroll and Jackie Coogan.
Frank Worth also attended and photographed a number of Oscar and Golden Globe ceremonies and after-parties, candidly capturing the likes of the Marx Brothers, Errol Flynn, Rock Hudson, Sofia Loren and Judy Garland.
When Frank Worth was on location in New York during the making of the “Seven Year Itch” director Billy Wilder posed Marilyn Monroe, her skirt blowing up, over an opening to the subway system. Frank shot the picture of Billy showing Marilyn how to pose.
Many photographers were invited to take photos of the scene, but because Joe DiMaggio objected to Marilyn‟s panties being seen, she concealed them during this photo shoot. Frank Worth had the only „panty‟ photo known in existence with Billy Wilder and Marilyn Monroe. He released that photograph only once, for the front page of the Hollywood Reporter for an issue dedicated to Billy Wilder.
Frank Worth captured and retained extensive collections of Marilyn Monroe and James Dean photographs, most of which were never seen. He took many photos of the young actress year before she made the first film that brought her stardom, “The Asphalt Jungle.”
Frank Worth never released his best photos. Some of his shots were to him as private as his personal life. He only admitted to his affair with Monroe just months before his death.
There was another star that fell under his spell. Not only did she have an intimate relationship with, but she also owes her career to him. The Jayne Mansfield Fan Club newsletter of May 1987 credits Frank with her discovery. Worth‟s friend, Burt Kaiser, produced “Female Jungle,” the first movie to feature Mansfield.
The remarkable rare and highly valuable collection of negatives that were accumulated over a period of 60 years was found by his estate in Worth‟s home after his passing in 1999. The negatives reveal a diverse, previously unseen catalog of Frank Worth‟s Hollywood friends, acquaintances and sports stars, representing an array of the famous stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood. It is hard to overstate the importance of this discovery; “The most extraordinary collection and find of its kind in the last 50 years,” according to a statement made by Christie‟s of London in 2002, a leading art auction house in the UK and the USA.