Born 1916 in Alliance, Ohio, John Florea started as a photographer for the San Francisco Examiner, then was signed onto the staff of LIFE in 1941, living in Hollywood and specializing in celebrity portraits of actresses, such as Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell.
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After the bombing of Pearl Harbor which led to U.S. involvement in World War II he joined America’s first war correspondents for the Pacific war, where he covered the Marines and the Navy, especially during the Battle of Tarawa in December 1943, and from 1944 until the end of the war, he followed the American army in French and Belgian campaigns, documenting the bombing of German cities and liberation of inmates of Nordhausen Nazi concentration camp.
After the war, Florea returned to Hollywood to continue to photograph celebrities, leaving LIFE in 1949. Portraits of movie stars he made in colour in the 1950s were part of an exhibition “Masters of Starlight: Photographers in Hollywood” in 1988 at the LACMA, Los Angeles.
Florea later became producer, director, and writer for more than 130 TV shows from the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s, known for his direction of episodes of Sea Hunt, The Virginian, CHiPs, and the paranormal thriller Invisible Strangler.
Florea died in 2000 in Las Vegas at the age of 84. These beautiful photos are part of his work that John Florea took portraits of Marilyn Monroe from 1950 to 1953.