On November 17, 1961, 27-year old photographer Douglas Kirkland got to spend one evening alone with the greatest sex symbol of his, or any following, era. The hours he spent with 35-year old Marilyn Monroe, only months before her death, have since become immortalized in Kirkland's series for Look magazine. Monroe plays simultaneously with Kirkland and the camera, wiped clean of red lipstick, wearing only rumpled white silk sheets.

In an interview with the Huffington Post, Kirkland, who went on to photograph a galaxy of stars including Audrey Hepburn, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman and Cher, the most important evening of his career in greater detail: "I never said, put your hand here, turn this way or that way. I was talking with her and we were talking rapidly back and forth, but it was a seduction, a two-way seduction really. With everything except the final sex at the end, but the sex really went into the camera, and that’s why these pictures are what they are." The closest moment to that classic pinnacle was when Monroe invited Kirkland into bed with her.

Fifty years later the photographs are as striking as ever, Marilyn's visible laugh and undeniable sexuality converging in one of the most intimate shots of a superstar ever captured. This winter, the Westwood Gallery in New York City will exhibit never-before-seen images from the shoot, as well as black-and-white photographs of Kirkland working with Monroe, before she asked everyone else to leave the set.

The exhibit hits the Westwood Gallery NYC from October 26 to December 15, 2012. In the meantime check out the photos below and get the story from Kirkland himself here.

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  • "At a certain point Marilyn herself said, "I know what we should do. We should have a bed, and a white silk sheet", she insisted it must be silk, and it went from there." - Douglas Kirkland

  • Marilyn Monroe, 1961.

  • "People frequently ask me how did I get the pictures of me taking pictures. I had a young assistant, a Chinese man. He took pictures in the beginning and ultimately came back to take pictures of me lying beside Marilyn. Because the magazine always wanted pictures of us on assignments. And I never met the guy again, I don't even know his name. He came and went from my life. I would love to have credited him but I have no idea who he was and no one has ever come to me and said that I was the guy or something." -Douglas Kirkland

  • Marilyn Monroe, 1961.

  • "Life is a continuous learning process and I learn from everything I do. But I clearly learned a lot from that and that was to make the most of everything that's there. Don't say, "I should have this," or "I should have that." There was a ripple there at one point in the shoot...but you have to be positive and keep moving and I guess all of those things are elements that I learned from the shoot that remain with me permanently. And are part of who I am as a photographer." - Douglas Kirkland

  • Marilyn Monroe, 1961.

  • Marilyn Monroe, 1961.

  • Marilyn Monroe, 1961.

  • The cover from Kirkland's 2012 book, "<a href="http://www.amazon.com/With-Marilyn-An-Evening-1961/dp/0983270201" target="_hplink">With Marilyn: An Evening 1961</a>"

Correction: A previous edition of this article stated the shoot took place in 1962. We regret the error.

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