Bert Stern (born Bertram Stern, October 3, 1929 – June 25, 2013) was an American commercial and fine-art photographer. He is best known for his photography of Marilyn Monroe, which was shot just weeks before her death in 1962. His photographs of Monroe have been widely exhibited and published in books, magazines, and newspapers.
Stern was born in Brooklyn, New York, to a Jewish family. He attended the Pratt Institute and the Art Students League of New York. He was initially a graphic designer, but he was inspired to become a photographer after seeing photographs by Edward Steichen at the Museum of Modern Art.
Stern's career began in 1953 when he was hired by the magazine Vogue. During his early years at Vogue, Stern worked with famed fashion photographer Richard Avedon. Stern left Vogue in 1955 to join Look magazine, where he served as the magazine’s chief photographer for five years. During this period, Stern created some of his most iconic images, including shots of Monroe and of Elizabeth Taylor.
Stern had his first solo exhibition in 1962 at the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York. He went on to have solo exhibitions at many of the most renowned museums and galleries in the world. In addition to his photography, Stern also wrote and directed several films, including Jazz on a Summer's Day (1959).
Stern's most famous photographs are of Marilyn Monroe, which he shot in 1962 as part of a series of eight sets of photographs for Vogue. The series, often referred to as "The Last Sitting", has since become iconic and is featured in many books and magazines.
Throughout his career, Stern won numerous awards and honors, including the Lucie Award for Achievement in Advertising in 2004. In 2012, he was inducted into the International Photography Hall of Fame.
Stern died of natural causes on June 25, 2013, in Los Angeles. He was 83. His legacy remains in the form of his photographs, which continue to be exhibited and published around the world.