"Why do you love Marilyn Monroe?", I’m always asked. Well, I’ll explain briefly.
Other than the fact that she was a great actress, with excellent comedic timing and a fantastic aura of acting passion, she was also very much flesh and blood.
Marilyn didn’t have a wonderful upbringing. She didn’t know her father, rarely saw her mother (who was mentally ill), grew up in orphanages and foster homes and was married at 16. She had been abused, scared and felt unwanted.
This girl, who was so ashamed of herself mentally and physically after what she had endured as a child still managed to pick herself up and say “no” to the people who tried to stop her from living her dream.
She barely ate just to be able to afford to travel to job opportunities, turned down offers of fame and fortune for the sake of sexual company and worked tirelessly to improve her abilities.
After all of this, she managed to rake in millions for the studio and she was paid no more than $300,000 for a film (The Misfits, 1961) when actresses such as Audrey Hepburn were making $750,000 in the same year(Breakfast at Tiffany’s, 1961). Despite making hige sums of money for the studio, she was treated with very little dignity or respect. So, she went a made her own production company (Marilyn Monroe Productions) where she had more control and freedom. However, this back fired due to her contract requiring more films from her. But she put on a brave face and made those films which were some of the best films of her career.
Marilyn was so nervous, unsure and anxious about her talent, her personality and her decisions she required people to be around her all the time to make her feel better. She felt she needed guidance to make her feel as if she was wanted and loved.
There is no doubt that Marilyn was a difficult person to work with. She was late and too nervous to act at times causing her to shut herself away and reportedly be rude to cast and crew. However, this Marilyn Monroe outlines the fact that was such a perfectionist in her own work that she would get frustrated and upset if things weren’t to the standards she believed she felt she should deliver.
Why do I love Marilyn Monroe? Because the little girl who came from nothing always tried to reach her highest heights with all the passion inside of her. She was generous and giving but never let people walk over her when it wasn’t on her terms. Sadly, she needed people that were probably no good for her. She was too accepting. These people that seemed to expect so much causing her to lose her confidence, her ability to sleep or to wake up leading her to take medication that she wouldn’t have needed if she had just been able to see how wonderful she was. As an actress, as an outstanding beauty, as a person.
I started answering this message before I read the second part so sorry if I’m repeating.
Also, why are all the messages anon (it makes it seems like I messaged myself)?
I was actually wondering the same thing. I just finished reading Secret Conversations, and I have Love is Nothing by Lee Server (both about Ava; second one is taking me a while cause the book is ginormous and my attention span is short) and they really don’t mention Marilyn. Neither do any of the Marilyn books that I have. I don’t have Ava’s bio, maybe there is a mention there but I really doubt it.
I saw the Dorothy Dandridge film with Halle Berry (the woman that played Marilyn really shouldn’t have) and it has a scene where Marilyn, Ava and Dorothy are hanging out. But like you mentioned, Ava was already gaining popularity when Marilyn was just starting out. They may have met, but no photos are available to the public of it. They did have things in common (coming from poverty, rising to fame because of looks, a relationship with Frank Sinatra, and having Phil Moore as a vocal coach[according to Love is Nothing, Ava was tutored by him while he was dating Dorothy], etc.). From what I read Ava was sympathetic to Marilyn after her death (I haven’t read Ava mentioning anything about Marilyn during M’s lifetime).
In ‘Love is Nothing’ it states: “James Baldwin-Jimmy wanted Ava to come and join him picketing outside Arthur Miller’s play After the Fall because it was so mean to Marilyn Monroe.” (Ava was had the flu so I don’t think she went.)
In “Ava Gardner: Secret Conversations” it states: “I know a lot of men fantasize about me: that’s how Hollywood gossip becomes Hollywood history. Someday someone is going to say, ‘All the lies ever told about Ava Gardner are true,’ and the truth about me, just like the truth about poor, maligned Marilyn [Monroe] will disappear like names on old tombstones.”
To sum up the Ava part: Doubt they were close friends, at most it seems like they may have been acquaintances.
Now for Dorothy, it’s also very mysterious. I asked a Dorothy blog about it and she said they were (it’s almost impossible to find a Dorothy bio in Narnia). There is a photo of them, although it’s not in very good quality (also that post has an extract from Earl Mill’s book [I found it on the internet] about Marilyn’s and Dorothy’s friendship; not being a Dorothy expert I can’t tell you if his book is reliable). While racism was clearly a large issue during those times, and it may have affected how ‘out in the open’ Marilyn’s friendships were; I don’t think their friendship was as confined by that (if that makes any sense) because Marilyn was friends with famous African American people like Sammy Davis Jr., and Ella Fitzgerald. The studio may have killed stories regarding Marilyn and unknown African Americans (there is a story that she had a relationship with a black man but it didn’t last long because they had to sneak around, and there was a time when Marilyn and William Travilla went to an exclusively black club and had their photo taken with a mystery man but when the photo became public the people publishing the photo cut out the black man to avoid a scandal).
I think Dorothy and Marilyn mingled but I feel like if they (Ava and Dorothy) were big parts of her life, biographers would have mentioned them like the Rostens, the Miltons, and the Strasbergs.
I hope they were friends, but I don’t think anyone would be able to handle the three of them in one room; too much perfection for one film era, let alone one room.
(Sidenote: Ava was friends with Dorothy, it’s mentioned in Love is Nothing.)
Yea… so I guess that didn’t really help, I just kinda repeated what you said…. But from everything I’ve seen there just isn’t enough for me to say “yes they were all best of friends.”
”A woman can’t be alone,” she said. “She needs a man. A man and a woman support and strengthen each other. She just can’t do it by herself…” I glanced around the big apartment and suddenly it seemed empty and lonely. But at the same time I had the feeling it would not remain that way very long. I was sure of it.
“Love and work are the two most important things in the world,” she said.
”How do you define love?” I asked. She was silent and still for a long, long moment.
“Love is… relationship,” she said at last. She groped for her words. “A women needs to- well, to support a man, emotionally, I mean. And a man needs to be strong. This is partly what it means to be feminine and to act feminine. Men need women to be feminine.” As she said it, the thought somehow seemed new and fresh.
I asked her whether she believed that aggressive, competitive American women sometimes emasculated American men.
”No… I don’t think so,” she answered solemnly. “And if they have, it’s not the wives who have done it, but the mothers. Anyway, that’s what Freud says.” Suddenly, her solemnity gave way to a twinkly. “If it were true that American women have emasculated the American male, I simply couldn’t bear it!” It was the old Monroe, doing her “I love sex” routine. She did it easily, in a well rehearsed manner. But I had the feeling that such superficiality no longer was a part of the new Monroe.
The afternoon light was deepening in the room. I realized it was growing late.
”I want what every woman wants-of course I do,” she volunteered, as she squeezed some lemon over my caviar canape. She seemed to pause.
”Love, strength, reassurance?” I hazarded, trying to share her feelings.
”Yes, yes! And…”
”To give?” I asked.
” Yes, to give!" she said.
She looked reflective. “Once I heard John Steinbeck say: ‘You know what’s wonderful about a wife? She’s there!’ It was at a dinner party, so of course the conversation wasn’t entirely serious- but you know, it meant something, what he said.”
"Can a woman be there, if she’s off somewhere, working?" I asked.
“Oh, of course,” she said. She seemed startled, amazed. “She’s there if she’s ‘there’- even when she isn’t there, if you see what I mean. That is… it isn’t the quantity of the time that matters, it’s the quality of the relationship…” I felt I understood, even if it seemed illogical. And moments later I agreed completely when she said: “Oh, I think it’s perfectly possible to believe two contradictory things at the same time- don’t you?”
-From an interview which took place in March 1961 with Margaret Parton for Ladies Home Journal but was rejected for being too “favorable.” It was eventually published in Look Magazine in 19 February 1979. Photograph from Golden Globe Awards in 1962.
No hello/goodbye/thank you/ please/i like your blog/i like you/ i want to be you/i want to wear your skin…. too far too far.
Um she had a few different ones (from Adam Victor’s book):
*1947-49: The Actors Lab (Phoebe Brand and Morris Carnovsky)
*1948-1955: Natasha Lytess
*1951-53: Michael Chekhov
*1953: Lotte Goslar
*1955: Constance Collier
*1955-1961: The Actors Studio (Lee Strasberg, Paula Strasberg)
as well as dozens of voice coaches, singing teachers and choreographers.
'I saw that what she looked like was not what she really was, and what was going on inside her was not what was going on outside, and that always means there may be something there to work with. In Marilyn's case, the reactions were phenomenal. She can call up emotionally whatever is required for a scene. Her range is infinite.'
-Lee Strasberg, creator-director of the Actors Studio
"She was alive in a way not granted the rest of us. She communicated such a charge of vitality as altered our imagination of life, which is the job and wonder of art. Hollywood, Broadway, the nightclubs all produce their quote of sex queens, but the public takes them or leaves them; the world is not as enslaved by them as it was by Marilyn Monroe, because none but she could suggest such a purity of sexual delight. The boldness with which she could parade herself and yet never be gross, her sexual flamboyance and bravado which yet breathed an air of mystery and even reticence, her voice which carried such ripe overtones of erotic excitement and yet was the voice of a shy child- these anomalies were intergral to her gift. And they described a young woman trapped in a never-never land of unawareness. Even while she symbolised an extreme of sexual knowingness, she took each new circumstance of life like a newborn babe. And this is what made her luminous. The glow was not rubbed off by the ugliness of life because finally in some vital depth, she had been untouched by it."
-Diana Trilling, author and critic
When I asked her, “Has anyone ever accused you of wearing falsies?” she came through with a genuine Monroeism.
“Yes,” she told me, her eyes flashing indignantly. “Naturally,” she went on, “it was another actress who accused me. My answer to that is, quote: Those who know me better know better. That’s all. Unquote.”
From an article by Pete Martin entitled “The New Marilyn” from Saturday Evening Post, May 5, 1956.
It depends on who you listen to, also her measurements changed through the years. She’d lost weight, she gained weight (during her pregnancies). From Adam Victor’s The Marilyn Encyclopedia:
Marilyn’s “vital statistics” as they were once called, naturally varied over the years. They also changed depending on who was giving out the numbers.
In 1945, when she signed up to the Blue Book Modeling Agency, Norma Jean declared:
weight: 118 pounds
measurements: 36-24-34, size 12 (My note: sizes in the 40s were different than now, the general rule is to divide by 2 but like now sizes varied from store to store)
hair color: medium blonde, “too curly to manage, recommend bleach and permanent”
eyes: blue and “perfect teeth”
In her first national feature in a 1951 issue of Collier’s magazine, starlet Marilyn ws billed as 37-23-34.
In her earliers studio biographies Marilyn’s height is up by half an inch to 5’5 1/2, and, inexplicably, her date of birth was brought forwards to 1928. Twentieth Century-Fox initially quoted her measurements at 36 1/2-23-34, but by 1955 she was advertised as 38-23-36, a set of measurements corroborated by Marilyn’s costume designer, William Travilla.
When filming Let’s Make Love (1960), Marilyn was a voluptuous size 16 (refer to above note), and weighed around 140 lbs. Much has been written on the difference between the curvy Marilyn and today’s waif models, but it should be remembered that because of changes to the way the clothing sizes are calculated, a 16 in the fifties is equivalent to a size 12 (sometimes said to be 8) today. Marilyn took a U.S. size 7AA in shoes.
Even Marilyn’s famous quip about using her measurements as her epitaph comes in different versions: it’s either ‘Here lies Marilyn Monroe, 37-22-35’ or ‘Here lies Marilyn Monroe, 38-23-36.”
Sorry I’ve been feeling really sick lately so I’ve been avoiding Tumblr.
Did you read the posts I linked to the ask that asked about JFK and Marilyn[x][x]? And to all the asks I (most of the time) add “I wasn’t there” so no I can’t be sure of anything in Marilyn’s life (and you shouldn’t trust anyone that tells you ‘this is exactly how it happened’). But I make an educated opinion from reading a variety of (reliable) sources (not Jeanne Carmen, Robert Slatzer, and Norman Mailer).
A majority of the rumors (and quotes) floating about Marilyn now, have risen after her death when she could no longer defend herself. And if we believe all the rumors about Marilyn.. well then I don’t know how she had time to make any films, sleeping with everyone in Hollywood/Washington would surely take up all her time.
The only affair that has substantial proof is the one she had with Yves Montand. The facts of the Kennedy-Monroe “affair” is that they met four times (read the links above).
Depends on what you read. The basic and most likely is that they didn’t know each other.
how about instead of constantly discussing what size Marilyn Monroe may or may not have been, we just focus on her talent and wit, you know, and not reduce her to her body
She never really had talent, I mean she wasn’t that great an actress, definitely couldn’t sing, and while I agree we shouldn’t be focussing on her size or how big or little she was, she was/is as popular as she was/is because of her looks and social activities.
I’d say she is the historic version of Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton if anything.
I would comment on her wit, but I know nothing about it, aside from the odd “quote” pasted onto a photo of her which may or may not have came out of her mouth, and any wit shown on screen would have been scripted and therefore the wit of the writer, not necessarily Marilyn’s.
can you… fucking…. not…. talk about stuff you know nothing about.
If you’re going to comment on her talent, you should know that she was praised for her acting by Laurence fucking Olivier, and although she may have been hard to work with, most people who did work with her found her to be a great actress, even though she mostly had terrible material to work with. There are also plenty of legitimate interviews and quotes available that show her wit. She was a well-read and intelligent woman. Was she known for being intelligent in her time? No, but she also wasn’t known for her “social activities” since she barely left her house unless she had to and would often disguise herself.
She also came from a life of POVERTY AND ABUSE which is NOTHING like what Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian have. A classic equivalent to those women would be Zsa Zsa Gabor, not Marilyn (whose salary wasn’t even that high compared to her contemporaries anyway).
You really just have no idea what you’re talking about. Taste is subjective, and not everyone has to like her acting or singing style, but there’s seriously no way you can compare someone who studied at the Actor’s Studio with fucking reality show stars.
I don’t think that’s a real term anymore, now it’s just borderline personality disorder,no?
What we have to remember is that the psychological field was not so great at the time (probably isn’t now either… I’m sure someone in 60 years will look back and laugh at our idiocy)(also it was easy to send people to the “nut house”, just look at Edie Sedgwick).
I’m not a doctor so I can’t say for certain what she had. There is history of mental instability in her family, but like I said they probably were not diagnosed properly. For example Marilyn’s granddad Otis Monroe diagnosed as mentally ill and died in the California State Hospital for the mentally ill, however later it was revealed that he died of syphilis of the brain, but this began the legacy of the fear of mental instability in the family. Her grandma, Otis’ wife, Della Mae was diagnosed with manic depressive psychosis and also died in a hospital, Norwalk Mental Hospital (according to Michelle Morgan’s Marilyn Monroe: Private and Confidential) and her mother also ended up in hospital (after stressful events).
I think her childhood, the pressures of Hollywood, and the fear of mental illness made her anxious and depressed rather than something else. But like I said I’m not a doctor. And there isn’t too much on ideas of what her “condition” was in books other than depression.
Haha well I’m not an expert but I think (besides from the obvious; Marilyn being so beautiful and a bit of a contradiction, i.e. the woman-child role) because of:
1. She’s a mystery. A woman who rose from the ashes to become one of the most famous women in the world, only to die at such an early age. Seemingly she had everything (looks, money [although she didn’t have that much… compared to the Hollywood world that is], any man she could possible want), but that wasn’t enough (there is a quote by Marlon Brando that’s good about this… I can’t make sentences today… anyway if you look up Marlon Brando on my blog I’m sure you’ll find it).
2. Her death is a mystery. Did she do it herself, was it an accident or intentional, was it the Kennedys, mafia, psycho doctor and house keeper?
3. Americans (I’m speaking generally) still have a stick up their bum-bum about sex. I watched Mr and Mrs Smith (Brangelina one) not too long ago on tv during daytime hours, and my favourite part where they show Angie and Brad dancing/drinking/make-out in the beginning was cut out, yet them shooting people/ blowing things up that was totally fine and left in. So some one like Marilyn, who was supposed to be this sex goddess, will probably still fascinate and disgust some people.
4. There is just something about her, that for people who bother to learn about her, instead of just believing the broken-telephone-rumours, that resonates with people.