Payne Whitney Psychiatric Hospital
525 East 68th Street, New York (now Cornel Medical-Payne Whitney Clinic)
1961: On the advice of psychoanalyst Marianne Kris, following a divorce and unfavorable critical reception of The Misfits, on February 7 Marilyn checked in to the psychiatric ward of this New York hospital. To avoid publicity she signed the admission papers with the name Faye Miller. Far from finding an environment conducive to rest and recuperation, Marilyn was placed in a locked psychiatric ward. She broke down as the worst of her fears had come true: like her mother and grandmother before her, she too was incarcerated in a facility for the mentally ill. Three days later Joe DiMaggio, whom Marilyn had not seen in years but who dropped everything at her call, flew in and arranged for her to be transferred to the more congenial surroundings of the Columbia University Presbyterian Medical Center.
Click on photos to read them.
1-6: Marilyn’s transcript to Ralph Greenson, Marilyn’s psychoanalyst
9: Letter to Lee Strasberg
Marilyn writes to her stepchildren (Arthur Miller’s children) from her dog’s, Hugo, perspective.
January 8, 1947
Dear Groucho Marx-
My Father met your brother Gummo here in Palm Springs, and he said that if I would write to you, he was sure you would send me an autograph. I like your shows a lot.
Yours very trule,
Marjorie Nedford, 11 years old
January 15, 1947
I think you should warn your father about this man Gummo. For years he has palmed himself off as one of the Marx Brothers and has made a good thing of it. Actually he is no more one of the Marx Brothers than Chico is one of the Dolly Sisters.
Confidentially, this Gummo comes from a long line of Rumanian Gypsies; he was deposited at our doorstep at the age of fifty, and there’s nothing we can do about it.
Here is the autograph. I would send you a lock of my hair but it’s at the barbershop getting washed.
TO BEN KALMENSON
July 15, 1955
Dear Mr. Kalmenson:
You hardly know me but I have heard about you for years and you are generally considered one of the shrewdest and ablest men in the film industry.
The reason I am writing this is that my wife’s sister is married to Howard Hawks. She is coming to spend a month with me in September and if you could give me an approximate idea of the gross of “Land of Pharaohs” [directed by Mr. Hawks] it would help me to create the proper social climate.
For example, if the picture should make a net profit of say, $2,000,000, she would have the large guest room. Included in this is a tub and shower, private commode, and steaks from Elgee’s Meat Market.
If the picture, on the other hand, loses money, there is a room over the garage that we have been using for storing moleskins and betel nuts (we always keep a supply of betel nuts on hand in case any natives drop in from Universal Studios). There are no toilet or bathing facilities in this room and the only exit is through a trap door.
She will be fed, of course. No one starves in my home. Obviously there won’t be any steaks from Elgee’s, but she will get sufficient nourishment to keep body and soul together. A sample meal, for example, would be mildewed haggis, lamb fries and a steaming cup of chicory.
I would appreciate an early answer to this for I will need time to grease the trap door.
Thanking you in advance, I remain,
TO EARL WILSON
October 18, 1949
I found your reference to the picture “Copacabana” in shockingly bad taste. One doesn’t speak disparagingly of the dead. The fact of the matter is, I did very well on “Copacabana.” It gave me an opportunity to rise every morning at 6 o’clock , glue on a fake mustache, eat an extraordinarily bad lunch in the studio restaurant and get home in time to miss dinner. Plus all this, it gave me a change to look at my producer fourteen hours a day. No other picture can make that statement.