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Marilyn Monroe

I Do and I Don't. Jeanine Basinger. Silent Stars. Chasing Lolita. Graham Vickers. Stefan Kanfer. Sinatra in Hollywood. The Girl. Michelle Morgan. The Man Who Saw a Ghost. Devin McKinney. Gods Like Us. Ty Burr. Fasten Your Seat Belts. Lawrence J Quirk. Alfred Hitchcock's America. Murray Pomerance. Queens of Comedy. Susan Horowitz.

George Cukor. Patrick McGilligan. The Moment of Psycho. Robert K. Paul Brody. John DiLeo. The House That George Built. Wilfrid Sheed. Fool for Love. Scott Donaldson. The Many Lives of Marilyn Monroe. Sarah Churchwell. Groucho Marx. Lee Siegel. Ann Charters. Paul Maher Jr. Altman Text-Only Edition. Kathryn Reed Altman. Charles Bukowski. David Charlson. Kathryn Dixon. John McCabe. Marilyn Monroe: On the Couch. Alma H.

Jeffrey Spivak. The Annotated Marx Brothers. Matthew Coniam. Marilyn Revealed. Ted Schwarz. John Cassavetes: Lifeworks. Tom Charity. Richard Shephard. From Reverence to Rape. Molly Haskell. The Cambridge Companion to F. Ruth Prigozy. On the last day of the trial, as Joe Rauh rested his defense on the grounds that a refusal to answer irrelevant questions was not a punishable offense, Marilyn handled a crowd of reporters brilliantly.

The preparation of an appeal and the final disposition of the case would last another year. The Millers spent much of the summer in quiet indolence at a rented cottage in Amagansett, far out on Long Island. He tried to work on several projects, while Marilyn walked along the beach, read poetry, visited the Rostens in nearby Springs and made only rare appearances in New York—when, for example, she accepted an invitation to attend the ceremonial ground-breaking for the Time-Life Building.

It was considered hypersensitive and unrealistic when a wounded sea gull reduced her to weeping, or if she stopped her car at the sight of a stray dog wandering a country road. A discussion of the deer-hunting season roused her angry denunciation of killer sports. In fact few celebrities donated so much public time as Marilyn to charities benefiting youngsters: that year she sold tickets for and attended, among others, the Milk Fund for Babies and the March of Dimes.

She was always relaxed and sympathetic with children, always listened, asked about their needs, wrote down their names and later sent toys and gifts. They were, after all, unaware of her fame, asked nothing of her and allowed her to be, if only for a few moments, a mother.

With those she knew better, like Patricia Rosten and the Millers, no demand on her time or attention was excessive. Yet Marilyn often suddenly withdrew from everyone to be alone for hours that summer.


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She had been grievously offended over the verdict handed down in Washington and was anxious about another protracted time of examination, interrogations, meetings with lawyers—and the fees, which fell entirely to her. She then quietly announced to Arthur one day in July that a doctor had confirmed her pregnancy—news that made her happier than anyone could recall.

But there was to be no term of the pregnancy. On August 1, she collapsed in extreme pain and was briefly unconscious. An ambulance and physician were summoned, and Marilyn was rushed to Doctors Hospital in Manhattan, where it was determined that she had an ectopic pregnancy: the fetus was being formed in a Fallopian tube. Even her body seemed to indict her as unfit for adulthood. Concluding negotiations for their new home in Roxbury, Arthur and Marilyn devised elaborate plans for an unlikely replacement for the simple house.

Wright drew plans, but the cost was enormous and the project was never realized. The Millers settled for the tasks of repairing and updating the existing house. Something else would be realized, however. The story concerned three wandering men in the wilds of Nevada who capture wild horses to be butchered for canned dog food; in the story was a woman as rootless and unsettled as they but with an innate sense that life is sacred. This, Shaw argued, could become a serious film with a role for Marilyn that could confirm her as a major dramatic actress.

But Arthur had another idea: why not a rewrite of The Blue Angel , the film that had made Marlene Dietrich an international star?

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That autumn, Arthur began working on the scenario for a movie based on his story. As he proceeded, Marilyn read portions, laughing at the humorous moments and reflecting silently on the characters and motifs. At Christmas , Marilyn was as usual generous to a fault, spending a good portion of her savings on others. Arthur received a new set of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. Susan Strasberg unwrapped a Chagall sketch.

There were books and records for Lee, and to Paula she gave a pearl necklace with a diamond clasp, a gift from the Emperor of Japan in during her honeymoon with Joe. To him she calmly signed over the ownership of her Thunderbird, knowing he longed for but could not afford a car. With her mentor and mythmaker, Hollywood columnist Sidney Skolsky From the collection of Greg Schreiner. At the New York press conference announcing the production of The Prince and the Showgirl : revealing the broken strap she had carefully prepared.

With partner and co-producer Milton H. Greene, arriving in Los Angeles During production of The Prince and the Showgirl , London Photo by Milton H. From the collection of Vanessa Ries. From the collection of Evelyn Moriarty. With Clark Gable, during the final days of filming The Misfits With Joe at Yankee Stadium on opening day The Bettmann Archive. From the collection of Mickey Song. Kennedy From the collection of Chris Basinger.

The first months of were a time of melancholic strain in the Miller marriage. After several false starts on The Misfits , Arthur was pitched into a nervous gloom, and his wife was not adapting to suburban idleness. Marilyn knew about and tried to ameliorate the wary suspicions and discomfort preventing good relations between Lee and Arthur, but her negotiations were futile. More than once, as Susan recalled, Marilyn became tense and hostile when the Millers and Strasbergs visited, and the result was an explosion of anger often for no apparent reason directed at her husband, who would leave the room quietly instead of retaliating.

He should have slapped me! Marilyn could not inspire Arthur to better or swifter writing, nor could she give him a child, which was her desire more than his, as he admitted in his memoirs. However she may have thought about it, she seemed to herself an ineffective muse and a failed partner.

Marilyn Monroe

Her extended professional furlough also evoked a scratchy contentiousness, and this led to a period of even more excessive drinking during the first few months of At least once that March this nearly led to calamity, for at Roxbury she tripped and fell halfway down a flight of stairs, sustaining only a bruised ankle and a cut on her right palm from a broken whiskey glass. Liquor often made Marilyn ill, and she had little tolerance beyond one or two modest drinks; she preferred champagne, which did not upset her stomach.

But with alcohol, her appetite increased, and with no apparent reason to look her best for Hollywood, she quickly gained even more weight—as much as eighteen pounds above her normal one hundred fifteen. John Moore agreed, attempting diplomatically to communicate the joint opinion by showing her a clipping from a German newspaper: in a chemise, it said flatly, Marilyn Monroe looked like someone in a barrel. It may also have seemed as if she had never been to Hollywood, which was changing fast and, with its short memory, almost forgetting her. By April , almost two years had passed since she had made a film in America, and during the interval, studio executives were not breathlessly awaiting her return.

She also wanted to apply in her work what she hoped she had learned since Fearing there might be no purpose in her life, she felt that therapy and acting classes suggested all sorts of avenues, but that everything was theoretical. She had lost a child, had to abandon plans for a new home, was mired in an arid matrimonial patch and when she gazed in the mirror saw someone still lovely at thirty-two, but slightly bloated, pale and weary.

Yes, her agents said, these projects would avoid a reversion to the type of roles she had resented and said she would turn down—women like Lorelei Lee in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes , Pola in How To Marry a Millionaire and the nameless girl in The Seven Year Itch. Just as they were considering these and other projects, Billy Wilder sent Marilyn a two-page outline of a film he was writing with I.

Diamond, a script based on an old German farce. Titled Some Like It Hot , this was to be a wild comedy set in the Roaring Twenties, about two musicians who accidentally witness the St. To avoid the killers, the men successfully disguise themselves as women and sign up with an all-girl band, among whom is the ukulele-strumming blonde Sugar Kane.

This would, she reasoned, be simply an easy, lucrative interval while Arthur completed The Misfits. I like to go directly from a scene into my dressing room and concentrate on the next one and keep my mind in one channel. I envy these people who can meet all comers and go from a bright quip and gay laugh into a scene before the camera. And Paula gives me confidence. May Reis, then fifty-four, was a highly intelligent, discreet and trustworthy assistant who had been secretary to Elia Kazan and, until , to Arthur Miller. She already knew that working for Marilyn was a handful, but May knew that stars are a handful.

Fortunately, she would live at the hotel temporarily for wardrobe fittings, makeup tests and ukulele lessons and also during interior filming at the Goldwyn Studios. At first, good spirits prevailed with Marilyn, her director and her co-stars. For six years, all her films had been shot in Technicolor; because that was now in her contract with Fox, Marilyn naturally expected that Some Like It Hot would be a color picture, too although this film was for United Artists.

But no, Wilder explained, this picture had to be shot in black and white, otherwise the makeup of the two men in drag would be absurdly garish and not convincing. Of this Marilyn was not sure until a quick test shot made everything clear; from that point, the production began with an amiable optimism that made everybody almost deliriously happy. Wilder also noticed that Marilyn had matured as an actress. She was constantly late, and she demanded take after take after take—the Strasbergs, after all, had taught her to do things again and again and again until she felt she got them right.

Well, now she had us doing things again and again, our nice sane budget was going up like a rocket, our cast relations were a shambles, and I was on the verge of a breakdown. To tell the truth, she was impossible—not just difficult. Yes, the final product was worth it—but at the time we were never convinced there would be a final product. In other words, the camaraderie at the start of Some Like It Hot went cold.

Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis, with whom Marilyn had most of her scenes, grew weary and annoyed after the tenth and fifteenth take of the same shot, for Marilyn would cut in the middle of every one, angry or exasperated because she had got a word wrong—or, more often, was convinced she could do the scene better.

Marilyn was a year younger than Lemmon and Curtis, yet she was afraid of seeming much older and was paradoxically anxious that in their farcical drag they would appear like college boys. Nobody could remind her she had a professional commitment. Tony Curtis was blunter: kissing her, he said, was like kissing Hitler, by which he probably meant it could not possibly appeal to anyone but Eva Braun.

He was never there. Even as loyal a friend as Rosten had to agree that at such times Marilyn was trouble itself, a difficult woman who brought along the entire baggage of her emotional insecurities. By early September, the company was filming on location at a late-nineteenth-century Victorian resort called the Hotel del Coronado, a two-hour drive south of Los Angeles. After a month of strained relations with her colleagues and the unfounded conviction that she was performing poorly, Marilyn had reverted to reliance on massive amounts of barbiturates for sleep.

In addition, she sometimes took pills during the afternoon as well, perhaps to anesthetize her feelings of insufficiency. She often told me how she longed for a child, but I cautioned her that she would kill a baby with the drink and the pills—the effects of those barbiturates accumulated, I told her, and it would be impossible to predict when just one drink will then precipitate a spontaneous abortion. Marilyn also felt, as she later told Rupert Allan, that in playing the role of Sugar Kane she had reverted to exactly the kind of role that had driven her from Hollywood in Perhaps because from afar their marriage seemed not quite so troubled, Marilyn longed for Arthur as she had during Bus Stop , and she turned to him when she had doubts about a projected photo story.

The child in her catches the fun and the promise, and the old person in her the mortality. She has identified herself with what was naive, what was genuine lure and sexual truth. But when Marilyn read the draft of his comments, she felt not encouraged but depressed. Was that all she had to offer? But ignoring the praise, she seized on the comparison with Harlow. Of their conversation nothing can be known. But that evening Arthur wrote to Marilyn of his own emotional problems, and the letter has survived. He added that he believed he was making important discoveries in the regular psychotherapeutic sessions he had resumed with a Dr.

Loewenstein, which he believed was illuminating the blockage in his emotional life. He justified the reservations she had about the Life article which they evidently discussed on the telephone by stating his belief that his points were good and interesting. The letter concluded with a plea for her love and her understanding of his mental confusion.

The letter of September 12, , helps to correct this one-sided view. She may have been seeking an earthly savior, as he claimed, but he had been looking for a goddess. As Sidney Skolsky rightly remarked, Arthur may have been shocked to discover that Marilyn was neither his salvation nor the one he hoped could disentangle his own spiritual problems, but that she was needy in her own right. Their telephone conversation alone was not enough to cheer her, for that night Marilyn apparently took one too many sleeping capsules, perhaps with champagne.

She was neither dying nor comatose, but, in a reaction typical for one who ingests such a combination, she vomited so violently that Paula had her admitted to a hospital for the weekend. Marilyn was back at work on Monday. Later that week, Arthur arrived to comfort her, but also, as his friend Olie Rauh believed, because he was virtually idle in New York: he had submitted the first draft of The Misfits to John Huston, whose response to it was favorable and who, they hoped, would direct it. Embarrassed by what he considered her lack of professionalism, he was another authority figure Marilyn had to please.

In addition, he distressed an already harried production crew by unwelcome interference, which doubtless he thought was part of the support he was offering Marilyn. Nor was his unwittingly superior attitude welcome. It was a courageous performance, really courageous. Behind this struggle was the judgment Marilyn felt was constantly being levied against her by Arthur. To Rupert Allan and Susan Strasberg, Marilyn confided her fear that Arthur regarded her as self-absorbed and unprofessional.

In their time, actors like Spencer Tracy and Errol Flynn among others shut down filming for a week at a time while they skipped off for their alcoholic binges, and Judy Garland was endlessly pampered with whatever drugs she required; they were but three of countless stars whose conduct, by comparison, made Marilyn seem as alert and punctual as a cadet.


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  7. But with Arthur it all seemed sour, and I remember saying at the time that in meeting Miller at last I met someone who resented her more than I did. But there was another problem, and that autumn, the atmosphere on location in Coronado was thick with tensions. He said she was too exhausted to submit to outside work in the afternoon sun.


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    She never shows up until after twelve! Arthur, bring her to me at nine and you can have her back at eleven-thirty! But we were working with Monroe, and she was platinum—not just the hair, and not just her box-office appeal. What you saw on the screen was priceless. Fortunately, her most strenuous scenes were already shot and the filming of Some Like It Hot was completed on November 6. By this time, director and star were barely speaking.

    But Wilder was not bitter. As a variation of boy as girl meets girl but cannot woo girl, Some Like It Hot might have been little more than a glossy college romp. When Joe E. For all the problems, what survives is a radiantly funny portrait of a ukulele-strumming girl aglow with expectations for the right kind of man to love. Returning to New York before the end of November, Marilyn was determined to rest during the early stages of her pregnancy.

    But on December 16, she miscarried; it was the last time she tried to be a mother. I took some sherry wine also. The Christmas—New Year holiday was a time of quiet recuperation, and Marilyn entered in a depression she tried to alleviate by taking sleeping pills as sedatives against tension and anxiety, a practice not generally discouraged by physicians at that time. But Amytal and Nembutal are themselves depressants, and so there was sometimes a vicious cycle of insomnia, drug-induced sleep, a stuporous morning and a vaguely unhappy day endured by taking more pills.

    Kris, with whom she resumed regular visits, seemed to provide little comfort or illumination. Kris prescribed the sedation Marilyn requested and, it may be presumed, recorded and monitored the amounts. There was one particularly uncomfortable side effect of her drug use: chronic constipation, which she countered by increased reliance on enemas. Since , she had taken one a day before special occasions if she felt bloated, so that she could fit snugly into a form-fitting gown.

    But by , her enemas had become as casual a habit as a haircut or shampoo and far more dangerous; pharmacy receipts for that year include the purchase of several sets of the necessary paraphernalia. Marilyn also dutifully read film scripts submitted by her agents—none of them, she replied, either appealing or appropriate; and she worked with Arthur on further improvements to the Roxbury house, the first home she had ever owned with anyone. Marilyn was no recluse, however, and she was particularly delighted to meet famous writers that year.

    Carson McCullers extended an invitation to her Nyack home, where Isak Dinesen joined them for a long afternoon discussion on poetry. We did some mock playacting and some pretty good, funny imitations. I asked her a lot of questions. She told me how she came up the hard way, but she would never talk about her husbands. In , Marilyn was not, therefore, the invariably withdrawn, darkly self-absorbed much less suicidal enigma of later myth.

    On a promotional tour for the film, she was as ever low-keyed and generous with the press. As for their long-planned film of The Misfits , John Huston was reading various drafts of the screenplay. His own anxious inertia was ironically highlighted by his reception, on January 27, of a gold medal from the National Institute of Arts and Letters. In painful times, as Dante wrote, the worst agony is the remembrance of past glory. On such occasions, Marilyn rose to the moment.

    Marilyn fussed over Isadore, devoted a day to prepare a meal he especially liked, offered him little gifts and treated him as lovingly as if he were her own father. If he dozed, she untied his shoelaces and brought a footstool; if he had a cold, she brought soup and a shawl.

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    As the year and her inactivity progressed, she lost interest in the plans for expansion at Roxbury. She was his artwork faute de mieux. But all was not gloomy.