Life

What else is there to say about Marilyn?

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A sex symbol, Old Hollywood icon and one of the most duplicated women in history. What else is there to say about her?

Well, quite a lot.

For starters, Marilyn never said: “Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world”. Neither did she say: “To all the girls that think you’re fat because you’re not a size zero, you’re the beautiful one. It’s society who’s ugly”. Probably the most quoted of all is: “I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best”. Once again, she never said that.

As a matter of fact, 99% of the quotes that are attached to her have never been said by her. From speaking to people about Marilyn, it seems that our generation lacks an understanding of who she was. Of course, none of us will ever really know her, but we can certainly have a good insight. This is because Marilyn’s life has been cut like a wound; savaged and ripped apart.

Using my years of research and “fragments: Poems, Intimate Notes, Letters by Marilyn Monroe”, I will be discussing her life as well as reviewing this book.

Back in the Golden Age of film, the studios practically owned their stars. They could decide what roles they had to play, what image they should uphold and even what name they should be called. When they were finished with them, they would give them no more movies to star in, without getting them out of their contracts. For Marilyn Monroe, Fox decided that she should play a ‘dumb blond’, something that frustrated Marilyn. She wanted to be considered as a serious actress; also as a woman of substance.

To achieve this desire, she moved to New York to escape Hollywood and took acting lessons. She created her own company in the hopes that could she control which characters she played, she wanted to be photographed with books, in addition to surrounding herself with intellectuals. Whilst her exterior may have appeared to be carefree and fun, inside she had troublesome pain. Her mind was filled with insecurity, self-doubt, perfectionism and loneliness.

Although some say she died on August 4th, officially she is known to have passed away on the 5th August, 1962. It was common practice back then, to rearrange a Hollywood stars house, before the police or paparazzi turned up. Marilyn had two file drawers in her bedroom. Many pieces of her writing were destroyed right then and there. However, a few pieces were left for Lee Strasberg – her acting coach.

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These pieces that Marilyn had personally written have ended up in a collection which has been put together in this book. From her poetry, letters, diary entries, recipes; this book uncovers her passion for literature, her articulate organisational skills and unfortunately her sadness. You read about her fears and insecurities. One of the most emotional sections was her acknowledgment that Arthur Miller no longer loved her.

In a world that has controlled her voice, it was refreshing to read about her, from none other than herself. As an Old Hollywood and Marilyn Monroe fan, I do find it fascinating. It is clear that she has stamped a permanent mark in culture and society, so we should have a clear understanding at least. Because I do believe that she can teach young woman. Not necessarily about embracing your curves or applying classic makeup.

We are essentially dictated, that happiness is a concoction of money, beauty, success and fame. Our generation is obsessed with the idea of being a ‘somebody’. Yet, Monroe who seemingly had all these traits felt unhappiness within her. Rather than trying to figure out why, people reasoned that it could not be true. She must have been murdered.

Not only was she not satisfied with her life, she resorted to education. She was continually trying to ‘better’ herself and was attracted to men who had the traits that she craved. What I love is that she worked to outsmart the system. When she came back to Fox studios with a new contract, she was able to have more control and choose her directors. ‘Some like it hot’ – made after she came back to Fox, became her biggest success.

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The book “fragments: Poems, Intimate Notes, Letters by Marilyn Monroe”, is not just for the avid fans. To me, it is comparable to a self-help book. When I am feeling down and my perfectionism is getting the better of me, I can turn to a page that Marilyn wrote and realise that even an A list icon, can feel overwhelmed with anxiety. I can relate to her poetry and conclude that my insecurities are not rare or unique; we can all question ourselves and be unsure of what we are doing.

Some say that her fascination has occurred due to her mysterious death. Personally, I agree with many of those who knew her, in that her death was an accidental overdose. It was a man who had nothing but a few snapshots on a film set, who wrote a book on her, declared that he married her (the studio forced them to annul) and that she was scared of President Kennedy killing her. Furthermore, he said that she had a hidden book which has never been found to this day. Coincidentally, he made all of these claims after she was gone and unable to defend herself. Like the quotes that she never said, his remarks have stuck in the media and in the minds of the world.

Her fascination continues for numerous reasons; her death is one aspect. Unlike most celebrities who portray picture perfect lives (even when they are sharing their doubts) Marilyn unveiled honesty. Millions can relate to her because she displayed the truth. Maybe it was her glamour, marriage breakdowns, struggle to conceive, and loneliness; there is something within her that is relatable.

I appreciate that she did not have ego. She is like a fresh breathe of air in the land of Tinsel town. Smart, creative and like most of us bloggers, an avid notepad writer who wrote schedules, poems, plans and thoughts.

I highly recommend this book. Packed full of wonderful material, it features images of her own writing alongside a more clear text and sometimes an explanation of that text. Containing her funeral eulogy, chronology of her life, books from her personal library, favourite photo, and context which explains her life at the point of writing different pieces. My only complaint is the lack of photos. Nevertheless, it makes for an interesting read and looks beautiful sat in my bedroom.

Are you an Old Hollywood or Marilyn Monroe fan? Has your perception of her now changed and do you relate to her in any way?

 

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34 thoughts on “What else is there to say about Marilyn?

  1. This is my favourite post from you thus far. It has struck so many cords for me. It’s also full of things I didn’t know about Marilyn! I cannot believe those quotes arnt hers!! How crazy is that??? Fabulously written well done my love 😘😘

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    • I know you love Old Hollywood, so I thought that you would appreciate this. There is so much about her that is not true. She has said some amazing quotes though and if you search her last interview, you will find many of them. One of the last things she said was “please don’t make me look like a joke”.
      Xxx

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m looking up this book you mention… seems to good not to! My heart always breaks just a little for her, esp more now after that line….. Imagine how hard everything must have been for her…. Did you read the recent articles on her where they mentioned she may have been pregnant? Photos were found after someone passed….. Have a look, more likely untrue but even just to see…. xxx

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        • Yeh I saw those photos. She wasn’t pregnant in them. She had suffered miscarriages though and during the filming of Some like it hot, she was pregnant and lost the baby.
          Most stars back then had quite sad lives. You had people like Rita Hayworth who had to change her entire identity and lost all her money to men who used her, but there was something about Marilyn – maybe a vulnerability that makes me think how bad it must have been at times for her. I am glad that you are looking up the book. I purchased it off Amazon. xxx

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  2. The whole story of Marilyn is so sad, the way she is portrayed is such a shame, along with her death and how young she was.
    She had her whole life a head of her. This kind of thing truly saddens me, she is an icon but for many incorrect reasons. Thank you for recommending this book, I will definitely have to have a look at it! I’m interested in the truth about her and it would be refreshing to have an insight into her life from her own words!! X

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    • Many Old Hollywood stars experienced really tragic lives. They were manipulated and controlled by the studio system and either died young or dead broke. Only a few like Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn etc, managed to go on and have happy lives.
      I would definitely suggest that you look into it. There are some really fascinating documentaries on her as well, many I believe on YouTube. She had so much anxiety and struggled to sleep. She ended up taking sleeping pills and then uppers or morning pills to keep her going – which was common practice back then. This led to her addiction and perhaps overdose. X

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, it is really nice to read her own quotes and thoughts. She did also do a last interview a few days before she died, there is a YouTube video of this with her own voice, or you can read about it if you type in her final interview. But yes, the book is amazing,

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        • I just watched it. She displayed an intelligent, deep thinking side that I’ve never seen or heard before. It just goes to show all these celebrities have a lot of demons they face. She seemed happy on the outside but was so troubled on the inside. Such a sad way to die though.

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        • I am so glad that you watched it! We see it happen with a lot with stars now, they might be on drugs or heading to rehab. I think many of them are ‘human’ and feel normal emotions of anxiety, sadness and stress etc. But because they are stars, they are expected to never complain and to always be grateful – as they are living the dream.
          It is sad with Marilyn because she had such a glow about her. I think she became numb to playing the character – she said Marilyn was a persona. It is a really sad way to die.
          You might find this interesting – a documentary I watched spoke about her sadness. When she filmed ‘The Misfits’ – the film her husband Arthur wrote for her, she was really upset because the character portrayed her as a drunk and in a bad light. She then read a diary entry of his which said that he found her embarrassing. After the film was done, they divorced and she relied so heavily on drugs.
          She had an assistant (I think it was her acting coach’s wife) that would make her decisions. Even on film, she would look at her to see if she did a good performance and if her assistant said no, she would ask to refilm. In the end, she didn’t have many people to rely on and many friends spoke about her. You think how many of them wrote books and revealed secrets after she was gone.

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