Saturday, July 8, 2017

Remembering Marilyn Monroe, Conclusion

“I am good, but not an angel. I do sin, but I am not the devil. I am just a small girl in a big world trying to find someone to love.”
I Wanna be Loved by You

Picture Legend

1. “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” poster
2. Marilyn singing “Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend”
3. Marilyn  and Jane Russell in Gentlemen
4. Betty Grable
5. Marilyn and Jane Russell at Grauman's, 1953
6. Marilyn, Betty Grable, and Lauren Bacall in “How to Marry a Millionaire” 1953
7. Cover of the first issue of Playboy magazine, December 1953
8. Marilyn’s centrefold, taken from the 1949 Tom Kelly photoshoot
9. Jack Benny, Marilyn, and Eddie "Rochester" Anderson, 1953
10. Husband #2 Joe diMaggio & Marilyn
11. Marilyn in “River of No Return” 1954
12. With Robert Mitchum in River
13. In “There’s No Business Like Show Business” 1954
14. In “The Seven Year Itch” 1955
15. With Tom Ewell in “The Seven Year Itch”
16. Kelli Garner as Marilyn in “The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe”
17. Michelle Williams as Marilyn in “My Week with Marilyn”
18. Marguerite Chapman & Tom Ewell
19. Tom Ewell & Carolyn Jones
20. Marilyn and Milton H Greene
21. Milton Green photograph of Marilyn, “The Hooker Sitting,” LA, 1956
22. Constance Collier
23. Lee Strasberg, Marilyn, and Paula Strasberg, 1961
24. Marilyn and Marlon Brando
25. Marilyn and Arthur Miller
26. Arthur O'Connell, Eileen Heckart, and Marilyn in 1956's “Bus Stop”
27. Laurence Olivier & Marilyn Monroe in “The Prince and the Showgirl”
28. Marilyn meets Queen Elizabeth II in October of 1956. Both ladies were 30 years old at the time
29. Donald Sinden
30. In “Some Like it Hot” 1959
31. With Jack Lemmon in “Some Like it Hot”
32. With Tony Curtis
33. Rockhaven Sanitarium for the Copiously Insane
34. Telegram from “Let’s Make Love producer    to Marilyn concerning preparations for “Let’s Make Love”
35. Frankie Vaughan, Marilyn, Arthur Miller, and Yves Montand publicity photo for “Let’s Make Love” 1960
36. Marilyn in “The Misfits”
37. And another
38. Crew of “The Misfits” Front row, left to right: Montgomery Clift, Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable. Back row, left to right: Eli Wallach, playwright Arthur Miller, and director John Huston.
39. My favorite picture of Marilyn
40. Marilyn’s Brentwood home
41. She lived there for about six months
42. Home
43.     ^
44. Marilyn’s bedroom
45. Swimming pool scene from “Something’s Got to Give”
46. Three pictures from The Last Sitting
47.                           ^
48.                           ^
49. As she was found
50. The world finds out
51. Joe at her funeral
52. Her final resting place
53. Marilyn’s Star
54. Marilyn

   “I remember when I was in high school I didn't have a new dress for each special occasion. The girls would bring the fact to my attention, not always too delicately. The boys, however, never bothered with the subject. They were my friends, not because of the size of my wardrobe but because they liked me.”

   I bet they did.

   1953‘s “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” was a musical comedy film based on the stage musical “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” of 1949, which itself was based on the 1925 novel, “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes: The Intimate Diary of a Professional Lady,” by Anita Loos,  who was inspired to write the book after watching a sexy blonde turn intellectual H. L. Mencken (who is regarded as one of the most influential American writers and prose stylists of the first half of the twentieth century. He commented widely on the social scene, literature, music, prominent politicians and contemporary movements. His satirical reporting on the Scopes trial, which he dubbed the "Monkey Trial", also gained him national and international attention. The character E. K. Hornbeck in “Inherit the Wind,” played by Tony Randall in the original 1955 theatrical production and Gene Kelly in Stanley Kramer’s 1960 film, was based on H. L. Mencken) into a love struck schoolboy (women will do that sometimes. They think it’s funny as hell).
   The film was directed by Howard Hawks (“The Big Sleep,” “His Girl Friday,” “The Thing from Another World”), and starred Marilyn, Jane Russell, Charles Coburn, Elliott Reid, Tommy Noonan, George Winslow, Taylor Holmes and Norma Varden in supporting roles
   The story concerns two show girls looking for love... and diamonds.
   Here’s a clip of Marilyn getting stuck in a hole.
And here’s one with Marilyn, Jane, and Tommy Noonan.
   And Marilyn singing “Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend.”
   That last clip pretty much summed up Marilyn’s character, who was looking for love... with economic benefits.
   Some say that”  Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” established Marilyn’s screen persona as a "dumb blonde," but I didn’t see anything particularly dumb about her character. Lorelei Lee knew what she wanted and knew how to get it... which she did, and at no time, within the framework of the movie, was any criticism leveed at her for her gold digging ways. 
   The role of Lorelei was originally intended for Betty Grable, who had been 20th Century-Fox's most popular "blonde bombshell" in the 1940s, and pin up goddess to our fighting men during World War II. However Marilyn was fast eclipsing her as a star who could appeal to both male and female audiences.
   As part of the film's publicity campaign, Marilyn realized a childhood dream by having her hands and feet immortalized, along with Jane, in wet concrete outside Grauman's Chinese Theater in June of 1953.
   “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,”  was released the next month and became one of the biggest box office successes of the year by grossing $5.3 million ($48,538,471.91 in 2017), more than double its production costs.
   Bosley Crowther of The New York Times and William Brogdon of Variety both commented favorably on Marilyn’s performance, especially noting the film’s rendition of "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend." According to Brogdon Marilyn demonstrated the "ability to sex a song as well as point up the eye values of a scene by her presence."
   Apparently Jane was a a bit of an evangelist, as she tried to convert Marilyn during the filming of the movie. "Jane tried to convert me (to religion) and I tried to introduce her to Freud."
   Smart girl.
   Here’s Jane talking to Sally Jessie Raphael and Susan Strassberg about working with Marilyn.
   Jane passed away on February 28th, 2011, of a respiratory-related illness.
      Marilyn played yet another gold digger by co-starring with Betty Grable and Lauren Bacall in her third movie of the year, “How to Marry a Millionaire,” which was released on November 5th. She played a naïve model who teams up with her friends to find rich husbands, repeating the successful formula of “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.”
   Made by 20th Century Fox, “How to Marry a Millionaire” was the first film ever to be photographed in the new CinemaScope wide-screen process, although it was the second Cinemascope film released by Fox after the biblical epic film “The Robe” (also 1953).
   “How to Marry a Millionaire” was also the first 1950s color and CinemaScope film ever to be shown on prime time network television, though panned-and-scanned (a method of adjusting widescreen film images so that they can be shown within the proportions of a standard definition 4:3 aspect ratio television screen, often cropping off the sides of the original widescreen image to focus on the composition's most important aspects), when it was presented as the first film on NBC Saturday Night at the Movies on September 23rd, 1961.
   Despite mixed reviews, the film was Marilyn’s biggest box office success at that point in her career, earning $8 million in world rentals ($72,339,176.03 in 2017 dollars, against a budget of $1,870,000, $16,909,282.40 today).
   “How to Marry a Millionaire” premiered at the Fox Wilshire Theatre (now the Saban Theatre), in Beverly Hills, California. It was Fox's second highest grossing film of that year (with “The Robe” being the first), and was the fourth highest-grossing film of 1953, whereas Marilyn’s previous feature “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” was the ninth.
   Here’s a clip.
   Marilyn was listed in the annual Top Ten Money Making Stars Poll in both 1953 and 1954, which is good for an actress.
   According to Fox historian Aubrey Solomon, Marilyn became the studio's "greatest asset" alongside CinemaScope (an anamorphic lens (anamorphic lenses are specialty tools which affect how images get projected onto the camera sensor. They were primarily created so that a wider range of aspect ratios could fit within a standard film frame. CinemaScope’s creation in 1953 by Spyros P. Skouras, the president of 20th Century Fox, marked the beginning of the modern anamorphic format in both principal photography and movie projection).
   Marilyn’s position as a leading sex symbol was confirmed in December 1953, when Hugh Hefner featured her on the cover and as centerfold in the first issue of Playboy (December 1953). The cover image was a photograph taken of her at the Miss America Pageant parade in 1952, and the centerfold featured one of her 1949 Tom Kelly nude photographs.
   Marilyn made her television debut on September 13th, 1953 on “The Jack Benny Show (one of my two favorite comedians, the other being George Carlin),” playing Jack's fantasy woman in the episode "Honolulu Trip." Here she is.
   Jack died in his home of pancreatic cancer on December 26th, 1974 at age 80.
   She filmed “River of No Return” in 1953  and it was released on April 30th, of 1954. The film was directed by actor/director Otto Preminger, who had never made a western, and only did so due to contractual obligations with 20th Century Fox.
   Besides Marilyn the filmed starred an old time friend, Robert Mitchum, along with Tommy Rettig, and Rory Calhoun.
   Marilyn was accompanied on the shoot with her acting coach Natasha Lytess (a situation that would pop up quite often), who often gave acting advice to her that clashed with what Mr. Preminger wanted done. He actively tried to get Lytess barred from the set. He succeeded once only to have Marilyn complain to Darryl Zanuck, the head of Fox at the time. Marilyn with the success of Gentlemen was now a box office draw, so he let Lytess return much to Preminger’s consternation.
   Much of “River of No Return” was filmed in Banff and Jasper National Parks and Lake Louise in Alberta, which is part of the mighty nation of Canada. Preminger also had to contend with frequent rain, Mitchum's heavy drinking, and an injury to Marilyn’s ankle that kept her off the set for several days and ultimately put her in a cast.
   That injury occurred when she almost drown when filming a scene in Jasper. She was wearing chest high hip waders to protect the costume she was in when they filled up with water. She consequently slipped and wasn’t able to get up. Mitchum and others jumped in the river to rescue her but her ankle was sprained as a result.
   In later years, Marilyn claimed that “River of No Return” was her worst film.
   Bosley Crowther again, of the New York Times, continued to obsess on Marilyn’s physicality in his review.
   "It is a toss-up whether the scenery or the adornment of Marilyn Monroe is the feature of greater attraction in River of No Return . . . The mountainous scenery is spectacular, but so, in her own way, is Miss Monroe. The patron's preference, if any, probably will depend upon which he's interested in. Certainly, scriptwriter Frank Fenton has done the best he could to arrange for a fairly equal balance of nature and Miss Monroe . . . And that should not be too lightly taken. For Director Otto Preminger has thrown all the grandeur and menace of these features upon the eye-filling CinemaScope screen. A sickening succession of rapids, churned into boiling foam, presents a display of nature's violence that cannot help but ping the patron's nerves. The raft tumbling through these rapids is quite a sight to see. And layouts of Rocky Mountain landscapes are handsome in color, too. But Mr. Mitchum's and the audience's attention is directed to Miss Monroe through frequent and liberal posing of her in full and significant views."
   Otto wasn’t happy with Marilyn and spoke bitterly about her in various interviews. It wasn't until January of 1980, when being interviewed for the New York Daily News, that he conceded, "She tried very hard, and when people try hard, you can't be mad at them."
   He would pass away six years later, on April 23rd, 1986, of complications of Lung Cancer and Alzheimer's.
   No one who knew him liked him very much.
   Here’s a clip with Marilyn and Tommy Rettig, and another one with Marilyn and a bunch of drunken cowboys.
  Robert Mitchum had a long successful career ahead of him and made 63 more films after River before succumbing to lung cancer and what is now called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) on the first of July in 1997.
   Here he is speaking about Marilyn.  
   One year later, on October 27, 1955, I would appear on the scene in San Jose.
   On  January 4th, 1954, Marilyn was placed on suspension from 20th Century-Fox after refusing to accept the leading role in a film version of “The Girl in Pink Tights,” with Frank Sinatra, and who can blame her. I mean pink tights... really?
    During her suspension, she married Joe DiMaggio and the two honeymooned in Japan, during which she took time to entertain troops in Korea (here’s the clip).
   When Marilyn returned to Hollywood, her Fox suspension was lifted, and studio executives offered her a role in the ensemble cast of “There's No Business Like Show Business” as a replacement project for having refused to make “The Girl in Pink Tights.”
   Marilyn initially refused to make “There's No Business Like Show Business” until Fox ensured her that her next film would be “The Seven Year Itch.”
   “There's No Business Like Show Business,” premiered on December 16th, 1954.
   Here’s a clip from “There’s No Business Like Show Business.”

   Scene from “The Seven Year Itch:”
   Richard Sherman: “If Helen sent you to get a divorce...”
   Tom MacKenzie: [incredulous] “A divorce?”
   Richard Sherman: [continuing] “I absolutely refuse! I'll fight it in every court!”
   Tom MacKenzie: [incredulous] “She sent me for the paddle.”
   Richard Sherman: [continuing; crazed] “Because I can explain everything: the stairs, the cinnamon toast, the blond in the kitchen.”
   Tom MacKenzie: [interrupts; incredulous] “Wait! Wait a minute Dickey-Boy. What blond in the kitchen?”
   Richard Sherman: [seething with contempt] “Oh, wouldn't you like to know! Maybe it's Marilyn Monroe!”

   In September of 1954, Marilyn began filming Billy Wilder's comedy “The Seven Year Itch,” in which she starred opposite Tom Ewell as a woman who became the object of her married neighbor's sexual fantasies.
   The “Itch” refers to declining interest in a monogamous relationship after seven years of marriage, most often by the male, and apparently is an actual phenomenon as psychologists use it to this day to sanction extramarital affairs.
   “The Seven Year Itch” was filmed between September 1st and November 4th, in 1954, and was the only Billy Wilder film released by 20th Century Fox.
   The film also starred the lovely and talented actresses Marguerite Chapman, and the future Morticia Addams, Carolyn Jones.
   Although the film was shot in Hollywood, the studio decided to generate advance publicity by staging the filming of a scene on Lexington Avenue in New York. In the shoot, Marilyn is standing on a subway grate with the air blowing up the skirt of her white dress, which became one of the most famous scenes of her career.
   The Girl: “Oooooooohhhh! This feels just elegant!”
   The shoot lasted for several hours and attracted a crowd of nearly 2,000 spectators, including professional photographers, as most of the still pictures you see of this event do not appear in the film.
   The scene was shot twice: the first on location outside the Trans-Lux 52nd Street Theater, then located at 586 Lexington Avenue in Manhattan, while the second take was on a sound stage. Both eventually made their way into the finished film.
   While the publicity stunt placed Marilyn on international front pages (everybody got really excited about all kinds of stuff back then), it also marked the end of her marriage to Joe, who was furious about the stunt (what a douche. What did he expect when marrying someone like Marilyn? That she’d give up her career, which included being a sex symbol, to wait on him for the rest of her life? What a douche! However, he would remain felicitous toward Marilyn for the rest of her life, and beyond. He sent roses to her burial vault three times a week for 20 years).
   DiMaggio, a heavy smoker for much of his adult life, was admitted to Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, Florida, on October 12th, 1998, for lung cancer surgery and remained there for 99 days. He returned to his Hollywood, Florida home on January 19th, 1999, where he died on March 8th. Joe DiMaggio's final words were: "I finally get to see Marilyn."
   The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists union (AFTRA) had been troubled from the start by Joe’s jealousy and controlling attitude. Biographers David Spoto and Lois Banner have also asserted that he was physically abusive, as was depicted in the excellent 2015 bio TV picture “The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe,” featuring an outstanding performance by Kelli Garner as Marilyn, the best I’ve ever seen (yeah, I know what you’re thinking. Michelle Williams was awarded the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical, and earned Best Actress nominations from the Academy Awards and British Academy Film Awards for her portrayal of Marilyn in “My Week with Marilyn,” but as I watched that movie, Michelle (who I love. Who doesn’t love Michelle Williams? Tell me, who?) always reminded me of Michelle Williams, wherein Kelli completely disappeared in her role).
   “The Seven Year Itch” was released June 1st, of 1955.
   The film was both a critical and financial success earning $12 million at the box office, and $6 million in rentals ($108,508,764.04 and $54,254,382.02 respectively in 2017 dollars) against a production budget of $1.8 million ($16,276,314.61 today).
   Ewell won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy for his work.
   Not everybody was happy with the movie though. In the 1970s the co-writer/director Billy  Wilder called the movie "a nothing picture because the picture should be done today without censorship... Unless the husband, left alone in New York while the wife and kid are away for the summer, has an affair with that girl there’s nothing. But you couldn’t do that in those days, so I was just strait jacketed. It just didn’t come off one bit, and there’s nothing I can say about it except I wish I hadn’t made it. I wish I had the property now."
   Here’s a clip, and another, and another.
   Here’s a short documentary on the making of “The Seven Year Itch.”
   On September 12th, 1994, Tom Ewell died of undisclosed causes. He was 85 years old. He passed away at Motion Picture Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, California, 26.7 miles via the scenic 101, from where I’m typing this.
   When Marilyn finished filming and returned to Hollywood, she hired famous attorney Jerry Giesler and announced in October of 1954 that she was filing for divorce.
   “I have too many fantasies to be a housewife. I guess I am a fantasy.”
   She left Hollywood for the East Coast, where she and photographer Milton H Greene founded their own production company, Marilyn Monroe Productions (MMP), which no actress had done before and is attributed to the beginning of the end of the studio system, in which the studios had complete control over their actors and actresses careers.
   When Marilyn announced the formation of MMP at a press conference in January of 1955, she said she was "tired of the same old sex roles. I want to do better things. People have scope, you know."
    She insisted she was no longer under contract to Fox, as the studio had not fulfilled its contractual obligations, such as paying her a promised bonus for “The Seven Year Itch." This began a year-long legal battle between her and Fox. She won.
   In New York Marilyn continued to study her craft by taking acting classes with actress and acting couch Constance Collier, and attending workshops on method acting at the Actors Studio, run by actor, director, and theater practitioner Lee Strasberg, obviously before he was shot to death by Tom Rosqui in “The Godfather Part II.”
   Here’s Jane Fonda talking to David Letterman about Strasberg and Marilyn.
   “...Strasberg makes me feel badly [that I was acting out of "fear"]... You must start to do things out of strength... by not looking for strength, but only looking and seeking technical ways and means.”
   Yet she became close to Strasberg and his wife Paula and took private lessons at their home, ostensibly due to her shyness (she suffered chronic insecurities regarding her ability to act. Marilyn also experienced pre-performance anxiety that sometimes made her physically ill and was often the root cause of her being late on films sets, which was so extreme that it often infuriated her co-stars and crew. "She would be the greatest if she ran like a watch," director Billy Wilder once said of her. "I have an aunt Minnie who's very punctual, but who would pay to see Aunt Minnie?"
   I would love to see Aunt Minnie, but she’s more than likely not available any more (Wilder died on March 27th, 2002 of pneumonia at the age of 95 after battling health problems, including cancer, in Los Angeles and was interred in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Westwood, Los Angeles, near Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. Marilyn’s crypt is located in the same cemetery. Wilder died the same day as two other comedy legends: Milton Berle and Dudley Moore. The next day, French newspaper Le Monde titled its first-page obituary, "Billy Wilder dies. Nobody's perfect," quoting the final gag line in “Some Like It Hot”).
   Marilyn gave Natasha Lytess the old boot and replaced her with Paula, and the Strasbergs remained an important influence to her for the rest of her career.
   She also began psychoanalysis at Lee’s recommendation, who believed all actors could use some therapy.
   I mean it couldn’t hurt, right?
   I know I could use some...
   Here’s a television “Person to Person" interview with Edward R Murrow that occurred on the 8th of April, 1955.
   Murrow, a pioneer of television news broadcasting, who produced a series of reports that helped lead to the censure of Senator Joseph McCarthy. Fellow journalist like Eric Sevareid, Ed Bliss, Bill Downs, Dan rather, and Alexander Kendrick consider Murrow one of journalism's greatest figures, noting his honesty and integrity in delivering the news.
   Given that he sure asked Marilyn some bizarre questions, and of Greene and his wife. Did Marilyn pick up after herself? Did she make her own bed? Geez, might as well ask if she was potty trained.
   In this interview one easily sees a shy, vulnerable, almost insecure, delightful girl. Someone I wouldn’t mind knowing.
   Marilyn continued to see DiMaggio despite the ongoing divorce proceedings because women generally don’t know what’s good for them. She also dated actor Marlon Brando and playwright Arthur Miller (“Death of a Salesman,” “The Crucible”). The studio people didn’t like that at all.
   She had first been introduced to Miller by Elia Kazan in the early 1950s. The affair between Monroe and Miller became increasingly serious after October 1955, when her divorce from DiMaggio was finalized, and Miller separated from his wife.
   The FBI opened a file on her as Arthur was being investigated by them for allegations that he was a  communist and had been subpoenaed by the House Un-American Activities Committee, headed by Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin.
   The people at Fox feared Marilyn would be blacklisted by association and urged her to end the affair. But despite that risk she refused to end the relationship, later calling the studio heads "born cowards."
   By the end of 1955, Marilyn and came to an agreement about a new seven-year contract.
   It was clear that MMP would not be able to finance films alone, and the studio was eager to have her working again. The contract required her to make four movies for Fox during those seven years. The studio would pay her $100,000 for each movie ($904,239.70 in 2017 dollars), and granted her the right to choose her own projects, directors and cinematographers. She would also be free to make one film with MMP per each completed film for Fox.
   Marilyn began 1956 by touting her win over 20th Century-Fox. The press, which had previously ridiculed her for her move toward independence, now wrote favorably about her decision to fight the studio. “Time” called her a "shrewd businesswoman" and “Look” predicted that the win would be "an example of the individual against the herd for years to come."
   In March, she officially changed her name to Marilyn Monroe.
   Her relationship with Arthur prompted some negative comments from the press, including Walter Winchell's statement that "America's best-known blonde moving picture star is now the darling of the left-wing intelligentsia," as if that were a bad thing.
    Marilyn and Arthur were married in a civil ceremony at the Westchester County Court in White Plains, New York, on June 29th, and two days later they had a Jewish ceremony at his agent's house at Waccabuc, New York.
   Marilyn converted to Judaism with the marriage, which led Egypt to ban all of her films. The media saw the union as mismatched given her star image as a sex symbol and his position as an intellectual, as demonstrated by Variety's headline "Egghead Weds Hourglass."
   How rude.
   “Bus Stop” is sometimes labeled  a romantic comedy, which was directed by Joshua Logan (“Picnic," “Sayonara," “South Pacific") for 20th Century Fox, and besides Marilyn starred one of my favorite character actors, Arthur O'Connell, with Don Murray, Betty Field, Eileen Heckart, Robert Bray and Hope Lange.
   It was the first movie that Marilyn chose to make under her new contract and was released on August 31st, 1956.
   The story revolves around Marilyn Chérie, a saloon singer whose dreams of stardom are complicated by a naïve cowboy who falls in love with her. For the role, she adopted an Ozark accent, chose costumes and make-up that lacked the glamour of her earlier films, and provided deliberately mediocre singing and dancing. Here’s a clip of that singing.
   Just awful!
   Broadway director Logan agreed to direct, despite initially doubting her acting abilities and knowing of her reputation for being difficult.
   The filming took place in Idaho and Arizona in early 1956, with Marilyn "technically in charge" as the head of MMP, and occasionally making decisions on cinematography
   Making “Bus Stop," changed Logan's opinion of Marilyn, and he later compared her to Charlie Chaplin in her ability to blend comedy and tragedy.
   The film became a box office success, grossing $7.27 million ($65,312,761.19 in today’s dollars), on a budget of $2.2 million ($19,819,044.78 in 2017).
   The film received positive reviews from critics, and Marilyn’s performance was highly praised. Despite Murray's Oscar nomination, his performance was poorly received. I took away his character as being way over the top and quite frankly obnoxious.
   Marilyn received a Golden Globe for Best Actress nomination for her performance.
   Here’s a documentary on the making of “Bus Stop.”

   “Now don’t pull the Grand Duke with me. You made a pass and I turned it down. That’s all that happened. We can still be friendly.” -Elsie Marina, from “The Prince and the Showgirl.”

   MMP came to the decision that their first independent production, would be  “The Prince and the Showgirl,” with Lawrence Olivier, who would also act as director and co-producer. You can read about my favorite non-domestic actor, Sir Larry, here and here.
   Lawrence and his wife Vivien Leigh flew to New York to conclude negotiations for the film. When he arrived at Marilyn’s Sutton Place apartment on February 7th, 1956, Marilyn kept him, his agent Cecil Tennant, and playwright Terence Rattigan waiting for an hour and a half, but Olivier was impressed anyway. ”One thing was clear to me: I was going to fall most shatteringly in love with Marilyn. She was adorable, so witty, and more physically attractive than anyone I could imagine.”
   A press conference held two days later at the Plaza Hotel saw the two actors trading compliments. When asked what he thought of Marilyn as an actress, Olivier replied ”She is a brilliant comedienne, and therefore an extremely good actress. She has the cunning gift of being able to suggest one minute that she is the naughtiest little thing, and the next minute that she is beautifully dumb and innocent.” Marilyn summed up her enormous respect for Olivier in a simple sentence: ”He has always been my idol.” On this occasion, however, Marilyn stole the show thanks to the spaghetti-thing strap of her dress snapping in mid-conference.
   A costume malfunction that would find it’s way into the movie.
   In August of 1956, Marilyn began filming “The Prince and the Showgirl,” at Pinewood Studios in England. It was based on Rattigan's “The Sleeping Prince,” a play about an affair between a showgirl and a prince in the 1910s. The main roles had first been played on stage by Laurence  and Vivien.
   The production became complicated due to conflicts between Lawrence and Marilyn. He angered her with the patronizing statement "All you have to do is be sexy", and by wanting her to replicate Leigh's interpretation of the role. He also disliked the constant presence of Paula Strasberg, Marilyn’s acting coach, on set.
   In retaliation to what she considered Olivier's "condescending" behavior, Marilyn started arriving late and became uncooperative, stating later that "if you don't respect your artists, they can't work well."
   Her use of drugs escalated, and according to biographer Donald Spoto she became pregnant and miscarried during the production. She also had arguments with Milton Greene over how MMP should be run, including whether Arthur should join the company.
   Despite the difficulties, the film was completed on schedule by the end of the year. It was released in June of 1957 to mixed reviews, and proved unpopular with American audiences. It was better received in Europe, where she was awarded the Italian David di Donatello and the French Crystal Star awards, and was nominated for a  British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) award.
   Here's a clip.
   In October 29th Marilyn took some time to meet Queen Elizabeth II at Royal Film premiere of war film “The Battle of River Plate,” in Leicester Square, London.
   At the time the Queen and Marilyn were both 30 years old.
   Years later Olivier still recalled Marilyn as a ”thoroughly ill-mannered and rude girl…I was never so glad to have a film over and be done.” But with the advantage of time, he acknowledged that ”She gave a star performance. Maybe I was tetchy with Marilyn and myself because I felt my career was in a rut…I was as good as could be, and Marilyn! Marilyn was quite wonderful, the best of all. What do you know?”
   Here’s a clip of him talking about her.
   Sir Lawrence Olivier lived to be 82 years old. He died of renal failure on July 11th, 1989, at his home near Steyning, West Sussex. His cremation was held three days later, and a funeral was held in Poets' Corner of Westminster Abbey in October.
   Donald Sinden, then a contract star for the Rank Organization at Pinewood Studios, had a permanent dressing room four doors from Marilyn's during the filming, although working on different movies. He said "She was still suffering from the effects of The Method school of acting, so one day I had the props department make up a notice that I fixed to my door saying: "Office of the Nazak (Kazan, backwards) Academy. You too can be inaudible. New egos superimposed. Motivations immobilized. Imaginary stone-kicking eradicated. Um's & Er's rendered obsolete. Motto: 'Though 'Tis Method Yet There's Madness In It'." I waited inside and presently heard the usual footsteps of her and her entourage. They paused outside and from the entire group I only heard one laugh—that of Monroe. The door burst open and in she came, slamming the door in the faces of her livid retainers. From that moment on, whenever the poor girl could not face the problems of her hybrid existence—which was frequently—she popped in for a natter and a giggle. Of course as a sex symbol she was stunning, but sadly, she must be one of the silliest women I have ever met."
   I enjoyed the film. I enjoy every film Sir Lawrence is in. I’d enjoy a movie of Olivier taking out the trash if it were available, but it was Marilyn’s performance that made the movie work as much as it did. She was just wonderful.
   Here’s a clip.
   “My Week With Marilyn,” was based on the making of “The Prince and the Showgirl,” with Michelle Williams as Marilyn and Kenneth Branagh as Laurence Olivier.
   After she got back to the states Marilyn took a year and a half off to be married to Arthur in Manhattan and an eighteenth-century farmhouse that they had purchased in Roxbury, Connecticut.
   She became pregnant in mid-1957, but it was ectopic (a complication of pregnancy in which the embryo attaches outside the uterus), and had to be terminated.  She suffered a miscarriage a year later.  Her gynecological problems were largely caused by endometriosis (a condition in which tissue that normally grows inside the uterus (endometrium) grows outside it), a disease from which she suffered throughout her adult life.
   Marilyn was also briefly hospitalized during this time due to a barbiturate overdose.
   During this period, she dismissed Greene from MMP and bought his share of the company as they could not settle their disagreements and she had begun to suspect that he was embezzling money from the company.
   “Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.”
   Marilyn came back to Hollywood in 1958 to work with Billy Wilder again in “Some Like it Hot,” with Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis.
   Her role in the film was a familiar one, a “dumb blonde,” she agreed to do it because Arthur encouraged her to do so, and she got an offer to receive ten percent of the film's profits in addition to her standard pay.
   There were a lot of problems during the production of “Some Like it Hot.” Marilyn would demand dozens of re-takes, and could not remember her lines or act as directed. Scenes wherein she had two words to say would be redone 30 to 40 times because she didn’t feel they had been done right (prompting Wilder to say to Lemmon and Curtis, “Guys, whatever take I like and think works I’m going to print.”).
   Many of the problems stemmed from a conflict between her and Billy, who also had a reputation for being difficult. Marilyn made him angry by asking him to alter many of her scenes, which in turn made her stage fright worse, and it is suggested that she deliberately ruined several scenes to act them her way.
   This will tend to drive a director crazy.
   Which it did.
   Wilder was committed to the Rockhaven Sanitarium for the Copiously Insane on December 22nd, 1958 and was kept there under heavy sedation until March 25th, 2002, two days before he died in Los Angeles.
   Just kidding. Mr. Wilder survived the shoot somewhat intact and continued making many other fine films, like “The Apartment,” “One, Two, Three,” and “The Fortune Cookie.”
   When it was all said and done Billy was happy with Marilyn’s performance, stating: "Anyone can remember lines, but it takes a real artist to come on the set and not know her lines and yet give the performance she did!"
   Despite the difficulties of its production, “Some Like It Hot” became a critical and commercial success when it was released in March of 1959. Marilyn’s performance earned her a Golden Globe for Best Actress, and prompted “Variety” to call her "a comedienne with that combination of sex appeal and timing that just can't be beat." It’s been voted one of the best films ever made in polls by the American Film Institute and Sight & Sound.
   Well, I don’t know about that. I love the movie but feel Wilder didn’t know how to end it. It started out great, with a good and funny premise, but fizzled during the last third of the film.
   But that’s just me.
   Here's a clip.
   “Some Like it Hot,” cost $2.9 million to produce ($24,226,740.48 in 2017) and made $40 million in 1959 ($334,161,937.72 today).
   Here’s a clip of Jack Lemmon talking to Charlie Rose and some other guys about Marilyn.
   Jack died of metastatic cancer (metastasis is the spread of cancer cells to new areas of the body often by way of the lymph system or bloodstream. A metastatic cancer, or metastatic tumor, is one which has spread from the primary site of origin (where it started) into different area(s) of the body) of the bladder on June 27th, 2001. He had been fighting the disease, privately, for two years before his death. He was interred at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Westwood, California, buried near his friend and co-star, Walter Matthau, who died almost exactly one year before him. His gravestone reads like a title screen from a film: "JACK LEMMON IN."
   Here’s a clip of Tony Curtis talking to that other guy about Marilyn.
   Tony died at his Henderson, Nevada, home on September 29th, 2010, of a cardiac arrest. He left behind five children and seven grandchildren. His widow Jill told the press that Curtis had suffered from various lung problems for years as a result of cigarette smoking, although he had quit smoking about 30 years earlier.
   Here’s a documentary on the making of “Some Like it Hot.”
   Per her 1955 contract with Fox, Marilyn was expected, or required, to make four films within the next seven years. By 1959, she had completed only one: “Bus Stop,” which had been released in 1956. While Marilyn shot “Some Like it Hot” in 1958 (for United Artists), Arthur completed the screenplay for “The Misfits,” which they had intended on being her next film.
   Hoping to capitalize on the success of “Some Like it Hot,” 20th Century Fox required Marilyn to fulfill her contract. “The Misfits,” was put on hold and instead Marilyn signed on to star in what was then titled The Billionaire.
   The Billionaire, was a musical comedy about an actress and a millionaire who fall in love when performing in a satirical play.
   She chose George Cukor to direct (“The Philadelphia Story,” “Gaslight,” “A Star Is Born,” “My Fair Lady”). Several leading men were considered, including Gary Cooper, James Stewart, Rock Hudson, Cary Grant, Charlton Heston, and Gregory Peck. Peck agreed to play the lead, and then Monroe was signed opposite him, even though screenwriter Norman Krasna preferred Cyd Charisse.
   Marilyn and Arthur wanted her part of Amanda expanded. Miller worked on the script (although he did not receive credit) to expand the role, then Peck bowed out after the emphasis was shifted to the female lead.
   The male lead was eventually offered to the French actor Yves Montand, who had appeared in a French film version of Miller's “The Crucible” (1957) and had received praise for his recent one-man musical show in New York. Monroe and Miller both gave their approval for Montand. The title was changed to “Let's Make Love” and production began in January of 1960.
   There was one little problem... Montand didn’t speak English.
   So he worked with translators and spoke his lines phonetically... and it worked! It worked real well!
   While filming the movie Marilyn was a constant no-show for her scenes. So much so that she added 28 days to the shooting schedule and cost the producers (and by extension, herself) an extra $1 million in production costs.
   Marilyn was insecure about her acting abilities, Montand was insecure about his English, and the two bonded during the production. It was rummered they had an affair although Yves later denied it. It certainly didn’t help that their respective spouses left the shoot to pursue their own agendas (Montand was married to the French film actress Simone Signoret).
   Whether the two got together or not, the supposed affair was widely reported by the press and used in the film's publicity campaign.
   Here’s an audio interview with Marilyn by Georges Belmont for Marie Claire magazine in April of 1960.
   “Let's Make Love” was unsuccessful upon its release in September of 1960. Bosley Crowther writing for the New York Times described Marilyn as appearing "rather untidy" and "lacking ... the old Monroe dynamism," and Hedda Hopper called the film "the most vulgar picture she's ever done."        
   It opened at the top of the box office its first weekend, but made only $6.54 million in total ($53,706,302.04 in 2017 dollars. The production cost $3,585,000, $29,439,922.45 today). It was the first film starring Marilyn to earn so little money on its initial release, although it was the top-grossing musical of the year and one of only two musicals in the top 20 in 1960. It was better received in overseas markets than in the United States.
   Here’s a clip.
   And here Montand speaks of working with Marilyn and his troubles with English during the production with David Letterman.
   Basically Marilyn’s career began with John Houston in “The Asphalt Jungle,” and it ended with John Houston in her last completed film, 1961's “The Misfits.”
   It was the kind of role she always wanted to tackle, a serious dramatic role (one could successfully argue that her work in “Niagara” was just such a role as well, but in that film her part was subservient to that of Jean Peters).       
   Arthur Miller wrote the screenplay for his wife who played Roslyn Tabor, a recently divorced woman who becomes friends with three aging cowboys, played by Clark Gable, Eli Wallach and Montgomery Clift. Her past co-star, Thelma Ritter, also appeared in the film.
   The filming in the Nevada desert between July and November 1960 was again difficult.  Monroe and Miller's four-year marriage was effectively over, and he began a new relationship with Inge Morath, an Austrian-born American photographer. They would marry in 1962 after Arthur’s divorce from Marilyn. They would remain married until her death from cancer in 2002. Their first child, Rebecca Augusta Miller, would become an independent filmmaker, screenwriter, film director, and novelist. A classic overachiever. She married the English/Irish actor Daniel Day-Lewis, and so can claim the title Lady Day-Lewis, as Daniel was knighted by Prince William in 2014).
   Marilyn disliked that Arthur had based her role partly on her life, and thought it inferior to the male roles; she also struggled with Miller's habit of re-writing scenes the night before filming.  Her health was also failing: she was in pain from gallstones, and her drug addiction was so severe that her make-up usually had to be applied while she was still asleep under the influence of barbiturates.
   In August, filming was halted for her to spend a week detoxing in a Los Angeles hospital.
   Despite her problems, Huston stated that when Marilyn was playing Roslyn, she "was not pretending to an emotion. It was the real thing. She would go deep down within herself and find it and bring it up into consciousness."
   So like many of the directors Marilyn had worked with, Houston considered the finished product worth the effort it required to work with her.
   John provided his own set of problems to the filming of the movie. He gambled and drank, and occasionally fell asleep on the set. The production company had to cover some of his gambling losses. He became addicted to camel racing. He tended to shoot (with a gun) things that didn’t work (Huston's car overheated on the drive up to Virginia City via Hwy 341. He "executed" the car by reportedly firing a stunt gun blank into the radiator)... except Marilyn.
   Marilyn and Arthur separated after filming wrapped up, and she was granted a quick divorce in Mexico in January of 1961.
   “The Misfits” was released the following month, on February 1st, 1961, but the film failed at the box office. “The Misfits” cost $4 million ($32,406,979.87 in 2017) to make and made $4.1 million ($33,217,154.36 today) on it’s initial release. It has made more money for United Artists since it came out on DVD.
   Despite poor reviews and on-set difficulties, Gable, Marilyn, Clift and Wallach delivered performances that modern critics consider amazing. Many critics regard Gable's performance to be his finest, and Gable, after seeing the rough cuts, agreed.
   Marilyn received the 1961 Golden Globe Award as "World Film Favorite" in March of 1962, five months before her death. The Directors Guild of America nominated Huston as best director.
   Here’s a clip.
   And here’s a documentary on the making of “The Misfits.”
   And here Arthur speaks of Marilyn.
   Gable suffered a heart attack two days after filming ended and died ten days later, November 16th, 1960, on his 60th birthday. Marilyn and Clift attended the premiere in New York in February 1st, 1961, while Arthur attended with his two children.
   Marilyn later said that she hated the film and her performance in it. 550 days later she was dead of an apparent drug overdose.
   “The Misfits” was the last completed film for both Marilyn and Gable, her childhood screen idol.
   As a child, Marilyn had often fantasized that Clark was her father.
   1448 days after Marilyn died Montgomery Clift passed away on July 23rd, 1966, due to an apparent heart attack in his New York City Town house. He was 45 years old.
   His last words to anyone other than himself were “Absolutely not!” when asked if he wanted to watch “The Misfits,” on television with his private nurse, Lorenzo James, the night before his body was discovered.
   Thelma Ritter died of a heart attack in New York City on February 5th, 1969, nine days before her 67th birthday.
  21 years, 2 months and 5 days after Clift’s death, the director of “The Misfits,” John Houston, died on August 28th, 1987, in his rented home in Middletown, Rhode Island, from pneumonia as a complication of lung disease. He had made 8 other feature film since “The Misfits,” and was 81 years old when he passed.
   17 years, 5 months and 13 days after Houston died, the screenwriter for “The Misfits,” Arthur Miller, died of bladder cancer and congestive heart failure, at his home in Roxbury, Connecticut on February 10th, 2005 (the 56th anniversary of the Broadway debut of “Death of a Salesman”). He was 89 years old.
   My point in relating this time line is to point out that all of the major players involved with Marilyn are now dead (with the possible exception of her half-sister, Berniece Baker Miracle)  Even good old Eli Wallach passed on 1110 days days ago of “natural causes.”
   Sounds suspicious to me.
   Be that as it may, Eli was 98 when he went on to reunite with his fellow cast members in what might be heaven.
   Marilyn was to return to television in an adaptation of W. Somerset Maugham's short story “Rain” for NBC, but she insisted that Lee Strasberg direct it and the network didn’t want him, so the deal fell through.
   She spent the first six months of 1961 concerned with varied health problems, undergoing surgery for her endometriosis, had a cholecystectomy (surgical removal of the gallbladder. Who needs a stink’en gallbladder anyway? It just takes up precious space), and spent four weeks in hospital care, including a brief stay in a mental ward for depression.
   I’ve done that. Another thing Marilyn and I have in common.
   Joe helped her through this difficult time and their relationship turned towards being good friends.
   “What good am I? I can't have kids. I can't cook. I've been divorced three times. Who would want me?"
   In the spring she moved back to Los Angeles and bought her first house in Brentwood, where all the rich people live.
   Marilyn got back to work the following year and began to shoot a new film for 20th Century-Fox, “Something's Got to Give,” a re-make of “My Favorite Wife (1940).” It was to be co-produced by MMP, directed by George Cukor and to co-star Dean Martin and Cyd Charisse.
   Days before filming began, Monroe caught sinusitis; despite medical advice to postpone the production, Fox began it as planned in late April.
   Marilyn was too sick to work for the next six weeks, but despite confirmations by multiple doctors, the studio tried to put pressure on her by alleging publicly that she was faking it.
   Tell me, why would she do that?
   She got well enough to do the Kennedy birthday thing.
   When she returned to the set she did a nude swimming pool scene. Fox invited the media to generate publicity for the film. Some of these photographs appeared in “Life” magazine.
   Had “Something's Got to Give” been completed and released as planned, it would have been the first Hollywood motion picture release of the sound era to feature a mainstream star in the nude. Instead, that distinction goes to actress Jayne Mansfield in “Promises! Promises!” (1963).
   When she was again on sick leave for several days, Fox had had enough and decided that it could not afford to have another film running behind schedule when it was already struggling to cover the rising costs of “Cleopatra” (1963).
   On June 7, Fox fired Marilyn and sued her for $750,000 in damages.
   She was replaced by Lee Remick, but after Dean refused to make the film with anyone other than Marilyn, Fox sued him as well and shut down the production.
   The studio blamed Marilyn for the film's demise and began spreading negative publicity about her, even stating that she was mentally disturbed.
   Later Fox took another look at Marilyn and reopened negotiations with her in June; a settlement about a new contract, including re-commencing “Something's Got to Give” and a starring role in the black comedy “What a Way to Go! (1964) (eventually made with  Shirley MacLaine, Paul Newman, Robert Mitchum, Dean Martin, Gene Kelly, Bob Cummings and Dick Van Dyke), was reached.
   On June 1st, 1962, Monroe's 36th birthday, she, Martin and Wally Cox shot a scene in the courtyard set. Monroe's stand-in, Evelyn Moriarty, bought a seven-dollar sheet cake at the Los Angeles Farmers Market. A studio illustrator drew a cartoon of a nude Monroe holding a towel, which read "Happy Birthday (Suit)." It was to be used as a birthday card, and signed by the cast and crew. The cast attempted to celebrate when Marilyn arrived, but director Cukor insisted that they wait until 6:00p.m. (the end of the working day) because he wanted to get a "full day's work out of her."
   It would be Marilyn’s last day on the set. She left the party with Wally Cox, and had borrowed the fur-trimmed grey suit she had worn while filming that day, because she was to attend a Muscular Dystrophy fundraiser at Dodger Stadium that evening, with her former husband Joe DiMaggio, and co-star Dean Martin's young son, Dean Paul Martin.
   Here are her last scenes.
   After Marilyn’s death Twentieth Century-Fox overhauled the entire production idea the next year with mostly a new cast and crew and produced their “My Favorite Wife” remake, now entitled “Move Over, Darling,” starring Doris Day, James Garner, and Polly Bergen.
   To repair her public image after the barrage of negative publicity Fox had manufactured, Marilyn engaged in several publicity ventures, including interviews for “Life” and “Cosmopolitan” and her first photo shoot for “Vogue."
   For “Vogue,” she and photographer Bert Stern collaborated for two series of photographs, one a standard fashion editorial and another of her posing nude, which were both later published posthumously with the title “The Last Sitting.”
   In the last weeks of her life, she was planning on starring in a biopic of another childhood idle, Jean Harlow.
   “Nothing's ever easy as long as you go on living."
   On August 4th, 1962, a Saturday, Nelson Mandela was captured by South African police. He spent the next 27 years in prison.
   It is also the date that Marilyn Monroe died.
   Marilyn’s agent, Pat Newcomb, stayed over on the Friday before. She says that the actress woke up feeling cranky through lack of sleep, but was excited about a delivery of furniture from Mexico. When her housekeeper, Eunice Murray, arrived at 8:30am, she claimed Marilyn was already up, tiling the floor.
   Newcomb awoke at noon, and she and Monroe argued, apparently over Newcomb's ability to sleep in, but it was soon resolved. Pat says they planned to sunbathe by Marilyn’s pool, then maybe join the actor Peter Lawford and his wife Pat for supper.
   Some time during that Saturday morning, Marilyn’s mood changed. She was unsettled by the arrival of a stuffed toy in the post with no note. There was a flurry of phone calls. Murray recalls Monroe asking if they kept oxygen in the house, an odd request. Shevey believes that Marilyn  had begun to fear for her life, aware that she was a political liability. "John F Kennedy was going to run for a second term, Jackie had to be happy with all of it. They needed Marilyn out of the picture."
   Newcomb went out shopping, and said Marilyn was upbeat when she returned. But her psychiatrist, Dr Ralph Greenson, who had arrived for his daily visit, claims Marilyn was in a highly emotional condition.
   Greenson asked Newcomb to leave, and then asked Murray to stay overnight with Marilyn. He left at 7pm. Marilyn took the phone into her bedroom and Murray claims she never saw her alive again. Lawford says he rang Monroe at 7.30pm and she sounded depressed and slurred. He claims she said, "Say goodbye to the President and say goodbye to yourself, because you're a nice guy," before her voice faded out. However, his view is contradicted by Joe DiMaggio Jr, the son of her second husband, who says he phoned her at 7:30pm to tell her he was breaking off an engagement she disapproved of. He says Marilyn welcomed the news.
   Later that night, Marilyn was found dead. Murray woke up and claims she saw a light under the door. Concerned that something terrible had happened, she called Greenson at 3:30am. They peered into Monroe's bedroom window and saw her naked body. Greenson says he broke in with a fireplace poker, before ringing Marilyn's physician, Dr Hyman Engelberg.
   The Los Angeles County Coroners Office was assisted in their investigation of Marilyn’s death by psychiatrists from the Los Angeles Suicide Prevention Team.
   It was estimated that she had died between 8:30 and 10:30 p.m., the day before and the toxicology report later revealed that the cause of death was acute barbiturate poisoning. She had 8 mg% (milligrams per 100 milliliters of solution) chloral hydrate and 4.5 mg% of pentobarbital (Nembutal) in her blood, and a further 13 mg% of pentobarbital in her liver.
   Empty bottles containing these medicines were found next to her bed. The possibility that Marilyn had accidentally overdosed was ruled out, because the dosages found in her body were several times over the lethal limit, in other words she took too much for it to be an accident. 
   Her doctors stated that she had been prone to "severe fears and frequent depressions" with "abrupt and unpredictable" mood changes, and had overdosed several times in the past, possibly intentionally. Due to these facts and the lack of any indication of foul play, the coroner classified her death as a probable suicide.
   Marilyn’s sudden death was front-page news in the United States and Europe.  According to American author and professor of history Lois Banner, "it's said that the suicide rate in Los Angeles doubled the month after she died; the circulation rate of most newspapers expanded that month," and the Chicago Tribune reported that they had received hundreds of phone calls from members of the public requesting information about her death.
   French artist Jean Cocteau commented that her death "should serve as a terrible lesson to all those, whose chief occupation consists of spying on and tormenting film stars," her former co-star Laurence Olivier deemed her "the complete victim of ballyhoo and sensation," and “Bus Stop” director Joshua Logan stated that she was "one of the most unappreciated people in the world".
   Her funeral, held at the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery on August 8th, was private and attended by only her closest associates.
   The service was arranged by Joe DiMaggio and his business manager Inez Melson.
   Hundreds of spectators crowded the streets around the cemetery.
   Marilyn was later interred at crypt No. 24 in the Corridor of Memories.
   In the decades afterwards, several conspiracy theories were introduced about her death, including murder and accidental overdose.
   The murder speculations first gained mainstream attention with the publication of Norman Mailer's “Marilyn: A Biography” in 1973, and in the following years became widespread enough for the Los Angeles County District Attorney, John Van de Kamp, to conduct a "threshold investigation" in 1982 to see whether a criminal investigation should be opened.
   Who would have murdered Marilyn? Many theories abound.
   She could have been murdered by Robert Kennedy, JFK's younger brother. The idea is that Robert panicked when Marilyn threatened to reveal her affair with JFK, and had her killed by lethal injection. Another theory is that he became her lover, and killed her to protect his career. He insisted he was in San Francisco on the night she died, but there were witness sightings of him in Los Angeles - even entering Monroe's house.
   Well there you go! It must have been RFK.
   Or could have been his dad, Joseph Kennedy, who was afraid that Marilyn would wreck his son JFK's campaign to be re-elected.
   Or a member of the Rat Pack, to protect the Kennedys.
   Or the Mafia, to blackmail the Kennedys after JFK declared war on organized crime.
   Or right wing nationalists, disturbed by the Kennedys' liberal agenda, or even as punishment for Marilyn’s marriage to Arthur Miller, a Communist sympathizer.
   Or the FBI: documents revealed that Marilyn was one of a number of stars the FBI kept files on after applying for Russian visa.
   Or Fidel Castro, in retaliation for attempts to assassinate him.
   Or the CIA, to get even with the Bay of Pigs disaster (what?!)
   I maintain that in most instances the simplest explanation is the one that is correct (Occam's Razor), so it is my contention that aliens from the planet Tralfamadore, where the flying saucers come from, abducted Marilyn leaving a dead clone in her place. They obviously whisked her off to one of Tralfamadore’s satellite moons where they used her mercilessly for their own sick and perverted purposes. 
   Little alien bastards!
   It doesn’t really matter now. She is gone.
   So is JFK, RFK,  Joseph Kennedy, the Rat Pack, Thomas Eboli, Edwin Walker, J. Edgar Hoover, Fidel Castro, John McCone, and in the distant future the Tralfamadorians and the entire universe due to a Tralfamadorian test pilot experimenting with fuel.
   No evidence of foul play has ever been found.
   “The nicest thing for me is sleep, then at least I can dream.”
   Here’s Marilyn’s last audio interview in July of 1962 for “Life” magazine.
   Here’s the actual article.
   Here’s the documentary “Marilyn on Marilyn.”
   When she died in 1962, Marilyn had an estate valued at $1.6 million (worth $12,954,913.91 today). She gave most of it to her acting coach, Paula Strasberg, and another large portion to Dr. Marianne Kris, her psychoanalyst. She also left a trust fund to her mother that offered about $5,000 per year.
   “You know, most people really don't know me.”
   Ahead of her time in many ways, Marilyn was an early convert to yoga. She even took lessons from Swedish-Russian Bollywood film star Indra Devi, who also taught Greta Garbo and Gloria Swanson.
   “My dinners at home are startlingly simple. Every night, I stop at the market near my hotel and pick up a steak, lamb chops or some liver, which I broil in the electric oven in my room. I usually eat four or five raw carrots with my meat, and that is all. I must be part rabbit; I never get bored with raw carrots.”
   Marilyn Monroe has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in front of the McDonalds restaurant on the 6700 block of Hollywood Blvd.
   This  is a link to a website that features Marilyn.
   “Fear is stupid. So are regrets.”
   Goodbye Norma Jean
Though I never knew you at all
You had the grace to hold yourself
While those around you crawled
They crawled out of the woodwork
And they whispered into your brain
They set you on the treadmill
And they made you change your name
And it seems to me you lived your life
Like a candle in the wind
Never knowing who to cling to
When the rain set in
And I would have liked to have known you
But I was just a kid
Your candle burned out long before
Your legend ever did

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