Mike Pope worked as a gardener for the Oliviers at their Notley Abbey home in Buckinghamshire when Marilyn Monroe came to England to film The Prince and the Showgirl in 1956. Marilyn and her husband, Arthur Miller, stayed at nearby Parkside House, Englefield Green, Surrey.
Pope recalls that Vivien Leigh loved tending roses, but his memories of the Millers are succinct:
“He was around for what he hoped would be the most amazing visitor of all – Marilyn Monroe, who was coming to discuss her role with Olivier in The Prince and the Showgirl.
‘We’d been brushing our hair for weeks in anticipation,’ he smiles. But then landed a major blow.
‘We were told by the head gardener that no one was to come up to the house while Marilyn and her husband, Arthur Miller, were staying.
We asked who was going to milk the cattle and remove the cowpats – the Oliviers liked it all tidied up – but they were adamant. In the end the security guards had to milk the cows by hand for two days!'”
Read Mike’s interview in full at the Dorset Echo