‘The Return of Our Angel’

Marilyn by Earl Leaf, 1950

Writing for the Austin Chronicle, Michael Ventura (who also contributed the text for Marilyn Monroe: From Beginning to End, a book of photos by Earl Leaf) investigates the essence of MM’s appeal:

‘Visiting us now when we so badly need an angel, she may be surprised to find that Marilyn Monroe remains America’s only angel. Not because her stardom transcends every other star’s, but because more than any of our many icons, she is us – the “us” that is America: angelic and possessed of demons; brilliant and falling apart; always more a symbol than a reality; yearning for greatness and suicidal; articulate and incoherent; secretive, even while displaying herself naked; made of so many marvelous bits and pieces but never whole; wildly successful and inevitably tragic; voraciously ambitious and hopelessly confused; more famous than all before her and all who will follow but never certain of who or what she was; always trying to be Marilyn Monroe, as America has always tried to be America – and, like America, failing her image of herself. Nothing could be more American than Marilyn Monroe – clear but vague, angelic but desperate – when she said in that whispery voice, “Anything’s possible – almost.”‘

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