Schiller on Marilyn and Her Demons

In an interview with the Miami New Times, photographer Larry Schiller talked about working with Marilyn:

“On the set of Let’s Make Love, you were photographing her in her dressing room and she asked you, ‘How often do you lie?’ Why do you think she was an insecure person?
Compare Marilyn Monroe to a great comedian or a great actress like Ana Magnani or Bette Davis. I think everybody is insecure in some way; otherwise they wouldn’t be a great talent because they are trying to express themselves and prove themselves to themselves and to the world, and I think Marilyn had a lot of demons in her life. A lot of demons. One of the demons that haunted her tremendously was the insanity in her own family — her mother being in a mental institution, her father attempting suicide, and she herself in pain. I think that inside there were demons we never knew about and dealt with. That’s number one.

Number two, I have a theory — which is based not on speculation or rumor, but based on what I’ve observed — and that is Marilyn was very secure in front of the still camera because she didn’t have to walk and talk all the time. In front of the moving camera, I think that she became very insecure because she had to have two or three things going on simultaneously. But she went to one of the greatest acting schools in the world, The Actors Studio, and she had one of the greatest acting coaches in the world, Lee Strasberg. She was a fine actress, but the world didn’t accept her as that. They accepted her as the dumb blonde. But I believe that that was a role she was playing all the time. Laurence Olivier played roles, Walter Matthau, all actors. But she played the same role all the time, and they wouldn’t let her out of that role by giving her other screenplays. That made her more insecure.”

Schiller claims to have visited Marilyn at home on the day she died to discuss selling photos of her nude swim to Playboy. He has also said that Bobby Kennedy was in the house when he called.

“You witnessed things many people didn’t, like Robert Kennedy at her home shortly before she died. Do you believe there was a conspiracy to kill Marilyn?
You know you can’t prove a negative — you can’t prove there are no flying saucers. Personally, I spent a lot of time with Bobby Kennedy after that. I was a photographer and I photographed his campaigns. I don’t think the Kennedys were the type of people that would deal with a problem that way. I also don’t believe there was a conspiracy to kill Robert Kennedy, just as I don’t believe there was a conspiracy to kill John F. Kennedy.”

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