Gemini Child: The Spiritual Marilyn

Dr Lois Banner, whose MM biography will be published in July, has written a birthday tribute to Marilyn for the Huffington Post.

“A deeply spiritual individual and a believer in astrology, she considered her sign — Gemini, identified with ‘the twins’ — to be an indicator of who she was. Geminis supposedly have shape-shifting personalities that swing between opposites: happiness and sadness; kindness and narcissism, shyness and ebullience.

Such swings were standard for Marilyn, who could be so shy that she would stammer in confusion; so bold that she could swear like a trooper; so mesmeric that she drew everyone’s attention; so ordinary that she drew no attention. She could be withdrawn or ebullient, downcast or laughing, with an ability to make hilarious puns or tell jokes. She could be a seductress to men or a buddy, playing pranks as one of the boys.

She was proud of her mercurial self, as difficult as it could be to handle. A reporter once asked her: ‘Did you know that you were born under the same sign as Rosalind Russell and Judy Garland?’ Showing her considerable intelligence, Marilyn replied: ‘I know nothing of these people. I was born under the same sign as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Queen Victoria and Walt Whitman.'”

Banner also relates a little-known anecdote about a birthday gift Marilyn once received from dress manufacturer Henry Rosenfeld.

“In 1955 Henry Rosenfeld, a manufacturer of women’s dresses in New York and a wealthy friend and occasional lover, gave her a 200-carat diamond bracelet for her birthday, with the note, ‘I want you to be happy above everything else in the world.’ (Marilyn owned mostly costume jewelry; the real diamonds must have thrilled her.) Marilyn and Henry, who met by accident in New York in 1949, when she went on a tour to promoteĀ Love Happy, were very close throughout the rest of her life; before Marilyn married Arthur Miller, he was jealous of Henry.”

Immortal Marilyn in June

This month’s updates include Fraser Penney’s review of Marilyn Monroe: Private and Undisclosed, the new, fully updated and expanded biography by Michelle Morgan; ‘Shooting Marilyn’, a 1953 article by Philippe Halsman for Photography magazine; and this lovely portrait of Marilyn in The Misfits, by Bruno Doucin.

Happy Birthday Marilyn!

Norma Jeane Mortenson (aka Marilyn Monroe) was born on June 1, 1926, 86 years ago. This photo, taken by Lawrence Schiller in 1962, shows her celebrating her 36th birthday with co-star Dean Martin, on the set of Something’s Got to Give.