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 She could be withdrawn or ebullient, downcast or laughing, with an ability to make hilarious puns or tell jokes.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 promote Love Happy, were very close throughout the rest of her life; before Marilyn married Arthur Miller, he was jealous of Henry.”