Last week, the Huffington Postreported a forensic psychologist’s comment on Marilyn’s last signed cheque, for a chest of drawers, dated August 4th. (The cheque is due to be sold by Heritage Auctions on July 24th.)
“‘People about to kill themselves frequently engage in self-soothing behaviors,’ Dr. S. David Bernstein told The Huffington Post. Shopping sprees are definitely one of those behaviors, he said. ‘Spending — and giving things away — make us feel good,’ he said.
But this was a single purchase, Bernstein said. ‘A single item — especially something practical like a chest of drawers and of a low value like this — suggests a frame of mind of “I’m going to be here for awhile,”‘ he said. ‘If I were doing a psychological autopsy, this would be intriguing. This would be more consistent with someone who is not suicidal.’
Bernstein says buying a chest of drawers that you are going to fill up with things is an action taken by someone who ‘plans to be around awhile,’ not about to end their life. ‘It’s an inconsistent behavior’ for someone planning suicide, he said.”
The check was signed by Marilyn, but written by someone else – possibly her housekeeper, Eunice Murray. Personally, I don’t think this item tells us anything significant about Marilyn’s state of mind on that day. She had been purchasing furniture regularly since moving into a new house several months before.
Veteran columnist Liz Smith considers the story in her latest Chicago Tribune column.
“Last week, a check Monroe wrote out a day before she died was put up for auction. It was also ‘analyzed.’ The purchase was for a chest of drawers for her new home in Brentwood. A forensic psychologist chimed in and insisted this was proof positive Monroe was not ‘planning to commit suicide.’ Well, gee. Nobody ever said she was planning it. If that had been the case she certainly would have had a touch up to her roots, not to mention a manicure and pedicure. (These things were noted by the police who first saw her body.) Suicide often just ‘happens’ to people who struggle with depression, and who also have an inordinate amount of medication handy, as the chronically sleepless Marilyn did. But the ‘she was murdered’ posse are pleased with one more notch on their side.”
UPDATE: The check has been sold for $31,250 – more about the auction here
Author Joel W. Finler will be launching a new edition of his book, Hollywood Movie Stills, at the Cinema Museum in Kennington, London, on Thursday at 7.30 pm. The book includes photos of Marilyn and other stars (all in black and white, of course.)
Howard Reich reviews jazz singer Rebecca Kilgore’s tribute to Marilyn, ‘Some Like it Hot!’, for the Chicago Tribune. (Rebecca’s show will return to New York in October. For more details, visit her official website.)
“Yet Kilgore obviously admires Monroe considerably, and you could hear it in the affection she brought to the repertoire Monroe sang in feature films and elsewhere. Kilgore’s bathed-in-sunshine view of this music may not have matched Monroe’s slyly ironic stance, but there was no question that Kilgore produced a lot more sound than Monroe ever did. So Kilgore’s show – which she calls ‘Some Like It Hot!’ – could be considered more a response to Monroe’s work than an evocation of it.”
A photograph signed by Marilyn to avoid a speeding ticket will be auctioned at a starting price of $4,000, Metroreports. Los Angeles traffic cop Roy Garrett (now deceased) made a habit of acquiring autographs from movie stars with bad driving skills. Marilyn inscribed the photo, ‘To Roy, love and kisses. Thanks for keeping me out of the clink.’
Other stars in Mr Garrett’s ‘rogue’s gallery’ are Errol Flynn, Jimmy Stewart, Greta Garbo, Ginger Rogers and Dean Martin. ‘The Marilyn Monroe one is a real gem,’ says Margaret Barrett of Heritage Auctions. ‘She only signed photos for people she knew and not random strangers.’
This month’s updates include a review of the great new book, Marilyn in Fashion; footage of director Howard Hawks talking about Marilyn; two magazine items from 1957; reporter Vernon Scott’s account of the famous ‘pool scene’ in Something’s Got to Give; and my profile of photographer Jean Howard.
Jean Kent has spoken to Richard Kay of the Daily Mailabout her bittersweet memories of working with Marilyn on The Prince and the Showgirl.
“I can understand the enduring fascination with Marilyn, but, to be frank, I really couldn’t bear to discuss my own experience of working with her. She was, by that point, an extremely troubled girl…
I had only two brief scenes with her, but I think poor Larry must have aged at least 15 years during the making of that film. And Richard Wattis, who had a lot of scenes with her, took to drink because takes had to be done so many times…
If you passed her in the street, you would never have thought: ‘There goes the world’s number one sex symbol.’ But then she went into make-up and some strange metamorphosis occurred, and the Marilyn all the world knew emerged onto the set.”