Marilyn Laughs For Comic Relief

Stella McCartney has designed this T Shirt, available for £14.99 at TK Maxx, using Sam Shaw‘s 1954 shot of Marilyn at a party held in her honour at Romanoff’s restaurant in Hollywood, after filming The Seven Year Itch. For each T Shirt sold, £8 will be donated to Comic Relief, in aid of poor and disadvantaged people in the UK and Africa.


Marilyn/MISFITS/Miller, a new play by Rich Rubin, is currently playing at the CoHo Theatre in Portland, Oregon.

“Rubin’s frequently witty script crackles with delicious dialogue and smart touches from the very beginning (opening line: ‘Blackout. End of play.’). But it’s burdened by a confusing array of characters (34 roles played by seven actors, including cameo appearances by other notables of the era), a frame narrative (a 2004 production in progress of Miller’s last play, Finishing the Picture, which is a barely fictionalized version of, yes, the filming of The Misfits) and a pointless concluding dash of meta-theater, with an actor playing Rubin himself taking the stage for the obligatory end of show ‘what happened to them all?’
With so many levels—a play about the production of a play about the production of a movie about a cast of misfits—and so much going on, it’s a wonder (and a tribute to Rubin and director Karen Alexander-Brown) that M/M/M makes as much sense as it does…We never get a clear answer to a crucial question: what do the playwright (and Miller) think of Monroe?” – Brett Campbell, Williamette Week

Scarlett as Marilyn (Again)

Scarlett Johansson may have tried to distance herself from being compared to Marilyn (see here), but it seems that Interview magazine has other ideas. This Andy Warhol-esque cover graces the Russian edition for February, which is fitting as the Godfather of Pop Art himself was also the magazine’s founder.

Scarlett recently played another iconic star, Janet Leigh, in Hitchcock, and is currently starring as Maggie in a Broadway revival of Tennessee Williams’ play, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

Zoe Tapper Inspired by Marilyn

British actress Zoe Tapper was inspired by Marilyn when playing Ellen Love in ITV drama Mr Selfridge, she told The Sun.

“She reminds me of Marilyn Monroe. She’s got this vivacious, sexy, wide-eyed side to her and lives the dream of the showgirl. On the other hand she’s also got these inner demons that lurk underneath and a fragility that can rear its head. She’s a lovely social butterfly but sometimes allows herself to get a little bit too close to the fire and gets her wings singed and gets herself hurt.”

Marilyn also played an Edwardian beauty in The Prince and the Showgirl. I wonder if Zoe has seen it?

The Unquotable Megan Fox

Actress Megan Fox has been making headlines this week after a baffling interview with writer Stephen Marche, for Esquire magazine, in which he bizarrely likened her to an ‘Aztec warrior’. The piece has since been widely lampooned across the blogosphere.

Elsewhere in the article, Megan (yet again) explained why she decided to remove her Marilyn Monroe tattoo. At this point, she brought poor Lindsay Lohan (who has already suffered enough bad press to last many lifetimes) into the discussion, and everything went pear-shaped.

“She holds out her right arm to show me her tattoo of Marilyn Monroe. All that remains of Marilyn is a few drops of black against skin that is the color the moon possesses in the thin air of northern winters. She decided to get it removed, and after a single treatment the sex symbol of another age is barely recognizable. ‘I feel like I willed it be gone,’ Fox says. ‘They told me it was going to take six sessions and it’s nearly gone in one.’

The reason is that Marilyn Monroe lost control. ‘I started reading about her and realized that her life was incredibly difficult. It’s like when you visualize something for your future. I didn’t want to visualize something so negative.’

But she was a great actress, a great icon, a figure of power.

‘She wasn’t powerful at the time. She was sort of like Lindsay. She was an actress who wasn’t reliable, who almost wasn’t insurable…. She had all the potential in the world, and it was squandered,’ she says, curled defensively on the sofa. ‘I’m not interested in following in those footsteps.’

Then who?

‘Ava Gardner. She had power. She was a broad. She got what she wanted and said what she needed.’

Ava Gardner did have control, over herself and others. But even as Fox says the name, a self-aware smile plays over those ultrasymmetrical lips. Self-awareness is her most attractive feature.

It’s not like Ava Gardner ended that well, either.”

Megan responded to the article on her Facebook page:

“I attempted to draw parallels between Lindsay and Marilyn in order to illustrate my point that while Marilyn may be an icon now, sadly she was not respected and taken seriously while she was still living.

Both women were gifted actresses, whose natural talent was lost amongst the chaos and incessant media scrutiny surrounding their lifestyles and their difficulties adhering to studio schedules etc.

I intended for this to be a factual comparison of two women with similar experiences in Hollywood. Unfortunately it turned into me offering up what is really much more of an uneducated opinion.”

However, in contrast to Megan’s comments, MM was Hollywood’s most bankable star for much of her career. Her personal problems were not widely known until after her death.

Nonetheless, the comparison has been seized upon by the media, eager for any dirt on the troubled Lindsay. Another writer, Stephen Rodrick, made the Monroe comparison last week in an article about Lohan, reports the Huffington Post:

“‘There’s talent in there,’ Rodrick, who describes Lohan as ‘fragile’ and a ‘tornado’,explains to the NYT. ‘She has that undefinable It quality. You can see it at certain moments in the film. The frustrating/tragic thing, and Lindsay would be the first to admit it, is getting that talent out of her over the past few years has been nearly impossible. That’s why I called the piece The Misfits, after Marilyn Monroe’s last film, one that [Paul] Schrader and the crew were constantly talking about on set. You can’t argue that Lindsay has the talent or resume of Monroe, but there is that same feeling of talent slipping away, perhaps permanently.'”

Here’s a final word from Monroe fan Ashlee Davis:

“It bothers me to no end that these celebrities have to drag Marilyn’s character down with their loose comparisons and constant ‘channeling’ of her image. Marilyn wasn’t cheap, but her image is often sold that way, and it’s not because of her own doing – it’s because of the cheap mockery. These users take no care to respect Marilyn as a person while poorly mimicking her or even just talking about her in order to seem relevant. Lindsay Lohan, Megan Fox, Lady Gaga, Courtney Stodden – all of these women drag Marilyn’s memory through the mud when they reduce her to a visual icon, re-post fake quotes to millions of fans, and paint her as nothing more than a tragic victim of Hollywood. Any comparisons drawn between Marilyn and any of these people should be left at the fact that they are using her for visual inspiration and failing to recreate any of her natural beauty or class.”

Michelle Morgan on Books, Movies and Marilyn

Author Michelle Morgan talks about her many ongoing projects, including Marilyn Monroe: Private and Undisclosed, and the upcoming documentary, Marilyn: Birth of an Icon, over at The Damned Interviews.

“The reason I wanted to write a full-length biography was that I wanted to look at her story in a different way than had been done before: to talk with all kinds of people who met her in every aspect of her every day life. Boyfriends, fans, friends, family members, and people she passed in the street; everyone and anyone who had anything to do with Marilyn, I wanted to interview. Their memories are all in the book and they give a different perspective to the one often seen before. The result of my way of researching has had a great response from Marilyn’s fans and I’m very proud of that.

I am hugely excited about the documentary. I filmed my part last summer and I’m a consultant on the movie, which means that I will get to see it before anyone else so I’m thrilled about that. This is the first film I’ve ever been involved with – and hopefully not my last – and so it is an exciting experience not only for me as a Marilyn fan, but for my career also.”

‘Rain’: Marilyn’s Lost TV Movie

Photo by Terri Arden

In a fascinating, 3-part guest post for Elisa Jordan’s regular column at the Examiner, Eric Woodard looks behind at the ill-fated Rain, planned as a TV movie in 1961. Cast as prostitute Sadie Thompson, who clashes with an obsessive preacher in an adaptation of Somerset Maugham’s classic short story, Marilyn hoped to follow in the hallowed footsteps of Jeanne Eagels, Gloria Swanson, Joan Crawford and Rita Hayworth, all of whom had previously played the role. (The project was suggested by her Actors’ Studio guru, Lee Strasberg, and her faith in his vision would cost her deeply.)

Eric is the author of Hometown Girl, and he also blogs about Marilyn’s favourite costume designer, Travilla.