The Importance of Not Misquoting Marilyn

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The mainstream media may be finally waking up to the fact that not all quotes attributed to Marilyn are genuine, if Mary Grace Garis’s latest article for Elle is any indication. (However, the piece is remarkably similar in some aspects to Marijane Gray’s ‘Misquoting Marilyn‘, back published in 2012.  You can learn more about Marilyn’s words of wisdom – real, and fake – at Immortal Marilyn Quote Unquote.)

“In all seriousness, during my search I came across an interesting response to a journalist about whether she had writers prepare material for her interviews. In this 1956 article from the Saturday Evening Post, Marilyn vehemently asserted that she refused to sign her name to that kind of falseness. In her own words: ‘This is wrong, because when I was a little girl I read signed stories in fan magazines and I believed every word of them. Then I tried to model my life after the lives of the stars I read about. If I’m going to have that kind of influence, I want to be sure it’s because of something I’ve actually said or written.’

I still don’t 100% get the Marilyn Monroe thing, but I can admire that she was a glamorous, titantic force, with undeniable charisma and a slew of memorable lines. She used her power to support the civil rights movement, which was huge at the time. She fiercely stuck to her brand, even while it probably ate away at her soul. And I think it’s only fair that we pause before trying to attach that brand to something she probably never said, especially knowing how her icon status makes her a huge role model for so many people.” – Mary Grace Garis, Elle

Ariana Grande’s Tribute to Marilyn

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The 21 year-old actress and singer, Ariana Grande – who had a worldwide hit recently with ‘Problem’, featuring rapper Iggy Azalea – paid tribute to Marilyn (and defended her idol) yesterday, reports Contact Music.

Ariana Grande

“The singer/actress took to Instagram.com to remember the Some Like It Hot siren on what would have been her 88th birthday.

In a caption posted alongside a snap of the late star, she wrote, “Happy birthday Marilyn #misunderstood #beautiful #innocentrebel.”

The post prompted a barrage of negative comments from Grande’s followers about Monroe’s reported fragile mental state prior to her death in 1962.

Grande was quick to call out her detractors, taking to Twitter.com to pen a scathing retort.

She wrote, ‘So much hate for celebrating Marilyn’s spirit on her birthday. I adore her work and have compassion for her inner sadness that she covered up on a daily basis that a**holes like you made her feel in the first place!! Judging her for her wildly rumoured personal life (which is truly no one else’s business) is only a distraction from her talent, beauty, comedic genius and effervescent spirit…

‘We should only and always focus on the beautiful things… because what we focus on expands….. which is why I feel for the people who focus on hate… because that’s all you have to give. And I truly do feel sorry for you because when you’ve been dead for 50 some odd years… nobody will be wishing you a happy birthday.'”

Jack Garfein Remembers Marilyn

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Director Jack Garfein – perhaps best-known for his 1961 movie, Something Wild – is now one of the world’s most respected teachers of Method acting. He shared his memories with Marilyn in a video interview with Sunset Gun blogger Kim Morgan (a dedicated Monroe fan, who also celebrated her birthday yesterday.)

Marilyn at the Actors Studio, 1956
Marilyn at the Actors Studio, 1956

“Jack met Marilyn when she was in New York City during the time she was  studying with Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio. He saw her walk into a party. Everyone saw her walk into that party. Elia Kazan introduced them. (Jack would later work with Marilyn’s ex husband, Arthur Miller, producing two of his plays, The Price and The American Clock.)  Deeply attracted, he also deeply respected her — her acting talent and potential, her power in front of the camera and just her beguiling way. A friendship developed.

Nothing happened between them (Jack was married to actress Carroll Baker at the time) but he was clearly smitten and still is. To him, Marilyn was a good person, a woman who took her craft seriously and a woman who thought her sexuality was often funny, and certainly nothing to be ashamed of. After Telluride, Jack spent some time in Los Angeles and we discussed many things — his career, his life, his art (and art and life), people… And then he told me this story about Marilyn. I love this story. Happy Birthday, Marilyn.”

You can listen to Jack’s memories of Marilyn here.

The Playlist: Marilyn’s Top 5 Movies

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On the 88th anniversary of the birth of Marilyn, The Playlist selected five of her greatest movie performances yesterday (in Niagara, The Seven Year Itch, The Prince and the Showgirl, Some Like it Hot and The Misfits.) While I don’t agree with all of their comments, it’s great to see Monroe’s cinematic legacy getting proper attention.

Some of MM’s other roles were also given honourable mention, although Clash by Night and Don’t Bother to Knock have been omitted.

“But it’s easy to overlook her screen achievements with the legend, and the woman born Norma Jeane Baker in Los Angeles in 1926 was a star for a reason. Despite being slighted as a weak actress by some, she was an accomplished comic talent, and capable of far more when she was allowed.

Of those early supporting turns, it’s The Asphalt Jungle and All About Eve that make the most impact, the former as Louis Calhern’s beguiling mistress in John Huston’s excellent noir, the latter as an aspiring actress, a graduate of ‘The Copacabana School of Dramatic Art.’ Her supporting performance in Howard Hawks’ Monkey Business, with Cary Grant and Ginger Rogers, released just before she became a star, is also worth checking out.

She reteamed with Hawks, joined by Jane Russell, to far greater effect on Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, arguably the film that cemented her stardom, even if the film doesn’t hold a candle to Some Like It Hot, something doubly true of the same year’s How To Marry A Millionaire, although the central trio of Monroe, Betty Grable and Lauren Bacall is undeniable. Finally, she was nominated for a Golden Globe for Bus Stop, as a small-town singer who’s borderline-stalked by a rodeo rider. The film is a somewhat uncomfortable watch, but it’s a good showcase of Monroe’s range.”

Happy Birthday Marilyn!

Marilyn photographed at home in New York by Robert Kelley, 1958. (In the background you can see a formal portrait, recently shot by Carl Perutz. A painting based on Perutz’s photo was later acquired by Marilyn’s ex-husband, Joe DiMaggio.)

Marilyn Monroe was born on this day, 88 years ago…

“I like celebrating birthdays. I enjoy knowing that I’m alive. And you can underline alive.” – Marilyn to reporter Bob Thomas, 1962