Lists of Note: Marilyn, 1955

Marilyn by Ed Feingersh, 1955

A list of Marilyn’s acting goals, jotted into an address book in 1955 and published in Fragments (2010), was posted on the Lists of Note blog in January 2012 (as reported here). After being reposted on this New Year’s Day, the list has been making headlines everywhere – and it is also featured in the recently-published book of Shaun Usher’s eponymous blog, Lists of Note, alongside other lists compiled by Walt Whitman, Albert Einstein, Frank Lloyd Wright, Billy Wilder, and Norman Mailer.

However, while the list certainly shows how focused and serious Marilyn was about acting, and ties in nicely with our own New Year’s resolutions, there’s no evidence that it was written to that purpose. As anyone familiar with her journals and correspondence will know, she didn’t write regularly and was more likely to express her thoughts and feelings when the mood took her.

“Must make effort to do
Must have the dicipline to do the following –

z – go to class – my own always – without fail

x – go as often as possible to observe Strassberg’s other private classes

g – never miss actor’s studio sessions

v – work whenever possible – on class assignments – and always keep working on the acting exercises

u – start attending Clurman lectures – also Lee Strassberg’s directors lectures at theater wing – enquire about both

l – keep looking around me – only much more so – observing – but not only myself but others and everything – take things (it) for what they (it’s) are worth

y – must make strong effort to work on current problems and phobias that out of my past has arisen – making much much much more more more more more effort in my analisis. And be there always on time – no excuses for being ever late.

w – if possible – take at least one class at university – in literature –

o – follow RCA thing through.

p – try to find someone to take dancing from – body work (creative)

t – take care of my instrument – personally & bodily (exercise)

try to enjoy myself when I can – I’ll be miserable enough as it is.”

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