“A Highlands clan with links to Hollywood star Marilyn Monroe has traced its origins back more than a thousand years ago to Ireland.
The same project has traced American movie idol Monroe’s ancestors to a Munro family that lived in Moray. The seat of Clan Munro is Foulis Castle near Evanton in Easter Ross in the Highlands.
Clan chief, Hector Munro of Foulis, said for him the most interesting thing to have emerged from the project so far were the origins of the clan.
He said: ‘The origins of name Munro has puzzled historians for generations. Tradition has it that we were mercenary soldiers from near the River Roe in Derry, Northern Ireland, hence the name Munro – Mac an Rothaich in Gaelic. But it had proved impossible to verify.’
The chief said the DNA project had identified an Irishman from 1,750 years ago with four distinct male lines with living descendants. He said: ‘All four lines can be traced back to south west Ireland.'”
More casting news for Netflix’s Blonde has been announced by the Hollywood Reporter, with Danish actor Caspar Phillipson likely to reprise his turn as President John F. Kennedy in Jackie, and child actress Lily Fisher as the young Norma Jeane. (As previously reported here, Adrien Brody and Bobby Cannavale will play Arthur Miller and Joe DiMaggio.)
“As previously announced, Ana de Armas will play the Some Like It Hot actress, leading a cast that will include Adrien Brody, Bobby Cannavale and Julianne Nicholson.
Jackie actor Caspar Phillipson, Toby Huss, Sara Paxton and David Warshofsky will also appear in the feature, along with Lily Fisher (General Hospital), Evan Williams (Versailles) and Xavier Samuel (Adore).
The Assassination of Jesse James’ Andrew Dominik wrote and will direct the movie.
Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner are producing for Plan B, along with Tracey Landon and Scott Robertson.”
Bob Bahr explores Marilyn’s spiritual side in a cover story for the Atlanta Jewish Times (dated August 30.)
“Monroe once told Paula Strasberg, her drama coach at the time, that she felt a special kinship with her newfound faith. ‘I can identify with the Jews,’ she said. ‘Everybody’s out to get them, no matter what they do, like me.’
On the front door of the home where she died, she had affixed a mezuzah with its tiny parchment scroll of sacred Jewish writings. She still had the prayer book with her personal notes written in its pages, a gift from Miller that had once belonged to the Brooklyn synagogue where he had had his bar mitzvah. On her mantle she kept a bronze menorah, which played ‘Hatikvah,’ the national anthem of the State of Israel. It was a present from Miller’s Yiddish-speaking mother.
Rabbi Robert Goldburg had worked with her during her conversion and provided her with a number of Jewish historical and religious works to study. About three weeks after her death, he wrote of his impressions of her at the time.
‘She was aware of the great character that the Jewish people had produced. … She was impressed by the rationalism of Judaism — its ethical and prophetic ideals and its close family life.’
When she rebelled against the exploitation of the Hollywood studio system, broke her contract with 20th Century Fox and fled Hollywood in 1954 for a new life in New York, it was at the urging of Milton Greene, a popular Jewish photographer with whom she founded Marilyn Monroe Productions. For a while she lived with Greene and his wife and helped take care of their year-old son.
Even before the move she lived and worked in what was largely a Jewish world. In Hollywood her agent and publicist and an early drama coach and mentor were all Jewish. She owed her early success, in part, to personal relationships with the powerful Jewish studio executive Joseph Schenck and the important talent agent Johnny Hyde, who had originally emigrated from the Jewish Ukraine. Her three psychiatrists were Jewish as well as many of her doctors. One of her closest journalistic confidants was the newspaper columnist Sidney Skolsky.
But all that accelerated when she moved to New York and enrolled in Lee and Paula Strasberg’s Actors Studio … She quickly fell in with their circle of friends, who made up the theatrical and literary elite of Jewish New York. She volunteered to be the star attraction at a United Jewish Appeal dinner.
The poet Norman Rosten and his wife and children were close friends. She was a regular at a summer of brunches and picnics and cookouts with the Strasbergs in Ocean Beach on Fire Island. She frequently dug into what Paula Strasberg called her ‘Jewish icebox’ there, with its salamis from Zabar’s on New York’s Upper West Side and the honey cakes and fancy European pastries from some of the bakeries started in New York by refugees from Nazi persecution.
It was, in the words of one Monroe biographer, ‘a year of joy,’ made even more joyful by a newfound romance with [Arthur] Miller … Gloria Steinem, the Jewish American essayist and feminist, wrote a perceptive analysis about the relationship and Monroe’s decision just before their marriage to convert to Judaism.
‘Miller himself was not religious, but she wanted to be part of his family’s tradition.”‘I’ll cook noodles like your mother,” she told him on their wedding day. She was optimistic this marriage would work. On the back of a wedding photograph, she wrote “Hope, Hope, Hope.”‘
Her public commitment to Judaism in the mid-50s was just one of the signs that Jews were winning new acceptance in America after the end of World War II and of the changes that the war had brought.
Although she’s been gone these many years, she is not forgotten. Time has treated the memory of Monroe with kindness. Her estate, most of which she left to the Strasberg family, has consistently earned tens of millions of dollars over the more than 50 years since her death … As for that prayer book that Arthur Miller took from his Brooklyn synagogue and Monroe kept to her dying day, it sold at auction last year for $18,000.”
Thanks to Marco at Marilyn Remembered
As a Monroe fan, one of my greatest pleasures is taking the opportunity to see her movies on the big screen. But after the recent acquisition of Twentieth Century Fox by Disney (see here), a growing number of theatre owners are worried that Marilyn’s films and other studio classics may soon be out of bounds, as Ryan Faughnder reports for the Los Angeles Times.
“Fox, and the movies in its storied library of motion pictures, is now part of Walt Disney Co., which has long placed tight restrictions on when and how cinemas can screen its older titles. Disney’s long-standing policy is to not allow first-run theaters or commercial discount cinemas to screen movies from its library … That policy now will apply to Fox’s vast catalog, according to exhibition sources who were not authorized to comment …
Repertory theaters — those that specialize in screenings of old titles — will still have normal access to Fox movies, sources said … But the Disney policy is nonetheless expected to make things more difficult for independent theaters, and has already caused uncertainty among art houses. Some said that they haven’t been given clear guidance on the rules and are left to make requests on a case-by-case basis.”
This 1.5 metre white-bead necklace worn by Marilyn in Richard Avedon’s publicity shots for Some Like It Hot and worth £12,000, is up for grabs in a contest ending on December 31 this year. To enter, subscribe now to the JewelStreet email newsletter.
In addition to their current exhibition, Divine Marilyn, Galerie Joseph in Paris will host a live adaptation of her 1954 memoir, My Story, from September 5-9. With the rather more poetic title of Confession Inachevée (‘Unfinished Confession’), the show will star actress Stéphanie Sphyras, and promises to be a cut above other Monroe-themed stage plays.
Speculation about Marilyn’s death makes the pages of Closer in the USA this week (alongside cover star Meryl Streep.) If you’re wondering where all these stories are coming from, it’s partly the Fox News series Scandalous, but also a new podcast, The Killing of Marilyn Monroe. If conspiracy theories aren’t your thing, it might be worth waiting for Marilyn Monroe: Behind the Icon, an upcoming podcast from biographer Gary Vitacco-Robles.
Every August brings with it a slew of magazine articles about Marilyn’s death. This inset appears on the cover of Italy’s OGGI (‘Today’), which has featured Marilyn many times over the years.
Niagara will be the second film screened in a double bill at the Redford Theatre in Detroit on September 21, starting with Trapped (1949) at 2 pm. It’s part of a weekend-long festival, ‘Noir in the 50s‘, hosted by Noir City magazine.
The Misfits will be screened at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) in Morehead, Kentucky this fall, as part of the Osher Classic Film Series which runs on Wednesdays at 12:30 pm from September 25 – October 30 (enrolment is free, but limited to 35 places.)