Are there books or movies or anything other than music that inspire what you write?
The writing can be inspired by a conversation I hear in a pub or on a bus from everyday people. When I’m writing I have images – I think of it like a film. It’s a very visual process and fashion very much inspires me. Film too, like Marilyn Monroe, Marlon Brando, The Godfather, and Scarface. I am a huge fan of movies and I have always been obsessed with Marilyn. I think that my most ideal men in the world would be Marlon Brando and Jack Nicholson.
“Sam Anfang owned Gentree, a men’s clothing store in midtown Manhattan, from 1933 to 1978. He turns 100 years old Dec. 31.
‘Arthur Miller was a customer of mine for his whole life. Then Marilyn Monroe married Arthur Miller and it was a great fuss all over the country. So Life magazine called me up one day and said they would like to have Marilyn Monroe come over to the store to shop there, and they wanted to take pictures. I used to call up to find out what’s doing down at the store, and my partner says to me, ‘The store is closed.’ I said, ‘What do you mean it’s closed?’ He says, ‘Marilyn Monroe is here, they spotted her, they had cops in front of the store and everything.’ I asked, ‘Well, what does she look like?’ He says, ‘Sam, she’s got a dress on with nothing underneath, she’s absolutely fabulous!’
Flowers have been delivered to Marilyn’s grave by actress and Immortal Marilyn staffer Carla Orlandi. $255 was donated by fans to Animal Haven, giving a total of $871 raised in 2010 – more than double the amount given in 2009.
This new book by William Kuhn, dubbed an ‘autobiography in books’, takes a look at Jackie Kennedy Onassis’s lifelong love of literature and her later career as an editor.
“More astonishing is Jackie’s work on the 1980 Diana Vreeland book, Allure, which contains photos and text about the allure of Marilyn Monroe, who was linked to Jackie’s first husband when he was president, and Maria Callas, who was linked to Jackie’s second husband, before and after their marriage.
Jackie also responded favorably to a proposal that Doubleday publish a book of Bert Stern’s last photographs of Monroe before her death. Jackie wrote a note to a colleague: ‘Marilyn Monroe!!! Are you excited?’ Kuhn writes that Jackie the editor probably saw the use of material about her one-time rival as ‘a publishing opportunity rather than a moment to reflect on a personal injury. In any case, if injury there had been, she was able to rise above it.’”
In fact, Jackie may never have resented Marilyn as many have assumed. She probably understood Monroe’s struggle with fame and love only too well, and was privately said to be upset by her death. Whatever the extent of Marilyn’s relationship with John F. Kennedy, it appears that Jackie did not bear a grudge.
After separating from Marilyn Monroe in October 1960, Arthur Miller lived for six years at New York’s bohemian Chelsea Hotel. It was during this period that he wrote one of his most divisive plays, After The Fall(1964), seemingly based on his two marriages (the self-destructive singer, Maggie, is reminiscent of Marilyn), and was remarried for a third time to photographer Inge Morath (whom he had first met during filming of The Misfits) in 1962.
Miller noted in his memoir, ‘Timebends’, that it was a place where you could get high from the marijuana smoke in the elevators, deeming the hotel “the high spot of the surreal”. “This hotel does not belong to America,” he wrote. “There are no vacuum cleaners, no rules and shame.” Elsewhere, he paid tribute to the two prevailing atmospheres during that decade: “A scary and optimistic chaos which predicted the hip future and at the same time the feel of a massive, old-fashioned, sheltering family.”
“Marilyn Monroe’s great achievement has been the making of herself and the imposition of her will and her dream upon a whole world. Joseph Conrad wrote that when we are born we fall into a dream. Norma Jeane Mortenson, called Norma Jean Baker, fell into the most extravagant of dreams. She made it come true. She made it come true by making herself. She made herself beautiful. She made herself an artist. She triumphed in that arena where the loveliest women in the world contend fiercely for the prizes.
In one sense, then, her life is completed, because her spirit is formed and has achieved itself. No matter what unpredictable events may lie in her future, they cannot change what she is and what she has become. And there will be many surprises and alterations in her life ahead; there will be, in Hart Crane’s phrase, ‘new thresholds, new anatomies’.
In her heart is a questing fever that will give her no peace, that drives her on ‘to strive, to seek, to find,’ and then to strive and seek again. Her soul was always be restless, unquiet.”
Zolotow’s biography, considered a definitive early work on Monroe, was reissued in 1990 with a further chapter on The Misfits, and an intriguing prologue where Zolotow describes his first meeting with the actress, at a Hollywood party in 1952, when she was still on the cusp of stardom. They would meet again ten years later, at the Actor’s Studio in New York, after Zolotow’s book was published.