Marilyn: ‘Less of an Icon, More of a Friend’

Sam Shaw, 1957
“I grew up with this picture of (Marilyn) in my bedroom. It’s a picture of her at the house in Connecticut, Roxbury where she and Miller lived and this picture of her wearing this white dress and she’s barefoot and she’s spinning and her head’s back and she’s smiling, it very natural. So my primary association of her is of that, so she’s kind of always felt less of an icon and a bit more of a friend. So that was a decent place to start.
There has never been and maybe will never be someone as beautiful as Marilyn Monroe. Like I’m not a drag queen — I’m not going to get plastic surgery to look like her. I have limitations in terms of how much I can resemble her, so instead what I can master, what I can strive for is her essence.”
Michelle Williams discusses her role in My Week With Marilyn at the Aero Theatre, Los Angeles, where a short clip from the upcoming movie was also shown.

TCM Greatest Overlooked Performances

Marilyn in ‘Bus Stop’ (photo by Milton Greene)

TCM includes one of Marilyn’s shining moments in its new list of the Top 10 Greatest Overlooked Performances. Many felt she was denied an Oscar nomination by the Hollywood establishment because of her rebellion against Twentieth Century Fox.

Marilyn Monroe as Cherie in Bus Stop (1956)

“After studying with The Actors Studio, Marilyn Monroe was determined to draw on every painful memory from her past for her role as a small town singer – dubbed a ‘chantoosie’ by her fans – courted by an idealistic cowboy.  She allowed herself to look under-nourished and performed her one musical number badly, ‘That Old Black Magic’, to capture the desperation of a woman who would never achieve her dreams.  As in her other great performance, Sugar Kane Kowalcyzk in Some Like It Hot (1959), the role is a central part of the legend of Marilyn – the beautiful, sensitive loser.  But the film’s success failed to bring her an Oscar nomination or much respect.  Reporters were more interested in signs of star temperament, as when she insisted co-star Hope Lange’s hair be darkened so as not to match hers, than the painstaking efforts she put into one of the best roles she would ever play.  Neither has the passing of time helped fans to appreciate Monroe’s performance, for many aspects of the film have not aged well.  In his dogged pursuit of his ‘Cherry,’ cowboy Don Murray now seems less romantic than criminal – a grating sexual bully.  And Cherie’s ultimate capitulation puts into question all of the dreams that made her so touching.  Beyond the sexual politics, however, the film vividly reveals what Monroe could have done as an actress had Hollywood allowed her to re-invent herself.”

Wild Strawberries: ‘Life-Sized Marilyn Monroe’

‘Life-Sized Marilyn Monroe’ was originally released in 1993 in an EP by Canadian indie band Wild Strawberries. The track can also be heard on their 1995 album, Bet You Think I’m Lonely.

Video

Booker T is playing on the radio
Jimmy Dean he plays on my mind
Someday soon I'm gonna' wipe your filthy boots
When I expose you
You Philistine, your Philistine eyes
You can take your five and dime
Shove it in your Elvis records
You can send your valentines
To your very own life sized Marilyn Monroe
You keep singing everyday's the fourth of July
I keep wondering why
I don't know how I ever met you,
Don't know why I can't forget the way you tease me
You Philistine, your Philistine eyes
You better stop calling
Kicking my love around
I don't care if you're another Rudolph Valentino
I don't care if you're the marrying kind
You better stop calling
For my love

Marvin Scott Remembers Marilyn at the Circus

“She was radiant and she was gracious as she stopped repeatedly to the shouts of photographers calling out her name. At one point she turned from the rest of the pack and glanced directly at me. She threw back her head and asked in a faint but friendly voice, ‘Is this all right?’ I couldn’t believe Marilyn Monroe was actually speaking to me. It was one of those ‘pinch’ moments in life.”

Photographer Marvin Scott remembers meeting Marilyn in March 1955, when she rode on a pink elephant at a charity circus in Madison Square Garden.

Scott was still a high school student at the time. Eight photographs from the event will be sold by Bonham’s & Butterfield’s in an entertainment-themed auction on Monday, along with other Monroe memorabilia.

“So many years later, I still think she was like a kitten playing with a spool of wool,” Scott recalls in a short essay, which you can read in full on Scribd. “She was so magnetic. So electrifying.”

Zolotow’s Marilyn: Life With the Greenes

With business partner Milton Greene, 1955

These latest extracts from Zolotow’s 1960 biography, first published in the Los Angeles Daily Mirror, recounts Marilyn’s split from husband Joe DiMaggio, and her decision to leave Hollywood; her business partnership with photographer Milton Greene and her personal relationship with his wife, Amy (Marilyn stayed at their Connecticut home in the winter of 1954-55, before moving to New York.)

Elle Fanning: Growing Up With Marilyn

Elle Fanning, 12 year-old sister of actress Dakota, stars with Stephen Dorff in Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere, set in one of her idol Marilyn Monroe’s Hollywood haunts – the Chateau Marmont Hotel. (Marilyn spent time there while filming Bus Stop in 1956.)

“I’d been there before for some interviews and photo shoots, but I hadn’t spent that much time there. Now, I feel like I know it so well. When I first got there, I was like, ‘Am I walking where Marilyn Monroe walked?'”

This month Elle tells Interview magazine about her lifelong admiration for MM:

“INTERVIEW: Is there anyone you’d really like to work with? Who was your favourite actor growing up?

ELLE: My favorite actress is Marilyn Monroe.

INTERVIEW: She’s gonna be tricky to work with.

ELLE: Yeah. [laughs]

INTERVIEW: Have you ever seen any of Marilyn Monroe’s films? Or do you just like her look?

ELLE: Yeah, I mean, of course-I love her look and everything. But I’ve seen The Seven Year Itch [1955] and I loved that. I watched that all the time when I was little. I liked the dress. I was her for Halloween when I was 7. I did the makeup and the mole and I did all the poses with blowing kisses and all that …”

Dressed as Marilyn for Halloween ’05, aged 7

Marilyn Mania in 2010

Marilyn by George Barris, July 1962

“The wild thing is that there is this convergence of Marilyn Monroe right now…She is almost more here now than when she was alive” – Pamela Clarke Keogh, author of Are You a Jackie or Marilyn?

“I think it’s that lost potential we’re intrigued by … Kind of like JFK. We’re fascinated by the short legacy they left” – Margaret Barrett, Bonham’s and Butterfield’s

More Marilyn mania at USA Today

Elliott Murphy’s ‘Marilyn’

From the 1973 album, Aquashow, by singer-songwriter Elliott Murphy – video here

“I guess you’d say she had what it took
To make most of us take a second look
She stole our eyes but not our hearts
And all the time it tore her apart
Don’t you know she died for our sins
Marilyn Monroe died for us

What a body to make us dream
Our thoughts were dirty though she was clean
On screen we’d watch her tantalize
And with our own we would fantasize
Don’t you know she died for our sins
Marilyn Monroe died for us

Marilyn, Marilyn, I didn’t mean to do you in
Marilyn, Marilyn, now its too late to start again
Don’t you know she died for our sins
Marilyn Monroe died for us”