“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.
My review of Keith Badman’s The Final Years of Marilyn Monroeis featured in the latest issue of Mad About Marilyn magazine, which also includes a vintage magazine article penned by Marilyn’s one-time roommate at Hollywood’s Studio Club, Clarice Evans, and a profile of photographer John Bryson.
If you are interested in joining the Mad About Marilyn Fan Club, please contact Emma Downing Warren.
“I am also amazed at how much ‘junk’ is written about MM. The only reason I can think of that people get away with it, is because there is no one to ‘protect’ her – she really doesn’t have any family, or anyone to stand up for her interests, so people just make up junk about her (or did, right after she died), and then some people today print it as fact without doing any original research. I think there is less of this today (perhaps because of the internet? Not sure.). But right after she died – wow, there was a lot of junk written with no factual validation. Just crazy stuff.”
The author of Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? is interviewed by Scott Fortner over at the Marilyn Monroe Collection Blog, where you can also enter a competition to win a copy of Pamela’s book – but hurry, the deadline is tomorrow!
“Meanwhile, he’s recently finished a new collection inspired by Joyce Carol Oates’ Blonde, a 1200 page biography on Marilyn Monroe.* ‘It’s such a fascinating book. One of the most moving books I’ve ever read, actually. I began to really look at Marilyn, and I realized she is not a style icon, but an icon herself. I love that Marilyn attitude.'”
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.)
These latest extracts from Maurice Zolotow’s 1960 biography, first published in the Los Angeles Daily Mirror, reveal how Marilyn’s 1954 marriage to Joe DiMaggio was overshadowed by her burgeoning career.