Louis Gossett Jr

Louis Gossett Jr, who won an Emmy for his role in Roots and an Oscar for An Officer and a Gentleman, recalls working with Marilyn Monroe in his recently published memoir, An Actor and a Gentleman:

“The person I considered the most talented actor in my class was Marilyn Monroe. She would walk into class with Arthur Miller’s shirts tied at her waist, her feet in flip-flops, the sweet musky smell of Lifebuoy soap wafting after her. Her hair, pulled back with a rubber band, was always a little wet, as if she’d just stepped out of a shower. If she’d stayed with Miller, I believe she would easily have won five Academy Awards.

One afternoon I was sitting in my place on the Lower East Side when my phone rang. I picked it up, and a voice said, ‘Hi, Lou. It’s Marilyn.’ ‘Marilyn who?’ I answered, and when she said, ‘Marilyn from class,’ I had a genuine fit. She was asking me to be in her love scene from Tennessee Williams’ The Rose Tattoo at her next class. She was probably being nice to me because I wasn’t one of the stellar students in the class, like Sidney Poitier, and nobody else was asking me to do love scenes. But here she was, inviting me to play the sailor to her hot-blooded Serafina delle Rose.

I was a kid then, full of juice. I considered myself to be hot to trot, but I knew there was no way on earth I could play that scene. I was so starstruck, I wouldn’t have gotten out one word onstage. I must have stammered something, because she got off the line pretty fast, and I think it was Marty Landau who ended up playing that scene. (I happen to think Mr Landau is one of the most consummate actors I have ever seen on the stage or screen.) To this day, if I catch a whiff of Lifebuoy soap, my olfactory senses take over and I am undeniably aroused.”


Fragments: An Update

More details about the publication of Marilyn Monroe’s collected writings and artwork, due for release in September, from the US Macmillan website.

Fragments: Poems, Intimate Notes, Letters

By Marilyn Monroe; Edited by Stanley Buchthal and Bernard Comment

Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 9/28/2010
ISBN: 978-0-374-15835-4, ISBN10: 0-374-15835-5,
7 11/16 x 10 inches, 256 pages, 5-Color Throughout

Synopsis

Marilyn Monroe’s image is so universal that we can’t help but believe that we know all there is to know of her. Every word and gesture made headlines and garnered controversy. Her serious gifts as an actor were sometimes eclipsed by her notoriety—and the way the camera fell helplessly in love with her.

But what of the other Marilyn? Beyond the headlines—and the too-familiar stories of heartbreak and desolation—was a woman far more curious, searching, and hopeful than the one the world got to know. Even as Hollywood studios tried to mold and suppress her, Marilyn never lost her insight, her passion, and her humor. To confront the mounting difficulties of her life, she wrote.

Now, for the first time, we can meet this private Marilyn and get to know her in a way we never have before. Fragments is an unprecedented collection of written artifacts—notes to herself, letters, even poems—in Marilyn’s own handwriting, never before published, along with rarely seen intimate photos.

These bits of text—jotted in notebooks, typed on paper, or written on hotel letterhead—reveal a woman who loved deeply and strove to perfect her craft. They show a Marilyn Monroe unsparing in her analysis of her own life, but also playful, funny, and impossibly charming. The easy grace and deceptive lightness that made her performances so memorable emerge on the page, as does the simmering tragedy that made her last appearances so heartbreaking.

Fragments is an event—an unforgettable book that will redefine one of the greatest stars of the twentieth century and which, nearly fifty years after her death, will definitively reveal Marilyn Monroe’s humanity.

RELATED POST: Commentary from Sarah Churchwell, author of The Many Lives of Marilyn Monroe

Maf the Dog at Southbank Centre

Robin Davey

Prizewinning novelist Andrew O’Hagan’s The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog and of His Friend Marilyn Monroe is a literary comedy full of philosophy, comedy and heartbreak.

‘The book is a miracle,’ wrote Edna O’Brien, ‘and already a classic’.

For this special event, Andrew O’Hagan leads an ensemble reading of Maf the Dog with some of Britain’s leading actors, including Ian MacDiarmid (Six Characters in Search of an Author, Star Wars) and Suzanne Bertish (Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Hunger.)

Sunday 18 July 2010, 7:45pm

Southbank Centre, London

Ticket information here

Read my review of Maf the Dog, here

‘Oh, Towards Daybreak’

By Seiichi Hayashi: 13 pages.
“This is a rather strange, nonsensical allegory featuring a Batman-like superhero that is trying to fight crime on behalf of his ‘mama’ – Marilyn Monroe dressed up as the statue of liberty…”

Source

‘The Mmm Girl’ Speaks

Photo by Liz Grammaticas, Boston

“Considering the difficulty of Marilyn’s life, almost from the beginning, and her deep insecurities, it’s all the more remarkable to me that she never became really bitter or cynical, and that she was so brave and generous in the way she lived.”

An interview with Tara Hanks (alias Marina72, aka moi) on my novel The Mmm Girl, Marilyn and more, over at Moon in the Gutter

Collectors Wanted

Marilyn at home by John Florea, 1952

ES member MMcamera tells us there is a new Marilyn book in the works, similar to Jenna Glatzer’s Marilyn Monroe Treasures, which included facsimiles of original documents and memorabilia, and was released through Barnes & Noble in 2008.

Carlton Books are looking for fans who would be willing to share any items connected with Marilyn such as letters, receipts, notes, etc. Basically anything that could be reproduced.

If you or someone you know can help please contact:

Jennifer Barr
Project Editor
Carlton Publishing Group
20 Mortimer Street
London
W1T 3JW

Email: jbarr@carltonbooks.co.uk
Telephone: 0207 6120477

The Meaning of Marilyn

Philippe Halsman, 1952

Dr Lois Banner, professor of History and Gender Studies at the University of Southern California, considers three recent MM biographies in this month’s Women’s Review of Books, and discusses the difficulty of ‘deconstructing Marilyn’.

Banner is currently writing a scholarly study of Monroe for Bloomsbury Press, An Uncommon Woman: Marilyn Monroe as an American Icon of Passion and Power.

Dr Banner at USC

Lois Banner on Amazon

My own reviews of recent Monroe literature can be found here

Marilyn Remembered

A new exhibition devoted entirely to Marilyn Monroe opened at the Hollywood Museum on June 1st, which also marked the 84th anniversary of Marilyn’s birth in Los Angeles. The exhibit combines the collections of Scott Fortner, and Greg Schreiner (president of the L.A.-based Marilyn Remembered fanclub.)

Some of the highlights are listed here

Scott Fortner talks about his collection here

Exhibition catalogues can be previewed and ordered here

‘Marilyn Remembered: An Intimate Look at the Legend’ continues until August 31st.

WHERE: The Hollywood Museum, 1660 N. Highland Avenue, Hollywood
WHEN: 10 am to 5 pm Thursday through Sunday
PRICE: $15 for adults; $12 for seniors and children under 12.
Public Info: (323) 464-7776