Lee Strasberg’s Eulogy for Marilyn

George Barris, 1962

“In her own lifetime she created a myth of what a poor girl from a deprived background could attain. For the entire world she became a symbol of the eternal feminine.

But I have no words to describe the myth and the legend. I did not know this Marilyn Monroe. We gathered here today, knew only Marilyn – a warm human being, impulsive and shy, sensitive and in fear of rejection, yet ever avid for life and reaching out for fulfillment. I will not insult the privacy of your memory of her – a privacy she sought and treasured – by trying to describe her whom you knew to you who knew her. In our memories of her she remains alive, not only a shadow on the screen or a glamorous personality.

For us Marilyn was a devoted and loyal friend, a colleague constantly reaching for perfection. We shared her pain and difficulties and some of her joys. She was a member of our family. It is difficult to accept the fact that her zest for life has been ended by this dreadful accident.

Despite the heights and brilliance she attained on the screen, she was planning for the future; she was looking forward to participating in the many exciting things which she planned. In her eyes and in mine her career was just beginning.

The dream of her talent, which she had nurtured as a child, was not a mirage. When she first came to me I was amazed at the startling sensitivity which she possessed and which had remained fresh and undimmed, struggling to express itself despite the life to which she had been subjected.

Others were as physically beautiful as she was, but there was obviously something more in her, something that people saw and recognized in her performances and with which they identified. She had a luminous quality – a combination of wistfulness, radiance, yearning – to set her apart and yet make everyone wish to be a part of it, to share in the childish naïveté which was so shy and yet so vibrant.

This quality was even more evident when she was in the stage. I am truly sorry that the public who loved her did not have the opportunity to see her as we did, in many of the roles that foreshadowed what she would have become. Without a doubt she would have been one of the really great actresses of the stage.

Now it is at an end. I hope her death will stir sympathy and understanding for a sensitive artist and a woman who brought joy and pleasure to the world.

I cannot say goodbye. Marilyn never liked goodbyes, but in the peculiar way she had of turning things around so that they faced reality – I will say au revoir. For the country to which she has gone, we must all someday visit.”

Lee Strasberg, 1962

Life: A Poetic Fragment

The ‘Marilyn Monroe’ Rose

“Life-

I am of both your directions
Existing more with the cold frost
Strong as a cobweb in the wind
Hanging downward the most
Somehow remaining
those beaded rays have the colours
I’ve seen in paintings-ah life
they have cheated you

thinner than a cobweb’s thread
sheerer than any-

but it did attach itself
and held fast in strong winds
and singed by the leaping hot fires
life-of which at singular times
I am both of your directions-
somehow I remain hanging downward the most
as both of your directions pull me”

 – Marilyn Monroe

Ambulance Driver Remembers Marilyn’s Death


“While I was working for the Park Pantry Cafeteria on W. Anaheim Blvd. in Long Beach California, I met an older, thin man, who had taken the job as dishwasher for the restaurant. It was apparent from his demeanor that the man was living a hard life, and dishwashing was not a career, it was a job, but only for this week…

Nevertheless, between the clanging of pots and pans, the clash of dishes and the tinkle of silverware being washed, in what seemed a meaningless and unending cycle, conversation ensued, often during impromptu cigarette breaks.

This thin, hardened dishwasher told me about his recent stint of employment as an ambulance driver.  And , as fortune would have it, he discovered that he  was one of the persons called by Fate to remove Marilyn Monroe’s remains,  following her untimely death, from her apartment in Hollywood. (I can’t confirm that he is the same man pictured above, but he seems consistent with my memories).

He seemed proud of the connection, as if being the person to push Marilyn Monroe’s gurney out of her apartment became the high point of his life.

I only thought of this memory today as I was sitting at my desk, working, listening to my iPod through my new, inexpensive (what else)? docking station, listening to Elton John singing ‘Goodbye Norma Jean’.”

Zac Turango, Wildomar Magazine