Bill Sluyter Fredendall, who once lived in the Los Angeles Orphans Home alongside Norma Jeane Baker, has died aged 92 in L’Anse, Michigan, according to the Keewanaw Report.
In a 2016 interview with Eden Prairie News, Bill fondly recalled the future star, two years older and a friend of his sister Doris, pushing him on a swing, and the children’s excitement at being so close to the world of film-making. ‘We sat on the radiators and looked at the front of the RKO studio, up in the sky from where we were,’ Bill said. ‘We could see that from the orphanage. We all wanted to be in the movies.’ His daughter Phyllis said that when Bill heard of Marilyn’s death, he was bereft: ‘She was a good girl,’ he said.
Marilyn was a resident from 1935-37, from the age of nine to just after her eleventh birthday. She was treated well there, but like many children displaced during the Great Depression, struggled with feelings of abandonment throughout her stay. The home, on El Centro Avenue, was renamed as Hollygrove in 1957. After closing in 2005, it now operates an outreach service for vulnerable children and their families.
“Bill and his brother Dick and sister Doris were placed in the Los Angeles Orphans Home in Hollywood in 1934. His stories from that time are legion. It was the favorite charity of many of the movie stars as it was across the street from RKO Studios. Oliver Hardy’s sister was one of the matrons. Bill remembered Laurel and Hardy arriving in a big convertible full of presents. The campus of the orphanage was sometimes used as a movie set – he recalled the filming of a fire rescue from a second story window. And of course he remembered one of the girls, Norma Jeane Baker (Marilyn Monroe) who was there at the same time.
Bill was an avid reader and a movie buff. He loved to drive and took many trips with family and friends. He enjoyed golfing, sailing, skiing, and swimming in Lake Superior, Minnesota. Music was a lifelong friend. He played harmonicas large and small, having learned to play while in the Orphan Home.”
The actress turned author Patricia Bosworth, who met Marilyn at the Actors Studio, has died aged 86 from complications of coronavirus, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Bosworth starred with Audrey Hepburn in The Nun’s Story (1959), and later published critically acclaimed, yet controversial biographies of Montgomery Clift, Marĺon Brando and others. She appeared in documentaries such as Marilyn Monroe: Still Life (2005) and Love, Marilyn (2012), and wrote ‘The Mentor and the Movie Star,’ an article about Marilyn and the Strasbergs, for Vanity Fair in 2003. Her final book, The Men in My Life: Love and Art in 1950s Manhattan, also featured memories of Marilyn (see here.)
Mamie Van Doren is one of the last surviving bombshells from Marilyn’s era – and at 89, she is still glamorous and vital. Born in South Dakota, she came to Los Angeles in 1946 and was ‘discovered’ by Howard Hughes. She was married five times, including to bandleader Ray Anthony. As rock and roll music swept the nation, Mamie played the ‘bad girl’ in a series of teen movies, among them Untamed Youth (1957), High School Confidential (1958), and The Beat Generation (1959.) She later developed a nightclub act and starred in a stage production of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Her autobiography, Playing the Field (1987), revealed affairs with famous names like Clark Gable and Tony Curtis.
Mamie spoke recently to Fox News‘ Stephanie Nolasco about her memories of Hollywood stars including Marilyn, whom she first met during the late 1940s.
“Fox News: How difficult was it to make your mark as a blonde bombshell at the same time Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield were stars? Van Doren: I didn’t have much of a choice. Marilyn, I liked very much. I got along with her fine. I started going to her drama coach, Natasha Lytess. But she just wasn’t right for me. So I went to another one… But I went along with it because I really didn’t have much of a choice. And it was all men that ran everything. I don’t think I saw one woman in charge of anything. So I don’t know – I just managed to get it done and it seemed like I was able to do it. A lot of girls couldn’t. They would be on contract for six months and then disappear… But I was lucky. And when I did Untamed Youth, that’s when I really got to be myself.
Fox News: What’s your favorite memory of Marilyn Monroe? Van Doren: It’s strange, but some of my memories of Marilyn are sad ones. When she wasn’t around people, she was sad. She was sad most of the time. But when she would go out, have a few drinks, she became Marilyn Monroe, the one everyone knew. She became what she wanted to be. But Marilyn expected too much from herself. As she got older, she wasn’t quite as popular as she used to be. And I think that really upset her very much because she had so much attention during those early years in Hollywood. She couldn’t do too much back then without everyone knowing. But as she entered her late 30s, things weren’t as easy for her. She also had a problem with men. She couldn’t seem to hang on to them. A very strange thing. She just couldn’t hang on to a man.
She had strained relationships. And she didn’t know very much except the movie business… She wanted to be a good actress. She worked very hard for that. But it didn’t come easy for her. It was hard to accept the fact that someone would reject you. Her expectations were way beyond what reality was like. She couldn’t accept that. I don’t think she had the ability to do that.”
In a third extract from movie publicist Charles ‘Jerry’ Juroe’s memoir, Bond, the Beatles and My Year With Marilyn, he describes his struggle to keep under wraps Marilyn’s increasingly toxic relationship with Sir Laurence Olivier, her co-star and director of The Prince and the Showgirl. (You can read the other posts here.)
“I managed to keep the degree of bitterness that developed between Monroe and Olivier out of the British press, even though our British unit publicist was fired after writing a behind-the-scenes story for one of the Sunday newspapers on what was really happening at dear old Pinewood Studios in leafy idyllic Buckinghamshire. Despite that, Milton Greene, who was ‘Piggy in the Middle,’ did appreciate what the publicity department was accomplishing. That he kept his sanity and laid-back charm was a miracle, and I held him in high esteem. The Milton Greene I knew was a talented and caring person, and I valued his friendship. His tenure at the head of Marilyn Monroe Productions was not to last long, though certainly longer than mine …”
“Arrangements were being finalised for the departure back to New York and it took all the persuasive powers of [Arthur] Jacobs, plus the head of Warner Bros. production in the UK and myself, to persuade Olivier that he had to be at [the airport] to be photographed giving Monroe a ‘going away present’ of a beautiful watch. Naturally, it was charged to the film’s overhead. It is a little short of amazing what so often ends up on a film’s budget that has so little to do with what ends up on the screen!”
“At the end of production, I returned to the States with Jacobs and saw out my duties on The Prince and the Showgirl when required. I continued working in concert with the New York publicity department of Warner Bros., particularly during the New York premiere. The most traumatic happening during that time was when Warners decided they needed a specially posed photo of Monroe and Olivier for the advertising campaign. I had to fly to London and accompany a very reluctant Larry to New York. We left the hotel to go to Greene’s studio where Olivier put on his costume, a polka-dotted silk robe. Madame arrived and after the briefest of greetings the session started. Two rolls of film later – only some twenty shots – our diva said, ‘That’s it!’ and left. As the saying goes, that was that!”
Actress Terry Moore began her movie career in 1940, and would later make a successful transition from child performer to adult star when she was nominated for an Oscar as Best Supporting Actress for her role in an adaptation of William Inge’s Come Back, Little Sheba (1952.) After director Elia Kazan cast her in Man On a Tightrope (1953), she was signed by Twentieth Century Fox. She was photographed with Marilyn at public events including the 1953 wedding of columnist Sheilah Graham (see above), and at the premiere of How to Marry a Millionaire (below.)
Terry had previously been signed to Columbia Studios in 1948, the same year when Marilyn was briefly under contract there, starring in the low-budget musical, Ladies of the Chorus, before being dropped by boss Harry Cohn. It was during this period that Marilyn met Natasha Lytess, who became her acting coach until 1954.
Now 91, Terry recalls her encounters with Marilyn and other stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age in an interview with Stephanie Nolasco for Fox News.
“Fox News: What’s the story behind your friendship with Marilyn Monroe?
Moore: I met Marilyn when she was put under contract. I was under contract to Columbia Studios at that time. We both then went to 20th Century Fox at the same time. And if you read anything about Marilyn, her acting coach was Natasha Lytess. The directors got so mad that she was always looking at Natasha while filming her scenes. Natasha was behind the cameras trying to guide her. It got so bad the directors later threw Natasha off the set.
I was with her when she met Natasha. They brought her into Natasha’s acting lessons. I was the only one in the class. And so I really wanted someone to do scenes with. I was told, ‘This is a new contract player named Marilyn Monroe. Now you and Natasha will have someone to act with.’ I was so happy to meet her. And we became close, fast friends. I would take her home to dinner with me. My parents were just crazy about her. She was one of the sweetest, loneliest girls I ever met. But she learned so quickly as an actress.
Fox News: What do you think made Marilyn feel so lonely?
Moore: Well sometimes the biggest stars are usually very shy … They’re very much like John Wayne. He was so backward, very backward. He also had to learn to get out there and have self-confidence. Most actors when they start out have little confidence. Marilyn didn’t have confidence. She had to have everyone in the world believe in her and love her before she had any confidence.”
In a second extract from Charles Jerry Juroe’s memoir, Bond, the Beatles and My Year With Marilyn (read the first here), the veteran movie publicist recalls the rival factions on the set of The Prince and the Showgirl, and a narrowly averted tragedy.
“Between [Arthur] Miller, one of the most difficult people I’ve ever encountered, and Paula Strasberg, wife of Actors Studio guru Lee Strasberg and the lady I called the ‘Wicked Witch of the East’, I very quickly found myself the one American from the Monroe camp who was on the side of [Laurence] Olivier. Believe it or not, some of the Monroe camp put the seed in her mind that Olivier was out to destroy her career.
This greatest English-speaking actor and superb prize-winning director was, after all was said and done, in her company’s employ, but Marilyn’s paranoia and persecution complex knew no bounds. She and her close entourage (led by Strasberg) made his life hell on and off the set, and this lovely man was brought to his knees by this psychologically challenged, most famous woman in the world.
One night during production, at about 3 in the morning, my London phone rang. I sleepily answered to hear the urgency in Milton Greene’s voice … Some fifteen minutes later, we were in Milton’s car, driving westward toward TROUBLE! Arthur Miller had called Milton to say he had called an ambulance to take a comatose Marilyn to a local medical facility. We arrived to find that ‘Miss Baker’ had already been pumped out and was recovering in a private room. Our star was on call for filming at Pinewood in a few hours’ time, and it was obvious she wouldn’t just be late, she wouldn’t be there at all.
However, on that ‘star-crossed production, what was another hundred thousand dollars or so to a cost sheet already way over budget.
From my standpoint, that eventful night was not all bad, as not one single word of it ever appeared in the media. No typical London tabloid banners screamed ‘Marilyn in Death Dash’ etc., ad nauseam. Those British medical practitioners of the fifties respected the privacy of those they were attending. However, if Milton passed around a few well-placed ‘tips’, they never knew and didn’t want to!
It was, however, an exhausting few hours, and the title of The Beatles’ song/film of a few years in the future perfectly captured what for me had truly been ‘a hard day’s night.'”
In his 2018 memoir, Bond, the Beatles and My Year With Marilyn, veteran movie publicist Charles ‘Jerry’ Juroe devotes an entire chapter, ‘Life With Marilyn’, to his memories The Prince and the Showgirl, filmed in England in 1956. He had previously worked with Sir Laurence Olivier in Hollywood, and was also acquainted with Marilyn’s press agent, Arthur P. Jacobs, and photographer Milton Greene, co-founder of Marilyn Monroe Productions. In the first of three posts, Juroe describes how after an exceptionally promising start, the shoot quickly became a nightmare for everyone involved.
Marilyn’s arrival in Britain and her first press conference at London’s Savoy Hotel caused a sensation – “not because of my organisational handling,” Juroe writes, “but because of her wit, charm and intelligence … It was the last time that I found myself to be in complete favour with Monroe.”
“When one was on the set and watched Marilyn do a scene, you saw movement and dialogue, but nothing that caused goosebumps. But! – in the screening room, when seeing the rushes, it was something else. By some mysterious process of osmosis, between the live action, the camera’s lens, the film, the processing, and then the projection onto a screen, something somewhere in all that – magic happened! What you saw on the set was not what you observed in the screening room. I will never know the answer because I’m not sure there is one. This charisma was what audiences all over the world paid for and saw from their cinema seats. This was what, for those years as Queen of the Hill, set her very much apart and kept her at the pinnacle of the Hollywood Heap.”
Albert ‘Cubby’ Broccoli, an American producer living in London, invited Marilyn and friends to watch his film starring Alan Ladd (possibly 1953’s The Red Beret) at a screening room on Audley Square. Several years later, he and Juroe would begin their association on the James Bond movie series. Broccoli remembered Marilyn from the late 1940s when she was dating Hollywood agent Johnny Hyde. “I am sure Hyde’s death was certainly one of many contributory factors to her fragility,” Juroe writes.
“Before too long, life on the film became unbearable. I found I could not recommend or offer any suggestion or give an opinion because her mindset became such that whatever I suggested was inevitably never in her best interest. One cannot work under such a condition for long, so survival became the name of the game. In fact, I was privately offered $5000 (no small amount then) by someone at the famous French magazine Paris Match if I got her to Paris for a weekend. I never considered this because even though it would have in fact been a great opportunity, it would also have been a fiasco. To get her there in the first place, plus the demands on her time, it would never have worked!”
One of Hollywood’s most legendary stars, Kirk Douglas, has died aged 103.
He was born Issur Danielovitch to Belarusian immigrant parents in New York. His father was a ragman, and he and his six sisters grew up in poverty. He was known as Izzy Demsky, and began acting at high school, graduating from St. Lawrence University in 1939. He then studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts where his classmates included Betty Joan Perske, who later found fame as Lauren Bacall.
After joining the US Navy in 1941, he changed his name to Kirk Douglas. He was medically discharged in 1944, having sustained injuries while fighting in World War II. Back in New York he worked in the theatre and radio, until his old friend Bacall recommended him to movie producer Hal B. Wallis.
In 1947, Kirk starred with Robert Mitchum in a classic film noir, Out of the Past. Three years later, he played a character based on jazz cornetist Bix Beiderbecke in Young Man With a Horn. When starlet Jean Spangler, who had a small part in the film, vanished in 1951, her purse was found in Griffith Park, Los Angeles with a note addressed to ‘Kirk’. Douglas approached the police, stating that he was not the man Spangler was writing to, and that he was in Palm Springs at the time of her disappearance. His explanation was accepted, but the mystery remains unsolved.
In his 2007 memoir, Let’s Face It, Kirk recalled a brief encounter with a young Marilyn Monroe – probably dating back to the late 1940s.
“I remember the first time I met Marilyn, at the home of producer Sam Spiegel. The only woman in the room, she sat quietly in a chair watching Sam playing gin rummy with his friends and hoping that he’d get her a job in movies. I felt sorry for her. I tried to talk with her, but it wasn’t much of a conversation.
On the screen Marilyn came to life. She was a different person.”
Kirk’s eight-year marriage to Diana Dill, mother of his sons Michael and Joel, ended soon after. He would marry producer Anne Buydens in 1954, and despite his rumoured infidelities, their union was one of Hollywood’s happiest and most enduring. They had two more sons, Peter and Eric, who sadly died of a drugs and alcohol overdose in 2004.
In 1951, Kirk starred in Billy Wilder’s first film as a writer/producer, Ace in the Hole. In 1952, he earned the second of three Oscar nominations for The Bad and the Beautiful. Three years later he formed an independent production company, with his first project, Paths to Glory (1957), launching the career of director Stanley Kubrick. Although not a box-office success, it is now considered one of the finest anti-war films ever made.
One of Kirk’s most memorable roles was as the artist Vincent Van Gogh in Lust for Life (1956.) In 1960, he reunited with Kubrick for his greatest role as Spartacus, with his insistence on giving screenwriter Dalton Trumbo full credit helping to end the Hollywood blacklist. He also made several Westerns, including Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957) with his frequent co-star Burt Lancaster, and his personal favourite, Lonely Are the Brave (1962.)
In June 1961, Kirk and Anne celebrated their seventh wedding anniversary with a party at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas. Among the guests was Marilyn, photographed gazing at her new beau Frank Sinatra onstage. Singer Eddie Fisher was also present with then-wife Elizabeth Taylor, plus Dean Martin and wife Jeanne.
In Let’s Face It, Kirk visited Marilyn’s final resting place at Westwood Memorial Park.
“In this cemetery there is a structure composed of vaults, one placed upon another, with the names of the deceased on small plaques. It’s always easy to recognise the vault containing Marilyn Monroe. Joe DiMaggio, the famous baseball player and one of Marilyn’s ex-husbands, arranged for fresh flowers to be placed in the metal urn attached to her vault every day [actually every week, for twenty years.] Every time I walk by, visitors are looking at the name Marilyn Monroe. Poor Marilyn, she never found the happiness that her fame denied her.”
After buying the rights to Ken Kesey’s novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Kirk adapted it into a 1963 play, marking his return to the stage. He later gave the rights to his son Michael, who produced the Oscar-winning 1975 film adaptation starring Jack Nicholson.
In 1969, Kirk starred in Elia Kazan’s The Arrangement. A year later, he appeared with Henry Fonda in There Was a Crooked Man …, the penultimate film from writer-director Joseph L. Mankiewicz. He teamed up with Burt Lancaster again in the 1988 crime comedy, Tough Guys, and continued working in film for another two decades. In 2009, he capped off his career with a one-man show at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Los Angeles.
During a 2007 visit to France, Kirk saw an exhibition featuring photos of Marilyn shortly before she died. “She will forever be thirty-six years old,” he wrote. “Here I am, staggering into my nineties, hard of hearing, hard of seeing, with replaced knees and an impaired voice. If I had died forty years ago, would I be remembered as the Viking dancing across the oars? Maybe.”
“It’s hard to make friends in Hollywood,” Kirk had written almost twenty years earlier, in The Ragman’s Son (1988.) “It’s a cruel, unhappy town, and success is even more difficult to handle than failure. You look around and you see what’s happened to Marilyn Monroe, John Belushi, James Dean, Freddie Prinze, Bobby Darin, and so many others.”
In 2012, a blind item on a gossip blog inferred that Kirk Douglas may have sexually assaulted actress Natalie Wood as a teenager during the 1950s. However, there is little corroborating evidence to support this claim; and in fact, they were photographed together several times at public events during the same period. While such grave allegations should always be taken seriously, it will probably remain a mystery.
The lives of Kirk Douglas and his illustrious family – a true Hollywood dynasty – is chronicled in the 2010 documentary, It Runs in the Family. Kirk’s last public appearance was at the Golden Globes in 2018, with daughter-in-law Catherine Zeta Jones, where he received a standing ovation.
Kirk Douglas, who died at home in Beverly Hills of natural causes on February 5, 2020, is survived by his wife Anne, now 100, and his three sons and grandchildren. Their 66-year marriage is documented in the 2017 book, Kirk and Anne: Letters of Love, Laughter and a Lifetime in Hollywood.
Marilyn’s getaway to St. Petersburg, Florida with ex-husband Joe DiMaggio on March 22, 1961 – following her divorce from Arthur Miller and a traumatic hospital stay – is covered by Bill DeYoung in a fascinating piece for St. Pete Catalyst.
“Leaning back on a beach recliner under a blue-and-white striped cabana for two, the most-photographed woman in the world smiled shyly at the gathered gaggle of photographers – the newswire paparazzi and the Brownie-toting locals.
‘Her skin is white – almost chalky – and her hair is platinum-gold,’ the daily newspaper would report the next morning. ‘She’s trimmer than the girl in the movies. And she’s beautiful. She’s really beautiful.
The paper was the St. Petersburg Times, and the woman under glass was none other than Marilyn Monroe … It was DiMaggio who suggested a relaxing week at the beach. The retired Yankee slugger was working as batting coach for the team during spring training in St. Petersburg.
At the Tides, they took separate top-floor suites.
Local residents were allowed limited access to the hotel’s two pools, snack bar and beachfront. Membership in the Bath Club wasn’t exclusive – anyone who paid the annual dues could use the facility.
‘It was all about her – I don’t think I even knew who Joe DiMaggio was at the time,’ says Karen DeYoung, 12 years old in March of 1961. She and her family were Bath Club regulars.
‘Everybody was talking about it, as we were hanging out by the pool,’ she recalls, ‘so of course we had to go down and check it out. We were giggling and nonchalantly walking in front of their cabana, trying to get a glimpse of them.’
DeYoung, senior national security correspondent for the Washington Post, has never forgotten what happened next.
‘It was at that point that DiMaggio called out “Hey kid,” and handed me a dollar, or a couple dollars, and said “Go get us some hot dogs.” So I did.’
She ran to the poolside snack bar and dutifully returned, handing a steaming pair of franks to the bare-chested sports icon and the movie star with the chalky-white skin.”
“They took frequent walks on the beach, holding hands and posing for news photographers. Monroe accompanied her ex to Huggins Field, the Yankees’ training site adjacent to Crescent Lake downtown. A photographer from Sports Illustrated snapped her gazing adoringly as he swatted a few balls. Together, they watched spring training games from the press box at Al Lang Field.”
“During their eight-day stay, DiMaggio and Monroe dined often in the Tides’ on-site restaurant, and at the Wine Cellar, about a mile north on Gulf Boulevard. The Wine Cellar was a favorite haunt for visiting Yankee players.
Mike Porter was 20 years old, a student at St. Petersburg Junior College, working on the valet team at the Wine Cellar. He remembers when the Tides’ official ‘limo,’ a four-door DeSoto with a wooden rack on the roof, dropped Joe and Marilyn at the restaurant’s front door.
‘He was sitting in the front seat, she was in back,’ Porter recalls. ‘I reached in to help her get out. She was very pale, and very frail. She looked at me and didn’t say anything.'”
“They were promptly seated at a dark corner table. ‘The manager came out about 45 minutes later and said “Hey, the guests are bothering them so much they can’t eat their meal – would you take my car and drive them back to the Tides?”‘ Porter explains. ‘I said sure.’
Monroe was chatty, Porter remembers, while DiMaggio didn’t say much. The two talked about possibly renting a car. They asked him if he had a car of his own.
A day or so later, Porter was summoned to the Tides, poolside, on official business: ‘I came and picked her up and I took her to get her hair done,’ he says. ‘She was delightful; she called me Mike. I didn’t make any reference to who she was – I knew she’d had enough of that at the restaurant.’
Porter had no interest in Monroe’s personal or marital issues. ‘Other than the fact that she looked great in a bathing suit,’ he says, ‘I wasn’t into that stuff.’
Hotel management arranged for the golden couple to sunbathe in privacy, on a secluded rooftop deck over the lobby. Remembers Bath Club ‘cabana boy’ John Messmore: ‘They were hounded all the time, so Mr. Dross, the hotel manager, said to them “Why don’t I just give you the key?”‘
Messmore, 17 at the time, was dispatched to the sundeck to take a lunch order. ‘And when Joe saw me, he thought I was there to get an autograph,’ Messmore explains. ‘And that was exactly the opposite of what he wanted. So he wasn’t a lot of smiles.’
‘But Marilyn, I remember she had on a white terrycloth robe, and a kind of white terrycloth wrap thing on her head. And she ordered an avocado, and an iced tea with two lemons, for lunch. And I cannot remember what Joe ordered, I was so enamored with Marilyn Monroe.’
Even their secluded rooftop nest wasn’t totally private. Boys lined up to toss baseballs to DiMaggio, who’d sign them and toss them back down.
‘I do remember her peeking out of the door of her room,’ Messmore says, ‘and looking both ways when I was walking down the hallway, like she had heard a noise or something. And that’s how I knew which room she was in.'”
“On March 31, the Times published a United Press International photo taken the previous afternoon. In another beach cabana, Monroe and DiMaggio were smiling broadly. She was wearing a shoulderless, midriff-bearing top and black shorts.
St. Petersburg Times – Friday, March 31, 1961. SUNCOAST SUN GILDS A LILY. Marilyn Monroe arrived on the Suncoast just a week ago today, pale and drawn from a recent illness. Taking her sunglasses off for a cameraman for the first time, Marilyn looks healthy and happy as she poses in a cabana at The Tides, North Redington Beach with her ex-husband, former baseball great, Joe DiMaggio. Both are reported to be leaving the Suncoast area Saturday.
On April 1, nine days after their arrival, the couple flew out of Tampa International Airport.”
Gene Kelly – the legendary dancer, choreographer and actor/director – will be honoured with a statue in London’s Leicester Square. Patricia Ward Kelly, who became his third wife in 1990 until his death six years later, has shared some of Kelly’s memories with Metro.
Kelly was a friend of Marilyn from her early years in Hollywood. His first wife Betsy Blair recalled seeing Marilyn with director Nick Ray during a 1951 party in their home, and Marilyn would meet Milton Greene for the first time in the same house, two years later. Kelly also had a cameo role in Marilyn’s penultimate movie, Let’s Make Love, and was considering a role in her upcoming film project, What a Way to Go!, when Marilyn passed away. (He took the part, and Shirley MacLaine replaced Marilyn.)
Ironically, Patricia’s story of Marilyn making hot dogs for Gene Kelly recalls a scene in The Seven Year Itch (1955), when Sonny Tufts asks Tom Ewell who the blonde in the kitchen might be, and Ewell retorts, ‘Maybe it’s Marilyn Monroe!’
“These were in the years before I met him, but his house, the front door was never locked and people would just come in at any hour of the day or night. There was one experience where the writer James Agee, and a famous director came in with a young woman in the middle of the night. Gene realised the men had quite a bit to drink, so he thought that he should rustle up some food for them. He went into the kitchen with this young woman to see what was in the fridge and found some hot dogs. He had her boiling hot dogs – which coincidentally was the first meal I had with him. He turned to this young woman and said, ‘What’s your name?’ She said, ‘Marilyn’. And it was Marilyn Monroe.”