Marilyn – The Untold Story, a new magazine special from US Weekly, is now on sale for $13.99. But if the potboiler headlines are anything to go by, this is for completists and the hopelessly gullible only. Of course, you could just buy it for the photos – although they don’t look rare to me! And if you’re outside the US, try Ebay.
The actress and dancer Mara Lynn, who had a small part in Let’s Make Love, is profiled in today’s Winchester News-Gazette. Born Marilyn Mozier in Chicago in 1927, she is believed to have attended Winchester High School in Indiana. After studying classical dance with George Balanchine, she found fame on Broadway in Inside USA (1948.) This led to more musicals, and a long career as a dance director and performer in Las Vegas. She broke into movies with the camp classic, Prehistoric Women (1950), and appeared on television as a glamorous sidekick to comedians Groucho Marx and Milton Berle.
Let’s Make Love is perhaps her most notable film. The article claims that Mara ‘gave acting lessons to Marilyn Monroe at Marilyn’s New York apartment,’ but this seems highly unlikely. She may have helped Marilyn to limber up for her dance numbers, however.
“Clement [Montand] is used to women who are interested in him for his money and is moved by Amanda’s [MM] noble intention. He claims to sell costume jewellery between acting jobs and offers to sell her the diamond bracelet for five dollars. ‘The box looks like it’s worth more than that!’ she says, agreeing to buy it. Another dancer (Mara Lynn) admires the bracelet as a gift for her sick mother, and Amanda graciously offers it to her. Later, the dancer tells Clement her mother is long deceased. To retrieve the bracelet, he explains that its gems were exposed to radioactive atomic rays to produce their sparkle and will make the skin on her wrist peel. Horrified, the dancer removes the bracelet from her wrist, throws it at Clement, and takes back her money.”
Michael Colby is a songwriter and the grandson of Ben and Mary Bodne, who owned Manhattan’s famed Algonquin Hotel from 1946-1987. In an interview with the New York Post‘s Barbara Hoffman, Colby recounts a somewhat risque tale of Marilyn.
“‘Marilyn Monroe used to come in at lunchtime and get a Beefeater martini,’ says Michael Colby, striding past the bar in the Algonquin Hotel on West 44th Street. And it was just down the street, at Fifth Avenue, that his grandmother once spotted her wearing a white mink coat.
‘If you think that’s something,’ the actress told her, perhaps after a few too many martinis, ‘you should see what’s underneath!’
Yes, Colby tells the Post, leaning against a portrait of hotel regular Tallulah Bankhead: His granny got flashed by Monroe.”
As fans will know, Marilyn was proud of her body, often went out sans underwear and thought nothing of wandering round her apartment or dressing room nude. Sam Shaw and Yves Montand have also told of similar encounters; but tales of Marilyn have a way of growing so that practically anyone vaguely connected to her will claim to have experienced the same.
Monroe biographer Carl Rollyson considers it ‘possible’, but points out that the Algonquin was not known as one of Marilyn’s more regular haunts, and that particular brand of exhibitionism was more commonly associated with the outrageous Tallulah Bankhead.
Canadian-American musician Meghan Remy aka U.S. Girls is about to release her sixth studio album. In an interview for The Ringer, Meghan takes Lindsay Zoladz on a sightseeing tour of New York, including the subway grate on Lexington and 52nd Street where Marilyn shot an iconic movie scene, while her marriage fell apart.
“The night that iconic photo of Marilyn Monroe was taken—you know the one: stilettos on a subway grate, billowing white dress—Monroe and her husband Joe DiMaggio got into a screaming match. The fight was partially about the photo itself: While shooting The Seven Year Itch, the studio had savvily leaked Monroe’s whereabouts to the press, and by the time Billy Wilder was ready to roll camera on what would become the most notorious scene in the movie, several thousand onlookers had shown up to watch. (They were almost all men, but I hardly need to tell you that.) DiMaggio was there, and he wasn’t too keen on what he took to be his wife’s public exhibitionism. When she showed up to set the next morning, Monroe’s hairdresser applied foundation to hide fresh bruises. She filed for divorce from DiMaggio before The Seven Year Itch wrapped.
‘We’re constantly presented with this smiling Marilyn,’ says Meg Remy, the singer and eccentric creative mastermind behind the band U.S. Girls. ‘But for some reason, when you have all the information, it just feels so heavy.’
I should mention that Remy is speaking into a headset, as she drives a rented, 15-seat van deftly through the streets of Manhattan. In anticipation of the release of U.S. Girls’ new album In a Poem Unlimited—the most ambitious and, as it happens, best album of Remy’s decade-long career—her label suggested a listening party for fans and members of the press. Remy asked around enough to learn what a listening party was, and, ever the DIY-minded eccentric, then decided it just wasn’t her style. What she came up with instead was this: a van tour of ‘sites of injustices in New York City,’ written and narrated by Remy herself, while we listen to the new album in the background.”
Actress Sally Kirkland began her career just after Marilyn died, in 1963. She played small roles in some notable films, including The Sting, The Way We Were,A Star Is Born and Private Benjamin, before earning an Oscar nomination for Anna (1987.) She later played Marilyn in The Island, a 1998 comedy which imagines a young man finding Monroe and John F. Kennedy still alive and well on a desert island (which sounds rather like a bizarre sequel to Something’s Got to Give.)
Now 76, Sally has unforunately suffered a head injury after falling during a radio appearance, and is now in hospital undergoing surgery but is expected to make a full recovery. In a 2016 interview with Jeff Cramer for his Stone Cold Crazy blog, she revealed that Marilyn had been an important influence on her career. (The story that Shelley Winters told Sally about Marilyn’s ‘fuck-me shoes’ should probably taken with a large pinch of salt, as Shelley was prone to exaggerate. As far as I know, the phrase was popularised during the 1990s.)
“I stopped being shy sometime in the early ’60s,with what’s called ‘the private moments’ at the Actors Studio where I do my imitation of Marilyn Monroe on the calendar. I would find some way to take my clothes off in a private moment, and with Lee Strasberg’s support. Pretty soon, everybody in the Actors Studio was waiting for me to take my clothes off.
I was obsessed with Marilyn Monroe and also at 18 I had met Shelley Winters who took me under her wing, adopted me. She had lived with Marilyn. So she gave me Marilyn’s shoes that were open toe, open back and they were called ‘Fuck Me Shoes’ according to Shelley. Marilyn’s Fuck Me Shoes. I wore them everywhere. I wore them absolutely everywhere and that gave me the power of being Marilyn Monroe. It also gave me the power to take off all my clothes.”
The scandal involving President Donald Trump’s alleged affair with a porn star has been parodied in a skit for TV’s Saturday Night Live, in which First Lady Melania Trump is comforted by some of her predecessors. This inevitably leads to a discussion of Marilyn’s alleged (but still unproven) fling with John F. Kennedy, but at least she’s more highly regarded than Stormy Daniels, as The Daily Dot reports…
“And in this Saturday Night Live sketch, [Melania] meets former first lady Jackie Kennedy (played by Natalie Portman) and other wives of former presidents. At one point, Kennedy tries to sympathize with her about being the wife of a president who has alleged extramarital affairs, like John F. Kennedy with Marilyn Monroe.
Said Melania, ‘Oh please, she was in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Donald’s girl was in Guys Like It Shaved!'”
The legendary music producer Quincy Jones began his career during the 1950s, touring Europe in jazz orchestras before being appointed musical director of Mercury Records in New York. In an interview for GQ magazine, the 84 year-old recalls his friendship with Frank Sinatra and their shared interest in women, including Marilyn (whom Quincy probably met while she was dating Frank in 1961.)
His derogatory comments about her appearance are blatantly sexist, and there’s also no evidence that she was interested in him. I certainly can’t imagine Sinatra encouraging another man to pursue her, as he was very fond of Marilyn at the time, and also a jealous lover. So this was probably, at most, a joke in poor taste. However, as the interview as a whole is quite outrageous, perhaps Mr Jones is simply playing to the gallery.
“A few minutes later he shows me photos of some of his children:
‘When you’ve been a dog all your life, God gives you beautiful daughters and you have to suffer. I love ’em so much. They’re here all the time.’
How come you think you’ve been a dog all your life?
‘I don’t know. Probably because I didn’t have a mother. And the big bands, that’s like the school of the dogs. Traveling bands? Every fucking night it was like the girls coming through Neiman Marcus: Oh, I like trumpet players, I like sax players, I like guitar players … Rita Hayworth, all of them. It was unbelievable, man. Frank was always trying to hook me up with Marilyn Monroe, but Marilyn Monroe had a chest that looked like pears, man.’
So you turned down Marilyn Monroe?
‘Let’s not talk about it. Come on, man. We killed it. You know, I came up with the two wildest motherfuckers on the planet. Ray Charles and Frank Sinatra. Come on. They were good-looking guys, they had all the girls they wanted, and they showed you how to deal with it. So did Rubirosa—the king of the playboys … You know, all these women were available all over the world. I did a tour with Nat Cole in ’61 with my band—we couldn’t stop the girls. It’s incredible. Women are a trip, man.'”
UPDATE:Quincy Jones has made a public apology for his recent statements. Marilyn isn’t specifically mentioned here, but I think it’s worth sharing…
(The story mentioned in the article about Marilyn shaving an inch off the heel of her shoe to achieve her signature wiggle – as told to Troyan by photographer Lawrence Schiller – may be apocryphal, as none of her shoes sold at auction appear to have been altered. As Marilyn once said, ‘I learned to walk at six months old and haven’t had a lesson since.’)
“How Troyan managed to compile a definitive history of an ever-evolving entertainment giant is an amazing accomplishment in its own right. First, he had to talk Fox into it.
‘I started this project in 2010 – five years out (from Fox’s 100th anniversary in 2015),’ he said. ‘It took them five years to decide yes.’Then, I spent two more years actually getting it done. You can’t do a book like this without the studio’s art and photos. I needed access to their archives.’
‘Unlike Disney, Fox had never done a book about its history,’ Troyan said. ‘They did one book on costumes (Styling the Stars, co-written by Angela Cartwright), but that was it.’
Once Fox gave his project its blessing, Troyan discovered a treasure trove of forgotten photos and movie mementos, stashed away in hundreds of file boxes for decades in studio storage. Fox archivist Jeffrey Paul Thompson became a collaborator, as did filmmaker and Hollywood historian Stephen X. Sylvester.
‘I wanted to see everything and hear everything,’ Troyan said. ‘You can read all the articles and books on a subject, but it’s not until you started interviewing people did you really get it – the full picture.’
‘This is a celebration of Fox and movie making,’ he said of his book. ‘We covered the scandals and controversies – and there were plenty – but most of all, I wanted (the book) to be accurate.'”
Marilyn’s name has all too often been exploited for profit, but a recent incident involving a posthumous ‘proxy baptism’ by the Church of Latter Day Saints is downright creepy, as revealed in an Associated Press report for The Guardian. Despite having no living connection to the Mormon faith, Marilyn is one of several dead celebrities to be appropriated in this manner.
“Mormons have recently posthumously baptised at least 20 Holocaust victims, Humphrey Bogart, Marilyn Monroe and the Queen Mother, according to a researcher who has spent two decades monitoring the church’s massive genealogical database.
The researcher, Helen Radkey, is a former Mormon who left the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the mid-1970s and was excommunicated after publicly criticising it. She was blocked from the baptisms section of the massive collection of genealogical records the Utah-based church makes available to the public through its website, familysearch.org, until she was given a login by a friend.
Printouts and screenshots show that in the past five years, proxy baptisms were performed on at least 20 Holocaust victims. Radkey said she found no evidence of ancestral ties to Mormons in those baptisms or in those linked to famous people.
Her discoveries will bring new scrutiny to a practice that has become a sensitive issue for the church. In a statement, the church acknowledged the ceremonies violated its policy and said they would be invalidated.”
Author Darwin Porter is nothing if not prolific, publishing new books every year. He has become a one-man National Enquirer of Old Hollywood, writing salacious biographies following this lucractive dictum: the dead don’t sue. Among film historians, Porter has very little credibility, but certain tabloid newspapers, more interested in cheap thrills than evidence, lap up his tall stories.
In 2012, Porter published Marilyn at Rainbow’s End, a lurid tome panned by many long-term Monroe fans. He has since mentioned her in equally dubious ‘biographies’ of Ronald Reagan, Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean. His latest victim is 1950s heartthrob Rock Hudson.
This latest publication, Rock Hudson: Erotic Fire, is featured in the UK’s Daily Mail. Porter claims that his source is actor George Nader, whom inherited the interest on Hudson’s estate along with his partner Mark Miller, Hudson’s former secretary. The couple were close to the star throughout his long career. Rock’s homosexuality was hidden until shortly before his death from AIDS in 1985. (George Nader died in 2002.)
Porter claims that Rock met a young Marilyn on the Universal lot in 1949 and offered to buy her lunch. They met for dinner on several occasions at a ‘hamburger den’, before Marilyn reportedly told him, ‘We don’t want this to get more serious. Both of us will have to lie on a few casting couches.’
This alleged quote is third-hand at best, and besides, Marilyn never worked at Universal. It’s highly unlikely that an affair between two such famous names could have gone unnoticed for sixty years. Rock was initially considered for the male lead in Bus Stop (1956), while Marilyn was considered for Pillow Talk (1959.) Marilyn also wanted him to star in Let’s Make Love (1960.)
Hudson presented an award to her at the 1962 Golden Globes, where they were photographed hugging affectionately. However, her date that night was Jose Bolanos. Hudson also narrated the documentary Marilyn, produced by Twentieth Century Fox after her death.
All of this suggests that they were on friendly terms, but nothing more. In a life as scrutinised as Marilyn’s, there are very few secrets left. Her relationships with celebrities like Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra and Yves Montand are well-known. At this late stage, a rumoured affair with Hudson should be treated as hearsay, if not outright fantasy.