When ‘Spud’ Murray Met Marilyn

Meredith W. ‘Spud’ Murray, a pitcher for the New York Yankees from 1960-68, died at home in East Waterford, PA, earlier this month. Writing for the Delaware County Times, Ed Gelbhart recalled a conversation with Murray in which he spoke of meeting Marilyn (probably while Joe DiMaggio was training the Yankees in St Petersburg, Florida, in 1961.)

‘Mr. Murray had a thousand stories, like the time all the players were eating at the same hotel during spring training. The great Joe DiMaggio, by now a batting instructor, entered the dining room a little late. He surveyed the scene, noticed an empty seat at Mr. Murray’s table, and decided to eat with him that night.

Later that spring, Mr. DiMaggio introduced “Spud” to Marilyn Monroe.

“Wow, ‘Spud,’ what did you think of Marilyn?” I once asked him.

“Spud,” a master of understatement, simply replied, “She seemed like a nice girl.” ‘

Len Steckler Exhibit in LA

Len Steckler, who photographed a fateful meeting between Marilyn and the poet, Carl Sandburg, in 1961, is the subject of a new exhibition opening today at the Paley Center, Los Angeles.

“The Center’s multimedia showcase includes Steckler’s acclaimed photographic series The Visit, a 1961 chronicle of an encounter between Marilyn Monroe and Carl Sandburg, and Off the Wall, a recent series of images that, in the artist’s words, “challenge our often-dismissive eyes to linger on imagery and experience the discovery of how to ‘see’ what is beautiful and compelling in these complex times.” With video footage of his acclaimed commercials, such as Joe Namath in pantyhose for Hanes, short films, and television projects including the Emmy-winning Free to Be…You and Me rounding out this multifaceted artist’s showcase.

As a commercial artist, he introduced the world to Diet Pepsi and developed major advertising campaigns for AT&T, Revlon, and American Airlines among others. His story illustrations and photography have appeared in a diverse array of publications including the Saturday Evening PostLadies Home JournalLife, and Look magazines, and he helped shape the direction of modern fashion with his stunning fashion photography in Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar.”

 

‘I Was Marilyn Monroe’s Doctor’

“During the days immediately preceding her operation, I saw Marilyn two or three times daily. Often she would be sitting moodily as I entered, but as always she suddenly seemed cheered whenever anyone came to see her. Sometimes she would sitting and gazing out at the skyline visible from her room’s window. When she did, her mood seemed to be that of a caged wilting fawn yearning to return to a freer life outside.”

Dr Richard Cottrell, who treated Marilyn in 1961  when she had gallbladder surgery, writing in Ladies’ Home Companion (1965.)

Thanks to Suus-Marie at Everlasting Star

Mad Men: ‘Dr Faye Miller’ and Marilyn

It’s 1964 and Marilyn Monroe has been dead for two years, but on Madison Avenue her memory is still very much alive. A new character, Dr Faye Miller, is introduced in the latest episode of Mad Men, ‘Every Wall Glares Like a Glass Ceiling’ (Season 4:4.)

Reviewing the episode for the Vanity Fair blog, James Wolcott wrote:

“Don and Roger field short hops from their Lucky Strikes client (regarding new restrictions on cigarette advertising), interrupted by questions over the Pond’s Cold Cream focus group being held in Joan’s office, much to Joan’s chagrin, which she manages to express without a single facial move, entirely through inflection and the No drama eloquence of her wrists.

The focus group is led by Dr. Faye Miller (Cara Buono), the blonde psychologist and motivational researcher who appears to be intended as a younger, dishier model of the impeccable Dr. Joyce Brothers, TV’s original princess of pop psychology. Yet I may be doing Dr. Brothers an injustice, because during the 60s her braininess was supposedly driving quite a classy chassis. ‘She looks like Loretta Young, walks like Marilyn Monroe, and talks like Dr. Freud,’ purred a publicity handout at the time. Actually, I seem to recall Dr. Brothers looking and walking more like June Allyson and talking more like a sensible sedative, but perhaps when she presented herself in a roomful of male execs back then, she exuded the porcelain sex-pow that Dr. Faye Miller projects.”

‘Faye Miller’ was one of the many pseudonyms used by Marilyn when she checked into hotels and airports incognito. Miller was, of course, the surname of her third husband, playwright Arthur Miller.

Marilyn used the name in February 1961, just after her divorce from Miller, when she entered the Payne-Whitney Psychiatric Hospital. When Monroe’s psychiatrist, Dr Marianne Kris, persuaded her that she needed treatment, Marilyn was unaware that it was a secure unit.

Marilyn’s stay lasted just four days, and it seems her disguise didn’t work as she later told friends of being stared at constantly by patients and staff.

Her experience was traumatic and she blamed Dr Kris, though curiously the analyst was not removed from Monroe’s 1961 will. Weeks before her death in 1962, Marilyn approached her lawyer, Milton Rudin, about changing the will but he did not act in time.

It was Joe DiMaggio, Marilyn’s second husband, who came to her rescue and had her transferred to Columbia Presbyterian, a general hospital where she recuperated in private.

Actress Cara Buono remained tight-lipped about the significance of her character’s name, suggesting to Entertainment Weekly that the MM reference may be explained later:

“Your character’s name, ‘Faye Miller,’ was also the pseduonym Marilyn Monroe used when she checked into a mental facility. What’s the significance there?

‘Well, all that information is revealed bit by bit…we’ll find out if that has any meaning. I wondered how this [interview] would be because we can only talk about the two episodes I’ve been in that already aired. But, yeah…Matt Weiner is such an amazing storyteller and I think everything is deliberate, or not. You find out what everything means — if not in this season, then in another season. Sometimes you’ll have to go back to season 1 or season 2 and think, ‘oh I remember that, that’s what this person meant…’ There’s much more to be revealed, I think.'”

Marilyn in Fort Lauderdale

Leaving Florida after a short holiday, 1961

In March 1961, while Marilyn was recovering from illness, ex-husband Joe DiMaggio invited her to join him for a relaxing break in Florida. According to today’s Orlando Sentinel, Marilyn visited the Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel during her stay…

“The New York Yankees once made the hotel their home during spring training, and it is said that a chunk of the bar remains missing, where the former owner broke it off so Marilyn Monroe could sign it.”

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