‘Great Lives’: Rollyson on Marilyn

Carl Rollyson, author of Marilyn Monroe: A Life of the Actress, will give a lecture about MM, as part of the Chappell Great Lives series, at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia, on February 26 at 7.30 pm in Dodd Auditorium, George Washington Hall.

“A photograph of a dreamy-eyed Marilyn Monroe among a group of Hollywood starlets captures vividly the description of herself in My Story, the autobiography she collaborated on with screenwriter Ben Hecht.  The true dimensions of Monroe’s ambitions only began to be apparent when Norman Mailer wrote about her Napoleonic sensibility. She came to conquer her world in the same way as many of my other subjects—notably Dana Andrews and Sylvia Plath—did: through hard work, tenacity, talent, and the ability to see beyond their own cultural conditions. How did Marilyn Monroe and others like her overcome obstacles and setbacks? What is it that keeps a person going after so many rejections, and how does someone not only overcome self-doubt but became a star? Marilyn Monroe’s story contains the answers to these existential questions as well revealing both the promise and the peril awaiting those who aspire to greatness.”