Marilyn’s Black Thunderbird For Sale

Marilyn’s black Ford Thunderbird – which she later gave to John Strasberg as a birthday gift – will be auctioned at Julien’s as part of their annual Icons & Idols sale on November 17, with an estimated price of $300,000-$500,000 (approximately £190,000 -£380,000 in British currency.) More details on the auction to follow…

“A published report at the time suggests that Monroe and Miller drove this vehicle to their civil wedding ceremony on June 28, 1956 and likely their private wedding on June 30, 1956. It was a powerful car for its time, with a 225 horsepower V-8 engine and a top speed of 113 MPH. The car features a complete dual, through the bumper exhaust system, giving a deep throaty roar at speed–adding to its ‘va-va voom’ personality.”

UPDATE: Marilyn’s Thunderbird has sold for $490,000 – more auction results here.

If Marilyn Had Lived…

The Huffington Post asked John Strasberg, Sarah Churchwell and Joyce Carol Oates what direction Marilyn’s career might have taken if she had lived beyond 1962.

“Back in those days, women, after a certain age, just weren’t cast in movies. Bette Davis was the first one to fight through the prejudice about how women should look in movies and playing leading roles; she had won Academy Awards, but she couldn’t get a job, so she put out ads in Variety and the such. Whether Marilyn could have done that, I don’t know. Certainly there was the possibility of that.” – John Strasberg

“My belief about Marilyn Monroe is that if she had only resisted returning to Hollywood, to make such an egregious movie as Let’s Make Love, but had remained in NYC in association with the Actors Studio, she might well have had a stage career as a serious mature actress; she might even be alive today.” – Joyce Carol Oates

“She had seen women like Betty Grable bow out gracefully, say, ‘I’ve had my time, and now it’s time for something else.’ So I don’t think it was difficult for Marilyn to imagine that.” – Sarah Churchwell

Marilyn and John Strasberg

Marilyn in the black Thunderbird she later gave to John Strasberg

John Strasberg, son of Lee and Paula, will be familiar to MM fans as the lonely teenager to whom she gave her black Thunderbird. John’s sister, actress Susan Strasberg, published a family memoir, Marilyn and Me: Sisters, Rivals, Friends, in 1992.

John went on to become a teacher of acting, developing the ‘Organic Creative Process’, distinct from his father’s Method. His 1997 book on acting, Accidentally on Purpose, is also the title of a documentary.

Actress and writer Sheila O’Malley remembers attending a workshop taught by John on her blog, and also posts a chapter from his book where he recalls a lesson with Marilyn at the Actors’ Studio, working on a scene from Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire.

“Marilyn and I rehearsed in the tentative fashion that is common when actors are exploring a new world. We did a lot of anxious searching in one another’s eyes. This longing for eye-contact is one of the things I remember most about her, as she trembled with the desperate hunger of a child for life, comfort, love. Beneath whatever mask I was presenting to the world, I trembled in the same way, but no one ever saw it, not even me.”

Read John Strasberg’s account in full here