In a new series about Marilyn’s contemporaries for Immortal Marilyn, Leslie Kasperowicz profiles Gene Tierney, the beautiful star of Laura. Gene found fame during the 1940s at Marilyn’s home studio, Twentieth Century-Fox. Her first husband was Oleg Cassini, one of Marilyn’s favourite designers (you may recognise Gene’s red Cassini dress in this photo, as it was also worn by Marilyn.)
Goodnight Marilyn, the internet radio show which explores unanswered questions about Marilyn’s death, has returned for a third season. In the opening episode, an expert panel including biographer Gary Vitacco-Robles and Immortal Marilyn staffers Leslie Kasperowicz and Marijane Gray joins regular host Nina Boski in a discussion of the District Attorney’s report following the re-opening of Marilyn’s case in 1982.
Over at Immortal Marilyn today, Leslie Kasperowicz asks if there is any truth to the rumours that Marilyn had affairs with women (such as her dramatic coach, Natasha Lytess), and why the facts still matter.
“There is zero evidence to support Marilyn having sexual relationships with women. Marilyn herself stated clearly that she was not a lesbian … Is it possible Marilyn at some point had a sexual encounter with a woman? Sure. Is there any real evidence of it? No.
We aren’t refuting these tales because we care whether or not Marilyn had sexual relationships with women. Marilyn herself was known to be open-minded about sexual orientation … It’s not a question of whether or not Marilyn’s fans care who she slept with. It’s a question of the truth, and of debunking the lies and rumors that surround Marilyn.
And the truth is that there is no evidence to show that any of the claims of affairs with women are true.”
Leslie Kasperowicz has reviewed Love, Marilyn for the Immortal Marilyn website.
“Love, Marilyn is not the standard documentary. It tells Marilyn’s story, yes, but not so much in a biographical sort of way. It follows the general timeline of her life, including footage of Marilyn herself with her own words about those times. But it isn’t a sensational, nitty-gritty type of look at her.
Love, Marilyn is honest about her problems, the struggles we all know she had. It also makes it clear how hard she worked, how much she wanted to be loved and respected. She is neither demonized nor canonized. She is humanized.
This is the documentary that Marilyn deserves.”
Douglas Kirkland took some of the most sensuous photos of Marilyn in 1961, and these images are collected in With Marilyn: An Evening, due out on July 25th. (This promises to be an improved version of his 2006 book, now out of print.)
Leslie Kasperowicz recently interviewed Kirkland for Immortal Marilyn, where he talked about the book and his memories.
“Although Marilyn had struggled for many years to be taken seriously as an actress, she never lost sight of the fun side of being a star. If there was some sadness in her, returning to Los Angeles at the end of her marriage to Arthur Miller and returning to her sex symbol status, it doesn’t show in the photos found in this book. And Douglas Kirkland doesn’t think she was sad about putting her body in the spotlight again, or at least that side didn’t show. Instead, she was excited to be photographed after a long time away from the camera. ‘I am sure that was part of her, but that was not the Marilyn I spent the evening with. The Marilyn I was with just had an intense heat. She’s seducing, and that is what remains in these pictures.'”
Leslie Kasperowicz attended a screening of My Week With Marilyn this week, and has posted her review at Immortal Marilyn:
“It would be easy to blow off this film because some of the plot is exaggerated or downright untrue. And as fans, we often cannot see past our desire to protect Marilyn from the dumb blonde image, from the exploitation of her life to make a buck. I ask you to try, to go in to this film and watch the story without letting gut reactions and protectiveness get in the way. If you can’t or don’t want to do that, ‘My Week with Marilyn’ is not for you. But if we as fans can be honest with ourselves about Marilyn’s struggles and vulnerability while still maintaining our love for her and pride in her, then I think we can see in Michelle Williams portrayal a true effort to make Marilyn a real person. I don’t see exploitation in this film, and what a relief.”