The Biographile’s Marilyn

Marilyn with Eileen Heckart in Bus Stop

In honour of International Women’s Day, Flavorwire’s Emily Temple placed Donald Spoto’s Marilyn Monroe: The Biography 23rd on her list of 50 Great Books About 50 Inspiring Women. (While Spoto’s book is a good choice, I would nominate Michelle Morgan’s Marilyn Monroe: Private and Undisclosed as the best biography of Marilyn written by a woman.)

Over at Papermag, Michael Musto shares his choices for The 10 Best Celebrity Memoirs, including Marilyn’s own My Story. “Far from a giddy bombshell, Monroe was a keenly perceptive observer of the human condition,” Musto comments. “In this unfinished book — released years after her death — the sex symbol talks about her unhappy childhood and her adult stardom, revealing a mind full of illumination and curves. Who knew she was an intellectual, in her own way?”

Musto’s list also includes two other books in which Marilyn features prominently: Susan Strasberg’s Bittersweet, and Just Outside the Spotlight: Growing Up With Eileen Heckart, a tribute to Marilyn’s Bus Stop co-star penned by her son, Luke Yankee.

Marilyn and the Oscars

Marilyn presents an Oscar, 1951

In New York’s Village Voice, film critic Michael Musto noted the irony of Oscar talk about Michelle Williams in My Week With Marilyn, when the woman she plays was never nominated:

“I guess you can get a nomination for recreating the production of a film, but not for having actually been in it…The insanity at the time was that Marilyn was just a giddy sexpot, not an actress – a point of view she herself took to heart…She had a natural magnetic appeal, deft comic timing, and heartbreaking pathos, and she knew exactly what to do whenever a camera loomed.”