“Meeting Michelle Morgan at her recent book signing in Northamptonshire, I stumbled over my words and rushed out embarrassing personal anecdotes about my own fascination with beloved Marilyn Monroe. Gentle and gracious Michelle expressed appreciation of my enthusiasm (even though my parents later commented I had been a bit “full-on”) and spent several minutes relating how exciting she had found undertaking the enormous amount of research for her latest book. Over the course of her research she has spoken to many people who met Marilyn and knew her either as a family member, or close personal friend: yet with humility and the spirit of a genuine fan, Michelle related how incredible it still feels when she makes contact with them.
Although she was able to relate lots of previously unknown information about Marilyn in the hardback edition of this book, she told me how happy it made her to be able to include so much more in this new paperback edition. In just a few days I have devoured the book and certainly there are numerous nuggets that I had not known despite being a fan for almost 25 years. Most importantly, this is a sincerely respectful work that does not engage with salacious rumours, but counts on evidence and personal testimony. As such, it is possible to come to a closer understanding of the woman Marilyn was amongst those who genuinely knew her. I only normally buy books about Marilyn that are written by people who knew her, or where she has had some significant input herself, with Marilyn Amongst Friends, Marilyn: An Appreciation, Fragments, and Conversations with Marilyn remaining favourites. Along with those, this is essential reading for anyone interested in who the woman behind the icon really was.
I would recommend any UK fan taking the opportunity to attend one of Michelle’s upcoming book signings. She is such a generous and sincere woman, who has put an enormous amount of work into demonstrating what those of us who adore Marilyn have always known: that she was beautiful both inside and out. Whilst the genuine fans amongst us brace ourselves for the numerous tabloid stories that are likely to attempt to cash in on this landmark anniversary, Michelle’s book provides the perfect antidote!”
So many books are being published this year to tie in with the 5oth anniversary of Marilyn’s death that it’s hard to keep up with them all. In addition to Marilyn by Magnum, mooted sequels to Fragments from Marilyn’s estate, and a new biography by Lois Banner, here are a few I may not have covered before:
This month’s updates include ‘Misquoting Marilyn’ by Marijane Gray; my profile of photographer Eve Arnold; plus a review of Michelle Morgan’s new book, Marilyn’s Footsteps, and a cover story from 1955.
In December 1946, Marilyn – who had changed her name just a few months before – appeared on a Rose Bowl float in Los Angeles, promoting the Alan Young Radio Show. The Northumberland-born actor and broadcaster dated Monroe twice, as he first told the Saracota Herald-Tribune in 1953.
Michelle Morgan, author of Marilyn Monroe: Private and Undisclosed, recounts her visit to Pinewood – where Marilyn filmed The Prince and the Showgirl in 1956 – for the Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph.
“Pinewood Studios is like a huge industrial estate and to say I was confused by the map would be an understatement. I wandered around; trying to follow the hand-drawn directions, but it was no use.
I eventually had to phone for help but not before I stumbled across a large castle and a medieval soldier; both of which were for the new Snow White film that is currently being shot there.”
This month’s updates at Immortal Marilyn lead us into the festive season, with a Michelle Morgan interview, a 1952 article from Marilyn herself, ‘Why I’m Not Afraid to Say Yes!’ Also, Linda Boschman has created this stunning wallpaper from the photographs of Bert Stern, whose new book for Taschen is reviewed.
Another in-depth review, this time from Monroe fan and biographer Michelle Morgan, including her own insights into what really happened:
“I was very concerned with the way Marilyn would be played, and how she would come across, but I didn’t have many problems with that side, apart from her being portrayed as rather more naive than she ever was in real life. But putting that and the ‘romance’ aside, I would say the film is still worth seeing. Just take the cornier parts of the script with a big pinch of salt and make your own mind up.”