Meeting Michelle Morgan

Gabriella and Michelle

A guest post from screenwriter Gabriella Apicella.

“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!”

Michelle Morgan’s Monroe Biography Published

Photo by Fraser Penney

Michelle Morgan’s truly definitive, fully updated Marilyn Monroe: Private and Undisclosed is officially published in the UK today (though it entered the Top 20 at WH Smith two weeks ago.) Michelle writes about the experience in her column for the Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph, while an interview with John Griff on BBC Radio Northampton is available on i-Player for 6 more days. (Michelle’s spot is 15 minutes in.)

Marilyn Monroe: Private and Undisclosed

You can read my exclusive first review of Michelle Morgan’s wonderful, fully revised and updated biography, Marilyn Monroe: Private and Undisclosed (or in the US, Private and Confidential) here

The book is due out next month and will surely be one of this year’s highlights!

Marilyn in 2012: To Be Read Again


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:

Marilyns Are a Guy’s Best Friend by Joseph Clough, Teresa Winston. Examining the lookalike phenomenon, out now.

They Knew Marilyn Monroe: Famous Persons in the Life of the Hollywood Icon, a ‘biographical dictionary’ compiled by Les Harding, due out on May 15.

Marilyn Monroe: Murder on Fifth Helena Drive by Keya Morgan, due out on May 15 (a documentary is also planned.)

A Brief Guide to Marilyn Monroe, a fully revised version of Michelle Morgan’s 2007 biography, due out in the UK on May 17. A US edition, Marilyn Monroe: Private and Confidential, will follow on June 1.

Marilyn at Rainbow’s End: Sex, Lies, Murder and the Great Cover-Up by Darwin Porter, due out on June 16.

Marilyn in Fashion: The Enduring Influence of Marilyn Monroe by Christopher Nickens, George Zeno, due out on June 21.

Joe and Marilyn by C. David Heymann, due out November 6.

Alan Young Remembers Marilyn

Alan Young, left, with Marilyn in 1946

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.

Alan Young, now 92, is best known as Wilbur Post in the 1960s TV sitcom, Mister Ed. He spoke fondly about Marilyn to biographer Michelle Morgan, and his memories featured in her 2007 book, Marilyn Monroe: Private and Undisclosed.

A new interview with Young is published today in Scotland’s Daily Record:

 “I dated her when she was very young, about 17 (actually, she was 20). I had just come out to California.

I have a picture on my wall with Marilyn Monroe where I’m playing the bagpipes and she is blowing the chanter.

I went out with her twice and she was such a lovely young lady. I met her again several years later but I didn’t know who she was from her name.

Someone said to me, ‘How long have you known Marilyn Monroe?’ I said I knew her as Norma Jean Dougherty. She did some publicity shots with me.

She was exactly the same person – so naive and really sweet. That’s why she landed in so much trouble later on because she trusted everybody. That was a real shame.”’

At the Rose Bowl Parade, 1946
Sarasota Herald Tribune, 1953

Marilyn’s Pinewood, Revisited

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.”

Immortal Marilyn in December

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.

Michelle Morgan on ‘My Week With Marilyn’

Michelle Williams as Marilyn (photo by Brigitte Lacombe)

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.”