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.
Marilyn’s Footsteps, an updated version of Michelle Morgan’s 1995 book, Marilyn’s Addresses, is now available in paperback from Lulu.
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.”’
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.”
Marilyn was featured on last night’s ‘The One Show’, with appearances by biographer Michelle Morgan and actress Zoe Wanamaker, who plays Paula Strasberg in My Week With Marilyn. You can watch the whole programme on BBC i-Player.
Michelle comments further on the movie in her blog:
“Incidentally, while I did say ‘we’ll never know’, in regards Colin and Marilyn’s friendship, I didn’t mean we’ll never know if they had an affair, because I whole-heartedly believe they did not. I don’t even think they had a flirtation, based on the research I’ve done. What I did mean was that we’ll never know the extent of the relationship – i.e. if they were friends; if they ever spoke in great detail to each other; etc. etc. I do believe that comes across in my answer; and thankfully have had some very positive comments from viewers in this regard.I haven’t seen the movie yet, so will reserve my judgement on that until I have. In the meantime, I would like to say that I did offer my research to the producers of the movie before it went into production, but never received a reply….”
Author Michelle Morgan is best-known for her 2007 biography, Marilyn Monroe: Private and Undisclosed. Prior to this, she had written another book, Marilyn’s Addresses (1995), under the name of Michelle Finn.
Michelle has now compiled a downloadable list of Monroe-related locations. Walking in the Footsteps of Marilyn Monroe is available to buy direct from Michelle as a text-only PDF file for £5 (via Paypal.) If you’re interested, email Michelle: CaroleLombard@sky.com
Readers will also be glad to hear that a fully revised, paperback edition of Private and Undisclosed will be published next year. For more details on Michelle and her work, visit her on Facebook
A 1940s porn film, said by current owner Mikel Barsa to feature an ‘underage’ Marilyn Monroe, failed to sell at auction in Buenos Aires yesterday, after MM’s estate denounced it as ‘fraudulent’.
‘Whoever the woman in the film may have been, even alleging that it shows Monroe violates her intellectual property rights and will cost Barsa dearly if he goes ahead with the sale,’ said Nancy Carlson, a spokeswoman for Authentic Brands Group (ABG.)
Collector Scott Fortner pointed out the many differences between the young Marilyn and the girl in the clip in a recent blog post. Michelle Morgan, author of Marilyn Monroe: Private and Undisclosed, told ABC News, ‘Marilyn at the time of this tape had a very slim figure, a widow’s peak and perfect teeth.’
To the San Jose Mercury, Morgan added, ‘Marilyn had no motivation at all to make a porn movie…Her friends all agree that she never, ever showed any signs of having earned money in any other way than modeling or working as a real actress.’
While conceding that Monroe ‘wasn’t a prude’, Dr Lois Banner (author of MM – Personal) advised, ‘There have been numerous tapes alleging to have caught Marilyn at a particular moment in a particular sexual indiscretion, but I would not accept any such tape without a documented provenance…No one would buy a Miro or a Picasso without such documentation, my understanding is that the person selling the tape has brought none of this forward.’
Mr Barsa – who was previously threatened with legal action when he first revealed his discovery in 1997 – commented, ‘It always is the same story when it comes to Marilyn – to deny, deny, deny and to threaten.’
“Jack Cole and Robert Alton were the two everyone wanted to dance for. I remember during rehearsal Cole was sitting in his chair and he got up to demonstrate. It was an explosion of dance.
I’m so glad I got to work once for him in that incredible number. He made Jane Russell look so good too.
I loved that time in my life. I was part of the last generation. You would come to work, everyone’s in rehearsal clothes. For filming, you’re all in costume and make up. And there’s that lovely shiny floor…
You’ve been rehearsing to a piano. When they play the orchestra music on the set, it gives you energy you didn’t have. It gives you adrenaline.”
Chakiris is best known for his role as Bernardo, leader of The Sharks, in West Side Story (1963.) In the dance number, ‘America’, a peeling billboard for The Misfits, with a painting of Marilyn’s face, can be glimpsed. It was filmed in New York in 1962, where the Metropolitan Opera now stands.
He had also danced with Marilyn, and Cole, in There’s No Business Like Show Business (1954). In 2007, Chakiris spoke to Michelle Morgan, author of Marilyn Monroe: Private and Undisclosed:
“When Marilyn died, I was in Japan making a movie, and I remember being so sad because it seemed to be our loss … She was so gifted.”