Read my tribute to Richard C. Miller, one of Marilyn’s first photographers, here
“The star born Norma Jean Mortensen suffered an almost Dickensian childhood of hardship, which culminated in an arranged marriage to a neighbour’s son when she was just 16. But on the silver screen Norma Jean created a glittering, carefree and carnal image that made her Hollywood’s most enduring sex symbol. It is that sensuously hedonistic yet innocent image fans still fall head over heels in love with.” – John Costello, Irish Independent
“She brought out a protective impulse in people. And, in my opinion, that is part of her movie magic. She was not a sassy sex symbol who ‘owned’ her sexuality. She did not seem calculating about it. There was always the wide-eyed innocence there, in spite of the body made for lovin’ – and that somehow engendered a protective response in audiences … male AND female – so she was one of those very rare movie creatures: a sex symbol whom men loved and desired, but also whom women respected and looked up to … and I think it had something to do with that fragmented innocence peering out of her radiant face. She seemed unaware of the responses she brought up in men, and she never seemed out for sex – the Marilyn Monroe persona was all about finding love. Her gifts as an actress and comedienne are obvious – but her appeal is still rather complicated, which, I suppose, is why people still obsess over her, and talk about her, and pick her apart.” – Sheila O’Malley
“Catherine Hicks‘s performance in the 1980 made-for-television biography Marilyn: The Untold Story is generally regarded as the best biographical portrayal of Marilyn Monroe. Produced by Lawrence Schiller, the photographer who took the famous nude photos of Marilyn on the set of Something’s Got to Give, Marilyn: The Untold Story was based on Norman Mailer’s ‘novel biography.’
The film was enhanced by the participation of three talented directors, including Hollywood veteran Jack Arnold. The impressive roster of behind-the-scenes personnel ensured pleasant entertainment, but the three-hour drama lacks insight into Marilyn’s personality and fails to add anything new to the Monroe lore and literature.
Hicks, whose thoughtful performance is the highlight of the production, managed to capture Marilyn’s voice and mannerisms and suggest her alluring presence without resorting to caricature.
Hicks received a well-earned Emmy nomination. (In an ironic twist, Monroe ‘replacement’ Sheree North appears in this film in the role of Marilyn’s mother.)” – Susan Doll, author of Marilyn: Her Life and Legend
The opening scenes from this hard-to-find biopic are now on Youtube, with more to follow.
‘Lastborns are usually rebellious, risk takers, confident, caring, creative, charming, affectionate and “the life of the party”. Lastborns can also be immature, self-centered, spoiled, manipulative and irresponsible. Youngests seem to be more observant and have more diverse interests than their older siblings. They also take more risks, travel more, and are more liberal. Youngest brothers are the most fearless of men. Youngest females are the most feminine and flirtatious of women. Younger sisters of brothers are magnets to men. Examples of younger sisters of brothers include Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, and Elizabeth Taylor. They often find that they have more men attracted to them than other girls. The best match for a youngest male is a firstborn female and the best match for a youngest female is an oldest male of sisters. Two lastborns in a relationship can be fun but firstborn children bring stability to a relationship.’
This is an interesting take on how Marilyn’s character was formed, though given her unstable childhood, it is hard to place her as a ‘lastborn’ at any period. Norma Jeane had an older half-brother and sister from her mother’s first marriage, but she never met her step-brother, who tragically died at just 13. At the same age, Norma would learn that she had a ‘sister’, and first met Berniece Baker Miracle, then married with a young daughter, six years later. Marilyn remained in contact with Berniece throughout her life.
The young Norma Jeane was also close to another foster child, Lester Bolender, and later Eleanor ‘Bebe’ Goddard. But Marilyn always considered herself a ‘waif’, passed between relatives, friends and an orphanage, and in some ways was more like an only child. One of her closest friends at the end of her life was masseur Ralph Roberts, whom she nicknamed ‘Brother’.
“My inspiration came from different sources when I was young. Like all the other girls my age. I adored Marilyn Monroe. I loved her exuberance and her natural beauty as Norma Jeane.”
“Camille Miceli is one of those Parisian girls who gets it right every time with seemingly zero effort or contrivance…”
Meenal Mistry, Vogue
More about Camille here
Among the more rare items on display at the ‘Becoming Marilyn’ exhibition, at the Andrew Weiss Gallery in Los Angeles, are these photographs of Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio arriving at Tokyo Airport in March 1954 for their honeymoon, taken by Kashio Aoki.
Allie Is Wired reports that Bill Carroll, one of the first professional photographers to work with then-model Norma Jeane Dougherty in 1946 made a special guest appearance at the gallery last week, and shared his memories of the young MM. (The article dates Carroll’s photographs to 1945, but from her hair colour I would say it was taken a year later.)
“In 1945, Carroll was in need of ‘cover cards’ for his film business and decided to schedule a Santa Monica photo shoot with his friend’s recent catch, Norma Jeane. Carroll wanted a ‘good-looking Plain Jane, the kind of kid you’d like to live next to’ and thought Norma Jeane fit the bill. It wasn’t until 40 years later when ‘leafing through Time Magazine’ that Carroll recognized a picture of Norma Jean by David Conover that he processed oh so many years ago. Carroll spent the next few months going through old photographs until he found all of the 1945 photos of a young Marilyn Monroe posing in Santa Monica.”
On this day, Norma Jeane Mortenson married 21 year-old Jim Dougherty, just two weeks after her sixteenth birthday.