Ellen Burstyn Inspired by Marilyn

Ellen Burstyn is one of America’s most respected actresses. Now 87, she won Oscars for her work in The Last Picture Show and Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, and also enjoyed a distinguished stage career, winning the Sarah Siddons Award. She joined the Actors Studio in 1967, and is now a co-president. Ellen has long been an admirer of Marilyn, praising Carl Rollyson’s biography, A Life of the Actress, and appearing in documentaries like The Mortal Goddess and Love, Marilyn. As a new interview with Vulture‘s Matt Zoller Seitz reveals, Ellen still holds a torch for Marilyn today.

All around us are pictures commemorating her experiences as an actress, a mother, a grandmother, an arts administrator, a producer, and a performer. Burstyn’s face is instantly recognizable, and she has been one of our finest actors for decades, but despite her eventful life and career, she has managed to avoid the kind of notoriety that might have limited her freedom, talent, and generosity. Among the pictures in her apartment is a black-and-white close-up of Marilyn Monroe from the early 1960s [not shown]. ‘I didn’t know her, but I adored her,’ she explains. ‘And she was so troubled and vulnerable because she had what I call scary fame, the kind that jumps out like this,’ she says, snarling like a predator and clawing at the air. ‘I never had that kind of fame.'”