Happy 89th Birthday Marilyn!

If Marilyn Monroe was alive today, she would be turning eighty nine years old, which a lot of fans, including myself find very hard to comprehend. I don’t think I’m alone in saying I really can’t picture Marilyn as an old lady, she had so much youth and vibrancy inside of her, such a special childlike quality that  was the opposite of being an elderly woman. To many people Marilyn is simply a beautiful, tragic young woman, who graced the Earth for a small amount of time but made a large impact. Sadly, a lot of people remember Marilyn for her untimely death, she became immortalized as forever young and not long after she left the world the myths started rolling in. Conspiracy Theorists went wild and her name has been dragged through some awful ridiculous scenarios, mostly for profit and publicity. Many so called fans simply admire her image and follow fake quotes that over the past few years have taken over the internet. However, I don’t like to think about any of that, it breaks my heart to think of someone so lovely being sensationalized, under appreciated and degraded for selfish motivates. 

I first found Marilyn in November 2010, a few weeks after my seventeenth birthday. I was flicking through magazines and came across Vanity Fair, which had a beautiful Milton Greene 1955 photo on the front. I was struck by the beauty of this woman, who I’d heard of vaguely  but didn’t really know much about. It turned out I was pretty lucky having this magazine introduce me to Marilyn, as it was publicizing Fragments. Fragments is one of the best books on Marilyn, mainly because it is all of her own words and thoughts, you get to learn about the real woman behind the image. Therefore, because of this article I have always stayed far away from conspiracies and researched from legitimate sources and books.

Marilyn by Milton Greene in 1955.
The photo that started my love for her; Marilyn by Milton Greene in 1955.

After reading this, I naturally was falling in love with Marilyn,  yes I may be biased, but I really don’t understand how you can’t adore her. It makes me sad that so many people in society have ignorant and inaccurate views on Marilyn, they judge her by hearsay, by conspiracies and in doing this miss out on such an incredible person. I asked for some of her movies and books about her for Christmas and that was five years ago this December.

It just so happened that a few months later, I would have a mental breakdown and apart from my mum, my other Hero was Marilyn. I already knew about Marilyn’s anxiety and depression and when I was going through this myself I felt even more love and respect for her. Most days I would watch her films and feel so much emotion, I’ve always admired the underdog and since falling in love with  Marilyn I’ve never doubted her talent as an Actress. No one in Hollywood before or after worked harder than Marilyn for their craft, in many ways Marilyn worked too hard, she put her profession before herself. Many people assume because of her beauty and physical appearance, that she was simply portraying herself. People who have seen her dramatic performances such as, Don’t Bother To Knock and The Misfits are shocked by the diverse range she portrays. In reality, although her dramatic performances are superb, she was actually more close to playing herself in her them, then in her comedic roles.

Marilyn in her final completed film role; The Misfits. Photographed by Eve Arnold in 1960.
Marilyn in her final completed film role; The Misfits. Photographed by Eve Arnold in 1960.

Through Marilyn I have became apart of the wonderful fan club, Immortal Marilyn. I went to Hollywood in August 2012, the fiftieth anniversary of Marilyn’s death and celebrated my love for her by visiting her most important places. I have made so many lovely friends and have started my own blogs, alwaysmarilynmonroe, to continue spreading the love and legacy of this incredible lady. In my darkest days Marilyn has given me so much joy, I was on the verge of being agoraphobic and I would often go out with my parents in the car and try and walk around places. Due to my anxiety and depression this was incredibly hard and I remember the first time I made a big step of recovering was when thinking of Marilyn filming The Misfits. Marilyn suffered so much, she had a mental breakdown, a marriage collapse with Arthur Miller and was hospitalized for her addiction to barbiturates, (contrary to belief, Marilyn’s addiction to drugs were prescription only, for her anxiety, insomnia and depression) and I thought to myself, if Marilyn can get through making this film then I can get out of the car and I did.

America's Sweetheart, Marilyn during her time in Korea where she performed to many soldiers in February 1954.
America’s Sweetheart, Marilyn during her time in Korea where she performed to many soldiers in February 1954.

Marilyn was so humble and understated about herself, she seemed to be fascinated that so many people could love and admire her, I can imagine if she knew now that her fame is forever growing she would feel pretty overwhelmed with emotion. It’s so sad that someone so loved felt so alone, but I hope Marilyn knows that she never will be alone as it takes an incredibly special person to have such an impact on so many people. The amount of messages I’ve had from other fans who have suffered mental illness, abuse, miscarriages, endometriosis, or abandonment and felt comfort and inspiration from Marilyn is incredible. She’s helped so many people and the irony is she may not even know. When people ask how I would describe Marilyn I always say beautiful, but when I say beautiful I don’t mean it physically. Marilyn had such a beautiful soul, she was so caring and giving to others, there are anecdotes of her rescuing pigeons, helping co-workers, spending time with fans, it truly is heartwarming.

So many people assume because she was not only an Actress, but a huge Sex Symbol that she was promiscuous and say very cruel and inaccurate things about Marilyn. The irony is, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, you never got very far on the casting couch anyway, you’d often get small roles and never get higher than B Movie pictures, Marilyn started movies in 1947 and didn’t get her first leading role until 1952. I find it incredibly disrespectful to judge a person on their sex life anyway, but I’ve sadly found that it is often the beautiful women in Hollywood who oozed sex appeal that suffer this. I always stick with a legitimate source or Marilyn’s own words,

I think I had many problems as the next starlet keeping the Hollywood wolves from my door. These wolves just could not understand me. They would tell me, ‘But Marilyn, you’re not playing the game the way you should. Be smart. You’ll never get anywhere in this business acting the way you do.’ My answer to them would be, ‘The only acting I’ll do is for the camera.’ I was determined, no one was going to use me or my body—even if he could help my career. I’ve never gone out with a man I didn’t want to. No one, not even the studio, could force me to date someone. The one thing I hate more than anything else is being used. I’ve always worked hard for the sake of someday becoming a talented actress. I knew I would make it someday if I only kept at it and worked hard without lowering my principles and pride in myself.”

A lot more than just a pretty face, forever striving to learn Marilyn had a library of over 400 books ranging from Russian Literature to Psychology. Marilyn by John Florea in 1951.

So many people ask me about Marilyn’s death, some with ridiculous theories, some due to morbid curiosity and some because they genuinely care. To all people I say the same, I believe Marilyn’s death was an accident resulting in medical negligence. It has happened to so many people over the years, but with Marilyn, so many people are obsessed with murder conspiracies. People who know nothing about Marilyn often automatically assume she was murdered by the CIA or a Kennedy because she, “knew to much” and this gives me a lot of frustration. In reality, Marilyn met John F. Kennedy four times in her lifetime, that’s right, four times, which is documented in Donald Spoto’s highly acclaimed biography. Yet, because of notorious liars like Robert Slatzer and Norman Mailer, this myth has spiraled into a world of it’s own.  All someone has to do is pick up one of their books or other biographers influenced by their lies, cough, Anthony Summers and this suddenly becomes fact to that person and continues to spread. In reality, President Kennedy had many actual affairs and mistresses, so why would he have Marilyn, who at most he had a one night stand with, killed? Also, the whole, “Red Diary” claim is ridiculous, not only has it never been found, in Fragments we can see that Marilyn only used a couple of pages in each of her notebooks and wrote small passages about random things.

Robert Slatzer made a whole career on his claim of being Marilyn’s second husband, when in reality, the day he claimed to have married her she was out of the country with Natasha Lytess, her drama coach. You’d think someone who got to be in the presence of Marilyn and have their photograph taken would be special enough, but no, greed is often sadly stronger. It’s not only Marilyn who has suffered his lies, Grace Kelly has also been named as one of his conquests. Norman Mailer, an acclaimed author released the first photo biography on Marilyn and was the first to name any Kennedy. He later admitted on CBS in an interview that he, “needed the money very badly” conveniently after his book had made the best seller lists and his lies had been cemented.  Ironically when Marilyn was alive, Norman Mailer, like most people, wanted to meet Marilyn and as he knew her third husband, Arthur Miller, asked if he could. Needless to say Marilyn turned him down and I bet all of these years later she’s happy she did.

1953 was Marilyn's year, she had three blockbuster films released, among them being Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
1953 was Marilyn’s year, she had three blockbuster films released, among them being Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

I hope in reading this, people will be inspired to learn more about Marilyn the person, what she achieved and what she gave to the world. She had such a hard childhood and came from virtually nothing to becoming the most famous actress of all time, she worked damn hard and never gave up, no matter how much she suffered. Even 20th Century Fox Studio Executive, Darryl F. Zanuck, who never believed in Marilyn or even liked her said, “Nobody discovered her, she earned her own way to stardom.” and that is very true.  

Marilyn Filmography:

  • Dangerous Years (1947)
  • Scudda Hoo! Scudda Hay! (1948)
  • Ladies of the Chorus (1948)
  • Love Happy (1949)
  • A Ticket to Tomahawk (1950)
  • The Asphalt Jungle (1950)
  • Right Cross (1950)
  • The Fireball (1950)
  • All About Eve (1950)
  • Hometown Story (1951)
  • As Young As You Feel (1951)
  • Love Nest (1951)
  • Let’s Make It Legal (1951)
  • Clash By Night (1952)
  • We’re Not Married! (1952)
  • Don’t Bother to Knock (1952)
  • O. Henry’s Full House (1952)
  • Monkey Business (1952)
  • Niagara (1953)
  • Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)
  • How to Marry a Millionaire (1953)
  • River of No Return (1954)
  • There’s No Business Like Show Business (1954)
  • The Seven Year Itch (1955)
  • Bus Stop (1956)
  • The Prince and The Showgirl (1957)
  • Some Like It Hot (1959)
  • Let’s Make Love (1960)
  • The Misfits (1961)
  • Something’s Got To Give (1962)

Books To Avoid:

  • Marilyn: by Norman Mailer
  • Goddess: The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe by Anthony Summers
  • The Assassination of Marilyn Monroe by Donald H. Wolfe
  • The Murder of Marilyn Monroe: Cased Closed by Jay Margolis and Richard Buskin
  • Marilyn’s Red Diary by Ed Friedel
  • Victim: The Secret Tapes of Marilyn Monroe by Matthew Smith
  • The Last Days of Marilyn Monroe by Donald H. Wolfe
  • Marilyn At Rainbow’s End by Darwin Porter
  • Marilyn: The Last Take by Peter Harry Brown and Patte Barham
  • The Life and Curious Death of Marilyn Monroe by Robert F. Slatzer
  • Marilyn’s Last Sessions by Michael Schneider

Books To Read:

  • Fragments
  • Marilyn Metamorphosis
  • Marilyn Among Friends by Sam Shaw and Norman Rosten
  • The Marilyn Encyclopedia by Adam Victor
  • Marilyn Monroe The Biography by Donald Spoto
  • My Sister Marilyn by Bernice and Mona Rae Miracle
  • Conversations With Marilyn by W.J. Weatherby
  • Marilyn: An Untold Story by Norman Rosten
  • Marilyn: Her Life In Her Own Words by George Barris
  • Marilyn Monroe: Private and Confidential by Michelle Morgan

My Marilyn Social Networks:

Important Links:

Documentaries/Biopics To Avoid:

  • Norma Jean(e) and Marilyn
  • Marilyn and Me
  • Blonde
  • Marilyn: The Last Sessions

Documentaries To Watch:

  • The Legend of Marilyn Monroe
  • Marilyn Monroe The Immortal Goddess
  • Beyond The Legend
  • Remembering Marilyn
  • The Child Goddess
  • Love, Marilyn 
    Marilyn by Bert Stern in June 1962.
    Marilyn by Bert Stern in June 1962.

    “And I want to say to the people, if I am a star, the people made me a star. No studio, no person, but the people did. There was a reaction that came to the studio, the fan mail, or when I went to a premiere, or the exhibitors wanted to meet me. I didn’t know why.”

    — Marilyn in her last interview, to Richard Meryman for Life Magazine in August 1962.

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Marilyn Monroe Fan Phenomena.

Hi lovely people!

So today I wanted to talk about a new Marilyn book that has recently been published and my participation in it. As you know I am a huge lover of Marilyn’s and have been since I was 17, (almost 18) years old. In the summer of 2012, I was contacted by one of the lovely members of Immortal Marilyn  and asked if I would be interested in being interviewed via email about an upcoming book on Marilyn fans. Naturally, I said I would be thrilled and I participated in an interview for Marcelline Block, author of the book and that was that.

It was only a few months ago, that Marcelline got back in touch with me, saying that the book had finally been published and although my interview didn’t make the final edit, my picture next to some of Marilyn’s clothes did. She also asked me if I would let my interview be used in a magazine publication; Art Decades and I was very happy to oblige.  At the start of the week I ordered a copy of the magazine and yesterday, my complimentary copy of Fan Phenomena: Marilyn Monroe arrived. 

Here’s my  full interview which has now been published, I hope you enjoy it and know that I spoke from the heart. As the interview was conducted almost three years ago, it was fascinating to update things in my transcript and see how much my collection and fan pages have grown. It showed to me how much love there still is for Marilyn, it truly is forever growing.

Megan Owen, founder of http://www.alwaysmarilynmonroe.co.uk.
Interview conducted by Marcelline Block.

Megan Owen is a 21-year-old Marilyn Monroe fan and student who lives in England. She enjoys blogging and reading, and has a passion for the Golden Age of Hollywood.

A photograph of Megan Owen standing next to Marilyn Monroe’s costumes from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and There’s No Business Like Show Business, displayed at London’s Getty Gallery’s ‘Marilyn’ exhibit appears on p. 80 of Fan Phenomena: Marilyn Monroe.

Marcelline Block: Why, when, and how did you become involved with Marilyn Monroe fandom?

Megan Owen: In October 2010, I was reading an issue of Vanity Fair, which had Marilyn on the cover and was publicizing the publication of Fragments. I was fascinated and deeply touched by the struggles and determination Marilyn went through during her life. Straight away, I started to research more about Marilyn and that is where my love began and I purchased legitimate books on her and her films. Since then, I have amassed a collection of over 140 books on Marilyn and a collection of more than 60 vintage magazines featuring Marilyn.

Marcelline Block: What is the extent of your involvement with Marilyn Monroe fandom, and which fandom communities in particular?

Megan Owen: In August 2010, I started a Tumblr called alwaysmarilynmonroe, where I post pictures, legitimate quotes, information and graphics on Marilyn. AlwaysMarilynMonroe has now gained over 35,000 followers and has had over 805,000 hits, and the AlwaysMarilynMonroe Instagram has 44,000 followers. Through doing this I have met many Marilyn fans or ‘Marilynettes’ – as some of us call ourselves – and have made friendships with people all around the world. I also subscribe to the Mad About Marilyn fan club and I am part of the Facebook groups Immortal Marilyn and Marilyn Remembered Fan Club.

Marcelline Block: What are some of the highlights of your experiences with Marilyn Monroe fandom?

Megan Owen: I have met some wonderful friends who without being a part of the Marilyn Fandom I would not have known. The highlight for me would be meeting people who share my love and interest in Marilyn and understand how much this means. I went to Hollywood in August 2012 for Marilyn’s 50th Anniversary and met up with lots of Immortal Marilyn members, saw Marilyn’s house, another Marilyn exhibition, met photographer George Barris, visited Marilyn’s grave and her hand and foot Prints at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. In November 2012, I went to London’s V & A Museum Hollywood Costume Exhibition and saw Marilyn’s White Dress from The Seven Year Itch and her ‘I Wanna Be Loved By You’ dress from Some Like It Hot.

Marcelline Block: How would you characterize Marilyn Monroe fandom communities?

Megan Owen: I know this may sound clichéd, but the Marilyn Monroe fan community is almost like a family. Everyone is kind and friendly to one another and is always happy to share experiences and knowledge. The great thing is that we are all different ages and live all over the world, but however different we may be, we all have the same love for Marilyn and this unites us.

Marcelline Block: What does fandom mean to you/how has fandom has impacted your life? What does it mean to you to be part of a fandom community?

Megan Owen: Since Marilyn has become part of my life, she has given me strength and determination to battle my anxiety and depression. Through learning about how Marilyn suffered through her severe depressions it has helped me continue fighting and inspired me to achieve some of my dreams. This includes going to London for the Getty Gallery Marilyn Monroe Exhibition, to see some of her most iconic costumes as well as their archive of Marilyn photos. At times I was almost agoraphobic and felt very low, but having a goal has been so important to me and Marilyn has helped me move forward and achieve some of my dreams. Being part of the Marilyn fandom community gives me a sense of belonging and a real purpose in life.

Marcelline Block: What do you think is Marilyn Monroe’s ultimate legacy for her fans?

Megan Owen: I think that Marilyn’s caring nature and beautiful soul is what is most important to true fans. Her strong mind and ambition to succeed against all odds and to become the most loved and successful movie star in Hollywood History is pretty incredible. True fans like myself love her for her vulnerability and Marilynisms and see beyond Marilyn the myth to discover Marilyn the woman. Her iconic films and timeless beauty still live on into modern society and although she has been gone for more than fifty years, it is like she is still alive and shining brightly like the true star she still is.

I’d recommend this book to all dedicated Marilyn fans, it’s a unique perspective, not your average Marilyn book and it’s so personal, a lovely addition to your collections! It’s so wonderful to see that over fifty years after Marilyn’s death, her star shows no signs of diminishing. I hope you know how loved you are beautiful Marilyn!

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