57 Years Without Marilyn.

Tonight marks 57 years since Marilyn left us – her body was found by her housekeeper in the early hours of August 5th and it was officially announced to the world that morning. Every year I try and write about Marilyn on both her Birthday and her Anniversary, each time I make sure to focus on one particular thing – to celebrate and appreciate her for the amazing person she truly was.

So many people and society tend to view Marilyn as a victim, passed around from man to man and used throughout her lifetime. This both angers and frustrates not just me, but many fans, who have spent years taking the time to research legitimate sources and find out who Marilyn herself was. Often her death is viewed as a conspiracy fueled gossip loving debate, so much so that she ends up no longer seeming like a young woman anymore, but an object of fascination.

It seems to me that it’s easier for people to believe in the distasteful lies and conspiracies that surround not just Marilyn, but many other celebrities and icons before and after her. People cannot comprehend someone as beautiful, talented and loved as her to have any demons or hardships. It almost seems like it’s frowned upon to listen to the doctors original death verdict – which was, “probable suicide” as depression can’t always be comprehended or accepted by others. It also doesn’t continue to sell hundreds of books and trashy articles like conspiracies and salacious stories do and sadly, that’s what so many seem to care more about. In the end Marilyn ends up being turned into a former shadow of her true self, which is just not acceptable to me and so many others – therefore, I will continue to try and dispel the lies and bring back her true character.

Furthermore, Marilyn’s death does not define her – intended or accidental it is still and will always be a tragedy, but, it does not take away from her 36 years of life and the achievements she made during and after her lifetime.  Marilyn was a voice for the underdog, incredibly ahead of her time she defied gender stereotypes and was never afraid to be honest and speak out about taboo topics such as sexuality, abuse and the pay gap. She was also the third Actress to set up her own Film Production Company – Mary Pickford and Mabel Normand did so in 1916.

Marilyn constantly tried to improve herself as a human and an artist, she suffered immensely for her creativity, always wanting to be the best actress she could become. She was very self conscious of her limited education and loved to read and learn about a variety of subjects – her library had over four hundred books on it’s shelves varying from Psychology to Russian Literature! She loved the simple things in life, such as walking around Brooklyn, caring for animals, listening to music and spending time with loved ones. Ultimately, this was the real Marilyn, the person that so often gets lost in the publicity of hearsay and money making headlines.

I truly hope that whenever a person comes across Marilyn, they take a few moments to discover the real her, the person behind the Blonde Bombshell persona. It’s so easy to see a headliner or false image and believe an inaccurate presentation of a famous person. I may be a little biased, but I can honestly say that feelings aside, Marilyn was truly an incredible woman, brave, generous, kind and strong, someone who just wanted to make the world a little brighter. Plus, even if all of these ridiculous, continuously disproven myths miraculously ended up being true, it would not change my the amount of respect or adoration I have for her.

So many associate sexual promiscuity, addiction and stupidity with Marilyn and honestly, it not only saddens me but I find it incredibly, infuriating. Firstly, even half a century later, the amount of sexism and double standards that still exist in our society is simply disgusting. Therefore, I’d like to touch on each one of these so called flaws and share the facts behind the assumptions.

Did Marilyn have an affair? Yes, she did – with Actor Yves Montand during the making of Let’s Make Love in 1960 – not with the often noted, John F. Kennedy. In reality, they only met a less than juicy four times from 1960 and three of them were at public events. Yet as always, the woman is shamed and condemned – even if the hearsay comes about years after her death by people simply wanting to make some money. I would say that a huge amount of Stars in Hollywood had affairs during their careers, no judgement here, I’m just stating the facts. However, why is it Marilyn that is constantly criticized, judged and linked to every man in and out of Hollywood? In reality she spoke out multiple times about the peril of the, “Hollywood Wolves” and actually lost out on a contract renewal with Columbia Head Harry Cohn for turning down a proposition. Lastly, if she had slept with every single person that she’s been associated with, she’d never have had time to have such a successful career and three marriages.

Was Marilyn an addict? Yes, she was addicted to prescription medications such as Chloral Hydrate and Nembutal, which she would take for her depression, crippling anxiety and insomnia.  Medical negligence was extremely high in the heyday of Hollywood and if you were famous and had problems, they could often be taken advantage of instead of resolved. Personally, I don’t know why being an addict gives others the right to condemn, judge, shame and insult someone suffering from this terrible sickness? If anything there should be compassion and understanding, we are all only human and the stigma needs to stop.

Was Marilyn just a, “Dumb Blonde”? No, but for some bizarre reason to me, people seem to not be able to understand that an Actor is performing a role, the character you’re seeing on the screen is just that – a character. However, because Marilyn was able to create such a convincing persona, people could not accept that in reality, she loved to be in her capri pants, with no makeup on, sitting at home reading a good book. Even during her lifetime, her acting was usually only appreciated when she took on dramatic roles, such as in Bus Stop (1956) and The Misfits (1961). Honestly, I don’t know why a persons intelligence has any influence in how they should be viewed and treated by others and I actually think if Marilyn had been less intelligent, she would have been a lot happier.

I think a lot of people forget that Marilyn was actually a real person, just like you and me, a human that graced us with her presence on this Earth. Someone as beautiful, wonderful and pure of heart like her really existed and with such a judgmental and prejudicial society like ours, it can sometimes be hard to accept this. Just because Marilyn’s no longer here in a physical presence, doesn’t mean she doesn’t deserve the same respect that we’d give to others. She gave a hell of a lot to this world in just a small amount of time, her contributions to Hollywood and for women are legendary and should be appreciated and shared.

Wherever you are sweet Marilyn, I hope you feel the love and kind words so many of us only wish we could say to you. You’ve given so much happiness to millions of people, this girl especially and we truly love and appreciate you for being undoubtedly your true self.

“But when you’re famous you kind of run into human nature in a raw kind of way. It stirs up envy, fame does. People you run into feel that, well, who is she who does she think she is, Marilyn Monroe? They feel fame gives them some kind of privilege to walk up to you and say anything to you, you know, of any kind of nature and it won’t hurt your feelings.”

– Marilyn to Richard Meryman for LIFE Magazine published on August 17th 1962.

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The Little Book of Marilyn: Inspiration From The Goddess of Glam by Michelle Morgan; Book Review.

If there’s one Author to be excited about, upon hearing an announcement of an up and coming Marilyn book, it’s none other than Michelle Morgan. Michelle has been a true super fan since discovering the beautiful blonde on a postcard, whilst Holidaying in Devon in 1985. Since then, she has gone on to write a staggering six books devoted to my favourite lady, with her first being Marilyn’s Addresses, written over twenty years ago in 1995. Therefore, all I can say is – thank you Devon!

In the almost nine years since I first Discovered Marilyn, I’ve been incredibly lucky to not only find and appreciate Michelle as a wonderful writer – recommending her work to many Marilyn fans, but I’ve also been able to call her my friend! Not only have her books taught me so much about Marilyn the human and artist, she has always supported me by listening and offering me advice with her kind words  – something which has always been greatly treasured.

I’ve been very fortunate to know about The Little Book of Marilyn for over a year and for one almost surreal reason why – Michelle kindly asked me if I wanted to be interviewed for inclusion in the book! Needless to say I didn’t hesitate for a moment to say yes and one month before publication, I’ve kindly received a complimentary copy of the book to share my thoughts with you all! 

If you’ve read any of Michelle’s books then you’ll know you’re never disappointed and she always manages to blow even the highest expectations out of the water. Therefore, it’s no surprise to say that The Little Book of Marilyn, is of course, no different! 

The book features a stunning glamour shot of Marilyn with a beautiful pink and orange Fleur-de-lis background, it’s flexibound format means it will always stay in beautiful condition and its travel size makes it easy to carry around with you and stay inspired by only the best! If the beautiful outer packaging wasn’t enough, the 224 pages are filled with many high quality pictures – quite a few rare ones too!

The contents include the following sections;
______________________________________________________________________________

Introduction

Chapter 1: Her Story

Chapter 2: Inspiration

Chapter 3: Style 

Chapter 4: Beauty

Chapter 5: Life Skills

Chapter 6: Personal Effects 

Chapter 7: Walk With Marilyn
______________________________________________________________________________

It’s no secret that there have been definitely hundreds, possibly thousands of books written on Marilyn since her passing, almost fifty seven years ago. A unique few, (Michelle’s most definitely are included) have been amazing, a fair amount have been pretty good and a large sum have been downright awful. However, none have had this fabulous concept and that is further reason for it to be a must have in any collection.

It’s full of details on Marilyn’s life and career, but includes many tutorials and lessons on how to be inspired by a Star that is so often misrepresented in society and the media. Michelle offers a true, genuine insight into the real Marilyn and stays clear of the ridiculous conspiracies and lies. She gives fans like myself, the chance to express just how truly inspiring Marilyn has been to so many even half a century after she left us. The guide like format means you can read it in any order you please or choose to focus on a particular section that is interesting to you.

Ironically enough, I feel the person that would benefit from reading this book the most is Marilyn herself, she was her biggest critic and often full of doubt and disbelief. Therefore, I feel if she could read and see the impact she has had on the millions of fans who love and appreciate her, she may have felt just a little less alone.

Lastly, on behalf of all Marilyn fans, I want to thank Michelle for writing such beautiful books about Hollywood’s Brightest Star and continuing to educate and preserve Marilyn’s very special memory. A big thank you to Running Press for publishing Michelle’s amazing work and for kindly gifting me this beautiful copy, I will truly treasure it!

The Little Book of Marilyn is available to Pre-Order from Amazon UK at £11.34 and will be released on July 25th and is out in the USA on July 9th!

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Happy 93rd Birthday Marilyn!

Today would be Marilyn’s 93rd Birthday, she has been in my life for almost a decade and I still find it so surreal to think that in theory, she should still be here. Sadly, we all know that is not the case and the reality is that Marilyn left the world over fifty five years ago. It’s sometimes hard to comprehend that Marilyn wasn’t just a Hollywood Star but a human being, just like you and me. However, today is not for dwelling, it is a very important day to millions of fans and myself, as the worlds Brightest Star is ultimately still shining half a century later!

To celebrate Marilyn’s big day, I usually spend it in the best way I know possible, having a Movie Marathon watching my favourite Actress. Unfortunately, so many people see Marilyn as just another silly Blonde Bombshell who didn’t have much talent and was basically playing herself on the screen. However, I can’t emphasize enough that the sweet, lovable, pretty face was so much more than what people perceive. As someone who has watched her films a countless number of times, I actually appreciate her comedic performances over her dramatic ones. This is because people tend to view dramas with more acclaim and respect and the Award Shows further prove this, when in fact comedies should not be overlooked.

In the wise words of Vivien Leigh – an Actress who yes, was more respected critically than Marilyn, but, ultimately was more appreciated more for her looks too,

“Comedy is much more difficult than tragedy – and a much better training, I think. It’s much easier to make people cry than to make them laugh.”

Marilyn was incredibly dedicated to her craft and spent numerous hours educating herself on the Performing Arts and trying to be the best she could possibly be. When you learn about Marilyn you realize how much she suffered mentally and the strength she must have found to deliver such beautiful performances. It hurts to think that she didn’t always feel like the bubbly Blonde Bombshell so many know and love her for, as no one more than Marilyn deserved to be appreciated and loved. She was such a perfectionist and would spend hours analyzing and being critical of her acting abilities and performance in each film.

“We not only want to be good, we have to be. You know, when they talk about nervousness, my teacher, Lee Strasberg, when I said to him, “I don’t know what’s wrong with me but I’m a little nervous,” he said, “When you’re not, give up, because nervousness indicates sensitivity.” Also, a struggle with shyness is in every actor more than anyone can imagine. There is a censor inside us that says to what degree do we let go, like a child playing. I guess people think we just go out there, and you know, that’s all we do. Just do it. But it’s a real struggle. I’m one of the world’s most self-conscious people. I really have to struggle.”

– Marilyn to Journalist Richard Meryman for LIFE Magazine, published on August 17th 1962.

Therefore, I thought it would be appropriate to choose five of Marilyn’s films in which she believed she gave the best performances or received great critical acclaim, to recommend for others to watch. If there is any day that Marilyn should be celebrated (personally, I believe it’s all day every day) than it is on her Birthday.

Whilst looking through reviews of Marilyn’s films that were published during their original releases, it’s shocking to me to read the downright prejudice, sexism and ignorance surrounding her as an Actress. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, in my belief Marilyn was the greatest Actress of all time as it seems that even then, 99% of people believed she was just playing herself. Therefore, in believing their own ignorance, critics could continue their lack of acclaim and respect for ultimately, an extremely talented woman.

The Asphalt Jungle (1950) and The Seven Year Itch (1955)

Person to Person television appearance interview on April 8th 1955.

“Marilyn, what’s the best part you ever had in a movie?” – Edward R. Murrow

“Well one of the best parts I’ve ever had was, in The Asphalt Jungle, John Huston’s Picture and then, The Seven Year Itch, Billy Wilder’s Picture.”  – Marilyn

“You think that’s going to be a big one too, don’t you? The Seven Year Itch.” – Edward R. Murrow

“I think it will be a very good Picture and I would like to continue making this type of Picture.” – Marilyn

Dallas Morning News Review by Harold Hefferman published on June 18th 1950.

“Virtually unbilled and unidentified in a current movie, Asphalt Jungle, Marilyn’s breathtaking appearance immediately piques fandom’s curiosity and imagination. Not since the brief introduction of another tempestuous blond, Shelley Winters, three years ago in A Double Life, has a newcomer stirred up so much interest.” 

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)

LIFE Magazine Interview with Journalist Richard Meryman published on August 17th 1962.

“I remember when I got the part in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Jane Russell – she was the brunette in it and I was the blonde. She got $200,000 for it, and I got my $500 a week, but that to me was, you know, considerable. She, by the way, was quite wonderful to me. The only thing was I couldn’t get a dressing room. Finally, I really got to this kind of level and I said, “Look, after all, I am the blonde, and it is Gentlemen Prefer Blondes!” Because still they always kept saying, “Remember, you’re not a star.” I said, “Well, whatever I am, I am the blonde!” – Marilyn

The Los Angeles Times Review by Edwin Schallert on August 1st 1953.

“Miss Monroe sparkles much of the time just as the diamonds do. Her work is insidiously intriguing in this picture, and at the same time almost childlike in its utter lack of guile. Her portrayal demonstrates that much may be maneuvered in her instance in the future to humorous advantage. She discloses a surprising light comedy touch.”

Time Magazine Review on July 27th 1953.

“As Lorelei Lee, who believes that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, Marilyn Monroe does the best job of her short career to date. [She] sings remarkably well, dances, or rather undulates all over, flutters the heaviest eyelids in show business and breathlessly delivers such lines of dialogue as, “Coupons – that’s almost like money,” as if she were in the throes of a grand passion.”

• Bus Stop (1956)

Speaking to reporters upon her arrival back in Hollywood to film Bus Stop, on February 25th 1956.

“Marilyn, are you happy to come back and do this Picture, are you pleased with the Bus- Picture Bus Stop?” – Reporter

“Oh yes, very much, I’m looking forward to working with Josh Logan, doing the Picture and it’s good to be back.” – Marilyn

“Was he in your selection as a Director?” – Reporter

“Twentieth Century Fox selected him and I have Director Approval and they asked if I would approve of him and definitely.” – Marilyn

“So you’re very happy, you think you’re going to make a very good Picture?” – Reporter

“I hope we do make a good picture, yes.” – Marilyn

The New York Times Review by Bosley Crowther published on September 1st 1956.

“HOLD onto your chairs, everybody, and get set for a rattling surprise. Marilyn Monroe has finally proved herself an actress in “Bus Stop.” She and the picture are swell!”

• Some Like It Hot (1959)

Variety Film Review published on February 24th 1959.

“To coin a phrase, Marilyn has never looked better. Her performance as “Sugar,” the fuzzy blonde who likes saxophone players “and men with glasses” has a deliciously naive quality. She’s a comedienne with that combination of sex appeal and timing that just can’t be beat.”

The New York Times Review by A. H. Weiler published on March 30th 1959.

“As the hand’s somewhat simple singer-ukulele player, Miss Monroe, whose figure simply cannot be overlooked, contributes more assets than the obvious ones to this madcap romp. As a pushover for gin and the tonic effect of saxophone players, she sings a couple of whispery old numbers (“Running Wild” and “I Wanna Be Loved by You”) and also proves to be the epitome of a dumb blonde and a talented comedienne.”

I hope however you choose to spend this day, you take a moment to think about Marilyn and in her own words, hold a good thought for her as if anyone deserved that, it was she.

“I Love Marilyn” by Sidney Skolsky published in Modern Screen Magazine in October 1953.

“Before the picture flashed on the screen, Marilyn whispered to me in that low, sexy voice that is natural with her: “Hold a good thought for me.” She always says that when embarking on an venture. She feels much better when you tell her you will.”

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56 Years Without Marilyn.

Fifty six years ago, the World’s Brightest Star took her final breath and left millions of fans in a state of shock and disbelief. No one could understand why this young beautiful talented woman, loved by so many, could leave Earth in such a heartbreaking manner. An autopsy was performed and the official cause of death was ruled as, “probable suicide” noting how Marilyn had experienced, “severe fears and frequent depressions” throughout her lifetime. However, an extremely large number of people still to this day could not except this as fact, fueling an enormous amount of conspiracies from the incredulous to down right bizarre about this very special human.

Ultimately, the only person who knows what happened to Marilyn on the night of her death is the lady herself and many can speculate for hours and hours but will still not have the precise answer they’re looking for. Marilyn’s tragic death should not and does not define her, she lived for 36 years and experienced and achieved more than many could wish for in a whole lifetime. She pursued her dreams fearlessly, constantly striving to reach her goals and become the best actress and person she could be – that should not be forgotten.

Personally, I believe her death was due to medical negligence, either accidental or possibly intentional – Marilyn did have a few attempts of suicide over the years, but her anxiety and depression could often change and I don’t think she wanted to leave the world forever, maybe just in that moment.

However, I don’t want to dwell on Marilyn’s final moments on Earth and I’m sure she wouldn’t want that either, the focus should be on the beautiful person she was and the unique life she had. When people pass young and unexpectedly, conspiracies and in some cases, morbid curiosities take over and in time this can dehumanize the person and make many forget about who they truly were. Furthermore, when someone has already obtained legend status in their lifetime, it can be further exaggerated and influenced when they are no longer here to speak for themselves.

Just because Marilyn was and will always be Hollywood’s most brightest star, that doesn’t mean she wasn’t a real person – she deserves just as much respect and love as we would give to any other human. I understand how people can forget this, as it’s almost hard to accept that someone so legendary as Marilyn was ultimately, one of us mere mortals. As she left the world over half a century ago, people seem to dismiss her as a real person and think they can repeat morbid conspiracies and disrespectful myths. Everyone has their right to freedom of speech, but that doesn’t mean a beautiful person should be lost over hearsay and flat out lies.

I always think to myself how lucky I am to have taken the time to learn about Marilyn and appreciate her for the amazing person she truly was. Sadly, so many people will miss out on this because they believe everything that’s posted on the internet and automatic judgement steers them away from any authentic research. If there’s anything I can do for Marilyn after all she’s done for me, is to spread the truth and facts about this wonderful lady who blessed us with her presence.

Marilyn was a woman always ahead of her time, she believed in equality, feminism, speaking out and most importantly, kindness and generosity, none of these should be forgotten. She used her platform to share her story and was continuously giving with both her time and money, never forgetting her fans throughout her ever growing stardom. 

On this day I will of course always feel sadness, that is simply impossible to ignore considering how much I adore Marilyn. However, I will focus on Marilyn herself and her incredible life, in all the years before and through all the years after, there will truly never be another one like her. So wherever you are beautiful Marilyn, I will always think of your wonderful words which remind me that no matter how hard life can be, there is always hope. 

“Remember now, cheers, no tears.”
– Spoken by Marilyn to the cast and crew of The Misfits after filming had finished in November 1960.

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Happy 92nd Birthday Marilyn!

If Marilyn was alive today, it’s incredible to believe that she would be turning ninety two years old. In the seven and a half years I’ve known and loved her for, I still find it incomprehensible, due to Marilyn leaving the world at such a young age. I guess I almost have to remind myself that even the most famous woman in the world was just like us, she was human too. However, I’ll openly admit that I don’t know if that fact will ever sink in, not because I view Marilyn as an Icon, although she undoubtedly is, but because it’s amazing to think that she walked the earth we all live on.

Although it’s been over fifty five years since Marilyn left us, in many ways it feels like she’s still here, almost like she never really left. What I mean by that is her spirit and presence is so prevalent in today, I bet there’s not one person in the world that doesn’t know her name or face. Of course, with such fame and status comes the dreaded myths and conspiracies, which myself and many strive to dispel, but, I do like to think that the majority of people smile and feel happiness when they see or watch Marilyn. She has such a unique warmth and kindness that truly lights up the screen when she appears and I’m sure it’s true that she lit up a room when she entered one over half a century ago.

Every year Marilyn’s Birthday and Anniversary come around, I always wonder to myself what I should write and how do I go about not being repetitive. After all, there’s only so much that can be said on one particular person, however, to me it’s all about spreading love and enlightening others on the real Marilyn and if I can do that through writing a few words, I’ll definitely try. I’ve mentioned many times how inspiring I find Marilyn, how unbelievable her story is and how she achieved so much considering the odds against her were beyond enormous. I’ve also said how Marilyn was so much more than a beautiful Blonde Bombshell, she was a special soul who was always striving to perfect her talents and be the best person she could be. However, even as I reiterate previous statements, I can’t help but thinking about how true they are and how incredible Marilyn really was.

Of course I absolutely adore Marilyn and there’s no doubt that I truly cannot say many, if any bad things about her, some would say I’m extremely biased and I would to an extent admit to that. However, I pride myself in being honest and speaking the truth and everything I state about Marilyn’s life and achievements are historically proven. Therefore, this is the main reason why I’m so dumbfounded when people don’t like or respect Marilyn, I mean, how can you possibly not? Not everyone has to become a huge devoted fan like myself, but to be so judgmental, inaccurate and assuming is such a huge annoyance to me – we should all be supportive and admire anyone’s achievements and why should Marilyn be any different? Just because a person has their struggles doesn’t make them someone not to admire, to me it makes them even more inspirational in that they achieved so much when they were suffering.

Ultimately, today is a very special day for myself, all of Marilyn’s fans and Hollywood, for without Marilyn the world would definitely have been a little duller. Not only did she accomplish so much and forever make her mark in Cinema, she was a kind person and just wanted to put a smile on people’s faces. I always love reading little anecdotes showing Marilyn as a person and not the star as they show her beautiful soul and caring nature. Things like her anonymously gifting money to crew members in need or bringing a cow inside because it was raining, just show how generous she was and how little material things actually meant to her.

Wherever Marilyn may be I hope she knows how appreciated, loved and respected she is by so many. There may be a few ignorant and judgmental people still out there but she had that during her lifetime and I like to think it wouldn’t phase her all too much. Marilyn always knew that people didn’t expect much from her other than a pretty face and she never failed to prove them wrong. At 24 years old I think about Marilyn every day and have done since I first discovered her in late 2010, she fills my heart with love and joy and I will never not stick up for her. I like to think that however old we all get, Marilyn will continue to always be with us in spirit and never fail to place a smile on a sad face. It takes an incredibly special person to have the ability to make someone feel such love and emotion for someone they have never met and Marilyn is one of those rare people. I love you with all of my heart beautiful Marilyn and I undoubtedly always will.

“I don’t understand why people aren’t a little more generous with each other. I don’t like to say this, but I’m afraid there is a lot of envy in this business. The only thing I can do is stop and think, “I’m all right but I’m not so sure about them!” – Marilyn to Richard Meryman in Life Magazine, August 1962.

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The Girl: Marilyn Monroe, The Seven Year Itch and the Birth of an Unlikely Feminist by Michelle Morgan; Book Review.

Whenever I hear the news that a new Marilyn book is to be released, I’m mostly filled with joy and excitement, as well as slight trepidation around the accuracy and respect given towards my favourite lady. However, if the Author is Michelle Morgan, aka in my opinion, the best Marilyn writer, I know one hundred percent that there’s truly nothing for me to worry about.

Michelle has recently released her latest book on Marilyn, which takes a refreshingly new focus beyond the image of the legend and on the actress herself. The Girl overall stays between the pivotal years 1954 to 1956 and tells the true story of Marilyn taking control of her career by breaking through the male dominated Studio Systems and proving to the world she was so much more than just a pretty face.

Thanks to Michelle and Running Press Publishers, I had the pleasure of receiving a media copy to read and review before the release date and as I expected, I was definitely far from disappointed. The introduction alone was truly memorable and it’s so refreshing to read how much Michelle herself loves and cares for Marilyn, writing with respect and sensitivity, whilst staying completely unbiased. Furthermore, she makes sure to portray the three dimensional person Marilyn was, conveying her many struggles and successes, dedicated to preserving the truth and staying far away from the gossip and sensationalism that sadly so often is unfairly connected to our Star. Plus, I love how witty the title is; any super Marilyn fan will know that The Girl is in fact Marilyn’s character name in The Seven Year Itch (1955) and writer George Axelrod actually had this to say about the unnamed lady.

“I have been asked if there is any symbolic significance in the fact that the Girl has no name. The truth of the matter is that I could never think of a name for her that seemed exactly right, that really fit the girl I had in mind. I think if I were writing the play today, I might be tempted to call the Girl Marilyn.”

Even though Marilyn lived for just 36 years, it’s undeniable the amount she achieved in such a short lifetime and for any Marilyn fan or someone who’s interested in Hollywood, Feminism or the 1950s, this book is simply a must have for your Library. I personally feel Michelle has done such a good job with accuracy and creating a detailed perspective that she could write many volumes focusing on each year of Marilyn’s life! In fact, I really hope she does.

At just over 300 pages long, this book is just right – not too long and intense and not too short and lacking detail. Even though it doesn’t document Marilyn’s full story, through focusing on these such important years, you arguably learn more about Marilyn than you would in a standard biography. However, if you’re wanting to read more and well, who could blame you, there’s always Michelle’s other books on Marilyn and I recommend them because in my opinion, they are the best – respectful, honest and sincere.

Out of Marilyn’s 30 Films, three are discussed in The Girl and those are the following; The Seven Year Itch (1955), Bus Stop (1956) and The Prince and The Showgirl (1957). Even though this is due to the specific time period documented in Marilyn’s life, I think it’s wonderful for someone who may know Marilyn only for her image and Icon Status. I say this because the three discussed throughout the book show her versatility and strength as an artist – something she continually dreamed to be known and appreciated for.

The Girl consists of a Preface, ten Chapters, an Epilogue, selected Bibliography and Source Notes, with between 30-40 beautiful photos of Marilyn featured throughout the book. The colour theme consists of red white and gold and I absolutely adore the cover photo chosen; a 1955 Marilyn wearing a Red Sweater by Milton Greene. It’s refreshing to see a different perspective of Marilyn shown yet still being undoubtedly, The Star. Plus, it’s lovely both a photo from 1955 was used and one by Milton – someone so pivotal in believing in Marilyn as a human being and helping her change the course of her Career.

Each Chapter Title conveys many important words that should continually be used to describe Marilyn, some may say I’m biased and I would never deny that. However, you cannot be biased about the truth and each of these titles contain important moments and achievements Marilyn herself made happen, through sheer strength and determination. Although beautiful and talented, she was never viewed as anything but a Blonde Bombshell, a Sex Goddess who added glamour to the Silver Screen and ultimately Marilyn had all the odds against her throughout her whole life. Yet, through The Girl, Michelle shows that even the Underdog can prove to everyone that not only was she Beautiful, she was also strong, passionate, intelligent and believed that she deserved better.

I can without a doubt say that The Girl is one of my favourite Marilyn books and definitely a staple in my Marilyn Book Collection – 167 and counting! At £19.99 this isn’t the cheapest one available, but quality and authenticity are priceless and this is something that will be treasured and kept in your library forever. Even though I’m fortunate enough to have an early Media Copy, I will of course be purchasing one for myself! You can never have enough good Marilyn books and this will have pride of place in my Marilyn book shelf, yes, she really does have her own library.

I can’t say enough good things about The Girl and Michelle herself, I’ve been fortunate enough to know this wonderful lady for quite a few years and I know that if Marilyn was here she would be honoured to have such a thoughtful and authentic writer tell her incredibly brave and progressive story. I think it’s fair to say that I know a lot about Marilyn and with Michelle’s books there’s always unique, special anecdotes and trivia that I continue to discover. Ultimately, go to amazon or your local bookstore and start reading The Girl, I can assure you any stereotypical views you may have of Marilyn will quickly vanish and you’ll be astounded and in awe of what an incredible person she really was.

The Girl is available to Pre-Order from Amazon UK and will be released on May 31st and is out in the USA now!

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55 Years Without Marilyn.

Although Marilyn is so prominent and recognized in the present day, It’s hard to comprehend that in reality, she tragically passed away fifty five years ago on the evening of August 4th, 1962. At just thirty six years old, her death was announced on the morning of August 5th and shocked the world and the millions of fans who mourned the loss of this very special woman. As someone who wasn’t even born until thirty plus years after Marilyn left the Earth, new readers may wonder why I’m writing about a celebrity I never actually knew. However, I’m assuming if you know anything about me, you’ll know that Marilyn is one of my absolute favourite people, I adore her with all of my heart and have done for coming up to seven years.

Personally, I feel that you can still have a special connection and feeling towards someone you’ve never had the privilege to meet, whether this is due to them being a worldwide celebrity or being born quite a few decades after they’ve passed – or both! As I’ve said many times before, Marilyn entered my life in October 2010, pushing seven year ago and she’s never left, I think about her every day and she has changed my life for the better astronomically. I found inspiration and comfort from her during my darkest days and she honestly has never failed to not brighten my days. However, this post is not about me – this post is about celebrating the life of Marilyn and how fifty five years on, she’s still loved and adored by just as many, if not more fans who love and admire the amazing woman she was and the achievements she made.

Sadly, as the night of Marilyn’s passing is a huge interest for conspiracy lovers, both her life and death are often filled with hundreds of rumours, theories and downright defaming myths. When a celebrity passes away young and unexpectedly, millions of people look for answers to the big question, why? Of course, this is completely natural and makes perfect sense, but ultimately, the only person who can confirm or deny how they died is no longer around to tell us.

In reality, we have lost many celebrities to the tragedy of overdoses – Marilyn’s death was ruled as a, “probable suicide”, although I believe it was accidental. However, many people cannot comprehend or believe this and go down the root of following conspiracies, ultimately forgetting about the person and obsessing over theories that have no substance. Over the years, many people who have created life stories and careers on their “relationship” with Marilyn and how she supposedly died, earning thousands in the process and damaging Marilyn’s name. In reality, the real reason for Marilyn’s death was pretty simple – medical negligence and incredibly, her doctors were never accounted for this.

Ultimately, I think it’s safe to say that Marilyn wouldn’t want her untimely death to be the main focus point of her life, she wouldn’t want us to be sad and spend countless hours trying to work out why she left. I like to think Marilyn would want us to celebrate her amazing achievements and ground breaking moments in such a short space of time. I know she would be overwhelmed that over fifty years after she passed, millions of people of all ages, still love and care for her all these years later. Hundreds and thousands of people are discovering this beautiful human every day and Marilyn continues to bring so much light and joy to people like myself, who were never fortunate enough to be able to meet her.

Tonight, instead of focusing on the sad times, I will be thinking about my angel Marilyn for all the right reasons. I’ll be remembering her for the wonderful talent she possessed, the determination she had to succeed, her love of learning, plus, the kindness and generosity she showed to so many others. Thankfully, her legacy she has left behind is forever imprinted through thousands of images and thirty films she made during her short but incredibly special life.

Whenever I feel upset and hurt with how unfair life was at times to Marilyn, there is one particular quote which comes to mind. Many people seem to think of Marilyn as a tragic victim and in doing this, they are unjustly underestimating her incredible strength. Through research and reading about Marilyn for quite a few years, I’ve noticed that although she suffered tremendously, she never lost hope and always tried to remain somewhat positive, even in her darkest times.

Through 1960, Marilyn made her last completed film, The Misfits (1961) and during this time she suffered incredible pain through a nervous breakdown and split from her husband, Arthur Miller. The movie was made in Nevada during 40 degree heat and was incredibly strenuous for practically everyone involved. Although The Misfits (1961) is now hailed as one of Marilyn’s best acting performances, she came to hate the film and resent Arthur for her character, Roslyn – the film which was originally a Valentine’s present to her.

Yet, despite going through arguably the toughest period in her life, she had this to say at the end of the filming.

“Remember now, cheers, no tears..”

I for one, will be following this advice, from one of the strongest women who ever lived. Wherever you may be, beautiful Marilyn, I hope you know how loved and appreciated you are by so many people around the world. I know I say this quite often, but I like to believe that somehow, you see how much you have enriched millions of fans lives and gave them hope and strength.

“It’s a terrible pity that so much beauty has been lost to us.”

John Huston, Director of The Asphalt Jungle (1950) and The Misfits (1961)

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Happy 91st Birthday Marilyn!

Today marks the Birth Date of probably my favourite human who ever blessed the Earth with their presence, the beautiful soul that was Marilyn Monroe. As she left it at such a young age, it’s almost incomprehensible to believe that she would be ninety one years old if she was still alive.

Each year I like to pay tribute to my angel by writing about the incredible person she was, the unique life she lived and all of her accomplishments in such a short space of time. I feel as a devoted fan of Marilyn’s that it is my duty to help spread the truth about this beautiful soul, by aiming to let society learn about the real woman she was and to not be influenced by the unsubstantiated conspiracies and myths.

Therefore, instead of writing my usual styled posts on my favourite girl, I have decided to be slightly more creative and this time share a number of anecdotes that you may or may not know about Marilyn. In doing this, I hope that it will give you an insight into the kindhearted soul she was and hopefully you will take a moment to think about her on this very special day. 

When Marilyn was a little girl and occasionally spent time with her mother, Gladys, she noticed a photo of a dark haired man with a mustache displayed in her home. The man bared a similar resemblance to one of her favourite Movie Stars; Clark Gable and Norma Jeane Baker liked to think of him as her father. She had loved going to the cinema ever since she was a child and must have seen Clark on the big screen many times. In reality, this man was Marilyn’s actual father – Charles Stanley Gifford, who had been seeing Gladys before she became pregnant. Ultimately, he never acknowledged Marilyn as his own and they never had any relationship.

On a happier note, many years later in November 1954, Marilyn would finally fulfill her childhood dream of meeting Gable at Romanoff’s, where The Seven Year Itch Wrap Party was being held in her honour. They danced with one another and shared how they would both love to work together, with Gable telling Marilyn, “You have the magic.” This wish would eventually happen in 1960, with The Misfits generally being cited as one of their best performances.

During Marilyn’s first marriage to James Dougherty, she noticed a cow on it’s own, standing in the rain. Deeply upset about this, when Jimmy returned home he saw his wife desperately trying to bring the cow inside the house, even asking him to help her do so. Jimmy’s nephew, Wes Kanteman recounted to Author Michelle Morgan about this sweet memory saying,

The cow was a young Jersey Heffer that had beautiful eyes and Norma Jeane used to stand by her pen and just stare at her, remarking at how pretty she was. Then the torrential rain came one night and the cow was standing by the fence and Norma Jeane used to stand by her pen and just stare at her, remarking at how pretty she was. Then the torrential rain came one night and the cow was standing by the fence and Norma Jeane and apparently thought she wanted in so she opened the gate and was going to bring her into to the house. After much conversation about the matter, Uncle Jim convinced her that she belonged in her pen and Norma Jeane finally gave in and it was over, but she still thought that the cow would have been better off in the living room.”

On 1st June 1952, Marilyn turned 26 years old and celebrated by finding out she had landed the coveted role of Lorelei Lee in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, beating out the previous Top Blonde at 20th Century Fox – Betty Grable. She was to be starring opposite Jane Russell, who would be receiving $100,000 dollars compared to Marilyn’s contract salary of $500 per week  – shocking, I know. Still, Marilyn didn’t complain and put her heart and soul into making one of her most iconic movies. However, when Marilyn found out she didn’t even have her own dressing room, despite being the star of the film, she finally spoke out and recalled this story to Journalist Richard Meryman for LIFE Magazine, which was released two days before her death in August 1962.

“I remember when I got the part in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Jane Russell – she was the brunette in it and I was the blonde. She got $200,000 for it, and I got my $500 a week, but that to me was, you know, considerable. She, by the way, was quite wonderful to me. The only thing was I couldn’t get a dressing room. Finally, I really got to this kind of level and I said, “Look, after all, I am the blonde, and it is Gentlemen Prefer Blondes!” Because still they always kept saying, “Remember, you’re not a star.” I said, “Well, whatever I am, I am the blonde!” 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.”

Marilyn was a huge lover of animals and during her life owned quite a few pets, from dogs, to cats and even two parakeets called Butch and Bobo. During her time in New York she adopted a cat and to Marilyn’s delight, she became pregnant. She was so happy and looked after the beloved pet dearly, reading up on how to care for her during the pregnancy, repeatedly ringing her maid to check on how she was doing and spoiling her with treats. When the labour finally came during the middle of the night, Marilyn rang her good friend Norman Rosten, asking him to come over and help to which he politely declined and went back to sleep.

He later said, “There was never a more spoiled prenatal cat in feline history.

Marilyn was known to be extremely generous, even saying in her last interview, “I don’t understand why people aren’t a little more generous with another.” and it’s most definitely fair to say she followed what she believed in. Her giving nature didn’t just involve her friends, even acquaintances received this kind treatment as retold by Author Donald Spoto.

Maggie Banks, an assistant choreographer, recalled that a wife of a company electrician was seriously ill. “I saw Marilyn hand the man a roll of bills; he started to cry, and Marilyn just hugged him and walked away.” Likewise, Evelyn Moriarty never forgot that Marilyn anonymously donated one thousand dollars to defray the funeral expenses of a crew member’s wife.”

Marilyn famously said, “I only know I want to be wonderful.” and I think it’s definitely fair to say, although she may not have achieved true happiness, she the utmost worthy of being called wonderful.

Happy Birthday beautiful, I think of you daily and I love you dearly. ♡

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54 Years Without Marilyn.

It’s hard to believe that on the night of August 4th, Marilyn passed away and would no longer bless us with her presence on Earth. It’s even more amazing that this didn’t happen last year, but fifty four years ago today. Marilyn was found on the early hours of the morning on August 5th and thus her death was announced as that day, however, rigor mortis had already set in which shows she actually passed sometime late the night before.

When I think about this day I’m filled with sadness, as the world didn’t just lose a huge star, more importantly, we lost a beautiful person which a kind soul and sensitive nature. I often wonder if Marilyn can see the world now and knows the huge legacy she has left over half a century on. Would she believe she was capable of this? Sadly I don’t think so, she never gave herself much credit for her special qualities. However, I’m sure she would be filled with happiness and feel loved, something she strove to find her whole life.

Although there is a huge amount of love for Marilyn, there are a lot of misconceptions and upsetting myths and lies that people have spread about her. You’ll probably notice that if a star dies young and tragically, millions of ridiculous theories with zero credit or substance start pouring out each year. Whilst making notoriety for themselves and lots of money, they neglect the one person that they’re making a profit from and not once do they think about the damage they are causing.

I can’t begin to tell you the amount of ignorance I’ve had to deal with regarding Marilyn over the years, some of it is curiosity, some just downright offensive and a lot can be pretty morbid. I shudder to think what Marilyn herself would feel if she knew about this but then I remember she had to deal with a lot of judgement and misconceptions during her life time. Even then she was ahead of her time and always handled things with maturity and grace;

“Those people that have been writing all those lies about me. All I know, it’s their problem. Those people, I don’t even know [them], or if we have met, it’s been brief. Can I take it? Are you kidding? I’m used to it, and remember the old saying: consider the source.”

–  Marilyn to photographer friend and author George Barris in the summer of 1962.

[Marilyn: Her Life In Her Own Words, page 128.]

Of course, everyone is entitled to have their own opinion and feelings about someone, however, at least learn the actual truth and stop reading perpetual myths and lies as fact. I know it’s hard to believe but I do realize that Marilyn wasn’t actually perfect, but hating someone based on judgement and conspiracy is just plain ignorant and petty. At the end of the day I just remind myself it’s their loss, they’re the ones missing out on one very special lady.

I hope whatever you do today that you take a moment to think about this beautiful human being and hold a special thought for her. Marilyn may have not achieved her dream of having her own family, but she did achieve everlasting love and devotion from her millions of fans all around the world. She is instantly recognizable and ultimately immortal due to her iconic screen presence which is truly like no other.

When I think of Marilyn, a feeling of warmness and hope comes over me, to me this incredible lady was one of the strongest people who has ever lived. She suffered abuse, loneliness, isolation and through all of this worked extremely hard to achieve her dreams. Marilyn never stopped believing  and always aimed to perfect her talents and improve herself, even when so many never saw her more than an image.  It’s incredible to see how far she came in just thirty six years with such odds stacked against her.

 I wonder if she ever thought someone was looking down on her, perhaps a Guardian Angel? I bet she never thought that so many, including myself, would one day see her as theirs.

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Marilyn Monroe Design Centre Chelsea & ONGallery Exhibits.

I have just returned home from London after spending a wonderful three nights there to see the temporary Marilyn Exhibition held at the Chelsea Design Centre. Marilyn Collector David Gainsborough Roberts has announced he will be selling his large collection of costumes and personal items at Julien’s in November. Before then, they will be displayed all over the world with London being the first stop until 20th June. Also being sold are personal items of owned by The Estate of Lee Strasberg, who Marilyn left 75% of her belongings to when she passed in 1962.

I’m very lucky to be able to say I’ve seen quite a lot of Marilyn’s items since I discovered her in October 2010. I previously saw a fair amount of David’s Marilyn Collection in March 2012 and as soon as I heard about him selling all of his items in November 2016 I knew I had to see them one more time, as well as Lee Strasberg’s which are also being sold. Marilyn fans are very fortunate that a lot of private collectors such as, Scott Fortner and Ted Stampfer kindly continue to share their Marilyn owned items with us. However, so many of her items get sold and tragically are never seen again which is incredibly upsetting as I always like to think if Marilyn belonged to anyone, it was to the public who loved her so much.

It was so lovely to see how beautifully displayed Marilyn’s items were at the Design Centre in Chelsea, as soon as myself and my mum arrived the staff asked if I was here for the Exhibition, I guess I don’t hide my excitement very well! As soon as you enter the building you are surrounded by beautiful portraits of Marilyn that are displayed from ceiling to floor. It gets even better when you walk through the doors and sense what’s to be seen in only a matter of seconds!

The first collection that you witness is Lee Strasberg’s Marilyn items, so everything from make up, jewelry, letters, shoes and sketches! I had not seen any of these personal belongings before and was truly amazed at what was just a few inches in front of me. Of course I am slightly biased, but everything really was truly stunning and ever so special. I think one of my favourite items would have to be Marilyn’s sketches, in particular one called, “Lover watching his lover sleep.”  I instantly thought of Marilyn sleeping whilst Arthur gazed at his beautiful wife.

The collection of jewelry was effortlessly glamourous. Most Marilyn fans will know that Marilyn did not think Diamond’s were a girls best friend and was much more interested in books than the perfect ring. Therefore, because of this I think the items that were on display were extra special, as any items Marilyn owned must have had some special personal attachment or value. I absolutely adored the Revlon Lipstick, I think if I could own anything from that part of the collection this would be it. Of course, red lipstick is forever linked to Marilyn’s image, but I just loved the vintage display of it, so effortlessly glamourous. I actually tweeted Revlon telling them that they should re-release this shade to coincide with the auction and they liked my tweet so, I shall keep my fingers crossed!

For me, what I found most special in Lee Strasberg’s owned items were all of Marilyn’s personal letters and stationary. I recognized a lot of the writings as it is featured in the amazing book Fragments – a must for any Marilyn fan! Of course a lot of it was very sad to read as Marilyn suffered so much with her anxieties, but what warmed my heart were the beautiful inspiring sayings she would write to herself, “Dare not to worry” being a favourite.

Part of me feels reading the items is an invasion of Marilyn’s privacy and to an extent it is as I’m sure if Marilyn was still alive we probably wouldn’t be reading them. However, reading these items shows a lot of the true Marilyn which is sadly so often hidden by conspiracies and inaccuracies. These writings so a talented artist who forever wanted to learn and improve and a beautiful, vulnerable soul who ultimately just wanted to be happy. I’m sure after reading these a lot of people would have more respect and admiration for Marilyn and I’m sure that would mean a lot to the wonderful lady herself.

After experiencing this amazing collection I then walked through to the final part of the exhibit; Marilyn’s film costumes and clothes owned by David Gainsborough Roberts. The display lay out was absolutely stunning, all clothes where shown on a circular display with two levels, and four huge posters of Marilyn wearing the clothes hung at the top of the ceiling. Some of the costumes even had blu-ray footage of Marilyn wearing the clothes which was a wonderful addition.

It was fascinating to see the age range of people visiting the exhibition, it just further emphasizes the impact Marilyn has on everyone, she truly is loved by people of all ages. I think if I could choose one item from David’s collection to own it would have to be the Green Leotard Marilyn wears in Bus Stop (1956) to sing, “That Old Black Magic” I just adore it. Everyone who viewed the items kept saying how tiny Marilyn was, I still find it fascinating that people are shocked by this when her measurements were 35-22-35.

The exhibit was truly beautiful and a must see for any Marilyn fan or lover of Old Hollywood. The only thing that was sad to see was The Prince and The Showgirl dress was now displayed on a directors chair instead of a mannequin compared to the last time I saw it. I guess it’s become extremely fragile now, if only sixty years ago people realized how important these costumes would be! I also wished that all of the clothes had photos of Marilyn wearing them, I have seen her in all but three of the items so it shouldn’t have been to hard to find. One of my favourites, the costume Marilyn wears for, “There’s No Business Like Show Business” when she sings “After You Get What  You Want, You Don’t Want it” was displayed on the upper level. I found this to be a shame as it would have been lovely to be able to have seen the dress with clips from the film of her wearing it like some of the other costumes.

I was fortunate to be able to visit the exhibition twice during my stay in London and when leaving for the final time I felt pretty sad that the majority of the items I will probably never be able to see again. However, I realize how fortunate I am to have had this opportunity and the memories will stay in my heart forever.

I also managed to visit the ONGallery which is currently displaying the Happy Birthday Miss Monroe exhibit until 30th June. As soon as I walked a lovely staff member named Keith said I was looking very, “Marilynesque” which made my whole day! He realized I was a huge Marilyn fan and he was wonderful to talk to, loved photography and you could tell he appreciated Marilyn as an artist which was very refreshing. It was so wonderful to see photographs from all of Marilyn’s career, beginning in 1946 and ending in 1962.

While I was there I noticed two older men who had been fans since Marilyn was alive and they were very sweet. I was looking through a portfolio of vintage photos and noticed one of them was taking pictures of me! I looked up and he asked me if I was a Marilyn lookalike and I told him that was very sweet but no I wasn’t. He then said that I was absolutely gorgeous and he used to be a portrait photographer so wanted to take my picture. I almost teared up, I’ve rarely had such sweet things said to me face to face. I then heard them asking about a picture that I was looking at from 1952 and I helped identify the event for them, I don’t know why but they reminded me of my Grandad and it really was a lovely moment.

I continued to talk a lot with Keith, especially about the Frank Worth photos of Marilyn from 1953 and 1954 which are pretty rare. I told him how I had sent off for the free Marilyn print they offered in the Daily Express for Marilyn’s 90th Birthday and I mentioned an image Worth had taken of Marilyn and Sammy Davis Jr. which was pretty rare. Keith then told me that the image I was talking about was actually offered previously and he would give me a print, I couldn’t believe it!

I had such a wonderful time in London and truly recommend both exhibits to all Marilyn fans, actually, I recommend them to everyone! Admissions are free for both events and they are extremely special and simply a must see.

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