Today would be Marilyn’s 96th Birthday.
It’s hard to believe, on this day, 96 years ago at 9:30 AM in Los Angeles, California, the Gemini Queen was born.
With every year I try and write a Birthday and Anniversary post and this year I thought it would be nice to do something a little different. Therefore, I decided to share my favourite books written about Marilyn and the ones I would 100% recommend. As I’m sure most would agree, sadly when you’re no longer here to dispel myths about yourself and are incredibly famous, the majority of what you can find to read is filled with lies and conspiracies. If you’re not too aware of this, you may wonder why? Well, in the wise (genuine) words spoken by Marilyn,
“Hollywood’s a place where they’ll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss and fifty cents for your soul. I know, because I turned down the first offer often enough and held out for the fifty cents.”
– said to Journalist Ben Hecht and written in her Autobiography, My Story.
Over the last decade I’m lucky enough to have amassed a substantial archive of books written about Marilyn and I’m thankful to say just the good ones. Therefore, with Marilyn still making many headlines over a half a century after her passing, I thought it would be very important to her memory to share information that is thoroughly researched and filled with reliable sources.
Ultimately, Marilyn was a real person and with so many defamatory lies continuously being spouted, I feel it it so important to try and preserve her legacy in an honest and truthful manner. The irony is, the majority of people who have continued to make money off Marilyn (Robert Slatzer, Jeanne Carmen, Ted Jordan, Anthony Summers, Norman Mailer – I’m looking at you) had no actual relationship with her – and it simply just isn’t fair.
In my opinion, Michelle is the ultimate Marilyn Biographer and generally excepted by many fans as being the best one out there. I’ve read all of her books and recommend every single one, I’m just focusing on this Biography which delves into Marilyn’s life and death. This is probably one of the only books on Marilyn that I’d suggest to every person wanting to learn about her, as it’s one of the very few which have no inaccuracies.
A loving tribute from Marilyn’s actual family, her half sister, Bernice and her daughter – Marilyn’s niece, Mona Rae. Although they only managed to see each other in person a handful of times, the sisters managed to stay in touch through letters and phone calls. It truly is such a unique and thoughtful tribute to Marilyn and a must have in any fans Collection. I also had the privilege of speaking with Mona Rae through email around 2011-2012 and was lucky enough to receive a signed copy which I will forever treasure.
The book that started it all for me and arguably the most important of them all – Fragments, which is basically an Archive of Marilyn’s very own personally written letters and writing. Contrary to unfortunately popular belief – Marilyn never had, nor owned, or wrote in a supposed infamous diary – it has never been found 60 years after her passing because, it simply never existed. Furthermore, Marilyn was never known to keep up to date with any diary, this book is literally called Fragments – because when reading, you’ll notice that she doesn’t actually finish using any notebook. She would write from the heart or inspiration, it was never regimented or a daily scheduled thing for her. Therefore, please ignore stupid Slatzer’s ridiculous theory – thank you.
A book I’d say has a very special place in the hearts of Marilyn fans, published just 12 years after her passing by close friend and Writer, Norman Rosten, who she would meet in 1955. They stayed close friends until her death seven years later and Rosten was one of the few people Marilyn would feel comfortable enough to share her Poetry with. This is sadly no longer in print but I found my copy on Amazon and it’s definitely a must have from someone who knew and treasured their friendship with Marilyn. It also features some adorable anecdotes about Marilyn’s menagerie of pets.
Originally published 12 years after her passing, under the title, “The Unfinished Biography of Marilyn Monroe” this was based on interviews with friend and Journalist, Sidney Skolsky and Writer Ben Hecht. Sadly it ended up being shelved during Marilyn’s lifetime, only going up to 1954, so Marilyn herself would never get to see the finished product or give her approval. Some excerpts were published in London’s Empire News from May – August of 1954, however with Hecht parting ways with his Agent it unfortunately was never completed. I guess on a positive note, it does almost feel like a Cinderella story with Marilyn documenting her traumatic childhood and ending with her Marriage to Joe Dimaggio, in a way it’s kind of nice to have rose tinted glasses on for a few moments.
I should note, I’m not mentioning the named Author of this book, as the attention should be on Marilyn’s documents from her Personal Archives, therefore all of her own words and correspondents. Some of you may already know the Author has written their own Biography, which is sadly full of inaccuracies and conspiracies. It’s such a shame, as before their own book was published they clearly were doing something wonderful for Marilyn with the release of MM Personal. Therefore, I recommend focusing on all the wonderful documents which give you an insight into Marilyn’s daily life.
Meet the other must read MM Biographer – Gary Vitacco-Robles, who has painstakingly written the book of any Marilyn fans dream, documenting every single year of her life. It’s so incredibly detailed, that it was published in two Volumes – the first starting with her Birth Year, 1926 and ending 30 years later in 1956.
The second Volume continues on with 1956 and through the last six years of Marilyn’s life, culminating with Marilyn’s death in 1962. Gary then delves into the impact of Marilyn’s Legacy in society, over fifty years after she left Earth. After dedicating a decade of research to the Volumes, it is quite apparent how much care and thought has gone into both. I had the pleasure of meeting Gary for a book signing in August 2012 – he’s actually also published another book, called Cursum Perficio: Marilyn Monroe’s Brentwood Hacienda: The Story of Her Final Months (2000) and I’m continuously hoping there will be more!
I decided to focus on written books about Marilyn instead of the hundreds of photography ones, as unique personal qualities are often overlooked by her image and unfortunately, conspiracies. Wherever Marilyn may be, I hope she somehow reads my little post and that it may bring a smile to her face on her special day.
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