Happy 94th Birthday Marilyn!

Today is a very special day, it’s Marilyn’s Birthday! Can you believe that if she were still alive,  Marilyn would have been turning 94 years old today – just two months younger than the Queen herself! With each year I always try and write a special post about this amazing woman, who has helped me so much and achieved more than anyone could have imagined in her 36 years. Therefore, I decided to write 94 facts about the Birthday Girl – some you may know, some you may not, all in the hope that genuine things will be learnt and the real Marilyn will be more understood and appreciated.

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1.  Stood at a height of 5’5½”

2.  Born in the charity ward of the Los Angeles County Hospital at 9:30 AM on June 1st 1926.

3.  Married three times;

– Jim Dougherty: (June 19th 1942 – September 13th 1946)
– Joe Dimaggio: (January 14th 1954 – 31st October 1955) (Temporary divorce granted on October 27th 1954)
– Arthur Miller: (June 29th 1956 – January 20th 1961).

4. Suffered two confirmed miscarriages; an ectopic pregnancy on August 1st 1957 and miscarriage in December 16th 1958.

5. Suffered with endometriosis very badly, so much so that she had a clause in her contract which stated she would be unable to work whilst menstruating.

6. Starred in 30 films – her last being uncompleted.

7. Favourite of her own performances was as Angela Phinlay in The Asphalt Jungle (1950)

8. Winner of three Golden Globes; two for World Film Favourite – Female in 1954 and 1962 and one for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical for her performance as Sugar Kane in Some Like It Hot (1959) in 1960.

9. Her idol was the first Platinum Blonde Bombshell, Jean Harlow.

10. Amassed a collection of over 400 books in her library, ranging from Russian Literature to Psychology.

11. Favourite perfume was Chanel No.5

12. Had two half siblings; Robert “Jackie” Baker (1918 – 1933) and Bernice Miracle (1919) – the former she would never have the chance to meet and Bernice was not informed about Marilyn until she was 19 years old.

13. Former Actor and 20th Century Fox Studio Executive, Ben Lyon created the name Marilyn Monroe in December 1946 – Marilyn after fellow Actress, Marilyn Miller and Monroe after Marilyn’s mother’s maiden name. Ironically enough, Ben starred with Jean Harlow, in her breakout movie, Hell’s Angels (1930).

14. Legally changed her name to Marilyn Monroe ten years later, on February 23rd 1956.

15. Attended The Actors Studio.

16. Third woman to start her own Film Production Company – the first being Lois Weber in 1917 and the second being Mary Pickford in 1919.

17. First had her hair bleached in January 1946 at the Frank & Joseph Salon by Beautician Sylvia Barnhart, originally intended for a Shampoo Advert.

18. Contrary to popular belief, she was technically a natural blonde, not a redhead or brunette. She was born with platinum hair and was very fair until just before her teen years. Her sister described her with having dark blonde hair upon their first meeting in 1944.

19. Another myth debunked – she had blue eyes, not brown.

20. Was one of the few women in the 1950s to use weights when exercising.

21. Wore jeans before it was considered acceptable for women.

22. Her famous mole was real – albeit skin coloured, so she emphasized it using a brown eye pencil.

23. Was a Step-Mother in two of her three marriages to three children – Joe Dimaggio Jr. and Bobby and Jane Miller.

24. Found out she landed the lead role in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) on her 26th Birthday.

25. Another huge myth dispelled – only actually met President Kennedy four times from 1961 – 1962. Three of them were at public events, with the last being her performance at Madison Square Garden. One of them was at Bing Crosby’s Palm Spring house with various people, so at most (which again, is very unlikely) they had a one night stand – nothing more and nothing less.

26. Was the first Playboy Cover Girl, although she did not actually pose for them, nor give permission for them to be used. Hugh Hefner bought the photograph from a Chicago Calendar Company for $500 and the two never met.

27. Speaking of Playboy, the photo was taken by Photographer Tom Kelley on May 27th 1951 and Marilyn made a total of $50 for the photo shoot. The most famous photo then went on to cause a national sensation after being sold to the Calendar Baumgarth Company and became known as, “Golden Dreams“.

28. In 1955 it was estimated that over four million copies of the Calendar had been sold.

29. Favourite singers were Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald. 

30. Attended the Academy Awards Ceremony only once on March 29th 1951 and presented the award for “Best Sound Recording” to Thomas Moulton for All About Eve (1951) which she also starred in.

31. Performed ten shows over four days to over 100,000 soldiers and marines in Korea in February 1954 – she actually ended up catching pneumonia because it was so cold.

32. Was one of the few Stars who had Director Approval in their Contracts. Some of the names included were, John Huston, Elia Kazan, Alfred Hitchcock, George Stevens, William Wyler, Joshua Logan and Sir Carol Reed.

33. Was pregnant during the filming of Some Like It Hot (1959) filming finished on November 7th 1958 and she miscarried the following month on December 16th.

34. Featured on the cover of LIFE Magazine seven times during her lifetime;

– April 7th 1952
– May 25th 1953
– July 8th 1957 (International Edition)
– April 20th 1959
– November 9th 1959
– August 15th 1960
– June 22nd 1962

35. Favourite bevarage was Dom Perignon 1953 Champagne.

36. By the time of her death, her films had grossed over $200 million, when adjusted for inflation that is the equivalent of $2 billion in 2019.

37. Designer, William Travilla dressed Marilyn for seven of her films, two (*) of them received Oscar Nominations in, “Best Costume/Design, Color“;

Monkey Business (1952)
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)

38. Spent 21 months of her childhood at the Los Angeles Orphanage, from September 13th 1935 until June 7th 1937.

39. Was one of the first Stars to speak out about child abuse, with her story appearing in movie magazines as early as 1954.

40. Fostered by her grandmother’s neighbours, Ida and Albert Bolender, for the first seven years of her life.

41. Lived in England for four months, during the period of filming for The Prince and The Showgirl (1957) from July 14th 1956 – November 20th 1956.

42. Her Production Company, Marilyn Monroe Productions produced only one film, The Prince and The Showgirl (1957) based on Terrance Rattigan’s play, The Sleeping Prince.

43. Was photographed by Gene Kornman on February 25th 1952 wearing a potato sack dress. This was after being criticized by the press for her outfit choice, a month earlier, at The Henrietta Awards in January 1952. A journalist wrote that Marilyn was “insignificant and vulgar“and “even in a potato bag, it would have been more elegant. Ironically enough, this was the second time Marilyn had donned a potato sack dress, the first was photographed by Earl Theisen and appeared in LOOK Magazine in October 1951 and Filmland Magazine in April 1952.

44. Was a huge supporter of LGBT+ rights, saying the following quote about fellow actor and friend, Montgomery Clift to journalist W.J. Weatherby in 1960,

“I was remembering Monty Clift. People who aren’t fit to open the door for him sneer at his homosexuality. What do they know about it? Labels–people love putting labels on each other. Then they feel safe. People tried to make me into a lesbian. I laughed. No sex is wrong if there’s love in it.”

45. Her measurements were listed as the following by her Dressmakers; 35-22-35 and 36-24-24 by The Blue Book  Modelling Agency. For the majority of her life she weighed between 117-120 pounds, with her weight fluctuating around 15 pounds, during and after her pregnancies (1957-1960), although her waist never ventured past 28.5 inches and her dress size today would be a UK Size 6-8 and a US Size 2-4 as she was a vintage Size 12.

46. Her famous white halter dress from The Seven Year Itch (1955) sold for $4.6 million ($5.6 million including auction fees) on June 18th 2011, which was owned by Debbie Reynolds. The “Happy Birthday Mr. President Dress” originally held the record for the most expensive dress, when it was sold on October 27th 1999 for $1.26 million. It then went on to be resold for $4.8 million on November 17th 2016, thus regaining it’s original achievement.

47. Was discovered by Photographer, David Conover, whilst working in The Radio Plane Munitions Factory in the Fall of 1944 or Spring of 1945, depending on sources.

48. Now known as the, “Me Too” movement, Marilyn was one of the first Stars to speak out on the, “Hollywood Wolves” in a 1953 article for Motion Picture Magazine entitled, “Wolves I Have Known”. The most famous incident being with the Head of Columbia Studios, Harry Cohn, who requested Marilyn join him on his yacht for a weekend away in Catalina Island. Marilyn asked if his wife would be joining them, which, as you can imagine – did not go down well and her contract was not renewed with the Studio. Marilyn made only one film with Columbia during her six month contract, this being Ladies Of The Chorus (1948) which was shot in just ten days!

49. Loved animals dearly and adopted a variety of pets over the years. These included a basset hound called Hugo and parakeets, Clyde, Bobo and Butch with Husband Arthur Miller.  A number of cats including a persian breed called Mitsou in 1955 and Sugar Finney in 1959. Her most famous pet was gifted to her in March or April of 1961 by friend, Frank Sinatra, a little white maltese named Maf. His full name was Mafia Honey, as a humorous reference to Sinatra’s alleged connections to the Mob. After Marilyn’s death, Maf went to live with Frank Sinatra’s secretary, Gloria Lovell.

50. The book she was reading at the time of her death was Harper Lee’s, To Kill A Mocking Bird.

51. One of the movies she starred in was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture and won, this being All About Eve (1950) at The 23rd Academy Awards on March 29th 1951. It ended up being nominated for 14 Oscars, a record at the time and has only been matched by Titanic (1997) and La La Land (2016).

52. Her first magazine cover was photographed by Andre de Dienes in December 1945 for Family Circle, released on April 26th 1946.

53. Joined The William Morris Agency on December 7th 1948.

54. Was right handed, not left as often believed.

55. Third Husband Arthur Miller wrote the screenplay for Marilyn’s last completed film, The Misfits (1961) which was originally written as a short story for Esquire Magazine in 1957. After the tragic ectopic pregnancy Marilyn endured in August of 1957, friend and Photographer, Sam Shaw suggested to Miller he alter his short story specifically for her. Ironically the making of this film culminated in their divorce and Marilyn stating,

“He could have written me anything and he comes up with this. If that’s what he thinks of me then I’m not for him and he’s not for me.”

56. Was Author, Truman Capote’s original choice for the role of Holly Golightly in Breakfast At Tiffany’s (1961) however, she was advised to turn it down by her Acting Coach, Paula Strasberg, who did not think the role of a prostitute would be good for her image. Writer George Axelrod, who wrote the Screenplay for Bus Stop (1956) and the play, The Seven Year Itch, ironically ended up being the Screenwriter for this movie.

Capote said this regarding Marilyn,

“I had seen her in a film and thought she would be perfect for the part. Holly had to have something touching about her . . . unfinished. Marilyn had that.”

57. Second Husband Joe Dimaggio had The Parisian Florists deliver red roses on Marilyn’s grave twice a week, for twenty years, from August 1962 until September 1982. Marilyn had told him how William Powell used to do this for Jean Harlow after her death and he reportedly vowed to do the same after their Wedding Ceremony. After the 20 years he then donated to a children’s charity, as he thought it would be a nice way to honour her memory. They also created the flower arrangements for her casket at her funeral.

58. The following five Directors directed Marilyn in more than one movie;

– John Huston; The Asphalt Jungle (1950) and The Misfits (1961)
– Richard Sale;  A Ticket To Tomahawk (1950) and Let’s Make It Legal (1951)
– Howard Hawks; Monkey Business (1952) and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)
– Billy Wilder; The Seven Year Itch (1955) and Some Like It Hot (1959)
– George Cukor; Let’s Make Love (1960) and Something’s Got To Give (1962)

59. Was an illegitimate child, which unfortunately was attached with a lot of stigma in the 1920s. Her mother, Gladys, listed her then husband Edward Mortenson on the Birth Certificate, although it is commonly accepted that her real father was Charles Stanley Gifford, as Gladys left Edward on May 26th 1925. Gladys had an affair with him, which ended when she announced her pregnancy and he never acknowledged or met Marilyn, although she tried multiple times over the years to speak with him. 

60. Stayed in a number of foster homes during her childhood,

– George and Emma Atkinson; February 1934 – September 1934
– Enid and Sam Knebelcamp; Fall of 1934
– Harvey and Elsie Giffen; January 1935 – March 1935
– Grace and “Doc” Goddard; April 1935 – September 1935 and June 1937 – November 1937 and end of 1940 – February 1942
– Ida Martin; November 1937 – August 1938
– “Aunt Ana” Lower; August 1938  – End of 1940 and February 1942 

61. Had her hand and footprints immortalized in cement at Graumans Chinese Theatre on June 26th 1953, with Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) co-star, Jane Russell. Marilyn would place a rhinestone in the dot of the letter “i” as a reference to her character, “Lorelei Lee” but it was sadly stolen. This was an incredibly special moment for her, as she often talked about placing her hands and feet in the many prints there, when she spent her weekends at the Theatre as a child, especially in 1933 and 1934.

“When I was younger, I used to go to Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and try to fit my foot in the prints in the cement there. And I’d say “Oh, oh, my foots too big. I guess that’s out.” I did have a funny feeling later when I finally put my foot down into that wet cement, I sure knew what it really meant to me, anything’s possible, almost.”

62. The famous gold lamé dress worn in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) and designed by William Travilla, was deemed too risqué by the censors. Unfortunately for fans, this meant that the musical number, “Down Boy” was cut from the film and we only glimpse a few seconds of the dress from behind, on screen.

63. Due to the censors, the original, “Diamond’s Are A Girl’s Best Friend” costume was changed to the now iconic pink dress with black bow. Originally it was to be a diamond encrusted two piece, which was extremely daring for the then Motion Picture Hays Code.

64. Loved Erno Lazlo Skin Cream, Vaseline and Nivea Moisturizer.

65. Had she completed Something’s Got To Give (1962), Marilyn would have been the first Star in a major Motion Picture to appear nude on film. As she passed before it was completed the achievement went to fellow Blonde Bombshell, Jayne Mansfield in, Promises! Promises (1963).

66. Met Queen Elizabeth II in England at the Empire Theater in Leicester Square whilst attending the Premiere of, The Battle Of The River Plate on October 29th 1956.

67. The Misfits (1961) was both Marilyn and Clark Gable’s last completed films. Clark died 12 days after filming finished, on November 16th 1960. The film was released on Clark’s would be 60th Birthday, February 1st 1961 and Marilyn passed 18 months later.

68. As Marilyn died before the completion of Something’s Got To Give (1962) it ended up being remade with Doris Day and James Garner, entitled, Move Over Darling! (1963). The film was originally intended to be a remake of, My Favourite Wife (1940) which starred Cary Grant.

69. Signed a recording contract with RCA Records on September 1st 1953. One of her songs from River of No Return (1954) entitled, “File My Claim” sold 75,000 copies in its first three weeks of release.

70. Was admitted to the Payne Whitney Psychiatric Clinic on February 10th 1961 by her then Psychiatrist, Marianne Kris. Originally thought to be for rest and rehabilitation, following her divorce from Arthur Miller and the strain of filming The Misfits. However, Marilyn was placed on the security ring and held against her will. Thankfully, she was able to contact ex Husband, Joe Dimaggio, who stated he would, “Take the hospital apart brick by brick” if she was not released and after three days of emotional trauma, she left.

71. Visited the following Countries;

– Canada – (July – August 1953)
– Japan (February 1954)
– Korea (Feburary 1954)
– England (July – November 1956)
– Jamaica (January 1957)
– Mexico (February 1962)

72. Purchased her only home, 12305 Fifth Helena Drive on February 8th 1962, where she would tragically pass just under 6 months later.

73. The home had the following tile located on the front paving entrance saying, “cursum perficio” meaning, “my journey ends here.” The title is still there to this day.

74. Her final interview was published in LIFE Magazine on August 3rd 1962 and was written by Richard Meryman.

75. Aside from her millions of fans, had a staunch group of supporters affectionately known as, “The Monroe Six” who followed Marilyn around New York during her time there. Their nickname for Marilyn was, “Mazzie” and they became so acquainted that Marilyn actually once invited them for a picnic at her home.

76. First married at just sixteen years old, this was to avoid returning to the Orphanage she had spent almost two years in as a child.

77. Supported numerous charity events, most famously riding a pink elephant in Madison Square Garden, to support the Arthritis and Rheumatic Affections Association on March 30th 1955.

78. Left 25% of her Estate to her then Psychiatrist, Marianne Kris and 75% to mentor and friend, Lee Strasberg. For reference, her Will was last updated on January 1961 – a month before she entered the Payne Whitney Hospital on the advice of Marianne Kris.

79. At the time of it’s release, The Misfits (1961) turned out to be the most expensive black and white movie ever made, costing a budget of $4 million dollars.

80. The Premiere of The Seven Year Itch was held on her 29th Birthday, on June 1st 1955, she attended with ex Husband, Joe Dimaggio.

81. Laid to rest at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery on August 8th 1962 at 1:00 PM, with friend and mentor Lee Strasberg delivering the Eulogy. 

82. Although so often associated with diamonds, actually wasn’t that fond of jewellery stating, “People always ask me if I believe diamonds are a girl’s best friend. Frankly, I don’t.” 

83. Spent her 36th Birthday filming Something’s Got To Give (1962) and then attending a Charity Event for muscular dystrophy at the Chavez Ravin Dodger Stadium, which also happened to be her last public appearance.

84. Whilst recovering in hospital from an appendectomy in April 1952, Marilyn asked long time Makeup Artist and friend, Allan “Whitey” Snyder to do her makeup, should she pass before him. She gave him a gold money clip with the inscription, “Whitey Dear, while I’m still warm, Marilyn” and he did fulfill this promise to her.

85. Converted to Judaism for third husband, Arthur Miller on July 1st 1956.

86. Despite appearing in 30 films, she only actually dies in one, that being her breakout movie, Niagara (1953) where her character Rose Loomis, is strangled by her Husband George, played by Joseph Cotten.

87. Moved to New York City in 1955 and attended The Actors Studio, after breaking her Film Contract with 20th Century Fox. This was for a number of reasons, mainly years of low pay, unsatisfactory scripts and lack of creative control. A new contract would finally be reinstated on December 31st.

88. Repurchased a white Baby Grand Piano that her mother, Gladys, owned during their time living together in 1933. After Marilyn passed it would then be sold at the Christies Auction of her Estate in 1999 to none other than, Mariah Carey for $632,500.

89. Wore long hair pieces in River of No Return (1954) and a medium length wig in The Misfits (1961). The first I can only assume was due to the time period and setting of a Western and the second was due to the bleach damage her hair had suffered. After the filming in 1960, she wore the wig a couple of times in public events and then reverted back to her normal hair.

90. Like all students, it was tradition to perform in front of each other in The Actors Studio and on February 17th 1955, Marilyn acted out a scene from “Anna Christie” with Maureen Stapleton. Although it was an unwritten rule that students were not meant to applaud one another, an eruption of cheers and clapping happened after Marilyn had finished.

“Everybody who saw that says that it was not only the best work Marilyn ever did, it was some of the best work ever seen at Studio, and certainly the best interpretation of Anna Christie anybody ever saw. She achieved real greatness in that scene.”

– Actor Ellen Burstyn, on recalling Marilyn’s performance.

91. Used the pseudonym, “Zelda Zonk“, when trying to remain incognito.

92. Marilyn’s mother, Gladys Baker, suffered from Paranoid Schizophrenia and after various stays in institutions, was declared insane on January 15th 1935, when Marilyn was just 8 years old. After 10 years she was released and managed to retain various cleaning jobs and had developed an intense interest in Christian Science. However, by 1951 she was back in various institutions and would stay in the Rockhaven Sanitarium until 1967. Even after death, Marilyn continued to cover her mother’s care payments and Gladys would go on to outlive her for 22 years.

93. Favourite photograph of herself was taken by Cecil Beaton on February 22nd 1956.

94. Last professional photos were taken by Bert Stern, famously known as “The Last Sitting” for Vogue Magazine on June 23rd, July 10th and 12th 1962. Allan Grant took the LIFE Magazine interview pictures in her home, on July 4th and 9th 1962. Whilst George Barris took his photos for Cosmopolitan Magazine, the previous weekend on the 29th and 30th of June, until July 1st 1962.
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To those of you who took the time to read through all 3000+ words, thank you! It truly means more to me than you know and I really hope it’s shed some light on the truly special person Marilyn was and made you hold a good thought for her on her big day.

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meganmonroes@icloud.com

Veronica: The Autobiography of Veronica Lake; Book Review.

When most people hear the name, “Veronica Lake” usually one of three things comes to mind – that incredible peek-a-boo hair, the Film Noir’s with Alan Ladd or possibly Kim Basigner playing a Miss Lake lookalike in L.A. Confidential (1997) – fun fact, she won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for that role. Although, with Veronica’s heyday being well over half a century old, that’s sadly usually as far as it goes.

However, with the Classic Hollywood Era being hugely timeless and forever coming back into fashion, the genre is becoming less of a niché subject and more Stars are on the public radar. If you’re a long time Vintage Lover like myself, you’ll be aware that unfortunately, a lot of our favourites don’t have many books written about them, or if they do, they’ve been out of print for a number of years and can be hard to find, or very expensive. Therefore, when I came across the news that Dean Street Press were publishing a reprint of Veronica’s Autobiography, which was first released in 1969, I was absolutely ecstatic! As most who know me are probably aware of my love for Blonde Bombshells, it may not be as well known that Veronica is my other favourite, after Marilyn.

There have only been two books published on Veronica, which I must add, astounds me – and one of them is this one which was co-written by ghost writer Donald Bain, who sadly passed away in October of 2017. The other is by Jeff Lenburg and I am fortunate enough to have both. However, Lenburg’s book is fairly controversial as he takes a lot of his information from Veronica’s mother, who claims a lot of detrimental things about her daughter – yet was estranged from her for many, many years. I think it’s actually being reprinted this summer and I will read it again, but would definitely advise new fans to stick to Veronica’s own words.

The republished version of Veronica’s Autobiography features a new cover with a stunning publicity photo of her in Ramrod (1947) which was directed by her then Husband, André de Toth. The book is a shiny paperback, with a non crease format, so even when you’ve finished reading, it will be in great condition and can take pride of place on your bookshelf! At 215 pages and 27 chapters, it’s not a huge length, but definitely a substantial read and full of personal anecdotes from the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Broadcaster and writer, Eddie Muller adds a new Introduction and his following words really stuck with me, their relevancy still to this day does not go unnoticed,

I’ll point out instead that while the public has granted Sterling Hayden, a legendary boozer and hash-head, a legacy as a heroic, larger-than-life iconoclast, it has branded Lake’s life after Hollywood a steady downward spiral of abasement, worthy of only pity. Blame a cultural double standard that applauds reckless rebellion in men but shames it in women.”

As the chapters do not have titles, I’ve decided to write down a snippet of information which sums up the pivotal points and various timelines in each section.

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Chapter 1:

– Starts in 1938 and traces Veronica’s move to Hollywood with her mother, step-father and cousin on the 4th of July. Veronica enrolls in the Bliss Hayden School of Acting and has her first role in a movie as an extra in RKO’s Sorority House (1939).

Chapter 2:

– Veronica’s signature peek-a-boo hairstyle is unintentionally created on the set of Forty Little Mothers (1940) by Director, Busby Berkeley who stated, “I still say let it fall. It distinguishes her from the rest”.

Chapter 3:

– Director, Freddie Wilcox sets up Veronica’s first Screen Test, whilst at home her step-father suffers a collapsed lung.

Chapter 4:

– Veronica joins the iconic William Morris Agency and recounts her knowledge of the infamous Hollywood Casting Couch and how she turned away from the many advances.

Chapter 5:

– Veronica meets her first husband, John Detlie and has her named changed by Producer, Arthur Hornblow Jr., who, after a second Screen Test, decides to cast her as Sally Vaughn in her breakout movie, I Wanted Wings (1941).

Chapter 6:

– Focuses on the location filming of I Wanted Wings (1941) from August 26th 1940 in San Antonio, Texas.

Chapter 7:

– Continues filming in Hollywood for I Wanted Wings (1941) and elopes to marry her first husband, John Detlie.

Chapter 8:

– Veronica discusses the first 8 years of her childhood and her move to Florida in her teen years and the two schools she attended in Montreal and Miami.

Chapter 9:

– Recounts various appearances in Miami Beauty Pageants as a teenager.

Chapter 10:

– Returns to 1941 with the release of I Wanted Wings (1941) and focuses on the worldwide phenomenon of the famous hair. Also finishes with Director Preston Sturges hiring Veronica for the role of The Girl in Sullivan’s Travels (1941).

Chapter 11:

Veronica shares the news of her first pregnancy with her mother and how her third trimester would coincide with the physical demands of filming Sullivan’s Travels (1941).

Chapter 12:

– Covers the filming of Sullivan’s Travels (1941) from May 12th 1941 and the revelation of Veronica’s pregnancy. It’s simply incredible when watching the film all these years later to come to the realization that she was between six to eight months pregnant!

Chapter 13:

– The filming of This Gun For Hire (1942) and The Glass Key (1942).

Chapter 14:

– The filming of I Married A Witch (1942), So Proudly We Hail! (1943) and The Hour Before The Dawn (1944). Veronica also discusses the deterioration of her marriage and the tragic loss of her second baby, Anthony, who died a week after being born two months prematurely.

Chapter 15:

– Veronica divorces John and retells various anecdotes of the Hollywood Lifestyle in it’s heyday in the 1940s.

Chapter 16:

– Veronica discusses the filming of Star Spangled Rhythm (1942) and also her dating history during this period. She shares some fascinating stories of various celebrity anecdotes which include such Stars as, Errol Flynn, Katharine Hepburn, Howard Hughes and Gary Cooper.

Chapter 17:

– The filming of Bring On The Girls (1945), Duffy’s Tavern (1946) and Hold That Blonde! (1945). Veronica recalls marrying her second husband, Andre de Toth and shares a moving story from her visit to The White House in January 1945.

Chapter 18:

– The filming of Miss Susie Slagles (1946), Out Of This World (1945), Ramrod (1946), The Blue Dahlia (1946), Saigon (1947) and The Sainted Sisters (1948). Veronica and Andre expand their family as she has her third baby, a boy named Michael. She also talks about her and Andre obtaining their Pilot Licenses and how the death of her step-dad deeply affected her.

Chapter 19:

– Features a highly entertaining story of Veronica flying her plane, whilst carrying her forth child, in her fifth month of pregnancy. With her on board is her secretary Marge, who up until then had never flown before.

Chapter 20:

– Veronica gives birth to her forth baby, a girl named Diana and talks about the turmoil of her relationship with her mother, who decided to sue her for, “lack of filial love and responsibility” and over $17,000.

Chapter 21:

– The filming of Slattery’s Hurricane (1949) and Stronghold (1951). Veronica discusses her frustration with Andre’s prolific spending, which results in them filing for bankruptcy and ultimately, the deterioration of their marriage.

Chapter 22:

– Veronica moves to New York in 1951 and continues her acting career through various television appearances and the stage. She enters her third marriage to husband, Joe McCarthy, which she admits was volatile from the start and they divorce after just four years, in September 1959.

Chapter 23:

– Covers the years 1959 through to 1961. Veronica discusses her time taking a job as a cocktail waitress – which contrary to popular belief, she actually quite enjoyed. She also talks about the traumatic accident which resulted in a severely broken ankle, which caused her inability to act for two years.

Chapter 24:

– Delves into her relationship with Andy Elickson, a Merchant Seaman, who she met during her time working in the Martha Washington Hotel and focuses on the period between 1961 and 1966. She also writes about a high note in her stage career; appearing in Best Foot Forward in 1963.

Chapter 25:

– Veronica discusses her move to Miami from New York in 1966.

Chapter 26:

– The filming of Footsteps In The Snow (1966) and Flesh Feast (1970) which was then known as Time Is Terror and was originally shot in 1967.

Chapter 27:

– Ends in October 1967 with Veronica discussing her reading performance of The World of Carl Sandburg, which she describes as one of the, “finest moments” of her life.

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Veronica’s words are full of honesty, she does not sugar-coat her flaws and her anecdotes convey a great sense of humbleness towards her career and lots of self criticism to her talent, the latter which saddens me. I’ve noticed many of the great Stars rarely seem to have any belief in themselves. If only they could see how loved and appreciated they truly are. However, her loyalty and generosity towards her close friends and even acquaintances does not go unnoticed. It’s refreshing to see her be able to share her own story, without various opinions and conspiracies that have grown over the years being included.

Overall, there’s only two downsides that springs to mind. Firstly, as the book was originally published in 1969 and finishes at the end of 1967, we’re missing the six final years of her fascinating life and tragically nothing can be done to change this. Of course no one is at fault, it’s just a shame that those last years will remain mostly a mystery to us. It would have been wonderful to read about her time in England. Lastly, in the original edition, a number of pages featured very rare photos of Veronica throughout her years, including her own comments. Sadly, only a small version of the cover photo reappears at the end of the newly republished book. I’m assuming this is down to cost and or copyright, but it would be nice to see these rare treasures reappear in the latest edition for fans that are not fortunate enough to also own an original copy.

Ultimately, Veronica always maintains her true self and comes across as not a Screen Icon, but just like one of us – albeit with some extraordinary Hollywood stories. She’s simply, and I mean this in the most complimentary way – a human being. It’s been almost a decade since I discovered Veronica, eight years in fact and I for one have not only became even more endeared to Miss Lake, but, I have also developed a warm space in my heart for my fellow 5’2″ little lady, Miss Connie/Ronni Keane.

Lastly, a huge thank you to Dean Street Press for believing in the popularity of Veronica and so wonderfully reprinting hers and Donald Bain’s special words for us all to enjoy.

For anyone who wants to see more of Veronica, I’ve amassed a fairly large archive of photos over the years which can be viewed on my blog devoted entirely to her; missveronicalakes.

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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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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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