Today would have been (or is, depending on how you look at it) the 85th birthday of Marilyn Monroe.
Last year, I spent eight months and 550 pages writing about this remarkable woman, so quite why I’m attempting a blog of a four hundred or so words I’m not really sure, but I just felt the day needed to be marked in some way...
As a person, Marilyn Monroe was compelling; she was deeply introspective, arguably because of a “pillar to post” upbringing which resulted in a deep-seated trauma which she never fully overcame. She was far brighter than her platinum blonde Harlowesque image may have suggested; well read and an actress of genuine talent... (viz. Nell Forbes in Don’t Bother to Knock).
Marilyn’s private life was never likely to be simple – and it wasn’t; three husbands, numerous lovers and “friends” in the highest places. At the time of her death, husband number two, ex-baseball star Joe DiMaggio was “back on the scene”; there’s no doubt he loved Marilyn, but his views on the female role in a relationship were as strict as they were outdated. Marilyn’s quest was probably not just about love, but the paternal guidance she never had whilst growing up. She maybe saw that in Arthur Miller, but his notebook betrayal was another devastating blow for a young woman by now dependent on alcohol and prescription drugs just to make a belated appearance on the film set...
Her death in August 1962 was a goldmine for the conspiracy theorists. Many authors have described the “truth” in convincing fashion, but all arguments bar a maximum of one must, by definition, be flawed. The fact that the truth is unlikely to be known for certain will ensure the legend of Marilyn Monroe will live on but, for the record, I think she died accidentally at the hands of Drs Engelberg and Greenson; the former distracted by a marital separation and the latter guilty of creating a situation that rendered a professional doctor/patient relationship almost impossible. Unbeknown to each other, I believe their intervention led to fatal doses of Nembutal and Choral Hydrate being introduced into Marilyn’s body and what followed became a tragic inevitability.
Eunice Murray’s feeble attempts at track covering suggest (to me, at least) that she should have been central to any investigation and her ever-changing story only helped to fuel Kennedy or mob-related theorists. And one of them may be right... I’m only venturing an “educated guess”.
Today though, I am going to remember Marilyn Monroe in life... the very definition of both beauty and vulnerability. “Happy birthday to you...”
All my own work... almost.