Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Marilyn Monroe

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I just finished reading a biography by J. Randy Taraborrelli called The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe. I'm not sure what made me pick it up, I don't have any particular fondness for Marilyn Monroe. Of course I know who she is, have seen some of her movies, and who could miss the onslaught of constant Marilyn Monroe everything from posters, keychains, postcards, t-shirts, books, pictures, etc, etc. I guess I have always thought of her as a ditzy blonde actress who had a troubling personal life.

I think one of the things that sparked my curiosity about her life is seeing so many young starlets imitating her, tattooing Marilyn's face on their bodies, identifying themselves as somehow like her. I guess the real kicker was when I saw a quote by Marilyn on my 16 year old nieces FaceBook.

I mean, if I'm going to quote someone, it's going to be someone I really admire. So, I can only assume that the younger generation really admires her.

After reading the book, all I can say is, poor Norma Jeane Mortensen. She was born to an unwed mother who put her into foster care right after her birth. She stayed there for 7 years when her Mother decided she wanted her back. Norma Jeane's Mother was to be diagnosed as Paranoid Schizophrenic. Her Mother before her also suffered from the same mental illness, as would Marlilyn in later life.

Marilyn's early life entailed her being shuffled around here and there until she married at 17. The only reason she got married is so she wouldn't have to go the state orphanage. Her rise to fame wasn't meteoric, she struggled, but made steady progress in her career.

She is described constantly by those who knew her as absolutely beautiful. Every inch of her, from head to toe. She knew how to turn it on, how to work a room, how to BE Marilyn Monroe. To look at her, you'd think she had everything. But she constantly battled her demons. She battled them unsuccessfully with drugs and alcohol, and in the end she lost her life.

This book gives the reader a peek into what her mental state was like at times. I can't imagine living with what she had to deal with. Abandonment issues accompanied by mental illness, the poor girl never had a chance.

I walk away from this book, not with admiration for Marilyn Monroe, but with a new found respect for what she had to live through. It is amazing she made it as far as she did given what she was up against.

1 comment:

  1. Great post and yes, Norma Jean had a sad life in so many aspects. She was incredible talent and her movie, Some Like It Hot is among my favorites ever.