About James Dean, Janis Joplin, and Marilyn Monroe--Background to Alexie's "Tourists"
About James Dean
James Byron Dean, son of a dental technician and a farmer's daughter, Winton A. and Mildred Wilson Dean, was born February 8, 1931, in the "Seven Gables" apartment house at 4th and McClure Street in Marion, Indiana.
Mr. and Mrs. Dean, with their young son, moved to Fairmount shortly after his birth.
During their time in Fairmount they lived in three homes within the town's limits and in a
small home located at the north edge of the Winslow farm. When Jimmy was five the family
moved to California. Dean's mother died of cancer when he was nine and was buried in Grant
Memorial Park, Marion. The family decided that Jimmy should live with his aunt and uncle,
Marcus and Ortense Winslow and his cousin Joan on their farm north of Fairmount. At the
age of 13, Jimmy's cousin Marcus Jr. was born.
He started school at Fairmount West Ward (Old Academy) and entered Fairmount High School in 1945, where he was very successful in sports, drama, art and the band. At graduation exercises in may of 1949, he received dramatic, art and athletic awards. He also placed first in the Indiana State Contest of the national Forensic League, with his presentation of "The Madman" by Dickens, and sixth in the National contest at Longmont, Colorado.
After graduation, he enrolled in Santa Monica City College, California to study pre-law. In 1950 he transferred to U.C.L.A. where he majored in drama for two years before leaving for New York. Jimmy pounded the pavement of Broadway for two years seeking a "break" on the stage. His first role was in the play See The Jaguar with Arthur Kennedy and Constance Ford. Later, as the blackmailing Arab in The Immoralist, he won the Daniel Blum Award as the most promising newcomer of 1954 and a movie contract with Elia Kazan for East of Eden. He also appeared in some of the best television programs, including Schlitze Playhouse, Studio One and Kraft Theater.
The movie going public first saw James Dean on the screen in East of Eden with Julie Harris. In this film, Jimmy was an overnight sensation. For his performance in East of Eden, he was nominated for an Academy Award. he received the first Audience Poll Award for Best Actor in 1955. Fame and fortune seemed his. In his second film, Rebel Without a Cause, he was supported by co-stars, Natalie Wood and Sal Mineo.
Jimmy had looks, appeal, talent, a serious attitude toward his profession and a keen desire to become a director. His friends and co-workers felt his sensitivity and talent. Rugged sports were a necessity in his life. Often at Warner Brothers Studio, he would spar with an athletic coach. His first purchase in Hollywood was a beautiful Palomino horse, next a motorcycle and finally his $7000 German made sports car, a Porsche Spyder 550. During the filming of Giant with Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson, the studio forbade him to engage in any kind of racing. The day after the film was completed, Jimmy was happily preparing for one of the year's most important and exciting sports car events. He left Los Angeles headed for the race in his Porsche-suddenly at the intersection of Routes 466 and 41 near Cholame, a car appeared--a collision and death came instantly to Dean, age 24, on September 30, 1955. Jimmy was brought back to Fairmount and laid to rest in the Winslow family plot in Park Cemetery, Fairmount, a short distance from the farm on which he grew up. Funeral services were held at the Fairmount Friends Church on October 8, 1955.
James Dean: Rebel for All Seasons
by Ron Martinetti
James Dean was little more than a boy when he died, killed at twenty-four on the highway near Paso Robles, California, on September 30, 1955, while on his way to a sports car meet. At the time of his death, Dean had completed three movies, East of Eden, Rebel Without a Cause, and Giant, only the first of which had been released.
Dean was already an actor of promise, and his death was front-page news. It was the Eisenhower era-a time of peace and prosperity-when young people were expected to respect their elders and obey the rules. But even during his short life, Dean was widely known as a nonconformist-a rebel who had taken Hollywood by storm and who did as he pleased.
For young people coming of age, Dean was someone they could easily identify with: an outsider, a loner-he was the antithesis of everything a well-behaved youth was supposed to be. His screen portrayals symbolized the rebelliousness of adolescence. In public he was often rude, even surly. A fan magazine quoted him as saying, "I wouldn't like me, if I had to be around me." He had been known to fight with directors and storm off the set. "Jimmy knew what young people were up against," an admirer once said. "He understood." Later, someone else referred to him as "the first student activist."
From the day of his death, it seemed that young people would not let Dean die. A special fan mail agency had to deal with the deluge of mail that poured into the studio. Many of the letters were addressed to the dead star.
A record, "His Name Was Dean," put out on a small label, sold twenty-five thousand copies in a single week. Mattson's, a Hollywood clothing shop, received hundreds of orders for red jackets identical to the one Dean had worn in Rebel Without a Cause, and Griffith Park, where scenes from the movie were shot, became almost overnight a tourist attraction. Admirers lined up inside the Observatory, hoping to sit in the same seat Dean had used in the film. "It's like Valentino," a reporter told Henry Ginsberg, the coproducer of Giant, Dean's last movie, referring to the craze that had swept the nation after the Italian actor's death in the 1920s. Ginsberg disagreed, "It's bigger than Valentino."
Some fans refused to believe that Dean was really dead. Walter Winchell printed in his column the rumor that Dean was disfigured but still alive. Other stories insisted that it had been a hitchhiker and not Dean who had been killed and that the actor was in hiding while learning to operate his artificial limbs or that he had been placed in a sanitarium.
Hollywood, of course, had always been a commercial enterprise: Dean's popularity was not lost on the moguls who had built the industry. Jack Warner admitted: "That kid Dean...gave us a lot of trouble, but it was worth it. He was surrounded with stars in Giant, but we believe he was twenty-five percent responsible for the success of the picture." (Cecil Beaton, Cecil Beaton's Fair Lady, New York, Holt, 1964) Aided by studio press releases, fan magazines printed stories with titles like, "You Can Make Jimmy Dean Live Forever" and "The Boy Who Refuses to Die."
Not everyone, however, was enthusiastic about Dean. Herbert Mitgang, of The New York Times, dismissed him as "an honor graduate of the black leather jacket and motorcycle school of acting and living it up." And director Elia Kazan, Dean's mentor, claimed: "Every boy goes through a period when he's seventeen or so when he hates his father, hates authority, can't live within the rules. . . It's a classic case. Dean just never got out of it."
Dean's recklessness and commitment to having lived his life to the fullest had its appeal as well. "All adolescents," wrote Martin Mayer in Esquire, want to rope steers...and sculpt busts of famous novelists and drive a custom sports car and write poetry and be a great Hollywood star. Dean did it.... In a way, the kids feel he did it all for them." He was, moreover, the one hero who would never sell out. He would never have a chance to.
A few of Dean's close friends refused to take part in the hysteria-or cash in on the enterprise. Dennis Stock, a young photographer, remembers being invited to dinner by another photographer, Sanford Roth, after Dean's death. Roth had been the still photographer on Giant and had shot numerous poses of Jimmy both on and off the set. When Stock arrived, he assumed that he and the Roths would spend a quiet evening reminiscing about their gifted friend. But when he realized the Roths had invited a newspaper reporter who was doing a story on Dean, Stock got up and left. "It was a publicity setup," he recalled with disdain.
In a sense, however, Dean had almost invited the reaction that followed his death. "He was a boy with a wonderful sense of the theater," director George Stevens said. As a farmboy, in high school, Jimmy had been a show-off; in Hollywood, he cultivated his offbeat image with the press. After making East of Eden, Dean excused his obnoxious public behavior by telling an interviewer, "I can't divert into being a human being when I've been playing a hero, like Cal, who's essentially demonic." On another occasion, he explained: "A neurotic person has the necessity to express himself and my neuroticism manifests itself in the dramatic..." He was-cool; the perfect quote was always on his lips.
Humphrey Bogart, who also knew a thing or two about image making, once said: "Dean died at just the right time. He left behind a legend. If he had lived, he'd never have been able to live up to his publicity." (Richard Gehman, Bogart, New York, Gold Medal Books, 1965)
But Dean did not live and in death became transformed into a myth: Even today, visitors come from all over to visit his grave in Fairmount, Indiana, the small farming community where Dean grew up. In one recent year, there were over six thousand visitors, some from as far away as Argentina and Australia. Dean's handsome, brooding face adorns posters and T-shirts. A licensing company, run by lawyers, markets James Dean calendars, postcards, and ashtrays around the world.
Over the years, an impressive list of actors and performers have claimed to have been influenced by him: Bob Dylan, Al Pacino, Martin Sheen, Michael Parks, the late Jim Morrison, poet and lead singer for the Doors, who lived fast and died hard, just like one of his heroes, James Dean.
Dean's life has been the subject of novels, plays, even a song by the Beach Boys entitled, "A Young Man Is Gone." But not every writer has been adoring. In 1993, George Will, the respected conservative columnist, blamed Dean and his film personality for the youthful unrest that convulsed the country in the 1960s. Will wrote: "In Rebel Dean played himself-a mumbling, arrested-development adolescent-to perfection. Feeling mightily sorry for himself as a victim (of insensitive parents), his character prefigured the whiny, alienated, nobody-understands-me pouting that the self-absorbed youth of the sixties considered a political stance."
But Dean was a many-sided figure; the sullen young man was only one facet of his personality. He was creative, intellectually curious, and ambitious, as well as manipulative and extremely selfish. Many actors who actually worked with him disliked him-and rued the experience. One actor who worked with Dean on TV recalled decades later that Jimmy had been vulgar, self-congratulatory, and rude. "His movements on stage were far removed from the carefully rehearsed planned positions," the actor, Vaughn Taylor, recalled. This created "havoc with the other actors' performances and for the director. The result was pandemonium for everyone except Mr. Dean and his sick ego." This comment is all too typical and an ironic epitaph for an actors' icon.
Moreover, not all of Dean's friends found him loyal. After Jimmy had achieved success, a struggling young photographer to whom Dean had reason to be grateful asked him to go halves on a used camera. Dean refused. "I can get all the new equipment I want," he said callously. Alas, this was not the only friend Jimmy left behind after his rapid rise to fame.
In the years since Dean's death, there has been much speculation about his rumored bisexuality. In fact, women were strongly attracted to him, and he engaged in numerous affairs. At one point, in New York, he was simultaneously having affairs with a wealthy debutante and a beautiful high school girl.
A few Dean friends continue to deny his homosexuality, despite conclusive evidence to the contrary. After reading a draft of this manuscript, actor Martin Landau refused to be interviewed, saying: "This guy was not gay." Only one of Dean's homosexual relationships is dealt with in this book-and that in his early days in Hollywood and New York with a director named Rogers Brackett.
Brackett was a well-connected figure in Hollywood; the son of a Hollywood pioneer, he knew everyone from Marlene Dietrich to Henry Miller. He got Dean small parts in three Hollywood movies and later helped him land his first starring role on Broadway.
After Dean's death, Rogers regularly refused press interviews about him and turned down biographers' requests. His own attainments were considerable: a witty, cultivated man, he had directed stage plays and had written lyrics for a popular Alec Wilder song. Brackett had no desire to be regarded as an appendage to his famous protege.
Toward the end of his own life, however, when he was stricken with cancer, Rogers granted me the only interviews he ever gave on Dean. He was tired of the "half-truths" that had been published and wanted "to set the record straight." This book draws on those interviews and the letters he wrote me; many of the items are published here for the first time, since Rogers requested that they be withheld until after his death.
As we approach the fortieth anniversary of Dean's death, however, neither his sexuality-nor the quirks in his personality-make much difference to his ever-growing legion of fans: Bikers and mall rats, poets and rockers revere him as much today as teenagers did a generation ago. To them, he is what he is: a rebel for all seasons.
Ultimately, it seems, as long as there are young people, so long as there are boundaries, Dean will live-and the legend will endure.
This essay originally appeared as the introduction to the 1995 revised edition of Ron Martinetti's early biography, The James Dean Story.
About Janis Joplin
Janis Joplin, one of the most powerful singers of her generation, found her voice as a hard-living, blues-loving diva on the psychedelic San Francisco scene. She sang with feverish power over the high-adrenaline music of Big Brother and the Holding Company, finding a release in their psychedelic blues-rock. Joplin's tenure with Big Brother was brief (1966-1968), but it yielded two albums, including the raucous classic Cheap Thrills, featuring "Ball and Chain" and "Piece of My Heart," and memories of a shattering performance at the Monterey International Pop Festival in 1967. In the words of associate and biographer Myra Friedman, "It wasn't only her voice that thrilled, with its amazing range and strength and awesome wails. To see her was to be sucked into a maelstrom of feeling that words can barely suggest."
Joplin was born in 1943 in Port Arthur, an oil-refining town on the Texas coast. As an adolescent, she was a social outcast whose loneliness drew her to the purest musical source material - Odetta, Leadbelly and Bessie Smith on the blues side, Otis Redding and Tina Turner on the soul side. She sang acoustic folk blues on the coffeehouse circuit in Texas and San Francisco before joining Big Brother - an already existing band consisting of guitarists James Gurley and Sam Andrew, bassist Peter Albin and drummer David Getz - at the suggestion of Chet Helms in 1966. Helms, one of the group of dance and concert organizers who called themselves the Family Dog, booked Big Brother at some of the earliest events on the nascent San Francisco scene, and the group became regulars at his Avalon Ballroom in the late Sixties. It was at the Avalon where much of Cheap Thrills - an album that sat at the top of the album charts for eight weeks in 1968 - was recorded.
Joplin left Big Brother for a solo career, releasing I've Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama! in 1969 and touring extensively with her Kozmic Blues Band. She was working on her second album with a superb new band, Full-Tilt Boogie, when she was found dead of a heroin overdose in a hotel room on October 4, 1970. The posthumously released album, entitled Pearl (after her nickname), became her biggest seller, holding down the #1 position for nine weeks in 1971. Subsequently, Joplin has passed into the realm of legend: a brash and self-destructive personality who nonetheless scaled the heights of artistry as a soul-baring blues singer.
Her legacy has had as much to do with her persona as her singing. As music journalist Ellen Wills has stated: "Joplin belonged to that select group of pop figures who mattered as much for themselves as for their music. Among American rock performers, she was second only to Bob Dylan in importance as a creator-recorder-embodiment of her generation's mythology."
"I only saw Janis Joplin one time--on a hot summer day in San Jose, California, at
the Santa Clara Fairgrounds...She was extraordinary. She had a connection with the
audience that I had not seen before, and when she left the stage--I knew that a little bit
of my destiny had changed--I would search to find that connection that I had seen between
Janis and her audience. In a blink of an eye--she changed my life.
"The thing about Janis is that she just looked so unique, an ugly duckling dressed
as a princess, fearlessly so. Seeing her live (Blossom Music Center, Richfield, Ohio 1970)
was like watching a boxing match. Her performance was so in your face and electrifying
that it really put you right there in the moment. There you were living your nice little
life in the suburbs and suddenly there was this train wreck, and it was Janis."
"I remember thinking that Janis Joplin sang like Mae West talked. When I first
heard the primal scream in 'Piece Of My Heart,' I was hooked.... During the 'whoa, whoa,
whoa, whoa's' in 'Combination Of Two,' I couldn't help but go to the mirror and pretend I
was a wild woman like Janis, in a rock band."
"Janis Joplin was, and remains, beautiful. Hers will always be that bruised, yet
strong voice that to me has no gender. It is so raw that it has gone beyond...."
About Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe's career as an actress spanned 16 years. She made 29 films, 24 in the first 8 years of her career.
Born as Norma Jeane Mortenson on June 1, 1926 in Los Angeles General Hospital, her mother, Gladys, listed the fathers address as unknown. Marilyn would never know the true identity of her father.
Due to her mother's mental instability and the fact that she was unmarried at the time, Norma Jeane was placed in the foster home of Albert and Ida Bolender. It was here she lived the first 7 years of her life.
"They were terribly strict...they didn't mean any harm...it was their religion. They brought me up harshly."
In 1933, Norma Jeane lived briefly with her mother. Gladys begin to show signs of mental depression and in 1934 was admitted to a rest home in Santa Monica. Grace McKee, a close friend of her mother took over the care of Norma Jeane. "Grace loved and adored her", recalled one of her co-workers. Grace, telling her..."Don't worry, Norma Jeane. You're going to be a beautiful girl when you get big...an important woman, a movie star." Grace was captivated by Jean Harlow, a superstar of the twenties, and Marilyn would later say..."and so Jean Harlow was my idol."
Grace was to marry in 1935 and due to financial difficulties, Norma Jeane was placed in an orphanage from September 1935 to June 1937. Grace frequently visited her, taking her to the movies, buying clothes and teaching her how to apply makeup at her young age. Norma Jeane was to later live with several of Grace's relatives.
"The world around me then was kind of grim. I had to learn to pretend in order to...I don't know...block the
The Misfits (1961)
grimness. The whole world seemed sort of closed to me...(I felt) on the outside of everything, and all I could do was to dream up any kind of pretend-game."
In September 1941 Norma Jeane was again living with Grace when she met Jim Dougherty, 5 years her senior. Grace encouraged the relationship and on learning that she and her husband would be moving to the East Coast, set in motion plans for Norma Jeane to marry Dougherty on June 19, 1942.
"Grace McKee arranged the marriage for me, I never had a choice. There's not much to say about it. They couldn't support me, and they had to work out something. And so I got married."
Dougherty joined the Merchant Marines in 1943 and in 1944 was sent overseas. Norma Jeane, while working in a factory inspecting parachutes in 1944, was photographed by the Army as a promotion to show women on the assembly line contributing to the war effort. One of the photographers, David Conover, asked to take further pictures of her. By spring of 1945, she was quickly becoming known as a "photographers dream" and had appeared on 33 covers of national magazines.
In the fall of 1946 she was granted a divorce...later saying, "My marriage didn't make me sad, but it didn't make me happy either. My husband and I hardly spoke to each other. This wasn't because we were angry. We had nothing to say. I was dying of boredom."
On July 23, 1946 she signed a contract with Twentieth Century-Fox Studios. She selected her mother's family name of Monroe. From this point on she would be known as Marilyn Monroe to all her fans. She had a minor part in the movie "Scudda-Hoo! Scudda-Hay! and was dismissed as a contract player in August. Rehired in 1948, Marilyn sang here first song in the movie "Ladies of the Chorus".
Johnny Hyde, of the William Morris Agency, became her mentor and lover in 1949. Also, in 1949, Marilyn agreed to pose nude for a calendar. A fact that was to stir controversy later in her career as a superstar.
"Hollywood is a place where they'll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss and fifty cents for your soul"
Her first serious acting job came in 1950 when she had a small but crucial role in "The Asphalt Jungle" and received favorable reviews. "Clash By Night" in 1952 earned her several favorable notices...Alton Cook of the New York World-Telegram and Sun wrote..."a forceful actress, a gifted new star, worthy of all that fantastic press agentry. Her role here is not very big, but she makes it dominant." Monroe's first leading part in a serious feature was to be in "Don't Bother to Knock", also filmed in 1952.
Marilyn met Joe DiMaggio in early 1952, she was 25 and he was 37. DiMaggio, recently retired from baseball, had expressed a desire to meet this famous star. By February the romance was in full bloom.
"I was surprized to be so crazy about Joe. I expected a flashy New York sports type, and instead I met this reserved guy who didn't make a pass at me right away! He treated me like something special. Joe is a very decent man, and he makes other people feel decent, too!"
In 1952 Marilyn began filming "Niagara" with Joseph Cotten...a film that was to establish her stardom. After her next big film, "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes", she and Jane Russell signed their names and placed their hands and feet in the wet cement in front of the Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard...the same place she had visited with Gladys and Grace years earlier as a child.
"I want to be a big star more than anything. It's something precious"
Fox suspended Marilyn in 1954 for failure to appear on the set of "Pink Tights". The studio had refused to let her look at the script prior to accepting the part. She felt that due to her star status, she should have the right to script approval. On January 14 Joe and Marilyn were married. The wedding captured the headlines worldwide. Joe was an extremely jealous type of guy and resented her popularity among other men. He desired a housewife, not a star of such magnitude...the marriage was in trouble from the beginning.
"I didn't want to give up my career, and that's what Joe wanted me to do most of all."
She was asked to go on a USO tour of Korea in February to entertain the troops, beginning on the 16th for four days. She entertained over 60,000 soldiers, many who had never seen a Monroe film...having been in the service during her rise to stardom... most had seen still photos of her in many magazines and newspapers. She was a huge success. Joe did not accompany her on this trip...explaining, "Joe hates crowds and glamour."
"...standing in the snowfall facing these yelling soldiers, I felt for the first time in my life no fear of anything, I felt only happy."
On May 29, Marilyn began filming "There's No Business Like Show Business". Throughout the summer she was ill with bronchitis and anemia. For the first time, Marilyn began showing serious side-effects of the many sleeping pills she had been taking for the last few years...often groggy, lethargic and crying on the set.
The famous "skirt blowing" scene from the "Seven Year Itch" , filmed in 1954 was to be a hit with both amateur and professional photographers. Several hundred, along with 2000 spectators gathered outside the Trans-Lux Theater in New York City in the early morning hours of September 15th to see and record her as she posed for over two hours for her adoring fans.
In the fall of 1954 Marilyn and Joe separated...later to divorce. On October 6, Jerry Giesler made a press announcement and stated "...as her attorney, I am speaking for her and can only say that the conflict of careers has brought about this regrettable necessity." With the press hounding her, Marilyn answered in a choked voice, "I can't say anything today. I'm sorry. I'm sorry."
"When I married him (Joe), I wasn't sure of why I married him, I have too many fantasies to be a housewife."
In early 1955 Marilyn again returned to New York and joined the Actors Studio, in pursuit of becoming a serious actress. There she met Lee Strasberg, head of the Studio and drama coach. Mr. Strasberg and his family would play an important role in her life.
She was to renew her acquaintance with Arthur Miller and have an affair with him before their marriage over a year later. To Marilyn, Miller represented the serious theater and an intellect that she found attractive. To Miller, years later..."It was wonderful to be around her, she was simply overwhelming. She had so much promise. It seemed to me that she could really be a great kind of phenomenon, a terrific artist. She was endlessly fascinating, full of original observations...there wasn't a conventional bone in her body."
Marilyn returned to Hollywood in February 1956, after over a years absence, to film "Bus Stop". After completing the film she returned to New York in June. Miller also returned to New York after obtaining a divorce in Reno, Nevada. They where married June 29 in White Plains, NY.
The Millers departed for London soon after their marriage so that Marilyn could start production on "The Prince and the Showgirl" with Lawrence Olivier. As early as July, Arthur began to have doubts about the marriage. Sidney Skolsky remarked that..."Miller looked on Marilyn strictly as an ideal and was shocked to discover that she is a human being, a person, even as you and I and maybe Miller."
"Bus Stop" opened in London in October 1956. A Times review said..."Miss Monroe is a talented comedienne, and her sense of timing never forsake her. She gives a complete portrait, sensitively and sometimes even brilliantly conceived. There is about her a waif-life quality, an underlying note of pathos which can be strangely moving."
"It's not that I object to doing musicals and comedies...in fact, I rather enjoy them...but I'd like to do dramatic parts too."
Marilyn Monroe did not return to Hollywood until 1958 to make "Some Like It Hot" with Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis. Her health continued to deteriorate due to increased dependency on drugs and involvement in an unhappy marriage. She often came to the set late and was unable to remember her lines. Director, Billy Wilder later said..."Anyone can remember lines, but it takes a real artist to come on the set and not know her lines and yet give the performance she did." Her next film "Let's Make Love" proved to be an unremarkable film with much publicity over her brief affair with co-star Yves Montand.
"I am invariably late for appointments...sometimes, as much as two hours. I've tried to change my ways but the things that make me late are too strong, and too pleasing."
Early in 1960, Marilyn was consulting with Dr. Ralph Greenson, a prominent psychoanalyst to Hollywood stars. As common during this period, he relied heavily on drug therapy...routinely prescribing barbiturates and tranquilizers in addition to his psychotherapy.
July 1960 marked the start of filming "The Misfits"...a short story by Arthur Miller adapted for film. While on location the Millers lived in separate quarters and were barely speaking. Meanwhile, pills for Marilyn were regularly flown in from her Los Angeles doctors, including Dr. Greenson. Allan Snyder recalled..."It took so long to get her going in the morning that usually I had to make her up while she lay in her bed." But once again, she managed to give an exceptional performance.
"Everybody is always tugging at you. They'd all like a sort of chunk out of you. I don't think they realize it, but it's like "grrrr do this, grrrr do that..." But you do want to stay intact...intact and on two feet."
On November 5th, the day after "The Misfits" was completed, co-star Clark Gable suffered a serious heart attack and died on November 16, 1960. Marilyn felt a great deal of guilt, commenting..."I kept him waiting...kept him waiting for hours and hours on that picture."
Evelyn Moriarty remembered..."Marilyn was being blamed for everything. All of her problems were exaggerated to cover up for Director Huston's gambling and the terrible waste of money on that production. It was easy for her to be made the scapegoat."
Marilyn divorced Arthur Miller in January of 1961, the same month that "The Misfits" was released. Another unhappy marriage was terminated.
"Mr. Miller is a wonderful man and a great writer, but it didn't work out that we should be husband and wife."
In 1961 Marilyn purchased a house in the Brentwood section of Los Angeles. At the urging of her psychoanalyst, Dr Greenson, she hired Eunice Murray as housekeeper. Murray, calling herself a nurse, had neither the training or credentials. It is suspected that she was a "spy" for Dr. Greenson who continued to have more and more control over Marilyn's life, seeing her almost daily when she was in Los Angeles.
A reported affair with John F. Kennedy began in late 1961. At the President's gala birthday celebration in Madison Square Garden on May 19, 1962, Marilyn sang her now famous "Happy Birthday" tribute to JFK. The Attorney General, Bobby Kennedy was also reported to have had an affair with Marilyn shortly before her death.
Marilyn began production on "Somethings Got to Give" in April 1962. Much has been said about her inability to show up on the set and her trip to New York for the Presidents birthday celebration...but her illnesses had been well documented by physicians and she had obtained permission from the Studio well in advance of the trip to New York.
"I feel stronger if the people around me on the set love me, care for me, and hold good thoughts for me. It creates an aura of love, and I believe I can give a better performance."
The Studio was deeply in debt over their production of "Cleopatra" starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. The filming was way behind schedule and costing millions over budget. It is theorized, if Fox scrapped the Marilyn Monroe film with far fewer expensive sets and actors, they possibly could be reimburse by the insurance company for losses due to a star's illness, and recoup monies spent. Fox fired Marilyn and filed suit against Marilyn Monroe Productions on June 7, but the suit was later dropped.
Marilyn had been seeing Joe DiMaggio frequently during this time and had finally agreed to remarry him. The wedding date was set for August 8, 1962. Fox rehired her on August 1 to complete "Somethings Got to Give" with a salary of $250,000, which was two and a half times the original amount. Of course these events would never come to pass due to her untimely death on August 5, 1962.
Much has been speculated about the events surrounding her death and others involvement in it. But whatever the cause...it is highly unlikely that it was suicide. Possibly the result of a tragic accidental drug overdose...and possibly administered by someone other than Marilyn herself.
A saddened Joe DiMaggio made arrangements for the funeral, inviting no one from the Hollywood scene or press...but only close friends and relatives. As he said..."they had only hurt Marilyn." For over 20 years flowers were delivered weekly to her crypt from Joe...just as he had promised Marilyn when she told him of William Powell's pledge to the dying Jean Harlow.
"I knew I belonged to the public and to the world, not because I was talented or even beautiful, but because I had never belonged to anything or anyone else."
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