Tuesday, April 16, 2013


"I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they're right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together."    ~Marilyn Monroe

I was in junior high school when I read my first biography on Norma Jeane (Mortenson) Baker, more commonly known as Marilyn Monroe.   Her story was one of triumph and utter despair.  It was that rise from the ashes story, and yet... She never really escaped the bondage of her past.  Her fears were always with her.  They rode piggyback on everything that she did and guided every decision that she made.  They tarnished even her brightest successes.  It made me so sad, because it was clear that there was a fighter, a winner, a girl who had that magic *something* in there.

Her mother was emotionally unbalanced.  Her father was out of the picture altogether.  So, young Norma Jeane lived with family members, and friends of the family, until she became a Ward of The State.  She lived in foster care.  This system was not good for her, as it was not good for many young people.  She was sexually assaulted in one or more homes.  I have no doubt that left scars.  Her mother's "going crazy" haunted her for the entirety of her life.  She lived in fear of reaching that age when she would also just lose it and go insane like dear old mom.  It is impossible to build good things for yourself when you have these ghosts nipping at your heels.

Given this foundation, look at what she accomplished: She went from a pin-up girl to a full-fledged movie star.  She sang and acted and made America love her.  In fact, people today still know who Marilyn Monroe is even if they haven't seen one of her films.  Everyone recognizes her face.

Norma Jeane was a very complicated person, aside from her rocky start in life.  She looked like one thing on the outside, but was a totally different thing on the inside.  She looked like a "dumb blonde".... all curvy body and long legs.  People like for people to be on the inside the way that they look on the outside.  Pretty and not so bright.  Instead, Marilyn was smart.  She liked to read and talk politics.  She nearly didn't even meet Joe DiMaggio, much less marry him, because she didn't like jocks.  She wanted to be able to talk to a man.  He turned out to be a pleasant surprise.  Their conflict came because he didn't like his wife being this big Sex Symbol for all of America to ogle.  Her career kept getting bigger and bigger and so did their arguments.  It didn't mean he didn't love her.  In fact, he put roses on her grave until the day he died.  And she sent him a letter AFTER they divorced telling him she loved him.  Love is a crazy thing.

Marrying Arthur Miller is further proof that she was all about having good conversation with her partner.  He was not a looker by any means.  I hope that I am not offending anyone.  Just calling it like I see it.  He was a genius writer, and I imagine very interesting to converse with, but not easy on the eyes.  However, that marriage did not last, either.  The signs point to the poor performance at the box office of the movie Let's Make Love.  That was followed up with The Misfits.  It is rumored that Monroe was a real pill on-set, and Clark Gable died right after that was finished filming, so that whole film was fraught with tragedy.   At the time it came out with mixed reviews, won some awards,  but today it is considered a Classic.  I am sure it didn't help the tension between Miller and Monroe.  They separated within days after the filming of the movie, and soon divorced.

As for her death, I am not certain that I buy suicide.  Many people, who know way more than I do, are pretty certain that her involvement with President Kennedy, and his brother, Bobby, took her down a bad path.  She was very interested in politics, and people constantly underestimated her intelligence.  It is fairly well known (now) that she did have an affair with both men.  Was there pillow talk that happened that shouldn't?  Possibly.  How do you take that back when you realize you have said more than you should to someone who understands more than you thought?  When you are the President it's pretty easy to make it look like suicide.  Not saying that is what happened, just that it certainly could have happened.  We know that corruption was alive and well.  If you are in doubt, look ahead in time to the Kennedy assassination (or back in time to my "J" post).

In any event, I think Elton John got it right.  She lived her life like a candle in the wind.  She never did know who to cling to when the rain set in.  I really would have liked to know her (but I wasn't a twinkle in anyone's eye).  Marilyn is that reminder that Fame won't keep you warm at night.  All of the Fan Love isn't going to make you love yourself.  You have to get right with yourself, conquer your own demons, love yourself, before you go out there and take on the World.  Otherwise, you will always be a Candle In The Wind.  Goodbye Norma Jeane...

Rating:   I Phase In And Out Any Time I Get New Information:)  She doesn't stay on my Hot Burner, but I can't say I am ever Disinterested!

Did you learn anything new about Marilyn Monroe?  Does her story make you sad?  Did you read a book or learn about someone who had died and want to know more when you were younger?   


  1. I totally agree, Robin. Her bio was one of the first of that type that I read when I was younger too. I never bought the suicide thing. I'm sure she knew far more than she ever should have and well... you know my feelings about corruption in politics. I think I wore the grooves rigt off of my Yellow Brick Road album back in the day and Candle in the wind was and still is one of my fave EJ songs. Partly because of Elton and partly because of Norma Jeane. Nice piece. Now, I HAVE to go read your previous post on MM. Knowing you as I do, I wouldn't miss that for nuthin'. ;~) XO

  2. I've never believed Norma Jean committed suicide. Like you said, she was a smart cookie and probably heard/seen something she shouldn't had.

    Joltin' Joe was nothing to look at either...even when he was young so, by marrying Marilyn, he definitely traded up :)

  3. Her story makes me said, alright.. When I was a kid I had a 4 foot picture of her in my bedroom and I read two of her biographies. I don't know why but there was something about the look in her eyes. I kept thinking, What happened to her?

  4. Mary ~ That suicide has always been questionable to me. I remember the first time I heard Candle In The Wind. I cried. EJ nailed it.

    Mark ~ Yeah. If you look in her "famous sayings" you can see that she was very anti-suicide. Anyway, you made me laugh with your trading up comment:)

    Blue Grumpster ~ Yeah, it makes me sad, too. I think she got mixed up with all the wrong people. And looked for love in all the wrong places.

    1. All the wrong people. I think you're right, but I guess we'll never know what really happened.

      P.S. Said? I blame my bourbon...

  5. I barely knew anything about Marilyn Monroe until I read your post. Very, very interesting! :)

  6. Loved Marilyn, though never thought she was a great actress. Thanks for the memories.

  7. Sad she could never escape her past. Maybe if the right person had been in her life, she would've won that battle.

  8. Interesting post...I was so young when she died that the EJ song was what I knew her most for (and even that I remember more for the "Diana" version).

    I grew up going to Catholic school in the late 60's, and got a lot of Kennedy propaganda.

    When I examine the Kennedy years as an adult, he got lucky.

    I'd like to think that our elected officials would not condone, let alone engineer, murder. but after our last three administrations, I can believe anything. It seems like once you sit in the oval office, you develop a god complex.

  9. I never bought in to the suicide theory either. She became an inconvenience to someone with a lot of power.

  10. Robin: From 1984 to 1986 I had the tremendous honor of eating lunch once each month with Joe DiMaggio. I will not reveal the circumstances online, but I will tell you when we meet again in person. As for beautiful Marilyn, I am not at liberty to say. However, I can say this with impunity - he loved her.

    1. Holy cow, JJ. You really are so interesting in so many ways. It makes me wonder what else I don't know about you...

  11. I didn't know anything really about her, so I learned a lot from the post. The only book I remember reading when I was young was about Eleanor Roosevelt. But in high school I read about Nikola Tesla and he was a rather interesting one.

  12. Life In A Small Town ~ I am glad you learned a little something new.

    Cathrina ~ She had a flair for comedy. And The Misfits is considered a Classic. You maybe haven't watched her in her best roles.

    Alex ~ I think that she had some wonderful people in her life as an adult. She simply couldn't outrun the ghosts of her childhood. Abuse, neglect, abandonment, and fear are all HUGE things to conquer. She really needed to learn how to love herself. Then she could actually love the people who loved her. My opinion.

    DiscConnected ~ Yeah. There was a time when I thought that Corruption in Politics was recent... that we were only going down the crapper in the last 20 years or so. Now, I am beginning to think that it started a lot earlier than that. It has to get really bad before people wake up and smell the coffee.

    Carol ~ Yeah. I think so, too.

    JJ ~ Your comment made me cry. I look forward to hearing your stories. You are blessed to have these stories to share. Yeah, I always believed he loved her. I believe she loved him, too. I hope he knew that in his heart...

  13. Catching up on reading posts today and enjoyed reading this post about Norma/Marilyn.

  14. For whatever reason, I never delved into much information about this woman- even though I must admit to being drawn to her in some way. The fact that she too lived with always wondering if she would go crazy as her mother did, -just as I have- is more than a little interesting to me. I really don't know anyone else who can truly understand what that is like...
    Thanks for letting me in on something I would never have pursued checking out on my own. There is a lot more to Norma Jeane than what is commonly told about her.

  15. Gossip Girl ~ :)

    Jasmine ~ I found her fascinating for MANY years. I read so many books about her during my high school years. Eventually, I just petered out. However, whenever I stumble across an article or someone with a new theory about her death, I get all *stirred up* again. She is definitely someone who is way more than meets the eye.


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