I’ve noticed a few photos of Marilyn appearing over the last few days, and thought it might be time to tell my Marilyn story – for those that haven’t heard it. I’m sure everybody has a Marilyn story, or collects one during their life.
Many (many) moons ago, I studied art at college, and spent the greater part of a year drawing people. During that time I was procrastinating famously in the library one day, and picked up a magazine to see if there were any interesting faces to draw. There happened to be an article about Marilyn in it, and I failed hilariously to get any sort of likeness in the sketch I drew.
I ended up reading the article, and didn’t so much get sucked in, as jumped in head first. Within a few months I had read just about all the famous biographies by the likes of Normal Mailer, Donald Spoto, and Jimmy Haspiel, along with the countless conspiracy theory books, and most of the movies. I even found a couple of albums recorded by her in the 1950s.
She existed at a time when movie stars shone far more brightly than they do today. You have to remember that books, radio and the cinema were really the only affordable escape for most people – and she dominated the cinema like nobody before or since. When Some Like It Hot opened, central New York gridlocked for hours purely because she arrived in the street to wave to the crowd.
I guess in some ways she shaped who I am today. She taught me what it really meant to be famous, what the real costs were. She also taught me about drugs, depression, strength, fragility, yearning, and so many other things that most people never talk about.
I wonder as the decades pass if she will continue to be remembered, or if other passing stars such as Carry Fisher will take her place?