#65) Marilyn Monroe

I saved the best for last, so as to savor the sweetest as an aftertaste. To adapt the lovely lyrics of the song, “A Candle In the Wind,” I would’ve liked to know you, but I was not yet born. Your candle burned out long before your memory ever did.
But look what she achieved in a life cut far too short. She was The Blond Bombshell, appearing in the nude in a famous lay-out that was purchased and published in the first edition of Playboy magazine. When a titillated reporter asked what she had on, she answered, “Just the radio.” This epitome of sexual allure married the epitome of athleticism in Joe DiMaggio. He could not handle her, grew incensed seeing a scene filmed where her white dress was blown upwards while she stood on a subway grate. If you look at this movie (“The Seven-Year Itch”) now, you’ll see that it wasn’t scandalous at all. Her panties were only visible from a different angle, one captured by still photographers, the paparazzi. The marriage ended, she was romanced by the epitome of playwrights, Arthur Miller. This union also ended in divorce. She heard a young Ella Fitzgerald sing, promoted her by attending every one of her concerts, often paying the promoter for the unsold seats. She was rumored to have been romantically linked to both Robert and John Kennedy while they were Attorney General and U.S. President, respectively. She died under suspicious circumstances, allegedly a suicide by overdose.
She was quoted as saying, “If I’d observed all the rules, I’d never have gotten anywhere.” I’m reminded of a meme I read on a discipline-oriented website, “We all broke our rules, our hard limits, for someone. The love I felt at the time negates any guilt I might feel now.”
I highly recommend the book by Joyce Carol Oates, Blonde, a seven hundred thirty eight page novelization, both as a showcase for this esteemed author’s prowess, and for the insights it brings to the actress’ life.
She was just (so far) ahead of her time. She was just (so very) fragile. She was just so beautiful.
Let me digress to make a point. I once met Penny Chenery, owner of the great thoroughbred racehorse Secretariat. I never saw this stallion in-person. I tearfully tried to show my respect to the owner by saying, “He meant so much to me!” She patted my hand and replied, ‘He did to all of us, my dear.” What she eloquently expressed was that immortals like her horse and Marilyn belong to all of us, belong to the ages. You meant so much to me, Marilyn, as I was growing-up, as I’ve grown older! You, like Bettie Page, wouldn’t have been treated so shabbily if you’d have been born in our time. You both broke down barriers for all of us.

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