Few celebrities reach the iconic status of Marilyn Monroe. She is regarded as the quintessential sex symbol; and that title has yet to be snatched away. Even in mortality she continues to gain fans. Her death at 36 was a tragedy, but it is most likely that she is an icon because she died at a relatively young age while still beautiful and vivacious. If she were alive today she'd be 89-years-old and probably all-but-forgotten (e.g.: Sophia Loren, Brigitte Bardot, et al.).
The Secret Life . . .
Since the day she died people have speculated about Monroe's death. Theories from criminal mob connections, to suicide, and even a JFK association have been thrown around. The truth is, no one really knows and never will.
The tragedy of a celebrity's death is oftentimes replaced with much commentary divulging all their dirty little secrets and the mishaps of their life leading up to their death—and that's what you get with Lifetime's The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe. The two-part drama is dark and gritty—just what some people like.
Actress Kelli Garner, who plays Monroe, is slightly better than most of her predecessors. (*Note, I'm still wondering how the following actresses got the Monroe gig: Ashley Judd, Mira Sorvino, Poppy Montgomery, Nicole Kidman and Lindsay Lohan). Garner parades the character in front of the audience as a sexually loose actress who slept with anyone that could help her career, which contradicted the earlier portrayal (before Hollywood) as a woman who was disinterested in sex. But, if that depiction wasn't enough, the character was also portrayed as a schizophrenic, pill-popping drunk.
The drama attempted to redefine the starlet and change her sexy, girl-next-door image, but it doesn't work. People will forget this bio-pic in a few short weeks, but they will not change their opinions about Monroe.
The People In Her Life
Monroe's mother, poorly played by actress Susan Sarandon, takes a hard hit in the drama, as does Monroe's second husband, Joe DiMaggio. Her mother, a paranoid schizophrenic, is portrayed as a cold woman who spent most of her adult life in-and-out of mental institutions. Sarandon adds zero warmth to the character, even in the final scene, which was meant to be a loving look at the two women.
As for DiMaggio, forget "Joltin' Joe," he is portrayed as a mean, angry drunk who is physically abusive. Allegedly Monroe filed for divorce subsequent to a violent beating at the hands of DiMaggio. Purportedly, DiMaggio beat Monroe out of jealousy after watching her film the famous scene, where her white dress is blown up by a gust of air, in director Billy Wilder’s classic Some Like It Hot.
After the divorce (her second), the actress returned to her old ways of sleeping around until she met her next husband, Arthur Miller. But, once again, there is no happy ending. After accusations of cheating and claims that a miscarriage was the result of too much booze and a pill addiction, the union ended in divorce.
Next, is the John F. Kennedy encounter, but the movie seems to exclude a lot of information on this relationship. The audience doesn’t even get to see JFK in the form of an actor, we hear his voice saying, "Hello Marilyn," as she enters his room. There is one short innocuous television clip of the real Kennedy, but that's it. The movie purports that the two did not have an affair (as widely reported), but merely a one-night-stand leaving Monroe wanting more but Kennedy wanting nothing more. In addition, there was zero on Monroe’s alleged tryst with Jack’s brother Bobby Kennedy.
Some Like it Hot (1959) Movie Trailer HD
Let Her Be
At the end of the movie, when she died, this woman’s life played-out so much like a Greek tragedy that the audience probably felt it was better for her to leave it. The movie ends with a clumsy, hokey final scene of Monroe and her mother in the hereafter, lying on a blanket on the beach, telling each other how much they love one another. Hmmm, was that supposed to make the audience forget her train-wreck of a life and leave them with a warm and fuzzy feeling? It didn’t work.
Born Norma Jeane Mortensen on June 1, 1926, she transformed into Marilyn Monroe. No woman has ever come close to reaching her iconic sex-symbol status. The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe was based on the 2009 book of the same name by prolific celebrity biographer J. Randy Taraborrelli, whose specialty is gossip. He's written tell-alls on other well-known celebrities such as Jackie Kennedy, Elizabeth Taylor, and Diana Ross. The author brought nothing worthwhile to the memory of this beloved actress, and should have left well-enough alone.
Since her death in 1962, there have been over 35 books written, and countless movies made about the starlet’s life and death, all with their own spin. Her story has been exploited more than she was by the men that used her. Monroe will forever be a presence in American popular mythology, but everything that needed to be said about her was said a long time ago. Shouldn’t we all let Marilyn (and Norma Jeane) rest in peace, and stop sensationalizing and speculating about her, once-and-for-all? Honestly, don’t writers have enough imagination and talent to create original, interesting content? Marilyn was just a gal from L.A. who became the world's greatest sex symbol—let’s leave it at that.
The Most Beautiful Woman in the World
Marilyn Monroe had been long gone when I was a little girl (as was my first love, or really crush, Clark Gable), but I remember one warm and sunny afternoon playing outside with my cousins when one of them asked: "Do you know who the most beautiful woman in the world was?" At the time, I couldn't think of a single person. Sure, there were lots of pretty women on television and in movies, but the most beautiful woman in the world? I anxiously waited for the answer, and when no one gave the correct one, my cousin proclaimed: "Marilyn Monroe!"
After all these years, that answer still stands! The exquisite blonde bombshell with the big baby-blue eyes; cute button nose; pouty lips, perfect alabaster skin; cutesy, breathy voice, and perfect voluptuous figure, is still the most beautiful woman in the world!
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes - Trailer
The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe
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