Cover

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Title page, Frontispiece, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-xii

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Foreword: Discovering Marilyn Monroe

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pp. xiii-2

I discovered Marilyn Monroe in the late 1970s while working on Norman Mailer. His biography of Marilyn Monroe excited my admiration. Mailer shrewdly drew on previous work by Maurice Zolotow and Fred Lawrence Guiles, Monroe’s first two important biographers, to portray...

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1. Childhood (1926–38)

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pp. 3-8

On February 11, 1924, Gladys Pearl Baker married Martin E. Mortensen. She already had two children (then not living with her) by a previous marriage to John Newton Baker, from whom she was divorced. She was a quiet woman who...

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2. Adolescence to Adulthood (1938–45)

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pp. 9-15

By the age of eleven or twelve, Norma Jeane began wearing tight clothing that accentuated her rapidly developing figure. This sexual exposure was exhilarating, and she seemed to revel in the attention of schoolboys, workers, and other people on the...

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3. Early Career (1945–50)

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pp. 16-39

On August 26, 1946, after about a year of working as a professional photographer’s model, Norma Jeane Dougherty signed her first movie contract—as Marilyn Monroe. Modeling had been a crucial step toward an acting career, but it...

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4. Becoming a Star (1950–52)

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pp. 40-60

On January 1, 1951, Marilyn Monroe made her first appearance on the cover of Life magazine. Throughout the next two years her popularity grew steadily, yet she was given parts that were usually brief and undistinguished versions of...

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5. Fame (1952–54)

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pp. 61-82

By the summer of 1952, Joe DiMaggio had taken Marilyn Monroe home to meet his family. The DiMaggios were used to meeting celebrities and welcomed her without a qualm. When she came to dinner at Joe’s family home, Marilyn always asked his mother...

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6. Half-Life (April–November 1954)

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pp. 83-98

Like professional athletes, most stars have short careers. The exception is the actor—a Gary Cooper or Cary Grant—who can surmount the limitations of formulaic films. And Hollywood has been especially tough on women. Even legends like...

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7. Search for Self: The Method (November 1954–May 1956)

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pp. 99-132

Monroe had been consulting with Milton Greene for over a year about her own production company. His idea included the possibility of buying screen properties in which she could extend her capacity as an actress. If she could...

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8. The Poet of Her Aspirations (December 1950–July 1956)

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pp. 133-141

W hen exactly did Marilyn Monroe become aware of Arthur Miller and of the special relevance of his writing for her? She had read his novel Focus (1945) before their first meeting on a movie set in December of 1950, and...

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9. The Prince and the Showgirl (January–October 1956)

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pp. 142-155

Sir Laurence Olivier arrived in America in February of 1956 to join Monroe at the press conference announcing their plans to co-star in the film adaptation of Terrence Rattigan’s play, The Sleeping Prince. Olivier, perhaps the greatest actor of the time, was greeted as visiting royalty. Monroe was much less certain of her reception:...

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10. Home Life (October 1956–August 1958)

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pp. 156-171

By the time Marilyn Monroe married Arthur Miller in the summer of 1956, a good deal had changed since she had signed her first contract with Twentieth Century-Fox a decade earlier. As a starlet, she joined an industry that attracted eighty million people to the movies weekly. Profits were at an all-time high of $1.7 billion...

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11. Impersonations/Repetitions (August 1958–June 1960)

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pp. 172-198

On August 4, 1958, the first day of shooting Some Like It Hot, Marilyn Monroe arrived on the sound stage with her usual assortment of associates, which included not only her husband but her own “hairdressers, make-up man, press representative, a maternal...

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12. The Film of Her Life (July 1960–January 1961)

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pp. 199-215

The Misfits was originally scheduled for shooting in the fall of 1959, but Monroe’s agreement with Fox to do Let’s Make Love and Clark Gable’s work in It Happened in Naples put off filming of The Misfits until the spring of 1960. Then the actors’ strike...

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13. The Lady of Shalott (December 1960–August 1962)

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pp. 216-238

In a series of intermittent discussions with W. J. Weatherby in New York from late 1960 to some time in January 1961, Monroe latched onto his phrase, “a pattern of selves,” to argue against the idea of a single self persisting through an entire lifetime. She favored “fragmentary...

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Afterword: The Murder of Marilyn Monroe

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pp. 239-246

So much has been written about Marilyn Monroe and the Kennedy brothers—much of it based on stories that cannot be verified and on conflicting accounts—that it is nearly impossible to filter out fact from fiction. The Los Angeles coroner’s office ruled her death in the early morning...

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Sources

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pp. 247-263

My acknowledgments give complete information on my interviews. The notes below specify sources not clearly identified in my narrative. Wherever possible, I have cited page numbers for articles and books, but in some cases e-books and articles retrieved from clipping files at various archives, including the New...

Filmography

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pp. 264-264

Index

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pp. 265-275