She’s the most famous of all the stars of the 20th century. Her fame endures through advertisements and photos. Generations of people all over the world, many who have never seen one of her films, know her.
She is MARILYN or MONROE. Like all truly famous people she is known by one (in her case either) name. She made only 30 movies beginning in 1947 when she was 21 and ending in 1962, the year she died in what was officially determined as a “probable suicide.”
Yet her fame grows. Was she merely the breathy sexpot we witnessed onscreen whose personal life was sufficiently messy to bring about her drug-addled exit? Or was she a “great artist” struggling throughout to “realize herself and her talent.”
That last assessment comes from author Carl Rollyson, who has update and revised his thought-provoking book, originally published in 1986, Marilyn Monroe: A Life of the Actress (Univ. of Mississippi Press, 2014). It’s a great read, and is the inspiration of today’s exercise.
So you think you know all about MM? Read today’s answers to our Monday Quiz and find out. (For a refresher on the questions, just scroll down to yesterday’s blog.) Here we go:
1) Answer: d) John Huston, who directed Monroe in her seventh movie outing, 1950’s The Asphalt Jungle, and in her penultimate film, 1961’s The Misfits. Huston first met Marilyn in 1949 while he was making another picture. Wrote Huston later: She as very pretty, young and appealing and there was talk of a screen test at Columbia. Such talk often leads to the casting couch…Something about Marilyn elicited my protectiveness.
2) Answer: a) True. When Marilyn’s first husband, James Dougherty, shipped out to the Merchant Marine in 1944, she was distraught. She was all of 18 at the time and had been married since 1942 after what can generously be termed a difficult childhood. But as author Rollyson notes, she was far from inconsolable, however, and she quickly took up war work as a paint sprayer and parachute packer in an airplane factory. One day in 1945, a photographer arrived to photograph young women engaged in World War II war work. A year later, Monroe’s first marriage was over. The rest is…
3) Answer: c) Frank Sinatra was Marilyn’s first choice for the Tony Curtis role in 1959’s Some Like It Hot.
4) Answer: d) Clifton Webb, who was gay.
5) Answer: d) Clash By Night. In this, her 15th film, Marilyn plays a working class woman in the 1952 film noir costarring Barbara Stanwyck, Paul Douglas and Robert Ryan. Beginning with this picture, writes Rollyson, reviewers began to credit her with acting skill. The reviewers were asleep at the switch. We think she was terrific as early as her in her 7th outing, The Asphalt Jungle.
6) Answer: a) True. After witnessing the filming of the scene — in the early morning hours of Sept. 10, 1954 — Joe DiMaggio left infuriated. He and Monroe later had a nasty, physical fight at their hotel room. The incident greatly aggravated what was already a shaky marriage, begun the prior January. The union ended officially about a year later.
7) Answer: d) Joseph Cotten, who plays Marilyn’s husband in 1953’s Niagara.
8) Answer: b) False. Although the studios were initially apprehensive about Marilyn’s infamous nude calendar shots, she wasn’t and eventually, as her box office appeal climbed, neither were they. All she had on was the radio, she used to quip, and all she wore was Chanel Number Five.
9) Answer: a) True. DiMaggio was one of Marilyn’s dearest supporters, writes Rollyson. In truth he had never given up the possibility or remarrying Monroe. She was the Yankee Clipper’s second wife, and although he was in his late 40’s when they divorced, he never remarried.
10) Answer: c) the late British actress, Dame Sybil Thorndike, Marilyn’s costar in 1957’s The Prince and the Showgirl.