Can we ever get enough of MM?
The fascination with the former Norma Jeane Mortensen continues unabated as Marilyn Monroe’s legend grows with each passing generation. She is one of Hollywood’s late classic period stars who remains genuinely unforgettable.
Was she merely the breathy sexpot we witnessed in some 30 films whose personal life was sufficiently messy to bring about her drug-addled exit in 1962? 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.
There have been many Marilyn biographies, but this one is especially interesting in that it sensitively intertwines her life and her craft without diminishing her transformation from “movie superstar to American icon.”
So you think you know all about MM? Try today’s Monday Quiz and find out. (Answers to be published tomorrow.)
1) Question: Marilyn Monroe was saved from the casting couch — at least in one instance — by a famous director who cast her in one of her early movies. Can you name this valorous director? a) Otto Preminger; b) Billy Wilder; c) George Cukor; or d) John Huston.
2) Question: Long before she got into movies, Monroe became a teenage bride and began working “Rosie-the-riveter” style in a wartime airplane factory a) True; or b) False?
3) Question: Tony Curtis, a former Monroe lover, was NOT Marilyn’s first choice for a leading role in Billy Wilder’s 1959 comedy Some Like It Hot. Which one of the following was? a) Tyrone Power; b) Milton Berle; c) Frank Sinatra; or d) Dean Martin.
4) Question: Which one of the following was NOT among Monroe’s cast of male lovers? a) George Sanders; b) Yves Montand; c) Johnny Hyde; or d) Clifton Webb.
5) Question: After which one of her following movies did the critics sit up and start taking notice that Monroe could really act? a) The Asphalt Jungle; b) Right Cross; c) All About Eve; or d) Clash By Night.
6) Question: The infamous skirt-blowing scene in 1955’s The Seven Year Itch caused the breakup of Monroe’s marriage to her second husband Joe DiMaggio. a) True; or b) False.
7) Question: Which of her veteran costars described Monroe this way: Marilyn was blessed with a healthy appetite for laughter. She was aware of her sense of humor about herself and she called on it to rescue her from that grey outer space to which she sometimes fluttered? a) Clark Gable; b) Louis Calhern; c) Robert Ryan; or d) Joseph Cotten.
8) Question: Posing for that nude calendar early on nearly scuttled Monroe’s big studio movie career before it even got started. a) True; or b) False.
9) Question: Although divorced by Marilyn after less than two years of marriage, Joe DiMaggio remained in love with her until she died. a) True; b) False?
10) Question: Which one of the following acting luminaries, initially unimpressed with Monroe, eventually came to the conclusion that she was the perfect film actress? a) Marlon Brando; b) Laurence Olivier; c) Dame Sybil Thorndike; d) or Gertrude Lawrence.