Monday, August 6, 2012

Legacy of a Bombshell

Marilyn Monroe. Only a legend is still remembered five decades after her death.  She was no saint, but she was an angel.

She oozed vulnerability. Something most of us women and girls have a lot of. It is not a strictly female trait but I don't know any of us that don't have it, and that don't try to suppress it on a regular basis. After all, we can't all go around feeling all day......(I wish we could).

Marilyn was "sex in heels".....a blessing and a curse. Why? This caused many to overlook two qualities about her due to being distracted by her beauty. She was funny, and she was intelligent. Yes, intelligent, about others, their feelings and behaviors, what made them tick. I have read that she could tap into you just by talking with you, looking in your eyes, picking up on whatever you were feeling, then say something meaningful, poignant....kind. Everyone fell in love with her. Those that didn't hated her, there was no in between with Ms. Monroe.

My own Marilyn Monroe experience was short and true "Marilyn" style. Just after completing the two year program at the Stella Adler Academy in 2000, I was cast in a film about Marilyn's last feature, "The Misfits". The film was to be about her and Clark Gable's tumultuous on set relationship which in the perspective of the writer was because they were secretly in love....

I read some books on Marilyn Monroe, watched all of her films, worked out the character internally from my perspective, bobbed and died my hair blonder, and bought the same Chanel red she lipstick she wore. Of course I told everyone about the film and there was even a blurb about it in Variety Magazine.  It was going to be filmed in the desert, like "The Misfits". We did a photo shoot and they cast the other lead actor, who was to play Clark Gable. 

"The Misfits", the original 1961 film shot in the Mojave Desert, was remembered as a troubled, sweltering, uncomfortable experience. Both Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable died soon after, he from a heart attack, her an overdose. Arthur Miller had left Marilyn shortly after the film's release to marry a script supervisor he met on that very set.  

In my case, I withdrew from the project after the first day of shooting.  (The only time I have ever done this.) The director was seriously coming on to me since hour one, (how fitting as I was playing Marilyn Monroe right?). Also, he never got the union waiver he promised to so I could even be in this film. The actor playing Clark Gable also left because the director made him do a dangerous stunt with a horse that sprained his hand. (Needless to say, with this guy at the helm, the project was never completed.)

As I was driving home from that one day of shooting, I broke down in tears over everything that happened and rear ended another car with the new convertible I had just gotten the month before! Arghh...fender bender. 

By the time I got to my sister's apartment I was a mess. She took one look at me and said......"Margaritas", as she grabbed her car keys.....and off we went to a nearby happy hour. I didn't even change my clothes. This dusty, dirty, tear streaked Norma Jean at least had a good story for the bartender.....
Me as Marilyn....albeit briefly
A MUST see, it's beyond funny!...The classic,  "Some Like it Hot", Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon. She is also hilarious in "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" and "How to Marry a Millionaire".

Colorized still from "Some Like it Hot"

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