Based on new interviews and research, this ground-breaking biography explores the secret selves behind Marilyn Monroe’s public facades.
Marilyn Monroe. Her beauty still captivates. Her love life still fascinates. Her story still dominates popular culture. Now, drawing on years of research and dozens of new interviews, this biography cuts through decades of lies and secrets and introduces you to the Marilyn Monroe you always wanted to know: a living, breathing, complex woman, bewitching and maddening, brilliant yet flawed.
Charles Casillo studies Monroe’s life through the context of her times—in the days before feminism. Before there was adequate treatment for Marilyn’s struggle with bipolar disorder. Starting with her abusive childhood, this biography exposes how—in spite of her fractured psyche—Marilyn’s extreme ambition inspired her to transform each celebrated love affair and each tragedy into another step in her journey towards immortality. Casillo fully explores the last two years of her life, including her involvement with both John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert, and the mystery of her last day.
Just a few of Casillo's revelations:
*Despite reports of their bitter rivalry, Elizabeth Taylor secretly reached out and tried to help Marilyn during one of her darkest moments.
*The existence of Marilyn’s semi-nude love scene with Clark Gable—long thought to be lost.
*A few nights before she died, Marilyn encountered Warren Beatty at a party and disclosed some of the reasons for her final despair.
*A meticulously detailed account of the events of her last day, revealing how a series of miscommunications and misjudgments contributed to her death.
This sympathetic biography, with its extensive bibliography and detailed notes, is a solid addition to the already vast library about the legendary star, even though Casillo (The Fame Game) produces no startlingly new insights. Applying present-day hindsight to Monroe's life, from her unstable upbringing to her death at 36, Casillo highlights the long-lasting damage from Monroe's childhood neglect and sexual abuse, and how it contributed to her later struggles with drugs, alcohol, and mental health issues. He also shows how often others, including the Kennedy brothers and her third husband, playwright Arthur Miller, sought to use the sex symbol for their own purposes, even as Monroe desperately pinned her hopes on these men and others to help her achieve personal and professional fulfillment. More than half a century later, the poor medical care Monroe received for her frequent bouts of suicidal depression and her inappropriate relationships with medical professionals like many, dazzled by her fame and charisma remain appalling. Casillo occasionally overreaches when applying modern expectations to a very different era, but he provides readers with a well-written examination of the mystique of a woman who still fascinates decades after her untimely death.