today is her 86th birthday. I can’t imagine Marilyn at 86. sad to say, I believe part of her enduring & everlasting charm is the incompletion of her story. the breathtaking beauty & tempestuous movie star gone too soon. and in such a tragic way that left us wondering ‘what happened’, even after all these years. how odd. someone knows. theories persist. those of us in close watch of her life story & career have our own but despite what happened, the spirit & appeal of Miss Norma Jean Baker will never die.
I discovered her as a young girl while watching AMC in the 80′s, was hooked on every movie then begged my mother for this book after seeing it in an old bookstore near my neighborhood. the cover caught my eye as we walked by one day & I’d go in to read what I could before it was time to go.
the book was a collaboration that started on this day in 1962, with George Barris - an American free-lance photojournalist, but was never completed. Marilyn died two months later & George lost the heart to continue their joint project, many of his photos from the two months spent with Marilyn have been published here & there but most were not. wasn’t until the 25th anniversary of her passing that he revisited the original idea of a book & partnered with Gloria Steinem to complete what he originally started with Marilyn. and I am glad he did.
there was no ‘reason’ for me to get the book since gifts were really only received for b-days & Christmas & both were a ways down the road. still, I waited anxiously, hoped I’d get it if nothing else. I’ll never forget my 13th bday because it was the year I received this book as a gift. read it immediately & twice over the summer. I was equally captivated by her story & her pictures, what was more than likely her last sitting before she died & wondered about her life & how she really felt about things. I was 13 & thought Marilyn just needed a really good friend to help her through, seems she hadn’t any.
the world viewed her as a thing of beauty which translates to perfection from a societal standpoint. beauty tends to personify happiness, fulfillment and bliss. we fail to realize its just a shell, a cover. & there’s always something else underneath. Marilyn was beautiful but depressed. beautiful but sad. beautiful but lonely. beautiful but without familial love. beautiful but without parents. or siblings. or a foundation. beautiful but always yearning ~ hoping to make a decision that would ultimately land her in a grounded secure final destination of feeling whole. it saddens me to think of her looking incredibly radiant yet feeling terribly empty & sad. she’ll always hold a special place in my heart…
happy birthday Marilyn,
there hasn’t been a cloud big enough to dim the brightest star that ever shined….