Marilyn Monroe on Goethe, Isaac Stern, and life


By Christopher McLeod

Marilyn Monroe is one of the most recognizable Hollywood starlets of the 20th century. But as journalist Richard Meryman learns: there is a human side to the screen icon.

Marilyn Monroe is a quintessential Hollywood figure. Her love of the fans and her drive on the screen set her apart. But as this interview with Richard Meryman originally published in Life magazine highlights, there is a deeper longing for humanity inside this great starlet.

Monroe’s story began as a humble tale in foster homes where she would spend her days watching movies from dawn until late. Whilst speaking to Meryman, she paints vivid pictures of her childhood, and the formative moments that shaped her overall outlook on life.

Much of the interview is a retelling of Marilyn Monroe’s life story through the eyes of the starlet. Yet it is this descriptive form that endears the reader to the often-sad tail.

But, it is through the sadness that we gain glimpses into an intelligent person in tune with her humanity. Quoting Goethe “talent is developed in privacy” and her intuitive view that humanity is similar to Isaac Stern’s violin, we become akin that Monroe is someone with a deeper understanding of the world.

And this is what the interview truly transmits to the reader. We are transported beyond our own boundaries and human frailties, into the world of a Hollywood starlet who believes in more than fame or sex. For her “fame will go by” and “we are all born sexual creatures.”

Her true ideals of dignity are transmitted through the words so carefully transcribed by Meryman. Words that speak to everyday people.

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