In Defence of Marilyn
by Earl Wilson
People have been saying to me lately,
"Marilyn Monroe must be all mixed up."
I disagree. I think Marilyn knows exactly
where she's going - and that it's forward. It's just possible that she'll
turn out to be not only the sexiest but smartest blonde of out time.
Marilyn has a knack of getting what she
wants - especially from men - by acting rather vague. Some superficial
observers would think she's just a frivolous blonde.
But she isn't. In New York recently she
posed with some posters advertising the Rheumatism and Arthritis Fund.
Several reporters turned out for a press party at Sardi's, and some of
them began to pepper her with questions about whether or not she was going
back to Joe DiMaggio.
"Oh, let's talk about arthritis,"
begged Marilyn. The reply was just preposterous enough to make the
reporters laugh and drop the questioning.
Marilyn got what she wanted - no more
questions - by this little trick. Right now she wants to act and to get
well paid for it. I predict she will. I was present at a big Actors Studio
party which she stole completely although the biggest stars were there.
And I witnessed something that shows she is respected as an actress around
"Could I get your autograph?"
asked Lawerence Langner of the Theatre Guild, who has directed or employed
the greatest stars, including Katherine Hepburn and Helen Hayes.
I transmitted the message to Marilyn. She
inscribed a card, "Love and Kisses," and then her name - and
when I mentioned who he was, she said: "I should get his
And he gave her one of the most glowing
messages I've ever seen. It said:
"Dear Mariyn: We need you for our
Shakespeare Theatre. Yours admiringly, Lawerence Langner. P.S. For A
Midsummer Night's Dream. What a dream!
Langner told me the last time he had asked
an actress for an autograph was in London in 1908 - forty-seven years ago-
and that her name was Zena Dare.
At first Marilyn was believed to have made a
mistake by leaving Hollywood and coming to New York when she battled with
her studio. But with the help of photographer Milton H. Greene and agent
Jay Kanter of MCA, she did a good public relations job for herself in
She has so much warmth and charm that she
won everybody she met - and she met many.
When she went to a premiere of East of
Eden to be an usherette, Marilyn was such a sensation that some of the
other glamour gals did some jealous muttering.
A TV commentator interviewing Denise Darcel
when Marilyn came in couldn't, or didn't try to, conceal the fact that he
wanted to finish with Denise - and get to Marilyn.
Marilyn was also smart in refusing to
sing,"Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend" at this party.
She hadn't had time to rehearse the song.
Furthermore, she might have been compared with others who've sung it, and
as a Hollywoodite at a Broadway party, she might have been resented. She
wisely just sat there at the party - and let all of the curious stars
stare at her. And they surely did!
Marilyn also went to the big Friars' dinner
for Martin and Lewis, where she was the only woman on a dais of about
Sitting between Eddie Fisher and Bobby
Clark, she was the center of attention all evening. When she took a bow,
and gave Martin and Lewis each a smooch, she won tremendous applause.
Marilyn admitted that she had one
embarrassing moment that evening - when she left the dais to go to the
"The President of the United States
does that," I told Marilyn. "At big banquets he leaves the dais
to go to the powder room."
"Then I guess I can do it," said
Marilyn. "I'm a president - of Marilyn Monroe Productions."
Marilyn discovered that New York show people
- supposedly hard and tough - have real respect for her. She hasn't had
one bad experience with them. Carol Channing had been urged to trap her
into getting up on the floor to sing "Diamonds" with her at the
Actors Studio party. But Carol thought it over and decided not to do it. I
talked to her about it when she came off the floor.
"I decided it wouldn't be fair to
Marilyn," Carol said. "I just know that I'd kill anybody who'd
do it to me, so why should I do it to her?"
Many actors seemed to be going around
asking, "Do you think Marilyn would mind this?" One of those was
comedian Joey Adams, one of the dais-sitters.
"I've got a gag about Joe and Marilyn.
Do you think I should tell it?" he asked a friend.
"No," replied the friend.
"There's noting wrong with the gag, but it might be embarrassing to
her." So Joey chucked the joke.
While she was around New York, Marilyn
doubled her contacts and acquaintances - and nearly every new one was on
One of the funniest experiences she had was
at Jackie Gleason's thirty-ninth birthday party at Toots Shor's.
"I've got splinters!" she suddenly
announced, patting the area where she had them. Everybody laughed - and
several gentlemen volunteered to help remove them. Marilyn didn't laugh,
though. She hustled off to the ladies room.
My wife and another guest at the party
happened to be there and they helped yank the big splinters out of the
Monroe epidermis. Marilyn got them by sliding down into a chair. She
demonstrated to my wife how it happened. And my wife said that Marilyn
gives a chair a caress when getting into it - sort of oozing into it - and
that the splinters are to be expected if one has watched her get into a
chair. In Fort Wayne, Indiana, a group of fans got up something called
"The Society for the Prevention of Splinters In Marilyn Monroe."
Marilyn was the hit of that party, too. Joe
DiMaggio escorted her to it. Later on Joe happened to be at another party
- and Gleason phoned him that he was coming to it.
"I just want to warn you that I'm
bringing Marilyn," Gleason said.
Sure enough, he arrived with Marilyn - his
girl friend, Marilyn Taylor of the June Taylor Dancers.
One of Marilyn's big, excitements in New
York was helping to stage a surprise party for Milton Greene, the
vice-president of Marilyn Monroe Productions.
Greene's pretty wife Amy got Marilyn to
help. So Marilyn and Agent Jay Kanter called a meeting of Marilyn Monroe
Productions at about three o'clock on the afternoon of Greene's birthday
at the Hotel Gladstone where Marilyn was living. "Keep him out till
six-thirty," Amy directed.
"We had a hard time with Milton,"
Kanter told me later. "We transacted all the business in a couple of
hours. But we had to keep him another hour.
"So Marilyn would say, 'Oh, that
reminds me of something else I've been wanting to take up.' "We'd
dispose of that in a few minutes and Milton would say, 'I've got to be
going.' "Then I'd say, 'Oh, here's something else to worry
Marilyn, Kanter, and Greene finally arrived
at Greene's studio at about forty-five and everybody shouted,
"Surprise!" to Greene, who really was. Marilyn was wondrously
happy, for she felt she had put it over - and she had. "It's the
first time Marilyn ever had a surprise party for anyone," Amy said.
Greene, who is thirty-three, has excellent
taste, and is primarily interested in seeing that Marilyn is not cheapened
or "pushed around".
Photographing her for one of the top
magazines, he saw her as potentially a Great Woman. He didn't photograph
her the easy way - with a towel on - but brought out her sex appeal in a
more dignified manner. One of his prize pictures of her shows Marilyn in a
black robe. She's well-covered. Only her bare legs show.
Yet this picture conveys the idea of Marilyn
Monroe's sex appeal far better than most - and still nobody can ever
criticize Marilyn for it.
That's the direction Marilyn wants to take
with the help of the Greenes, who invite her frequently to their home at
Westport, Connecticut. Toward respectability.
Marilyn has given serious consideration to
the Broadway stage. She and Greene had a long meeting with George Abbott
about the show, Damned Yankee, based on the book, The Year The Yankees
Lost The Pennant.
"Marilyn should have a show written
just for her," Abbott said afterward. "With that personality,
she's entitled to it." He felt that her sometimes faint voice is of a
special quality which would be excellent in the proper show.
She's had to take a lot of kidding in recent
months because she said something about hoping eventually to do The
Brothers Karamozov, by Dostoevski, and that's a little unfair to her.
The idea got around that she wanted to became a longhair. "Why do you
want to give up sexy parts?" she was asked.
Actually, the part she had in mind is very
sexy. And anyway, she was talking about a picture she would like to do at
some distant time. Marilyn knew a great deal more about the Dostoevski
masterpiece than people who were joshing her about becoming a longhair.
Curiously, she is a well-read young lady.
One book she read recently was Garbo and another was Ben Hecht's Child
of the Century. The book about Garbo was given to Marilyn by a friend
who inscribed it, "To one who is even prettier than Garbo."
Marilyn was especially interested in the sections of the book which told
of Garbo's battle with her studio. At no time has Marilyn spoken out
harshly against her studio.
"They're all a wonderful group of
people," she says. But she has felt that she would have done better
if she'd had a voice in choice of stories.
It didn't make her happy to be in There's
No Business Like Show Business, alongside such expert singers and
dancers as Ethel Merman, Donald O'Conner and Mitzi Gaynor.
"Ethel Merman is one of the greatest
singers in the world," points out a friend of Miss Monroe.
"Marilyn's a good singer who's learning a lot. But her singing would
be bound to be overshadowed by Merman's - just as Merman would be
overshadowed if she tried to do a young sexpot role of the kind Marilyn
can do well."
In The Seven Year Itch, Marilyn comes
into her own, and makes up, she hopes, for another mistake, The River
of No Return. "We should have had a stronger story," is
about all she'll say about that.
Marilyn is so celebrated at this point that
a columnist must always be checking a new crazy rumor about her. A recent
one was that she and Rory Calhoun had been secretly married once many
I checked this one myself, going to the
extreme of phoning Rory Calhoun's Hollywood home. His wife, the lovely
Lita Baron, answered at six-fifteen am. She first said, "You're not
serious!" Then she told me, "This is preposterous."
Suddenly, she said, "Oh, I know where that crazy story came from.
They were married in The River of No Return."
To me, there's something significant in the
way the autograph kids - the movie fans of today of tomorrow - talk about
her. They'll tell you that she's wonderful, never too busy to stop and
sign their books and pose for their cameras.
Never underestimate this gal. What other
actress - during a suspension - has gone about making a million or so new
-Transcribed by Melinda