In finishing The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe, I couldn’t help but compare and contrast her life with another star of her era, Audrey Hepburn. There are many differences between the two stars, including finances, children, family and fashion. Perhaps most importantly are the parallels between what makes their stars “sparkle”. Marilyn always invoked a sex goddess, with a child-like vulnerability. Audrey, on the other hand, had a royal way about her boy-ish like features that made you adore her. Unlike Audrey, Marilyn’s legacy delivered confusion, pain and hurt. Audrey’s legacy was one of charity and giving back to the world.
Press or no press, the timing and death of Norma Jeane added to the mysteriousness of her long recorded addiction to sleeping pills. Another star of the Fox studio in the 1940s was Elizabeth Talor. When she died in March 23rd of this year, the press coverage was minimal. Seeing a once beautiful girl age and slowly grow old perhaps takes the idealization of the sex goddess away. But reality sets in, and one must wonder if living life is a lot harder than simply dying. My lesson from Marilyn’s biography was her ability to charm. Her oscillating contrast of superwoman and vulnerable girl, and her ability to smile for the cameras and light up a room. All this she did despite her ongoing clinical depression.
Another issue is that of wealth. The estate of Marilyn Monroe only had $4000 in her name when she died. Her estate started making money from her work and in 1977, finally paid her mother Gladys the money she promised from her will, years after her death in 1962. Wealth is the ability to make money and create money, while having all that you need. Simply spending everything you earn does not make you rich. Rather, making more than enough money and maintaining this stability for your needs and to make you happy – that, to me, is wealth.
“This is the story of a girl named Norma Jeane Mortensen. She thrived despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles and almost impossible odds. She created and became a woman more fascinating than even she believed possible. And in the face of her own failinga mind, she battled to keep that creation alive – not for her, but for us.
Indeed, Marilyn Monroe did exist. Even through the woman insider her was at times doubtful of that fact, we knew it better than she did. She spent so much of her energy, her own will, projecting an image of impossible beauty and ultimate joy. Yet, as the end neared, her experience of who she truly was drifted farther and farther from that ideal – until she found it impossible to pretend anymore. Her choice, as awful as it may have been, was this: Admit to the world that Marilyn Monroe had become nothing more than smoke and mirrors, or die. On August 5th, 1962, Marilyn Monroe gave the world all she had left to give – the knowledge that she was, and always would be… ours.” – J. Randy Taraborrelli