The secret life of Marilyn Monroe

J. Randy Taraborrelli

Book - 2009

In this groundbreaking book, Taraborrelli draws complex and sympathetic portraits of the women so influential in the actress' life, including her mother, her foster mother, and her legal guardian. He also reveals, for the first time, the shocking scope of Marilyn's own mental illness, the identity of Marilyn's father and the half-brother she never knew, and new information about her relationship with the Kennedy's-Bobby, Jack, and Pat Kennedy Lawford.

Saved in:

2nd Floor Show me where

BIOGRAPHY/Monroe, Marilyn
1 / 1 copies available
Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor BIOGRAPHY/Monroe, Marilyn Checked In
New York, NY : Grand Central Pub 2009.
1st ed
Physical Description
xvi, 560 p., [24] p. of plates : ill. ; 24 cm
Includes bibliographical references, filmography (p. [527]-541), and index.
Main Author
J. Randy Taraborrelli (-)
Review by Booklist Review

It may be difficult to imagine that there are any secrets about Marilyn Monroe left to discover, but Taraborrelli's dogged research style helps sort fact from fiction in the many conflicting accounts of the star's life. Born to a single mother with a history of psychiatric and substance-abuse problems, she began life as Norma Jeane Mortenson. Soon after her birth, she was placed in the care of a neighbor, and her mother was eventually institutionalized. In and out of orphanages and foster homes, Monroe impulsively married a family friend at age 16. Around this time in her life, she was photographed working in a factory by an army photographer; this photo captured the attention of other photographers, and her modeling career took off. A film career and stardom were not far behind. Taraborrelli humanizes the iconic actress and thus provides an intimate portrait of her life. All of the well-known (and lesser-known) highs and lows are clearly detailed, including her personal pain and struggles with her mother (whom she consistently tried to keep in her life), marriages to Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller, her suspicions of her own mental illness, her relationships with the Kennedys, and more. Readers will find this a surprisingly sensitive portrait, not easy to put down.--Hughes, Kathleen Copyright 2009 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

After half a century of Marilyn Monroe books, beginning with Maurice Zolotow's interviews of her for his 1960 biography, it's hard to imagine any revelations about the actress, but Taraborrelli--who's written bios of Grace Kelly, Diana Ross, Elizabeth Taylor and Frank Sinatra--tackles that problem with what he refers to as "fresh research." For instance, thanks to files released in 2006 under the Freedom of Information Act, Taraborrelli details the "truly extraordinary" three-page document in which an unnamed FBI agent described the "romance and sex affair" between Monroe and RFK. Rather than the usual bibliographic listings, Taraborrelli cites only a few key books. Instead, he itemizes 30 pages of interviews explaining how he contacted sources close to the subject (e.g., approaching Dean Martin in a restaurant; talking with the historians he calls "the true experts"). In addition to interviews with everyone from Janet Leigh to Secret Service agents, Taraborrelli read the unpublished notes and interviews of reporters from the 1950s. As Taraborrelli brushes away cobwebs of myth and rumor, his remarkable research and fluid writing captures Marilyn's élan, sensitivity, desperation and despair with a haunting intimacy. (Aug. 25) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by Library Journal Review

Taraborrelli has had a long career writing juicy biographies of celebrities (e.g., Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor, Diana Ross, Frank Sinatra, Princess Grace, and the Kennedy women). Here, he promises never-before-told facts about Marilyn Monroe's family dynamic, the identity of her father, and her relationship with the Kennedys. And he delivers. Taraborrelli also reports that Marilyn's mother, Gladys Baker, suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and that Marilyn struggled with her own mental deterioration. Taraborrelli's style is sometimes over-the-top as he assumes the feelings and motivations of his subjects, but this device makes his books readable and mesmerizing. He had access to newly released documents that were not scrutinized for other biographies, and he researched family and medical files and personal correspondence and interviewed countless family members, friends, costars, Secret Service agents, and others. He also provides previously unseen photographs. This will probably stand as the definitive Monroe biography; highly recommended for all public libraries.-Rosellen Brewer, Sno-Isle Libs., Marysville, WA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.