If I've never mentioned my fascination with MM, well, I'm telling ya now. Ran across this copy at the bookstore and I couldn't resist plopping down $15.00 for the magazine. I tried to pass it up but...I sort of figured that there was little more for me to learn about this mesmerizing icon. I mean, I've read and own so many MM books and bios that it's just impossible to tell me anything new. Alas, NEW STUFF! Pics I've never seen (or forgot I've seen. Maybe.) Different sections offer different stories. For example, on page 32, there's an article entitled A SPLASH OF MARILYN that was originally published in June 2012 and adapted from Marilyn & Me (Doubleday). Stunning photographs by Lawrence Schiller. Fascinating behind the scenes look from Larry's point of view. Don't know Schiller? I can assure you. You've seen his work. Schiller famously shot the pool scenes of a naked Marilyn on set of Billy Wilder's Something's Gotta Give. Larry also shot candid photos on set of Let's Make Love and Some Like It Hot. I think this was one of my favorite parts of the magazine. While I knew Larry enjoyed a certain comraderie with Marilyn, and I knew a bit about the infamous shoot, I'd never read Schiller's actual words. He gives an insightful look at the business side of MM. Monroe had final approval over all photos and publicity stills, which was almost unheard of back then. According to Schiller,
"When it came to looking at photographs of herself, Marilyn was all business. I gave her the small contact sheets and a magnifying glass.
Marilyn didn't have a preconceived idea of how she wanted to be seen by the public. All she wanted was to make sure that her face or body didn't appear blemished in some way: a line here or a wrinkle there. She was interested in the total image; if the whole picture worked, Marilyn was happy."
There are also documents, poems, and journal entries excerpted from Fragments: Poems, Intimate Notes, Letters by Marilyn Monroe. Marilyn used writing as a means of expressing herself. Some of her poems take a dark turn but they're actually quite good. Contrary to the image Marilyn portrayed onscreen, she was hardly a dumb blonde. She loved intellectuals and reading was something she enjoyed. Like most book lovers, reading was an escape for her and it was helpful during her bouts with chronic insomnia. I can relate to that, too. Marilyn had an extensive book collection consisting of over four hundred books. 430 to be exact. Most of her collection was auctioned off at Christie's in October of 1999. How awesome would it have been to own those books once owned by MM?! From authors like James Joyce, D.H. Lawrence, poet Heinrich Heine, and Walt Whitman. Lots of great books in her personal collection.
I love Marilyn and I'm happy to include her as a fellow book lover. I may not own any books from her personal stack but I'm utterly happy to include this edition of Vanity Fair Icons to my ever-growing book collection.