A Brief Note on Marilyn Monroe
Like Montgomery Clift, Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962) was a fragile and beautiful presence in movies who was destined to shine for a few brief seasons and then disappear from us forever. But fortunately for us she is immortalized by the celluloid performances she left behind. Now a lot, some might say too much, have been written about her since that fateful night in August 1962 when she was found dead in her Los Angeles home. And over the years I have read many, many accounts of her, her life, her acting, her affairs etcetera. Some have been interesting, some exploitative, some have been fictional and some just downright mean. It seems that the fascination with Marilyn will never end. Why that is, who knows? And so the books will go on and on… But far and away the best and most loving account of her in print is Truman Capote’s essay A Beautiful Child from his book Music for Chameleons (1980). It can also be found in Portraits and Observations: The Essays of Truman Capote (2007). I won’t go into what the essay contains because I want you, if you’re interested, to experience the pleasures of the portrait first hand. So my function here is to point it out to you if you didn’t know about it before. I reread it about once a year just because it makes me feel that through it I have grown to know and appreciate her a little bit more.