Book Review: Marilyn Forever
By Terri Schlichenmeyer, June 2018 Web Exclusive.
People will talk. And that can be a bad thing: gossip is often mean, and its shelf-life is sometimes longer than we’d like. On the other hand, a bit of scandalous chatter can be great: as in the new book Marilyn Forever, by Boze Hadleigh, if people are talking about you, they’ll remember you.
Through the years, plenty of people have had plenty to say about Marilyn Monroe, both during her career and after her death. Much of the snark was just that: Anne Baxter said she “got fed up” with studio bosses fussing over Monroe and ignoring “those of us who could actually act!” Elizabeth Taylor had nothing good to say about Monroe, and was reportedly scandalized by rumors of Monroe’s affair with another woman.
And yet, some saw deep into Monroe’s soul, and they loved her for it.
Marilyn Forever by Boze Hadleigh. Taylor Trade, 2016 | $14.95.
Shirley MacLaine remembers Monroe as being an intelligent woman, despite the personae Monroe cultivated; Jerry Orbach remembers Monroe’s “heart,” and shares a story of what she did for soldiers in Korea. Likewise, Shari Lewis tells of Monroe’s brave stand, in pre-Civil Rights America, on behalf of Ella Fitzgerald.
Michael Jackson said that just thinking about Monroe “makes you want to cry.”
Just before Monroe died, she was said to be excited about being a new homeowner. She was in perhaps the best shape she’d been in for years, and was ready for a resurgence of her career. Her death made no sense: did she make a mistake with champagne and drugs? Or was it something more sinister? No one knows, but at least one Hollywood star muses about roles Monroe might have had in her later years, had she still been alive.
Will we ever forget her? Will we ever stop talking about her?
No, says Hugh Hefner, and “… fortunately there’s certainly a lot left to dream about her.”
Everyone knows that names hurt just as much as sticks and stones, despite what you once claimed on the playground. But how affected was Monroe by the things others said about her? In Marilyn Forever, you’ll see.
Through this collection of quotes and thoughts on Monroe, Hadleigh offers a portrait of the star through the eyes of people who knew her and worked with her. As readers might expect, there’s quite a good bit of nastiness here; the claws come out and “meow” fairly drips from those sentences. Monroe, it’s said, was naturally quite hurt by such comments.
But Hadleigh doesn’t let those things drive this book.
There’s love here, and it’s striking: stories of a make-up artist who, years later, couldn’t bear to discuss his friendship with Monroe. Tears are admitted by “He-Man” types, and more than one star spoke with sympathy about a woman they greatly admired.
That gives this book a good balance and further insight to an actress who’s been gone for (can you believe it?) more than five decades. If you’re a fan, time flies and Marilyn Forever is a book you won’t stop talking about.