Friday, April 08, 2011

Marilyn Monroe - Madness and her last days

In the book “Fragments”, which is based on diaries, letters and various writings of Marilyn Monroe, sex symbol of the 20th century, it is revealed that after a series of psychiatric sessions she ended up in mental hospital’s solitary confinement, and that doctor Greenson came there to examine – her breasts.

"Alone!!! I am alone-I am always alone no matter what." – with this begins the earliest of several diaries written by Marilyn Monroe, sexiest and most desirable women of the 20th century, according to "Playboy". Her diaries, sketches, poems, letters, various notes and rare photographs, dating from between 1951 and 1961, are published (in 2010) in a book called "Fragments". They are significant because, for the first time, Marilyn Monroe explains herself – she is presented outside of Hollywood splendor, myths and legends that were woven around her name in recent decades.

That book revealed her fears of sexual abuse, betrayal of her third husband, ghosts of inherited madness, traumas from psychotherapy to which she was forced, and an eerie testimony about the mental hospital in which she was involuntarily taken.

Of countless men who have passed through her life the most famous was John F. Kennedy, the most faithful was Joe DiMaggio… but the most trace in her life left her third husband, playwright Arthur Miller, who managed to make her the happiest and most unhappiest woman in the world.

Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller were probably in their happiest phase during the summer of 1957, which they spent in a rented house on Long Island. They spent their time there swimming and taking long walks on the beach. She looked splendidly on the photographs from that period. That was the time when she happily stepped into her husband’s world - She was joyful and witty at the dinner in the company of writers Carson McCullers and Isak Dinesen, she became friends with Truman Capote,  and met some of her literary heroes such as poet Carl Sandburg and writer Saul Bellow, with whom she had dinner while she waited for the premiere of “Some Like It Hot" in Chicago. The sexiest blonde knocked Bellow of his feet.

Writers and books were not a coincidence in her life. "Esquire" once published a photo of her reading James Joyce’s “Ulysses”. There was also a photo of her reading the poetry of Heinrich Heine. Magazine “Life” once depicted Marilyn reading a book in front of a shelve with books. She had her personal library with 400 volumes that included works of history, philosophy, fiction...

In London, where they traveled in the fall of that same year to film her "The Prince and the Showgirl" movie with Laurence Olivier, Miller caused her greatest disappointment in life. 

Marilyn and her husband moved to a magnificent estate in Surrey, near London. Everything seemed perfect. She was producing a film in which played (and was directed by) one of the most respected actors of her generation and she lived in a large country house with the man she loved the most. As an artist she couldn’t have felt more fulfilled, until a coincidence buried her otherwise very fragile self-confidence and her trust in her husband.  She ran into a Miller’s diary in which he complained that he was disappointed with her and that sometimes he is ashamed having her in his company in front of friends. After reading those entries, Marilyn was destroyed.  One of her biggest fears came true - that she will disappoint the man she loves.

Formally speaking, Marilyn Monroe was not an orphan because her mother Gladys Monroe Baker eventually outlived her famous daughter. But since Gladys was a schizophrenic who spent years going in and out of psychiatric institutions, Marilyn was virtually abandoned and raised in a number of adoptive families, including the family of her mother’s close friend Grace Goddard.

Her first husband, James Dougherty, liked the idea of saving a shy and nice girl, who left high school to marry him. It is not surprising that their marriage fell apart - they divorced in September 1946. “My relationship with him was basically insecure from the first night I spent alone with him,” Marilyn wrote in her diary.

Her second marriage with baseball player Joe DiMaggio, who was one of the most famous names in sport‘s world, also failed. Their marriage lasted only nine months. DiMaggio was almost in his forties and he wanted, with all his heart, for his wife to leave Hollywood and become a housewife. Instead, he became "Mr. Monroe”, and that was too much for his jealousy and frustration. However, when she died, for twenty years DiMaggio sent flowers to her grave three times a week.

She began to visit psychotherapists at the urging of her acting teacher Lee Strasberg, to whom she went in the spring of 1955 because she wanted to become a serious actress. Strasberg was more than a teacher to her; he was almost a father she never met. By the wish of Marilyn Monroe, Strasberg became executor of her will, which was then heavy about 13 million of dollars. After Strasberg’s death, his widow, Anna Mizrahi Strasberg, inherited that right. She even today earns about a million dollars thanks to Marilyn Monroe’s name.

Persuaded by Strasberg, and after breaking up her marriage with DiMaggio, Marilyn visited a psychiatrist five times a week. Dr. Margaret Hohenberg managed to pull out from Marilyn’s subconscious memories of a difficult childhood, including memories of sexual abuse and harassment of her aunt, Ida Martin, with whom she stayed a few times when she was between 11 and 13 years old.

Two years later, in 1957, Marilyn stopped seeing Dr. Hohenberg. Strasberg then recommended her another doctor, Marianne Kris, who later caused one of the greatest traumas in Marilyn’s life.  During sessions with her, Marilyn discovered that she was always “deeply terrified to really be someone's wife” because she knew “from life one cannot love another, ever, really”.

Three years later, after being totally rejected by Miller (he didn’t even came to her funeral), Marilyn Monroe became Yves Montand’s mistress. Her new doctor became Ralph Greenson – it is not known how much he managed to help her, but it is certain that he was obsessed with Marilyn. Greenson’s daily therapeutic sessions lasted about five hours, but nevertheless, in 1960, in a state of complete emotional disintegration, and upon the recommendation of Dr. Kris, Marilyn ended up in a psychiatric hospital in New York.

Practically, as soon as she entered, Marilyn started requesting to leave. But the more she was persistent about it, the employees of the hospital was more confident in her disease, and they eventually put her into a solitary confinement. Marilyn wrote a letter to Greenson in which she described what were they doing to her, but instead of getting her out of that hospital, he came to examine – her breasts. From hell that lasted for three days she was rescued by DiMaggio.

Marilyn became acquainted with Kennedy brothers in 1961, but she met some members of that family at least five years earlier. She wrote in her diary, that she fears that Peter Lawford, Kennedy’s brother-in-law, wants to hurt her - the feeling of violence I’ve had lately about being afraid of Peter he might harm me, poison me, etc.

In August 1962, Marilyn Monroe was found dead. It is assumed that she committed suicide by drinking a large quantity of sleeping pills.

Childhood – Her guardian wanted to rape her when she was just six years old

In her diaries, Marilyn also wrote about her first marriage with an intelligent and attractive James Dougherty. She married Dougherty on June 19, 1942, when she was just 16, and he was five years older. Marilyn described her loneliness and insecurity in that sudden marriage, which was less love and more of a way for Marilyn – then Norma Jeane Baker – to seize the opportunity to escape from the life of an orphan, while her guardians, Grace and Ervin Goddard, were in California. Especially because Ervin tried to rape Marilyn when she was just six years old.

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