Marilyn Monroe

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The truth is I've never fooled anyone. I've let people fool themselves. They didn't bother to find out who and what I was....

Marilyn Monroe (1 June 19265 August 1962) was an American actress, singer, model, and one of the most famous Hollywood icons of the twentieth century.

Sourced[edit]

All we demanded was our right to twinkle.
  • Everyone's childhood plays itself out. No wonder no one knows the other or can completely understand. By this I don't know if I'm just giving up with this conclusion or resigning myself - or maybe for the first time connecting with reality. How do we know the pain or another's earlier years, let alone all that he drags with him since along the way at best a lot of leeway is needed for the other - yet how much is unhealthy for one to bear. I think to love bravely is the best and accept - as much as one can bear.
    • As quoted in Marilyn's personal diaries in 1958. Fragments, by Stanley Buchthal and Bernard Comment (2010)
  • For life: It is rather a determination not to be overwhelmed. For work: The truth can only be recalled, never invented.
    • As quoted in Marilyn's personal diaries. Fragments, by Stanley Buchthal and Bernard Comment (2010)
  • I know I will never be happy but I know I can be gay!
    • As quoted in a letter to her psychiatrist, Dr. Greenson, in 1961. Fragments, by Stanley Buchthal and Bernard Comment (2010)
  • It's not true I had nothing on. I had the radio on.
    • On reports of her nude photographs for a calendar, as quoted in TIME magazine (1952)
  • I've been on a calendar, but never on time.
    • Look magazine (5 March 1957)
  • I'm a failure as a woman. My men expect so much of me, because of the image they've made of me — and that I've made of myself — as a sex symbol. They expect bells to ring and whistles to whistle, but my anatomy is the same as any other woman's and I can't live up to it.
    • Statement c. 1962, as quoted in Marilyn (1992) by Peter Harry Brown and Patte B. Barham, Ch. 30
  • Unfortunately, I am involved in a freedom ride protesting the loss of the minority rights belonging to the few remaining earthbound stars. All we demanded was our right to twinkle.
    • Telegram, turning down a party invitation from Mr. and Mrs. Robert F. Kennedy (13 June 1962)
  • I think that when you are famous every weakness is exaggerated. ... Goethe said, "Talent is developed in privacy," you know? And it's really true. ... Creativity has got to start with humanity and when you're a human being, you feel, you suffer. You're gay, you're sick, you're nervous or whatever.
    • "Marilyn Monroe Pours Her Heart Out" interview by Richard Meryman, in LIFE (3 August 1962)
  • Say goodbye to Pat, say goodbye to the president, and say goodbye to yourself, because you're a nice guy. ... I'll see, I'll see.
Please don't make me a joke. End the interview with what I believe. I don't mind making jokes, but I don't want to look like one. I want to be an artist, an actress with integrity.
  • Please don't make me a joke. End the interview with what I believe. I don't mind making jokes, but I don't want to look like one... I want to be an artist, an actress with integrity... If fame goes by, so long, I've had you, fame. If it goes by, I've always known it was fickle. So at least it's something I experienced, but that's not where I live.
    • Her last taped interview, with Richard Meryman, published in LIFE magazine a few days before her death. (3 August 1962); quoted in Ms. magazine (August 1972)
  • Say good-bye to Pat, say good-bye to Jack and say good-bye to yourself, because you're a nice guy.
    • Last words to actor Peter Lawford, in August 1962, as quoted in US News & World Report (7 October 1985)
  • An actress is not a machine, but they treat you like a machine. A money machine.
    • As quoted in Ms. magazine (August 1972) p. 38
  • Why? — It paid the rent.
    • On why she had posed nude for a calendar photograph, quoted in Ms. magazine (August 1972) p. 39
  • I restore myself when I'm alone. A career is born in public — talent in privacy.
    • As quoted in Ms. magazine (August 1972) p. 40
I don't want to make money, I just want to be wonderful.
  • That's the trouble, a sex symbol becomes a thing. But if I'm going to be a symbol of something, I'd rather it be sex than some of the things we've got symbols of... I just hate to be a thing.
    • Comment on her sex symbol status, quoted in Ms. magazine (August 1972) p. 40
  • I'm not interested in money, I just want to be wonderful.
    • As quoted in Ms. magazine (August 1972) p. 41
  • The studio people want me to do "Good-bye Charlie" for the movies, but I'm not going to do it. I don't like the idea of playing a man in a woman's body — you know? It just doesn't seem feminine.
    • On turning down a role, eventually played by Debbie Reynolds, as quoted in Ms. magazine (August 1972) p. 41
Hollywood's a place where they'll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss, and fifty cents for your soul...
  • First, I'm trying to prove to myself that I'm a person. Then maybe I'll convince myself that I'm an actress.
    • As quoted in Ms. magazine (August 1972) p. 42
  • The body is meant to be seen, not all covered up.
    • Handwritten note responding to a question about posing nude, as quoted in International Herald Tribune (5 October 1984)
  • Husbands are chiefly good as lovers when they are betraying their wives.
    • As quoted in Marilyn Monroe : In Her Own Words (1983), edited by Roger Taylor
  • My work is the only ground I've ever had to stand on. I seem to have a whole superstructure with no foundation — but I'm working on the foundation.
    • As quoted in Marilyn Monroe : In Her Own Words (1983), edited by Roger Taylor
  • Hollywood's a place where they'll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss, and fifty cents for your soul. I know, because I turned down the first offer often enough and held out for the fifty cents.
    • As quoted in Marilyn Monroe : In Her Own Words (1983), edited by Roger Taylor
It would be wonderful to enjoy success without seeing envy in the eyes of those around you.
  • When you're famous you kind of run into human nature in a raw kind of way. It stirs up envy, fame does. People you run into feel that, well, who does she think she is, Marilyn Monroe? They feel fame gives them some kind of privilege to walk up to you and say anything to you, of any kind of nature — and it won't hurt your feelings — like it's happening to your clothes not you.
    • Comment on fame, quoted in Marilyn Monroe: A Life of the Actress (1993) by Carl E. Rollyson, and in Symbolic Leaders: Public Dramas and Public Men (2006) by Orrin Edgar Klapp
    • Variant: People feel fame gives them some kind of privilege to walk up to you and say anything to you, of any kind of nature — and it won't hurt your feelings — like it's happening to your clothing.
    • As quoted in Ms. magazine (August 1972) p. 40
  • Success makes so many people hate you. I wish it wasn't that way. It would be wonderful to enjoy success without seeing envy in the eyes of those around you.
    • As quoted in The Films of Barbra Streisand (2001) by Christopher Nickens and Karen Swenson
  • I don't know who invented high heels, but all women owe him a lot.
    • As quoted in Her Inspiration : Secrets to Help You Work Smart, Be Successful, and Have Fun (2008) by Mina Parker
  • I sleep in the nude but I pull the sheets up.
    • Jock Carroll, "Rare Marilyn: a portfolio work by 20 photographers", American Photo (May - June 1997)

On Being Blonde (2007)[edit]

People had a habit of looking at me as if I were some kind of mirror instead of a person. They didn't see me, they saw their own lewd thoughts, then they white-masked themselves by calling me the lewd one.
Quotes of Monroe from On Being Blonde : Wit and Wisdom from the World's Most Infamous Blondes (2004) by Paula Munier
  • It's far better to be unhappy alone than unhappy with someone — so far.
    • p. 52
  • It stirs up envy, fame does. People you run into feel that, well, who does she think she is, Marilyn Monroe? They feel fame gives them some kind of privilege to walk up to you and say anything to you, of any kind of nature — and it won't hurt your feelings — like it's happening to your clothes not you.
    • p. 52
  • The truth is I've never fooled anyone. I've let people fool themselves. They didn't bother to find out who and what I was. Instead they would invent a character for me. I wouldn't argue with them. They were obviously loving somebody I wasn't. When they found this out, they would blame me for disillusioning them and fooling them.
    • p. 52
  • A career is wonderful, but you can't curl up with it on a cold night.
    • p. 53
  • Arthur Miller wouldn't have married me if I had been nothing but a dumb blonde.
    • p. 54
  • People had a habit of looking at me as if I were some kind of mirror instead of a person. They didn't see me, they saw their own lewd thoughts, then they white-masked themselves by calling me the lewd one.
    • p. 54

Quotes about Monroe[edit]

If the world offered nothing, nowhere to support or make bearable whatever her private grief was, then it is that world, and not she, that is at fault. ~ Thomas Pynchon
  • I think Marilyn is bound to make an almost overwhelming impression on the people who meet her for the first time. It is not that she is pretty, although she is of course almost incredibly pretty, but she radiates, at the same time, unbounded vitality and a kind of unbelievable innocence. I have met the same in a lion-cub, which my native servants in Africa brought me. I would not keep her, since I felt that it would in some way be wrong...I shall never forget the almost overpowering feeling of unconquerable strength and sweetness which she conveyed. I had all the wild nature of Africa amicably gazing at me with mighty playfulness.
    • Author Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen) in a letter to the American author, Fleur Cowles Meyer, in 1961. As quoted in Fragments, by Stanley Buchthal and Bernard Comment.
  • When Marilyn Monroe got out of the game, I wrote something like, "Southern California's special horror notwithstanding, if the world offered nothing, nowhere to support or make bearable whatever her private grief was, then it is that world, and not she, that is at fault."
    I wrote that in the first few shook-up minutes after hearing the bulletin sandwiched in between Don and Phil Everly and surrounded by all manner of whoops and whistles coming out of an audio signal generator, like you are apt to hear on the provincial radio these days. But I don't think I'd take those words back.
    • Thomas Pynchon in a letter to Jules Siegel, published in Cavalier magazine (August 1965)
  • If Marilyn is in love with my husband it proves she has good taste, for I am in love with him too.
    • Simone Signoret, responding to rumors that her husband Yves Montand was romantically involved with Monroe. The New York Journal-American (14 November 1960)
  • I remember her on the screen, huge as a colossus doll, mincing and whispering and simply hoping her way into total vulnerability.
    • Gloria Steinem from “Marilyn Monroe: The Woman who Died Too Soon” in Ms. magazine (August 1972); later published in Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions (1983)

External links[edit]

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