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August 06, 2005

Marilyn and Arthur and More

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

The recently-deceased playwright Arthur Miller was married for a brief while to the movie star Marilyn Monroe. It was a classic matchup in many ways: Miller was Jewish, intellectual and controlling, and New York; Monroe was blonde, instinctive and messed-up, and very L.A.

Miller based several plays on the relationship. What would he think and/or feel if he were to discover that the intense feelings ran in only one direction? Robert Welkos reports for the L.A. Times that, according to a source, Monroe may have told her shrink:

"Marrying [Miller] was my mistake, not his. He couldn't give me the attention, warmth and affection I need. It's not in his nature. Arthur never credited me with much intelligence. He couldn't share his intellectual life with me. As bed partners, we were so-so."

Come to think of it, what will drama critics make of this statement, if it turns out to be a genuine one? Miller wasn't shy about using his marriage to Marilyn as a metaphor, and as a pretext for large statements about the American Dream. Did he make a bit more of what was there than was warranted? Was there -- perhaps, just perhaps -- a little bit of projection going on?

Welkos's article is full of other irresistable tidbits too. My fave: Monroe had a one-nighter with Joan Crawford. When Crawford suggested a repeat performance and Monroe turned her down, Crawford "became spiteful."



posted by Michael at August 6, 2005


Joan Crawford propositioned Bette Davis too. That's why there was so much animosity between them.

Posted by: winifer skattebol on August 6, 2005 11:15 PM

Miller has always seemed, to me, to be an artist of the 'less than meets the eye' variety. I'm not surprised that his personal relationships seem to match the same pattern.

I mean, seriously--read the original (Oedipus Rex) and then the 'updated version' (Death of a Salesman) and tell me how seriously you can take Miller when you're done. There's actually a very funny forward Miller wrote to his play in which he tried to use every middle-brow cliche in the book to defend the notion that "Death of a Salesman" deserves to be considered a true tragedy, in the Greek sense. Otherwise, see, it kind of looks like he reduced (watered down, softened, psychologized) the original in his, er, copy.

Posted by: Friedrich von Blowhard on August 7, 2005 12:46 PM

Dear Michael,
it seems you've got that California bug, celebrity gossiping (what locals, like Freidrich, breath naturally, might be bad for tourists...just saying - and Freidrich, I admire you unequivocally)
There are disturbing developments in my daily blog ration: are you people trying to outfame Defamed and his Technorati profile?

Admittedly, Marilyn is classier than, say, Cameron, but isn't Monro/Miller, as well as Miller/Sophocles the same scratchy record, playing over and over same tired song?

Posted by: Tatyana on August 7, 2005 1:07 PM

Damn. I was hoping that "chicks dig writers" thing was my ticket to babeland.

Posted by: Brian on August 7, 2005 2:36 PM

Hubba, hubba!

Posted by: john massengale on August 7, 2005 2:59 PM

"Downmarket" is my middle name!

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on August 7, 2005 4:37 PM

"Spiteful"...what a great adjective. Funny how the notion of someone "becoming spiteful" is beginning to fall out of common usage. Or so it seems to my perhaps misinformed ear.

Posted by: Friedrich von Blowhard on August 9, 2005 12:44 AM

By the way, this guy thinks the transcripts are fake, fake, fake! "This reads like an undergraduate English paper. Take it from me. Iíve read a lot of them."

Of course, once celebrity gossip is out there it's out there for good, which means Joan Crawford is going to be a lesbian henceforward. But it's still probably fake.

Posted by: Brian on August 9, 2005 10:49 AM

I actually adore Monroe's words! Although I'm sorry for her to have gone through it. It doesn't surprise me at all that a man who would have treated Monroe the way she describes would also be so clueless or so opportunistic as to try to make it seem more in his subsequent relatings. It was the image he was after--his own--not any true relating to her. Their sex life being "so-so" had to stick a knife straight into his heart. Oh wait...what heart?

Posted by: annette on August 10, 2005 10:57 AM

PS--Brian---there's already been tons of evidence, including some of it photographic---that Crawford went both ways. She was also known as being quite enthusiastic about men, but there were some rather famous (within the Hollywood community) pictures of Crawford and some older female gossip columnist that were rather explicit from the days when Crawford was a chorus girl. The thought that Crawford would hit on Monroe isn't surprising. That Monroe gave it a whirl is a bit.

Posted by: annette on August 11, 2005 11:18 AM

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