The March 10 issue of the New York Review of Books includes a nice piece about Norma Jeane Mortenson / Norma Jeane Baker / Marilyn Monroe. Three quotes:
“Richard Avedon said:
Her ideas were always dominated by what she felt her public image should be. She would pore over the contact sheets for hours. She was always looking for what she called an “honest” picture, a “real” or “right” picture.”
“She wrote and received many letters. Here’s a response to one she wrote Somerset Maugham:
Dear Miss Monroe,
Thank you for your charming telegram of good wishes on my birthday. It was extremely kind of you to think of me; I was touched and much pleased.
I am so glad to hear that you are going to play Sadie in the T.V. production of “Rain.” I am sure you will be splendid. I wish you the best of luck.
Yours very sincerely, W. Somerset Maugham
Imagine Marilyn Monroe, the star commonly thought to be an airhead, keeping up with Somerset Maugham’s birthday and taking the trouble to send him a telegram.”
“Like many a woman with a troubled childhood and uncertain parentage, as Lois Banner delicately puts it, Marilyn had trouble with men. Her first husband, James Dougherty, vanished into the Merchant Marine. Arthur Miller drifted off. Joe Dimaggio was rough with her. At her death Miller is reported to have said, “Poor Marilyn, with a little luck she might have made it.” Myself, I should have thought she did make it.”