ПОСЛЕДНЕЕ ИНТЕРВЬЮ МЭРИЛИН МОНРО
MARILYN MONROE POURS HER HEART OUT
In July 1962, Richard Meryman conducted the following interview with Marilyn Monroe.
The below text only shows Marilyn responses during the interview. This interview was
published in the August 3rd, 1962 issue of LIFE Magazine reading the headline
"Marilyn Monroe Pours Her Heart Out".
Sometimes wearing a scarf and a polo coat and no make-up and with a
certain attitude of walking, I go shopping - or just looking at people living.
But then you know, there will be a few teenagers who are kind of sharp and
they'll say, "Hey, just a minute - you know who I think that is?". And they'll
start tailing me. And I don't mind. I realize some people want to see if you're
real. The teenagers, the little kids, their faces light up - they say "gee" and
they can't wait to tell their friends. And old people come up and say, "Wait
till I tell my wife". You've changed their whole day.
In the morning, the garbage men that go by 57th Street when I come out the
door say, "Marilyn, hi! How do you feel this morning?". To me, it's an honor,
and I love them for it. The working men - I'll go by and they'll whistle. At
first they whistle because they think, oh, it's a girl, she's got blond hair and
she's not out of shape, and then they say, "Gosh, it's Marilyn Monroe!". And
that has it's, you know, those are times it's nice, people knowing who you
are and all of that, and feeling that you've meant something to them.
I don't know quite why, but somehow I feel they know that I mean what I
do - both when I'm acting on the screen or when if I see them in person and
greet them - that I really always do mean hello, and how are you? In their
fantasies they feel - "Gee, it can happen to me!".
But 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 is
she - who does she think she is, Marilyn Monroe? They feel fame gives
them some kind of privelage to walk up to you and say anything to you, you
know, of any kind of nature - and it won't hurt your feelings - like it's
happening to your clothing.
One time here I am looking for a home to buy and I stopped at this place. A
man came out and was very pleasant and cheerful, and said, "Oh, just a
moment, I want my wife to meet you". Well, she came out and said, "Will
you please get off the premises?". You're always running into peoples
Let's take some actors - or directors. Usually they don't say it to me, they
say it to the newspapers because that's a bigger play. You know, if they're
only insulting me to my face that doesn't make a big enough play because
all I have to say is, "See you around, like never". But if it's in the
newspapers, it's coast to coast and on around the world. I don't understand
why people aren't a little more generous with each other. I don't like to say
this, but I'm afraid there is alot of envy in this business. The only thing I
can do is stop and think, "I'm all right but I'm not so sure about them!".
For instance, you've read there was some actor that once said that kissing
me was like kissing Hitler. Well, I think that's his problem. If I have to do
intimate love scenes with somebody who really has these kinds of feelings
toward me, then my fantasy can come into play. In other words, out with
him, in with my fantasy. He was never there.
But one thing about fame is the bigger the people are, the simpler they are,
the more they are not awed by you! They don't feel they have to be
offensive, they don't feel they have to insult you. You can meet Carl
Sandburg and he is so pleased to meet you. He wants to know about you,
and you want to know about him. Not in any way has he ever let me down.
Or else you can meet working people who want to know what it is like. You
try to explain to them. I don't like to disillusion them and tell them it's
sometimes nearly impossible. They kind of look toward you for something
that's away from their everyday life. I guess you call that entertainment, a
world to escape into, a fantasy.
Sometimes it makes you a little bit sad because you'd like
to meet somebody kind of on face value. It's nice to be included in peoples
fantasies but you also like to be accepted for your own sake.
I don't look at myself as a commodity, but I'm sure alot of people have.
Including, well, one corporation in particular which shall be nameless. If I'm
sounding picked on or something, I think I am. I'll think I have a few
wonderful friends and all of a sudden, ooooh, here it comes. They do alot of
things - they talk about you to the press, to their friends, tell stories, and
you know, it's disappointing. These are the ones you aren't interested in
seeing everyday of your life.
Of course, it does depend on the people, but sometimes I'm invited places
to kind of brighten up a dinner table - like a musician who'll play the piano
after dinner, and I know you're not really invited for yourself. You're just an
When I was 5 - I think that's when I started wanting to be an actress - I
loved to play. I didn't like the world around me because it was kind of grim -
but I loved to play house and it was like you could make your own
boundaries. It goes beyond house - you could make your own situations
and you could pretend and even if the other kids were a little slow on the
imagining part you could say, "Hey, what about if you were such and such,
and I were such and such - wouldn't that be fun?". And they'd say, "Oh,
yes," and then I'd say, "Well, that will be a horse and this will be..." , it was
play, playfulness. When I heard that this was acting, I said that's what I
want to be - you can play. But then you grow up and find out about playing,
that they make playing very difficult for you.
Some of my foster families used to send me to the movies to get me out of
the house and there I'd sit all day and way into the night - up in front, there
with the screen so big, a little kid all alone, and I loved it. I loved anything
that moved up there and I didn't miss anything that happened - and there
was no popcorn either.
When I was 11 the whole world which was closed to me - I just felt I was on
the outside of the world - suddenly , everything opened up. Even the girls
paid a little attention to me because they thought, "Hmmm, she's to be dealt
with!". And I had this long walk to school - 2 1/2 miles to school, 2 1/2 miles
back - it was just sheer pleasure. Every fellow honked his horn - you know,
workers driving to work, waving, you know, and I'd wave back. The world
All the newspaper boys when they delivered the paper would come around
to where I lived, and I used to hang from the limb of a tree, and I had sort
of a sweatshirt on - I didn't realize the value of a sweatshirt in those days -
and then I was sort of beginning to catch on, but I didn't quite get it
because I couldn't really afford sweaters. But here'd they come with their
bicycles, you know, and I'd get these free papers and the family liked that,
and they'd all pull their bicycles up around the tree and then I'd be hanging,
looking kind of like a monkey, I guess. I was a little shy to come down. I did
get down to the curb, kinda kicking the curb and kicking the leaves and
talking, but mostly listening. And sometimes the family used to worry
because I used to laugh so loud and so gay, I guess they felt it was
hysterical. It was just this sudden freedom because I would ask the boys,
"Can I ride your bike now?", and they'd say, "sure". Then I'd go zooming,
laughing in the wind, riding down the block, laughing, and they'd all stand
around and wait till I came back, but I loved the wind. It caressed me.
But it was kind of a double - edged thing. I did find, too, when
the world opened up that people took alot for granted, like not only could they
be friendly, but they could suddenly get overly friendly and expect an awful lot
for very little.
When I was older, I used to go to Grauman's Chinese Theater and try to fit
my foot in the prints in the cement there. And I'd say, "Oh, oh, my foot's too
big, I guess, that's out". I did have a funny feeling later when I finally put
my foot down into that wet cement. I sure knew what it really meant to me -
anything's possible, almost.
It was the creative part that kept me going - trying to be an actress. I enjoy
acting when you really hit it right. And I guess I've always had too much
fantasy to be only a housewife. Well, also, I had to eat. I was never kept, to
be blunt about it. I always kept myself. I have always had a pride in the fact
that I was my own. And Los Angeles was my home, too, so when they said,
"Go home!". I said, "I am home".
The time I sort of began to think I was famous I was
driving somebody to the airport and as I came back there was
this movie house and I saw my name in lights. I pulled the car up at a
distance down the street - it was too much to take up close, you know - all
of a sudden. And I said, "God, somebody's made a mistake". But there it
was, in lights. And I sat there and said, "So that's the way it looks", and it
was all very strange to me, and yet at the studio they had said, "Remember
you're not a star". Yet there it is up in lights.
I really got the idea I must be a star, or something from the newspapermen -
I'm saying men, not the women - who would interview me and they would be
warm and friendly. By the way, that part of the press, you know, the men of
the press, unless they have their own personal quirks against me, they
were always very warm and friendly and they'd say, "You know, you're the
only star", and I'd say, "Star?" and they'd look at me as if I were nuts. I
think they, in their own kind of way, made me realize I was famous.
I remember when I got the part in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Jane Russell -
she was the brunette in it and I was the blonde - she got $200, 000 for it,
and I got my $500 a week, but that to me was, you know, considerable. She
by the way, was quite wonderful to me. The only thing was I couldn't get a
dressing room. I said, finally - I really got to this kind of level - I said,
"Look, after all, I am the blonde and it is Gentlemen Prefer Blondes!".
Because still they always kept saying, "Remember, you're not a star".
I said, "Well, whatever I am, I am the blonde!".
And I want to say the people - if I am a star - the people made me a star -
no studio, no person, but the people did. There was a reaction that came to
the studio, the fan mail, or when I went to a premiere, or the exhibitors
wanted to meet me. I didn't know why. When they all rushed toward me I
looked behind me to see who was there and I said, "My heavens!". I was
scared to death. I used to get the feeling, and sometimes I still get it, that
sometimes I was fooling somebody. I don't know who or what - maybe
I've always felt toward the slightest scene - even if all I had to do in a scene
was just to come in and say, "Hi", that the people ought to get their
money's worth and that this is an obligation of mine, to give them the best
you can get from me. I do have feelings some days when there are scenes
with alot of responsibility toward the meaning, and I'll wish, gee, if only I
had been a cleaning woman. On the way to the studio I would see
somebody cleaning and I'd say, "That's what I'd like to be. That's my
ambition in life". But I think that all actors go through this. We not only want
to be good, we have to be.
You know, when they talk about nervousness - my teacher, Lee Strasberg -
when I said to him, "I don't know what's wrong with me but I'm a little
nervous", he said, "When you're not, give up, because nervousness
Also, a struggle with shyness is in every actor more
than anyone can imagine. There is a censor inside us that says to what
degree do we let go, like a child playing. I guess people think we just go
out there, and you know, that's all we do - just do it. But it's a real struggle.
I'm one of the world's most self - concious people. I really have to struggle.
An actor is not a machine, no matter how much they want to say you are.
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.
Like any creative human being, I would like a bit more control so that it
would be a little easier for me when the director says, "One tear, right now",
that one tear would pop out. But once there came two tears because I
thought, "How dare he?".
Goethe said, "Talent is developed in privacy", you
know? And it's really true. There is a need for aloneness which I don't think
most people realize for an actor. It's almost having certain kinds of secrets
for yourself that you'll let the whole world in on only for a moment, when
But everybody is always tugging at you. They'd all like sort of a chunk of
you. They kind of like to take pieces out of you. I don't think they realize it,
but it's like "rrr do this, rrr do that". But you do want to stay intact - intact
and on two feet.
I think that when you are famous every weakness is exaggerated. This
industry should behave like a mother whose child has just run out in front of
a car. But instead of clasping the child to them, they start punishing the
child. Like you don't dare get a cold - how dare you get a cold! I mean, the
executives can get colds and stay home forever and phone it in, but how
dare you, the actor, get a cold or a virus. You know, no one feels worse
than the one who's sick. I sometimes wish, gee, I wish they had to act a
comedy with a temperature and a virus infection. I am not an actress who
appears at a studio just for the purpose of discipline. This doesn't have
anything at all to do with art. I myself would like to become more
disciplined within my work. But I'm there to give a performance and not to
be disciplined by a studio! After all, I'm not in a military school. This is
supposed to be an art form, not just a manufacturing establishment.
The sensitivity that helps me to act, you see, also makes me react. An actor
is supposed to be a sensitive instrument. Isaac Stern takes good care of
his violin. What if everybody jumped on his violin?
If you've noticed in Hollywood where millions and billions of dollars have
been made, there aren't really any kind of monuments or museums, and I
don't call putting your footprint in Grauman's Chinese a monument - all
right this did mean a lot sentimentally ballyhoo me at the time. Gee, nobody
left anything behind, they took it, they grabbed it and they ran - the ones
who made the billions of dollars, never the workers.
You know alot of people have, oh gee, real quirky problems that they
wouldn't dare have anyone know. But one of my problems happens to show
- I'm late. I guess people think that why I'm late is some kind of arrogance
and I think it is opposite of arrogance. I also feel that I'm not in this big
American rush - you know, you got to go and you got to go fast but for no
good reason. The main thing is, I want to be prepared when I get there to
give a good performance or whatever to the best of my ability.
A lot of people can be there on time and do nothing, which I have seen them
do, and you know, all sit around and sort of chit - chatting and talking trivia
about their social life. Gable said about me, "When she's there, she's there.
All of her is there! She's there to work".
I was honored when they asked me to appear at the President's birthday
rally in Madison Square Garden. There was like a hush over the whole
place when I came on to sing Happy Birthday - like if I had been wearing a
slip I would have thought it was showing, or something. I thought, "Oh, my
gosh, what if no sound comes out!".
A hush like that from the people warms me. It's sort of like an embrace.
Then you think, by God, I'll sing this song if it's the last thing I ever do. And
for all the people. Because I remember when I turned to the microphone I
looked all the way up and back, and I thought, "That's where I'd be - way up
there under one of those rafters, close to the ceiling, after I paid my $2 to
come into the place".
Afterwards they had some sort of reception. I was
with my former father - in - law, Isadore Miller, so I think I did something
wrong when I met the President. Instead of saying, "How do you do?". I just
said "This is my former father - in - law, Isadore Miller. He came here an
immigrant and I thought this would be one of the biggest things in his life -
he's about 75 or 80 years old and I thought this would be something that he
would be telling his grandchildren about and all that". I should have said,
"How do you do, Mr. President", but I had already done the singing, so well
you know. I guess nobody noticed it.
Fame has a special burden, which I might as well state here and now. I don't
mind being burdened with being glamorous and sexual. But what goes with
it can be a burden - like the man was going to show me around but the
woman said, "Off the premises". I feel that beauty and femininity are
ageless and can't be contrived, and glamour - although the manufacturers
won't like this - cannot be manufactured. Not real glamour, it's based on
femininity. I think that sexuality is only attractive when it's natural and
spontaneous. This is where alot of them miss the boat. And then something
I'd just like to spout off on. We are all born sexual creatures, thank God,
but it's a pity so many people despise and crush this natural gift. Art, real
art, comes from it - everything.
I never quite understood it - this sex symbol - I always thought symbols
were those things you clash together! That's the trouble, a sex symbol
becomes a thing. I just hate to be a thing. But if I'm going to be a symbol of
something I'd rather have it sex than some other things they've got symbols
These girls who try to be me - I guess the studios put them up to it, or
they get the ideas themselves. But gee, they haven't - you can make alot
of gags about it - like they haven't got the foreground or else they haven't the
background. But I mean the middle, where you live.
All my stepchildren carried the burden of my fame. Sometimes they would
read terrible things about me and I'd worry about whether it would hurt
them. I would tell them, don't hide these things from me. I'd rather you ask
me these things straight out and I'll answer all your questions. Don't be
afraid to ask anything. After all I have come up from way down.
I wanted them to know of live other than their own. I used to tell them, for
instance, that I worked for 5 cents a month and I washed one hundred
dishes, and my stepkids would say, "One hundred dishes!" and I said, "Not
only that, I scraped and cleaned them before I washed them. I washed them
and rinsed them and put them in the draining place, but", I said, "thank God
I didn't have to dry them".
Kids are different from grown-ups - you know
when you get grown up you can get kind of sour, I mean that's the way it
can go, but kids accept you the way you are. I always speak them: "don't
hasten to be admired someone only because he's the adult or speaks that
and that, but at first observe him a little". Perhaps, it is my best advice
them. Observe people and make own conclusions. I spoke them it and about
myself. "Look whether to be worthy I your friend. Your business to solve
it after a while".
Fame to me certainly is only a temporary and a partial happiness - even for
a waif and I was brought up a waif. But fame is not really for a daily diet,
that's not what fulfills you. It warms you a bit but the warming is temporary.
It's like caviar, you know - it's good to have caviar but not when you have it
every meal every day.
I was never used to being happy, so that wasn't something I ever took for
granted. I did sort of think, you know, marriage did that. You see, I was
brought up differently from the average American child because the
average child is brought up expecting to be happy - that's it, successful,
happy, and on time. Yet because of fame I was able to meet and marry two
of the nicest men I'd ever met up to that time.
I don't think people will turn against me, atleast not by themselves. I like
people. The "public" scares me but people I trust. Maybe they can be
impressed by the press or when a studio starts sending out all kinds of
stories. But I think when people go to see a movie, they judge for
themselves. We human beings are strange creatures and still reserve the
right to think for ourselves.
Once I was supposed to be finished - that was the end of me. When Mr.
Miller was on trial for contempt of Congress, a certain corporation
executive said either he named names and I got him to name names, or I
was finished. I said, "I'm proud of my husband's position and I stand behind
him all the way", and the court did too. "Finished", they said. "You'll never
be heard of".
It might be a kind of relief to be finished. It's sort of like I don't know what
kind of a yard dash you're running, but then you're at the finish line and you
sort of sight - you've made it! But you never have - you have to start all
over again. But I believe you're always as good as your potential.
I now live in my work and in a few relationships with the few people I can
really count on. Fame will go by and, so long, I've had you fame. If it goes
by, I've always known it was fickle. So atleast it's something I experienced,
but that's not where I live.
Richard Meryman, LIFE Magazine