- Arlene Roberts, The Red House, 1946. Lost by a head... Before signing her first Fox contract in August 1946, Norma Jean Dougherty auditioned as one of various teens with Lon McCallister. He won but director Delmar Daves told Marilyn: “Your head and Lon's head wouldn't be right together.”
- Jean Simmons, The Blue Lagoon, 1948. Hard to credit but MM was seen for Emmeline in the second of three versions of the shipwrecked children growing into lovers on a desert isle. Children? Jean Simmons was 19, Marilyn 22 and Houston 25! (Molly Adair was 17 in the 1922 silent version.F or the 1980 ”story of natural love,” Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins were 15 and19).
- Roberta Haynes, We Were Strangers, 1949. Director John Huston first met Marilyn in 1948 when her agent Johnny Hyde (as smitten with her as Paul Bern had been with Harlow) got Huston and Sam Spiegel’s Horizon Pictures to give her a test. Don’t waste too much time, said Sam (SP Eagle at the time). Huston got his Strangers co-writer Peter Viertel to write her a good scene with their star, John Garfield. It cost more time and money than Sam expected - Huston’s way of teaching Sam “not to flaunt his power.” And it was Huston (not SP) who gave her a peach of a role - Angela Phinlay - in his next outing, The Asphalt Jungle, 1940.
- Judy Holliday, Born Yesterday, 1950. Columbia's crude chief Harry Cohn spent the first $1m for a play - written for Jean Arthur - as a Rita Hayworth vehicle. As she swanned around Europe with the Aly Khan, Cohn preferred Arthur, Monroe, Alice Faye, Paulette Goddard, Gloria Grahame, Celeste Holm, Evelyn Keyes, Marie McDonald, Jan Sterling, Lana Turner - anyone other than “the fat Jewish broad,” the understudy who had made the play a hit. Katharine Hepburn waged a campaign to change Cohn’s mind, by virtually turning Judy’s support role in Tracy and Hepburn’s Adam’s Rib into the most elaborate screen test. An act of generosity unsurpassed in Hollywood history. Cohn gave in, gracefully. “Well, I've worked with fat assess before!” He then paid a meagre $4,500 to the actress who did the impossible - and wrested Oscar from Bette Davis in All About Eve and Gloria Swanson in Sunset Blvd on March 29, 1951 Judy also won Kate for a lover - Hepburn’s final lesbian affair at a mere 43.
- Jean Peters, Wait Till the Sun Shines, Nellie, 1951. Director Henry King had a soft spot for Marilyn but Fox boss Darryl F Zanuck over-ruled him.He had other jobs for her to perform.
- Jean Peters, Pickup On South Street, 1952.
“Can I just sit here and watch you work, Sammy?” I’ll be as quiet as a mouse.” Maverick auteur- and “tabloid philosopher”! - Samuel Fuller, who invariably spoke in CAPITALS, had beenoffered ajolie brochette for Candy: Ava Gardner, Betty Grable, Shelley Winters. And now his pal Marilyn was knocking on his door.She asked to read. He knew immediately, she was not the Candy he’d created: “NOT SEXY ENOUGH TO BE A HOOKER… NOT SMART ENOUGH to be a housewife... Marilyn didn’t speak, SHE PURRED.... I TOLD HER STRAIGHT: If she walked along my decrepit waterfront, HER OVERWHELMING SENSUALITY WOULD OBSCURE MY YARN. She was so disappointed, I put my arm around her and said we’d look for another pictrue to do together. I LOVED MARILYN.! Whocould forget those sparkling eyes and THAT RADIANT SKIN OF HERS?”
- Gloria Grahame, The Big Heat, 1953. Producer Jerry Wald wanted to borrow Marilyn from Fox. Until he heard their asking price. Two years before, RKO had borrowed her for Clash By Night for $30,000. Now, Fox chief Darryl Zanuck was asking: $100,000 per loan-out. So Grahame got the scalding hot coffee flung in her face by a badass Lee Marvin - famous film noir cruelty to match James Cagney grapefruiting Mae Marsh in The Public Enemy, 1930. “I guess the scar isn't so bad - not if it's only on one side. I can always go through life sideways.”
- Bella Darvi, The Egyptian, 1953. After such hefty loan fees and How To Marry A Millionaire, Marilyn tested her powerbase by asking to be Nefer-Nefer. Darryl Zanuck said: Never, never... And reserved the role for his latest French mistress. (She was the main reason Marlon Brando quit the epic. He wuz right! Her horrendous performance has to be seen to be believed: Variety called it less than believable or skilled. Zanuck still shoved her into six other Fox films). Totally misreading the Marilyn situation, Zanuck offered hert The Girl In Pink Tights. Outraged at the script of a schoolmarm turning saloon singer - at $1,500 a week to intended co-star Frank Sinatra's $5,000 - Monroe split town, got suspended and hit back with the second major publicity coup of her life after her nude calendar. She married baseball god Joe Di Maggio.
- Sheree North, How To Be Very, Very Popular, 1955. Millionaire’s NunallyJohnson wrote it for Monroe.She nevershowed for shootingonJanuary 15,1955. No longer into roles where she had to strip off her graduation gown and jiggle to “Shake, Rattle & Roll.” Fox suspended her and Sheree (the studio’slatest “new Marilyn”) starred with ex-Monroe co-stars Charles Coburn, Betty Grable, Tommy Noonan. Minus Marilyn’s sizzle, the film fizzled. Sheree turnedupas Monroe’s mother in a tele-film - and as Cosmo Kramer’s mom on Seinfeldinthe 90s.
- Vivian Blaine, Guys and Dolls,1955. MM phoned director Joseph Mankiewicz, begging to play Adelaide -a fact he kept from producer Samuel Goldwyn. “You see, I've become a star,” she told Joe. “Put on some more clothes, Marilyn,” was his macho-typical Hollywood response, “and stop moving your ass so much.”Precisely the reason he had OK’d her forAll About Eve.
- Joan Collins,The Girl in the Red Swing, 1955. Monroe was announced as the girl in the Harry K Thaw murdercase immediately after The Seven YearItch.Sherefused. “Probably wisely,” noted Joanie beating Terry Moore andDebra Paget to the swing, “since Evelyn Nesbitt was supposed to be 17 or 18 and Marilyn,although marvellouslooking,was around 30.”Collins was 22.
- Jane Russell, The Revolt of MamieStover, 1956. Or of Marilyn Monroe... She walked. With reason. The film was not the book. Andshe was long gone. To New York. This time to preside over her own company with photographer Milton Greene.
- Carroll Baker, Baby Doll, 1956. Tennessee Williams said Carroll was “dull, dreary and titless.”He wanted “a sexy piglette” for his Mississippi Woman. Director Elia Kazan renamed the piece and Time called it “the dirtiest American-mademotion picture.”Kazan had been Monroe's lover but vetoed any girl with globular breasts: “You've already created a bizarre character and I want a normal girl to bring her to life.”Marilyn brought life to the film’s opening benefit for the Actors Studio by turning upas an usherette on December 4, 1956.
- Doris Day, The Pajama Game,1957. Now that would have been steam heat!
- Barbara Stanwyck, Forty Guns, 1957. Marilyn was first sought for the gun-totin’ lead. Difficult to imagine. Then again, writer-director Sam Fuller’s original title was: Woman With A Whip! That’s why he saw no one but Barbara as the boss lady of Cochise County.
- Ava Gardner, The Sun Also Rises,1957. Fox boss turned Fox producerDarryl Zanuck would not hear of it.Certainly, Ava was better suited to Lady Brett Ashley, forever in and out of destructive affairs. “I always felt close to Papa’s women.”
- Shirley MacLaine, Some Came Running, 1957. MGM producer Sol C Siegel wanted the dream team - Brando and Marilyn! - for Dave and Ginnie. No way, said Sinatra. He owed his comeback to another James Jones book, From Here To Eternity, so he was going to make this one, too. With his mate, Dean Martin. And their mate, MacLaine. (Instead of Norma Crane, Shelley Winters or Joanne Woodward). And Sinatra ordered director Vincente Minnelli to beef up the Ginny role and change the ending in her favour. Result: Shirley’s first Oscar nod. Four nominations later, she won her statuette for Terms of Endearment on April 9, 1984.
- Maria Schell, The Brothers Karamazov, 1958.
Monroe’s agent, mentor and lover, Johnny Hyde, started the idea by calling her the perfect Grushenka as early as 1950. The media made cruel fun of her ambition, surprised she could pronounce it or had read any book.One of her directors, Billy Wilder, added to the scorn. He said he’ddirect her in all the sequels including The Brothers Karamazov Meet Abbott and Costello. Inspired by her desires, MGM planned the film (with Marlon Brando) but Fox, never interested in her desires, refused to loan her.Grushenka was played by the dullard, Dostoievskian heroine of La Notti Bianchi/White Nights, 1957. What a yawn!
- Doris Day, Pillow Talk, 1958. She loved Stanley Shapiro's witty script and pushed hard for it - a better title for her than the ever-virginal Doris. No way. The script was owned by Arwin Productions - aka Day and husband Martin Melcher. It was her best comedy. Not so diluted as Move Over, Darling, her cackhanded 1962 version of Monroe’s never completed Something's Got To Give. As if DD could replaced MM… Two years later, Day’s co-star, Rock Hudson, was sought to partner Marilyn in Let's Make Love.
- Mai Britt, The Blue Angel, 1958. Fox’s welcome home for the now Mrs Arthur Miller - after the dizzy heights of London, Laurence Olivier, The Prince and The Showgirl - was an offer to re-hash the 1930s’ Von Sternberg classic. (Marilyn had posed as Dietrich’s Lola-Lola for photographer Richard Avedon in a 1958 Life magazine). Exercising her hard won script approval - she disapproved instantly.The German classic had been seized during WW11 and Fox secretly got the rights via “a property custodian.” Original director Josef von Sternberg, alive and well in LA, was livid - he felt it was his property . He hated the re-hash. Most critics agreed. Although extremely lovely, the Swedish Britt was no substitute for Monroe. Nor for the original Blau Engle, Marlene Dietrich. Of course not! Diane Keaton planned to direct another re-tread with Madonna, during her farcical copy-Marilyn phase.
- Shirley MacLaine, Can-Can, 1959. What was I just saying...? Sinatra called again. It should have been Monroe dancing for Khruschev during his much headlined Hollywood visit. “They wanted Marilyn,” explained Shirley, “and only when they couldn’t get her did they jump for me.” Sinatra did the jumping, making MacLaine quit Who Was That Lady?
- Kim Novak, Middle of the Night, 1959. She badly wanted Paddy Chayefsky’s big screen version of his TV play. Columbia czar Harry Cohn preferred his “new Hayworth” whose acting prowess was below that of Rin-Tin-Tin. Kim’s real name: Marilyn Novak.
- Sophia Loren, Heller In Pink Tights, 1960. Director George Cukor or not director George Cukor, Marilyn said the story (true or not) was rubbish .She wuz 150% right.
- Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast At Tiffany's, 1961. George (Seven Year Itch) Axelrod adapted Truman Capote’s Holly Golightly for Marilyn with John Frankenheimer directing. On paper. “I was 30, I was getting a divorce and I was fired from the film without ever directing a frame. Overnight, the producerwent to Switzerland and cast Audrey Hepburn. She and her husband, Mel Ferrer, had never heard of me and they insisted I be paid off.” Method guru Lee Strasberg said playing a hooker was not good for Marilyn’s new image. Oh no? Holly’s flirtation with bisexuality was then cut to please Audrey.She won another Oscar nod for what Tiffany’s author Truman Capote calleda“mawkish valentine” to Audrey.
- Joanne Woodward, Paris Blues, 1961. The script was not as good as she (and producer and intended co-star Marlon Brando) expected. “I want to do something different.What’s the use of being a star if you haveto play something you're ashamed of?”
- Shirley MacLaine,Two For The See-Saw, 1962.
And she uttered perhaps the saddest words on this site… “All my life I’ve played Marilyn Monroe, Marilyn Monroe, Marilyn Monroe... I’ve tried to do a little better and find myself doing an imitation of Edie Adams doing an imitation of me.”
- Susannah York, Freud, 1962. The French existentialist and philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre wanted Marilyn as Sigmund’s patient with hysterical paralysis, Cecily Koertner. Except, his script was never used. Too long - “as thick as my thigh,” said director John Huston. After The Misfits, Mafilyn felt out of favour with Huston. And her shrinks… Monroe’s psychiatrist, Ralph Greenson, talked her out of the film because his friend, Anna Freud, Sigmund’s daughter, was against the idea of the film, its sub-title (The Secret Passion) and any thought of Marilyn acting in it -having had her as a patient during theLondon shooting of The Prince and The Showgirl, in August, 1956.. Having tortured Montgomery Clift during the film, Huston castigated poor York afterwards - “the personification of the uninformed arrogance of youth.”
- Elizabeth Taylor, Cleopatra, 1963.
- Shirley MacLaine, Irma La Douce, 1963. “Marilyn was like smoking. Bad for my health. But I couldn’t give her up,” commented iconic director Billy Wilder. If Marilyn was Irma, it would have been a totally different picture. It might have saved her life... I’m the only director who ever made two films with Monroe. The Screen Directors Guild owes me a purple heart.” Shirley was convinced she had been a prostitute like Irma in one of her previous lives.
- Doris Day, Move Over Darling, 1963. Film startedwith Marilyn looking her best for years - but during the first 32 days of shooting she showed up maybe a dozen times. Co-stars Dean Martin, Cyd Charisse, Wally Cox all quit when she was sacked. Days later, she was dead... Original title was the perfect, sad sub-title forher life and times:Something’s Got To Give.
- Joanne Woodward, The Stripper, 1963. The adaptation of William Inge’s play, A Loss of Roses, wasdue to follow Something’s Got To Give. Joanne took over in a Marilynwig.
- Debbie Reynolds, Goodbye Charlie, 1964. Still thinking only of Monroe, George Axelrodadapted his play which starred Lauren Bacall on Broadway asthe gangster reincarnated as a blonde babe. “As far as I'm concerned, it’s goodbye Charlie!” Monroe told Hedda Hopper, 1961. “It's not feminine at all.” (Debbie bought Marilyn’s white, Seven Year Itch dress designed by Bill Travilla, for her Hollywood memorabilia museum).
- Kim Novak, Kiss Me Stupid, 1964. Director (and co-writer) Billy Wilder knew this was an error - “a souffle that dropped” - as soon as he started shooting. Well, he was minus his dream team: Peter Sellers, Marilyn (as Polly The Pistol), Frank Sinatra and Shirley MacLaine. If he - or they - could have survived such a temperamentalmix.
- Kim Novak, Of Human Bondage, 1964.
“They made with it Stupid - wot’shername - Novak,” said Henry Hathaway. His dream scheme for the thirdmovie of W Somerset Maugham's classic: Marilyn and James Dean orMontgomeryClift.“Shewould'vebeen absolutely marvellous, herwhole lifemight havechanged if DarrylZanuckhadagreed.” ButtheFoxbossfeared being lampooned for “puttingMarilyninavery sensitive Bette Davis-type play.” Hathawayquit, telling Zanuck in fury: “Jesus Christ, this girl’s got great talent. Why the hell don't you treat her like a human being? Not somebody to put under the desk to suck your cock while you’re having story conferences.”
- Shirley MacLaine, What A Way To Go! 1964. One women: four husbands (Gene Kelly, Dean Martin, Robert Mitchum, Paul Newman).Part of the sethad been used inMarilyn’s unfinished Something’s Gotta Give, 1962- and here was anothersub-title for her tragic death. This was the first film produced by herformer publicist, Arthur P Jacobs. He was prepping it for the Gotta Give couple,Marilyn and Dean Martin, when she was found dead on August 5, 1962.
- Carroll Baker, Harlow, 1965. Another part of the welcome-home-all-is-forgiven (ie we need ya!) after London and Laurence Olivier. They are numerous coincidences in the lives of the blonde superstars: sleeping/posing nude, scorning underwear, starring with Gable in their final films, dying young at the peak of their fame...
- Carol Lynley, Harlow, 1965. Jean Harlow’s mother, Mrs Jean Bello, said Marilyn was perfect and keen (more so than husband Arthur Miller), providing everything was right - “humanly.” On reading Adele Rogers St. John's 1956 Fox script, Monroe threw up. “I hope they don’t do that to me after I've gone.” They did - with equally dumb tele-movie caricatures to equal those of the eventual two Harlow films.
- Jane Fonda, The Chase, 1966. Marilyn and Marlon as the lovers...!!! That was producer Sam Spiegel’s idea in the mid-50s.. Like, it wasn’t that they hadn’t been...
There are Marliyn stories by the million. Good, bad, ugly and, when concerning some studio chiefs, downright disgusting. My favourite is the one I found by chance from - as far as I know - the only actress discovered by Marilyn. Jacqueline Giroux. Or, Jackelyn when we met at Cannes in the 80s… who remembers why anymore, some movie in the Market, perhaps. She was blonde, lovely. (Reason enough).
Naturally the question came up - what got you into acting? Some people love it and give it their all. . Others get nervous, testy. Like Harvey Keitel who told me: “I’m outa here if , all you’re gonna do is ask questions.” Do’h, it’s an interview, Harvey!
Giroux lived in a small Connecticut town (2010 pop: 19,479), where the only place for the kids to hang out was the pizza parlour. “This lady came in every Sunday Wasn’t much room, so she asked to join our table. Sure… She chatted about all kinds of things: school, hobbies, ambitions. ‘I’m Marilyn,’ she said. Didn’t mean anything to us. None of us who knew who she was. We didn’t have a cinema, never went out of town to the movies. She was… lovely! Casually dressed. A scarf on her head. No make-up, no glitz. Our friend. One of our gang.
“I kept going on about wanting to act. She and Arthur Miller, came to see all my high school plays. They lived nearby in Roxbury [2010 pop: 2,136, mostly celebs]. She sent some people from the Provincetown Playhouse to see me and I got a drama scholarship to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York - all thanks to Marilyn. I always remember something she kept telling me: Whatever you do, just make sure you never end up in the gutter. ”
Hollywood did its willful best to make Marilyn end there. It failed. She was too good, too beautiful, too inspired, too memorable - if, ultimately, too fragile. “Oh,” she once said, “I’m just a pretty girl… soon forgotten. ”
And Giroux? After on and off Broadway plays, her films included The Cross and the Switch Blade with Pat Boone, William Friedkin’s To Live and Die in LA. She wound up for a spell in adult movies (then moved into to writer-producing ten features (some with ex-husband Steve Railsback, the memorable Charles Manson in Helter Skelter, 1975), two Movies of the Week, including also playing Damsel of Death in the only story dictated by serial killer Aileen Wuornos and her family and friends (a yearf before Charlize Theron played her in Monster, 2003). She now helps run the Global Universal Film Group Inc. Far from any gutter.
And believe it, or believe it not, but her little home town in Connecticut is called…Monroe.