Marilyn Monroe

  1. 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.”
  2. Roberta Haynes, We Were Strangers, 1947.   Director John Huston first met her 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. The test cost more time and money than Sam expected – Hustons’s way of teaching Sam “not to flaunt his power.” And it was Huston (not Spiegel) who gave her a peach of a role – Angela Phinlay – in his next outing, The Asphalt Jungle, 1940. And brighty shone her star everafter.
  3. 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). 
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Jean Peters, Viva Zapata!  1951.   Always trying to expand her career, Marilyn tried hard to win the role of the Mexican revolutionary’s wife, but head Fox Darryl Zanuck, did not rate her as `as actress, much less a box-office attraction.  For him, she was only good for one thing. Fellatio under his office desk.

  7. 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 togetherI LOVED MARILYN.! Whocould forget those sparkling eyes and THAT RADIANT SKIN OF HERS?

  8. 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.”
  9. 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 – named by combining the names of Darryl and his wife Virginia. Bella 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).  Jean Peters had also been in the frame. Totally misreading the  Marilyn situation, Zanuck  then offered  Marilyn 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.
  10. Cindy Carson, Frontier Women, 1955.   Plan A was Marilyn and James Stewart. That proved too expensive (and silly) and their parts went to Floridian  actress Carson (in her one and only movie) and Lance Fuller…as a guy called Catawampus Jones. That would have been a far better title!

  11. Sheree North, How To Be Very, Very Popular, 1955.   Surprised by the huge success of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, 1952, Fox immediately ordered a follow-up for Marilyn and Jane Russell (who called MM, Blondie).   Neither one fancied the idea or the script and Marilyn never showed for shooting on January 15, 1955. She was 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’s latest “new Marilyn”) starred with ex-Monroe co-stars Charles Coburn, Betty Grable, Tommy Noonan.  Conned by Fox, Life magazine foolishly put her on the March 21, 1955 cover: “Sheree North Takes Over From Marilyn  Monroe.” D’oh!  Minus Marilyn’s sizzle, the film fizzled. Sheree was replacef by another short-lived new MM, Jayne Mansfield,  in 1956, and had the nerve to play Monroe’s mother(!) in a 1980 tele-film: Marilyn: The Untold Story  – and s Cosmo Kramer’s mom on Seinfeld  in  the 90s. 
  12. 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.
  13. Joan Collins,The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing, 1955.    Monroe was announced as the girl in the Harry K Thaw murdercase immediately after The Seven Year Itch. She refused. “Probably wisely,” noted Joanie beating Terry Moore and Debra Paget to the swing, “since Evelyn Nesbitt was supposed to be 17 or 18 and Marilyn, although marvellous looking,was around 30.” Collins was 22.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. Doris Day, The Pajama Game,1957.     Now that would have been steam heat!
  17. 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.
  18. 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.”
  19. 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.

  20. 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!

  21. 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.
  22. Shirley MacLaine, Can-Can, 1959.  What was I just saying…?  It should have been Monroe dancing for Nikita Khruschev during his much headlined Hollywood visit. (He was  deeply shocked by …the can-can! “Immoral,” he called it.  (Of course he did.  his wife was with him!).“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? And producer Jack Cummings had also flirted with Cary Grant and  two top French stars – the theatre’s Zizi Jeanmaire and movie siren Martine Carol.
  23. Doris Day, Pillow Talk, 1959.  Or Any Way the Wind Blows when  Marilyn first got her eyes on  the script and longed tp play Jan Morrow.  The fact that she was turned down in favour of Doris Day (!!!)  was because of how a Universal producer viewed their nether regions. “I always thought Doris Day had one of the wildest asses in Hollywood,” said Ross Hunter. “And I thought it was time she showed it off!”    He produced two more Doris movies: Midnight Lace, 1960, and The Thrill of It All, 1962. And following Marilyn’s mysterious death, Doris (of all people!) took over her role in the 1963 mess, Move Over Darling, 1963, a castrated  version of what had been Marilyn’s never completed Something’s Got to Give.
  24. Kim Novak, Middle of the Night, 1959.    Broadway and TV writer Paddy Chayefsky adapted his play for his second movie (after The Bachelor Party, 1956). He wrote it for Marilyn.  She passed.  (Because she – and husband Arthur Miller – loathed his 1957 Goddess film, based on her rise and fall – which he foolishly tried to deny). How about Elizabeth Taylor?  She passed.  OK, Jean Simmons?  No, she was (like Liz) part of MGM.  As this was a Columbia production, that meant Columbia czar Harry Cohn’s “new Hayworth,” whose acting prowess was below that of a cabntaloup. Kim’s real name was… Marilyn.
  25. 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.

  26. Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast At Tiffany’s, 1961.    
    Author Truman Capote wanted Marilyn as his American geisha, Holly Golightly. 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 producer  went to Switzerland and cast Audrey Hepburn. She and her husband, Mel Ferrer, had never heard of me and they insisted I be paid off.” Marilyn’s Method guru Paula  Strasberg said playing a hooker was not good for the new Monroe image. Oh no? Tell that to Arletty, Kim Basinger, Leslie Caron, Julie Christie, Jamie Lee Curtis, Catherine Deneuve, Jane Fonda, Jodie Foster, Greta Garbo, Nicole Kidman, Nancy Kwan, Gong Li, Shirley MacLaine, Giulietta Masina, Melina Mercouri, Aishwariya Rai, Julia Roberts, Susan Sarandon, Brooke Shields, Simone Signoret, Barbra Streisand, Elizabeth Taylor, Zhang Ziyi, etc, etc. Holly’s flirtation with bisexuality was then cut to please Audrey. She won another Oscar nod for what Tiffany’s author Truman Capote called  a  “mawkish valentine” to Audrey.  

  27. Joanne Woodward, Paris Blues, 1961.    The script was not as good as she (and producer and intended co-star Marlon Brando) expected. He asked the Newmans – Paul and his wife, Joanne Woodward – to take over their roles.  Woodward hadn’t been keen on maybe co-starring with Brando again after the tense teaming in The Fugitive Kind. During the summer of ’59.  Said Marilyn: “I want to do something different.  What’s the use of being a star if you have  to play something you’re ashamed of?”
  28. 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.”

  29. Susannah York, Freud, 1962.  
    The French existentalist 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, Marilyn 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 the  London 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.” And for Marilyn … Huston said: “I had no problems with Marilyn.  Marilyn had problems with Marilyn.”

  30. Joanne Woodward, The Stripper, 1962.  With such a lousy new title, Marilyn fled the film of William Inge’s 1959 Broadway play, A Loss of Roses She was more keen on trying to join Freud, than being the washed-up singer falling for a college boy (refused by Pat Bonne… on his squeaky clean moral high ground at age 28!) was also offered to Kim Novak and Natalie Wood… who, a month earlier,  had just finished playing America’s best known ecdysiast, Gypsy Rose Lee, inGypsy. Woodward  took over … in a Marilyn  wig.
  31. Elizabeth Taylor, Cleopatra, 1963.

  32. 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.

  33. Tippi Hedren, Marnie,  1963.   In  the same year as she was fired from Something’s Got To Give (which became Move Over Darling with Doris Day, of all people!!!), Marilyn let it be known she was extremely keen on being author Winston Graham’s heroine. (She loved  the book). It was, of course, an Alfred Hitchcock movie (far from his finsest; you can even see the scenery move).  Marilyn, clearly, was too much woman for Hitch to handle. His only comment about her interest was: “Interesting idea.”  I’d say!   
  34. Doris Day, Move Over Darling, 1963.    Film started with 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 for her life and times: Something’s Got To Give.
  35. 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 temperamental  mix..
  36. 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)
  37. Shirley MacLaine, What A Way To Go! 1964.   After being chosen for the never finished Something’s Gotta Give, Marilyn and Dean Martin were snapped  up by  producer Arthur P Jacobs.  Too late. Poor Marilyn was gone.… far, far from a  certain Louisa May Foster taking her shrink through her five late husbands – every one a laugh. tThe ex-I Love Louisa was given to Elizabeth Taylor and, finally, Shirley MacLaine.  Marilyn’s guys were to include Marlon Brando, Tony Curtis, Kirk Douglas, Gene Kelly (who had first bought the rights and planned to direct), Burt Lancaster, Marcello Mastroianni, David Niven, But not Frank Sinatra, who wanted $500,00 or now show.  Steve McQueen and Charlton Heston were up for Hubby #2, Paul Newman’s   American in Paris artist as Shirley also wed Gene Kelly (he also choreographed the one musical number, “a kind of gentle spoof of old movie musicals”), Robert Mitchum, Dick Van Dyke… oh and Dean Martin as  a department store mogul called  Lennie Crawley, no less. This is where I usually say: And you can never go wrong with a Crawley. Not this (terrible) time! “The mildest thing that can be said about this film,” said New Leader critic John Simon, “is that it is an abomination.”

  38. 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 or MontgomeryClift.“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.”

  39. 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…  
  40. 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.  
  41. Jane Fonda, The Chase, 1965.  Brando’s On the Waterfront producer Sam Spiegel bought this vehicle for him. The project was delayed for so long that Marlon switched from young Jake Rogers to the  older Sheriff Calder and is beaten up worse than in Waterfront.  So he lost a possible Jake-lover from  the  real and the UK Marilyn (Diana Dors), Faye Dunaway or Kim Novak –  but gained Angie Dickinson as the lawman’s missus!  He was paid $750,000.  Plus a role for his sister, Jocelyn. Acidic critic Rex Reed called it “the worst thing that has happened to movies since Lassie   played a war veteran with amnesia.”



>>>>> Flashback

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 soft adult movies (then moved into  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 year before Charlize Theron played Wuornos 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.




 Birth year: 1926Death year: 1962Other name: Casting Calls:  41