The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe
  • The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe
  • The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe

The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe

3.9 156
by J. Randy Taraborrelli
     
 

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When Norma Jeane Baker became famous as Marilyn Monroe in the 1950s, she said her mother, Gladys Baker, was either dead or not a part of her life, depending on the publicity campaign of the moment. However, neither was true. Marilyn's mentally ill mother was very much present in her world, and the complex family drama that unfolded behind the scenes is a story that

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Overview

When Norma Jeane Baker became famous as Marilyn Monroe in the 1950s, she said her mother, Gladys Baker, was either dead or not a part of her life, depending on the publicity campaign of the moment. However, neither was true. Marilyn's mentally ill mother was very much present in her world, and the complex family drama that unfolded behind the scenes is a story that has never before been told ... until now.

Here J. Randy Taraborrelli draws detailed portraits of the people so influential in Marilyn's life. He tells the heartbreaking story of a world-famous daughter dealing secretly with a parent's severe paranoid schizophrenia-and exposes the shocking scope of Marilyn's own mental deterioration. Taraborrelli also uncovers the identity of Marilyn's real father and the half-brother she never knew, as well as the truth about her relationship with the Kennedys-Jack, Bobby, and Pat Kennedy Lawford. Based on decades of new research and including the most complete filmography ever compiled, The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe is the final word on one of the most fascinating and elusive legends of the twentieth century.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Readable and mesmerizing...This will probably stand as the definitive Monroe biography..."
Library Journal (starred review)"

As Taraborrelli brushes away cobwebs of myth and rumor, his remarkable research and fluid writing captures Marilyn's elan, sensitivity, desperation and despair with a haunting intimacy."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Publishers Weekly
Robert Petkoff's diligence as a narrator matches Taraborrelli's accomplishments in generating a fresh analysis of the iconic Marilyn Monroe. With Petkoff's Midas touch, the cast of characters comes to life with crisp clarity and attention to nuance. While there are too many good vocal characterizations to allow for a complete listing, some of the standouts include the mercurial husbands Arthur Miller and Joe DiMaggio as well as such Rat Pack figures as Peter Lawford and Frank Sinatra. Petkoff's delivery of DiMaggio and Sinatra's ill-fated attempt to spy on Monroe and her romantic companions creates palpable dramatic tension. And as Monroe herself, Petkoff creates a sublime breathy persona that shifts effectively from the girl-next-door Norma Jean to the glamorous Marilyn. Bonus features include a downloadable photo slide show. A Grand Central hardcover. (Aug.)
Library Journal
No. 1 New York Times best-selling author Taraborrelli, who has previously written biographies of Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, and Michael Jackson, here takes on the legends, myths, and innuendos surrounding the life and death of Marilyn Monroe. Drawing on files released in 2006 under the Freedom of Information Act and interviews with key insiders, he speaks to how the actress's familial history of mental problems impacted the decisions she made throughout her life, reveals the identity of her biological father, details the extent of her relationship with the Kennedys, and more. Actor/narrator Robert Petkoff's (The Link) magnetic reading draws listeners in from the outset. Monroe devotees and celebrity bio fans will enjoy.—Pam Kingsbury, Univ. of North Alabama, Florence
Kirkus Reviews
The miraculous but short and tragic life of Norma Jeane Mortenson (1926-1962). Taraborrelli (Diana Ross: A Unauthorized Biography, 2007, etc.) delves beneath the legend of Marilyn Monroe to uncover the stark facts of the life and times of a singularly vulnerable woman woefully unequipped to deal with the quotidian business of "normal" life, much less the pressures of a Hollywood career and international celebrity. The author devotes much attention to Monroe's mother, Gladys Baker, who suffered from severe mental illness and was institutionalized for most of her adult life. A paranoid schizophrenic, Baker was emotionally distant and unpredictable, necessitating Monroe's years in foster care and, for a short period, an orphanage. Baker's mother, who also suffered from mental illness, committed suicide, and Monroe was haunted by the idea that her own mental health would inevitably fail. Tragically, her fears were well-founded, and, according to Taraborrelli, her entire adult life was a constant struggle to maintain some semblance of emotional equilibrium. Further complicating matters were Monroe's insatiable appetite for various prescription medications; deeply flawed marriages to baseball great Joe DiMaggio, who allegedly beat her, and playwright Arthur Miller, who condescended to her; callous treatment by movie studios; and a disastrous dalliance with President John F. Kennedy (and subsequent obsession with his brother, Robert), which, writes the author, precipitated the emotional spiral that ended in her fatal overdose, an event still shrouded in mystery and the subject of wild speculation. Taraborrelli clearly sympathizes with the beleaguered star, and his reliance on verifiable factsand copious interviews with Monroe's intimates supports his view of Monroe as a hapless victim of heredity and circumstance, an unwanted child who-by dint of an alchemy of physical beauty and sexual allure she herself did not fully understand-became the most wanted woman in the world. A painful and engrossing account of the profoundly damaged personality at the heart of the world's greatest sex symbol.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780446198189
Publisher:
Grand Central Publishing
Publication date:
09/28/2010
Pages:
559
Sales rank:
125,933
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.70(d)

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