The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe by J. Randy Taraborrelli, NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble
The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe

The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe

3.9 156
by J. Randy Taraborrelli

View All Available Formats & Editions

From New York Times bestselling author J. Randy Taraborrelli comes the definitive biography of the most enduring icon in popular American culture.

When Marilyn Monroe became famous in the 1950s, the world was told


From New York Times bestselling author J. Randy Taraborrelli comes the definitive biography of the most enduring icon in popular American culture.

When Marilyn Monroe became famous in the 1950s, the world was told that her mother was either dead or simply not a part of her life. However, that was not true. In fact, her mentally ill mother was very much present in Marilyn's world and the complex family dynamic that unfolded behind the scenes is a story that has never before been told...until now. In this groundbreaking book, Taraborrelli draws complex and sympathetic portraits of the women so influential in the actress' life, including her mother, her foster mother, and her legal guardian. He also reveals, for the first time, the shocking scope of Marilyn's own mental illness, the identity of Marilyn's father and the half-brother she never knew, and new information about her relationship with the Kennedy's-Bobby, Jack, and Pat Kennedy Lawford. Explosive, revelatory, and surprisingly moving, this is the final word on the life of one of the most fascinating and elusive icons of the 20th Century.

Editorial Reviews

More years have now passed since the death of Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962) than the span of her life, but her aura seems not to have faded at all. Indeed, pop culture tributes and remembrances continue to emerge. To the 300-plus Marilyn biographies in English alone, celebrity biographer J. Randy Taraborrelli (Jackie, Ethel, Joan; Elizabeth; Madonna) adds this full-length, 576-page life of a sex symbol who still speaks to us today. Timeless memories and new information.
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.
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)

Product Details

Grand Central Publishing
Publication date:
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
Sales rank:
File size:
5 MB

Meet the Author

J. Randy Taraborrelli is a respected journalist, a recognizable entertainment personality, and in-demand guest on many television programs including Today, Good Morning America, The Early Show, Entertainment Tonight, and CNN Headline News. He is the bestselling author of 14 books.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >