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Authors: Michelle Morgan

Marilyn Monroe

BOOK: Marilyn Monroe
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Michelle Morgan
was the president of the Marilyn Lives Society, a UK fan club, from 1991 to 2007. She is the author of
Marilyn’s Addresses
Marilyn Monroe: Private and Undisclosed
, and is the co-producer of the upcoming documentary
Gable: The Ties that Bind
, with Tegan Summer Productions. She lives in Northamptonshire.


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Michelle Morgan


Constable & Robinson Ltd

55–56 Russell Square

London WC1B 4HP

First published in the UK by Robinson,

an imprint of Constable & Robinson, 2012

Copyright © Michelle Morgan 2012

The right of Michelle Morgan to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988

All rights reserved. This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, hired out or otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

A copy of the British Library Cataloguing in Publication data is available from the British Library

ISBN 978-1-78033-128-7 (paperback)

ISBN 978-0-78033-129-4 (ebook)

Printed and bound in the UK

1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2


This book is dedicated to my dear friends Bill and Mac Pursel, whose support and friendship over the years has meant more than they’ll ever know.


I would like to once again thank the hundreds of people who helped with the first edition of this book. Without their help and support, I would have never written one biography, never mind a follow-up.

In addition to that, I would like to thank the following people who have made this book into what you are holding in your hands today:

Firstly to Eric Woodard, who not only sent me heaps of information on Marilyn’s doomed ‘Rain’ project, but spent hours finding the contact details of various Marilyn-related people for me. I am greatly indebted to him for this alone, as well as the countless other things he has helped me with during the writing of this book. Eric, you are truly one-in-a-million and I will always value our friendship.

To Bill Pursel, for not only agreeing to be re-interviewed by me, but also for providing a letter Norma Jeane wrote to him in 1946. The letter shed much light on her feelings for Bill and her time in Las Vegas, and proved to be invaluable for this book. Bill and his wife Mac also spent hours researching the Willett family for me in Las Vegas and have patiently put up with my questions and emails over the course of the past five years. I am forever grateful for their friendship.

To the members of the Knebelkamp family who trusted me with their memories, despite never publicly speaking about Marilyn before. Their generosity and kindness have been breathtaking and I am forever grateful for their trust in sharing their stories.

To Janet Clarke, who helped me with much of the research on the Atkinson family, as well as helping with various aspects of the Willett family history, too. Janet spent hours trawling
through family history resources and without her research that part of the book wouldn’t be half as memorable as it is now.

To James Glaeg who sowed the seeds for my research into the Knebelkamp family and their friend, Catherine Larson. His insight and generosity have been boundless and have enabled me to finally uncover the truth about Marilyn’s early life and family.

To all the people who agreed to be interviewed for my last book, and to the following ‘new’ people who agreed to share their memories for this edition: Bonnie Roth, Forrest Olmstead, Jo Olmstead, Bob Stotts, Michael Thornton, Alan A, Horace Ward, Darrell Von Driska, Jim Henaghan Jr, Howard Sheehan Jr, Christine Krogull, Mary Sims, Annabelle Stanford, Allison Ittel, Jon Ittel, Steve Hayes, Tony Hand, John Gilmore, John Thorndike, Peggy Heriot, Susan Elliott, Margaret Gibbon, Peter Evans, Alice Wexler, Sue Ellen McCann, Doris Drennen and Tom Tierney.

To Lois Banner for allowing me access to her interview with Pat Traviss at Rockhaven Sanitarium and for many interesting conversations.

To the following people who sent me photographs from their collections, some of which appeared in the first edition of this book, and others that have been exclusive to this one: Eric Woodard, Bill Pursel, Don Obermeyer, Kristen Obermeyer, Gus Zernial, Christine Krogull, Sandy Robinson, Mike Lawler, Doris Drennen, Christine Heas, Tina Garland, William Carroll, George Bailey, Greg Schreiner, Horace Ward, Jim Henaghan Jr, the late Paul Kanteman, Win Rossette, Albert Wimer, Sandy Robinson, Henry Doody, Greg Silva, Robert Siney, Andrea Pryke, Lasse Karlsson, George Finch and Evan Finch.

To the members of the ‘Marilyn Monroe Question Group’ on Facebook; the members of Everlasting Marilyn; and visitors to my own Michelle Morgan Author Page on Facebook for providing inspiration and help.

To Amy Condit, Stan Taffel, Helen Brown, Greg Schreiner, Mary Sims, David Stenn, Mona Miracle, Jill Adams, Merja Pohjola, Rebecca Staley, Shaney Evans, Sally Cretu, Julia Wilson, Lou Cella, Andrea Pryke, Jeane Trendhill, Dawn Jones, Tara Hanks, Robert
Siney, Ruth Jenkins, Greg Silva, Sue Craft, Karen Hollis, Ian McMaster, Heather Driscoll-Woodford, Vicki Gardner, Lorraine White, Ben Kay, Alison Lowe, Katy Forrester, Elisa Jordan, Christine Heas, Leslie Summey, Jackie Craig, Marijane Gray, Lisa Burks, Ann Chamberlain, Anne Buchanan, Carla OrlandiSmith, Carla Valderrama, Melissa Gluck, Bob Vieten, Rupert Taylor, Carole Sampek, Carolien Krijnen, Caroline Mitchinson Lawther, Charles Casillo, Lucy Carr, Katie Bleathman, Jill Tivey, Darrell Rooney, David Marshall, Jennifer McLaughlin, Joey Traughber, Johan Grimmius, Lady Doryan, Leland D. Petty, Maureen Brown, Michelle Armstrong, Michelle Justice, Rebecca Swift, Roger G. Taylor, Ross McNaughton, Roy Turner, Sandie Bradley, Savvy Anka, Scott Fortner, Sunny Thompson, Ted James, Susan Rogers, Susan Griffiths, Svea Ross, Ron Steens, Tina Lindholm, Tina Garland, Mark Robinson, Richard Workman, Neva Kanteman, Bill Niles, Nick Homenda, Nancy Hunter, Valerie Hillyard-Samuel, Claire Welling, Suus Marie and Melinda Mason. All of the above have contributed support, information, friendship or a combination of all three.

To Christina Rice from the Los Angeles Public Library, who went above and beyond the call of duty and gave me countless hours of help and ideas. To say I couldn’t have done this without her would be an understatement.

The same goes for Stacey Eubank, who helped with articles and research for both this book and the previous one. Her kindness knows no bounds.

To Leo Hollis and everyone at Constable & Robinson for making this book a reality, and to Robert Smith, my agent.

To my friend and business partner Tegan Summer who has provided so much support and friendship over the past two years and has enabled me to truly believe in my abilities as a writer.

To my friend Andrew Hansford for constantly inspiring me and making me laugh.

During the course of a person’s lifetime, you meet many friends; some you keep, others you let go. I have been extremely lucky in my life to have known a group of friends since I was
a little girl. We all have vastly different personalities but have stuck together through thick and thin; they are my honorary sisters and I love each and every one. So for sharing my hopes and dreams and for keeping my secrets, I’d very much like to thank my dear friends Claire, Helen, Mandy, Sharon, Loraine, Katharine and Jackie. I am so happy to have you all in my life.

To my whole family and particularly: Mum, Dad, Paul, Wendy and Angelina for encouraging me not only with this book but for my whole career as a writer. They must have lost count of the number of times they have heard the word ‘Marilyn’ over the years, but have continued to listen to my stories and encourage me in my dreams. Not a day goes by when I don’t thank God for letting me be born into such a sharing and funny family and I am extremely grateful for everything they do for me.

Though they are no longer with us, I’d like to thank my wonderful grandparents who were all born in Marilyn’s era and constantly entertained me with tales of ‘the old days’. Through learning about their early lives, I grew to love everything about the 1920s, 1930s,1940s and 1950s, and their tales will continue to inspire me forever.

To my daughter, Daisy, who was born during the writing of my last book. She is now growing into a bright, artistic, talented young lady and continues to teach me so much every day. She picked out most of the photos for this book; she is the inspiration behind everything I do and I am extremely lucky to have her.

To my husband Richard, who has been my better half for the past twenty-four years. We have been through so much together and I can’t even remember what life was like before he came into my world. He is the love of my life and the person who has always encouraged me to live my dreams. I am very grateful to have him in my life.

And to anyone I may have missed . . . I’m sincerely sorry for the oversight but thank you too!



1   The Lady with the Red Hair

2   Dreams and Nightmares

3   ‘Norma Jeane, Human Bean’

4   Mrs Dougherty

5   Model Girl

6   ‘This is the end of Norma Jeane’

7   Starlet

8   Highs and Lows

9   Miss Cheesecake

10   The Past versus the Future 11   ‘I’m trying to find myself’

12   ‘Whatever I am, I am the blonde’

13   Mrs DiMaggio

14   New York, New Marilyn

15   Great Hopes

16   Sir Laurence and the Showgirl

17   Mrs Miller

18   Catastrophe

19   ‘I’m working on the foundation’

20   Cursum Perficio

21   ‘Say a prayer for Norma Jeane’


Remembrance: Lamenting Marilyn Monroe



List of Illustration


I have been a huge fan of Marilyn Monroe since I ‘discovered’ her whilst on holiday as a teenager in 1985. I was drawn to her beauty – both inside and out – and the fact that, despite her insecure early years, she went on to become the most famous movie star in the world. That was quite an achievement and her determination and strength inspired me.

Over the years I have read many books about Marilyn; many good, some not so good, and a few just plain awful. I got so tired of reading scandal, gossip and made-up tittle-tattle that I decided to write my own biography; the conclusion of which was my 2007 book,
Marilyn Monroe: Private and Undisclosed

The book took me four years to write and research, and I was – and still am – hugely proud of it. Miraculously, after writing the book, other people in Marilyn’s life could see that I was no scandal-driven author, and began to come forward to share stories that proved once again that Marilyn was not constantly depressed, nor was she a tragic dumb blonde. The information I have obtained over the past four years has now been included in this new edition, and I am positive that it shows Marilyn’s story in the truest way yet. I hope that readers will agree with me.

BOOK: Marilyn Monroe
12.61Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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