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Authors: Barbara Leaming

Marilyn Monroe

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Illustrations

Marilyn as a child (UPI/Corbis–Bettmann)

Marilyn at the time her modeling career began (Corbis)

A Twentieth Century–Fox publicity shot of Marilyn, 1946 (UPI/Corbis–Bettmann)

Joe Schenck (UPI/Corbis–Bettmann)

Elia Kazan directing Karl Malden and Vivien Leigh in
A Streetcar Named Desire
, 1950 (UPI/Corbis–Bettmann)

Marilyn with Natasha Lytess (UPI/Corbis–Bettmann)

Marilyn arrives at RKO to begin
Clash By Night
, 1951 (UPI/Corbis–Bettmann)

Marilyn with Joe DiMaggio (Baldwin H. Ward/Corbis–Bettmann)

Darryl Zanuck (UPI/Corbis–Bettmann)

Marilyn with Walter Winchell and Joe Schenck at Ciro’s, 1953 (Corbis)

Marilyn and Betty Grable report for
How to Marry a Millionaire
, 1953 (UPI/Corbis–Bettmann)

Marilyn and Joe DiMaggio leaving San Francisco City Hall after their wedding, 1954 (UPI/Corbis–Bettmann)

Marilyn entertains U.S. troops in Korea (UPI/Corbis–Bettmann)

Marilyn poses for photographers during the filming of
The Seven Year Itch
, 1954 (UPI/Corbis–Bettmann)

Marilyn and her attorney, Jerry Giesler, after the announcement of her divorce from Joe DiMaggio, 1954 (UPI/Corbis–Bettmann)

Marilyn being driven away after the announcement of her divorce (UPI/Corbis–Bettmann)

Marilyn with Milton Greene in New York, 1955 (Corbis–Bettmann)

Lee Strasberg (Corbis–Bettmann)

Marilyn leaving the Actors Studio (UPI/Corbis–Bettmann)

Marilyn dances with Truman Capote at El Morocco (UPI/Corbis–Bettmann)

A 52-foot figure of Marilyn is fixed to the façade of Loew’s State Theater for the premiere of
The Seven Year Itch
, June 1955 (UPI/Corbis–Bettmann)

Joe DiMaggio escorts Marilyn to the premiere of
The Seven Year Itch
(UPI/Corbis–Bettmann)

Marilyn with Arthur Miller (UPI/Corbis–Bettmann)

Marilyn signs autographs at the time of
Bus Stop
, 1956
(Daily Mirror
/Corbis-Bettmann)

Marilyn and Arthur meet the press after his testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee, June 1956
(Daily Mirror
/Corbis–Bettmann)

Marilyn and Arthur at his home in Roxbury, Connecticut, with Hugo the basset hound, June 1956 (UPI/Corbis–Bettmann)

Marilyn and Arthur celebrate their marriage in a religious ceremony, July 1, 1956 (UPI/Corbis–Bettmann)

Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh welcome the Millers to England, July 1956 (UPI/Corbis–Bettmann)

Marilyn and Olivier during filming of
The Prince and the Showgirl
(UPI/Corbis–Bettmann)

The Millers and the Oliviers at the London premiere of
A View from the Bridge
(UPI/Corbis–Bettmann)

Marilyn in New York, July 1957 (UPI/Corbis–Bettmann)

Marilyn leaves the hospital after losing her baby, August 1957 (UPI/Corbis–Bettmann)

Marilyn with Billy Wilder on location for
Some Like It Hot
, 1958 (UPI/Corbis–Bettmann)

Arthur, Marilyn and Paula Strasberg on location for
Some Like It Hot
(UPI/Corbis–Bettmann)

Marilyn and Yves Montand at a party to celebrate the start of shooting on
Let’s Make Love
, January 1960 (UPI/Corbis–Bettmann)

Arthur Miller and John Huston in Ireland, February 1960 (John Springer/Corbis–Bettmann)

Marilyn with George Cukor and Yves Montand on the set of
Let’s Make Love
(John Springer/Corbis–Bettmann)

Marilyn and Arthur with John Huston on location for
The Misfits
, 1960 (UPI/Corbis–Bettmann)

Marilyn leaves Columbia–Presbyterian Hospital, March 1961
(Daily Mirror
/Corbis–Bettmann)

Marilyn with Joe DiMaggio in Florida, March 1961 (UPI/Corbis–Bettmann)

Marilyn and Joe DiMaggio board the plane back to New York, April 1961 (UPI/Corbis–Bettmann)

Marilyn, Elizabeth Taylor and Dean Martin watch Frank Sinatra perform in Las Vegas, June 1961 (UPI/Corbis–Bettmann)

Marilyn with Peter Lawford (Patricia Lawford Stewart/Corbis–Bettmann)

Marilyn sings “Happy Birthday” to President John F. Kennedy at Madison Square Garden, May 19, 1962 (UPI/Corbis–Bettmann)

Marilyn poses nude on the set of her final film,
Something’s Got to Give
, May 1962 (UPI/Corbis–Bettmann)

Marilyn’s death is announced in Times Square, August 5, 1962 (UPI/Corbis–Bettmann)

Joe DiMaggio at Marilyn’s funeral, August 8, 1962 (UPI/Corbis–Bettmann)

Arthur Miller and Elia Kazan during preparation for
After the Fall
(UPI/Corbis–Bettmann)

Marilyn blows a kiss (UPI/Corbis–Bettmann)

Time is short, baby, it betrays us
as we betray each other.

—T
ENNESSEE
W
ILLIAMS

PART ONE

ONE

O
n January 16, 1951, a black Lincoln convertible pulled into the driveway at 2000 Coldwater Canyon Drive in Beverly Hills. Arthur Miller and Elia Kazan had just traveled cross-country by train from New York. Miller, tall and lean, had a dark, angular, weathered face and a receding hairline. Kazan, known as Gadget or Gadg to his friends, was small with a large nose and a mop of wavy black hair. The men were in Los Angeles to set up their first film together. Miller had written a screenplay for Kazan to direct, and both had a great deal riding on the venture. But already there was a serious problem. On the train, Kazan had read the most recent draft of
The Hook
, a story of union corruption on the Brooklyn waterfront, and he’d been disappointed by what Miller had accomplished so far. Kazan made it clear that the script needed to be much better.

Greeted at the front door by a servant, Miller and Kazan entered the home of Charles Feldman, a prominent Hollywood agent and independent film producer. He was producing Kazan’s latest project, the film of Tennessee Williams’s
A Streetcar Named Desire
, starring Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh. As Feldman told his friend and investor Joseph P. Kennedy, he believed that Kazan’s work had been outstanding. Shooting had been completed before the holidays, but some post-production work remained to be done. Feldman, away on business and anxious to keep the director happy, had offered Kazan the run of his art-filled house. An inveterate collector, Feldman purchased paintings and bibelots in quantity, often sight unseen. The furniture, mostly English antiques and modern pieces, was kept to a minimum to emphasize the Chagalls, Renoirs, and Toulouse-Lautrecs that covered the walls. There were Thai
bronze Buddhas. There were Ming and Sui stone heads. There were T’ang and Chou horses and birds.

In the garden, steps led up to a heated swimming pool, beside which Miller set up his typewriter on a glass table. To understand the strain he was under, it is essential to keep in mind that
The Hook
was not just any screenplay. It was to be the work with which Miller followed
Death of a Salesman
, which had been a huge success on Broadway in 1949, directed by Kazan. Many critics thought the thirty-three-year-old Miller had written
the
great American play, and some pronounced it the century’s finest drama. There was a price to be paid for acclaim of that magnitude. After the premiere, Miller confided to his producer, Kermit Bloomgarden, that he knew he was going to have a hell of a time topping that. Indeed, there had been moments when Miller wondered whether he would be able to write another play at all.

As Kazan perceived, Miller was not a playwright who invented stories. He needed to find his material in his own life. Yet
The Hook
was not based on anything Miller had actually experienced. The screenplay did not come out of a crisis that he himself had endured, and as a result he did not completely trust it. Miller began to worry that for a man his age, he had not lived enough. Yet the pressure was on to revise quickly while they pitched to Twentieth, Warner Bros., and Columbia Pictures. Unfortunately, Miller was not like his rival Tennessee Williams, who could work anywhere, under almost any conditions. He was a creature of routine, who found it difficult to write in unfamiliar surroundings.

Adding to the playwright’s pressures was the threat of losing Kazan. In a period dubbed by the critic Brooks Atkinson “the Williams–Miller era,” Kazan seemed at times to enjoy playing each against the other. Kazan, wavering provocatively between the two, had finally chosen to film
A Streetcar Named Desire
instead of
Death of a Salesman.
Afterward, when Williams had had every expectation that Kazan would do his new play,
The Rose Tattoo
, on Broadway, the director jumped ship at the last minute, going off to Los Angeles for
The Hook.
Evidently, Kazan was not about to give either playwright reason to take him for granted. Always the director, he controlled people and situations; he didn’t like being controlled by them.

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