I have been fascinated by Marilyn Monroe for over 20 years.
My first memory of Marilyn is that Some Like It Hot was on television every Christmas Day for years. I always tried to watch it, but never saw the full movie as dinner interrupted it each time.
I can remember the year I finally got to see it and my dad telling me that it was one of the greatest ever comedies. I was 12 years old – Marilyn was a vision on the screen and I immediately wanted to know more about her.
I was told that she was a famous movie star who had died at a very young age. This was enough to set me off looking for more. Unfortunately for me, most of the books about her available in the public library at that time were full of conspiracies, half-truths and some pure lies – though I didn’t find that out until much later.
In 2002, while looking for information about Marilyn online, I stumbled upon a fanclub on Yahoo Groups. There I learned who she really was and how so much of what I’d been reading was false.
In 2003, while travelling in San Francisco, I flew down to Los Angeles to visit some of the famous Marilyn sites. As a shy 19-year-old, the experience was one of the scariest of my life, in a bustling city that felt truly overwhelming. I can only imagine the fear that 19-year-old Norma Jeane would have experienced in Hollywood as a model with her heart set on a career in movies.
I walked along Hollywood Boulevard with my head down, searching for Marilyn’s handprints and star on the Walk of Fame. I found Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and made my way through the throngs of people searching for their own favourite movie stars to Marilyn’s prints. It was so exciting to stand in the same spot where she left her hand and footprints on 26th June 1953. It took me over an hour to find her star on the Walk of Fame but I did – her name is positioned outside McDonalds on the Boulevard – and then decided to make my way to Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetary, where she is interred.
The cemetary is located in the northern central portion of the Westside region of Los Angeles called Westwood. Outside of Westwood Village Memorial Park there is a lot of hustle and bustle as people go about their daily lives. Once you step inside, though, there is an immediate sense of peace. Everything is still. Like so many people visiting there for the first time have said, I knew exactly where to go. It was like being drawn towards Marilyn.
To be a Marilyn fan in Westwood is a surreal experience. To be that close to her makes her so real, and yet it makes it all the more real that she’s gone. I was moved to tears.
By the time 2004 came around, I had decided to attend my first proper memorial with the fanclub. I met some amazing people, like Marilyn impersonator Suzie Kennedy, and got to see so many sites on that trip – including places Marilyn lived, ate and had famous photoshoots. Travelling in a big group was a far easier trip to undertake than being in LA on my own and I was left with so many incredible memories. One moment that stood out was hearing Lee Strasbergs eulogy for the first time. We sat in the chapel at Westwood, where Marilyn’s funeral was held, and listened to a recording from 8th August 1962. His voice is heavy with emotion – you can hear how much he loved her.
Within a few years Yahoo Groups was gone and Facebook had become the new social media platform. I joined in 2007 and in 2009 found the same fanclub and became a member again. I enjoyed my time there so much and even helped with day-to-day running of the group for a while. I heard about Newbridge Silverware’s Museum of Style Icons through the fanclub. I visited the museum many times over the years but nothing compared to seeing the Julien’s Auctions collection of Marilyn’s personal property that went under the hammer in November 2016. Also, thanks to Newbridge, I got to see the Happy Birthday Mr. President dress up close and personal.
In 2017 I felt I wanted a new challenge and so decided to set up this website, with Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages, as a tribute to Marilyn. My goal is to dispel all the myths and untruths out there and to show people how truly amazing she was.
Marilyn wasn’t perfect, she made mistakes, but she did some wonderful and groundbreaking things along the way and touched the lives of so many. Including me.