Quotes About Marilyn


“Her face seemed puffed (with crying) and not especially beautiful but she could hardly move a finger without striking the heart with the beauty of its curving line”

“Marilyn wants as many children as she can get. I feel the same way.”

“In her was a new confidence and quietness of spirit never seen before.”

“I no longer knew what I wanted, certainly not the end of my marriage, but the thought of putting Marilyn out of my life was unbearable”

“She was a whirling light to me then, all paradox and enticing mystery, street tough one moment then lifted by a lyrical and poetic sensitivity that few retain past early adolescence. It was an ironical summer that I will never forget, my soul only half there (at work) and exhilarated with life and at the same time ridden with guilt. I loved her as though I had loved her all my life; her pain was mine”

“I too was struggling because I could not smash her enemies with one magic stroke, our own relationship was wounded because she was beyond my reassurance, she had no means of preventing the complete unravelling of her belief in a person once a single thread was broken”

“Her incredible resilience was almost heroic to me now. Without discussion we both knew we had effectively parted and I thought a pressure had been removed from her, and for that much I was glad”

“The more you know about people the more complex they are to you. They’re all writing about her and they can’t because they don’t know anything about her. They’re writing a lot of rubbish. If she were simple, it would have been easy to help her. One must have humility and respect for the mysteries of life. She could have made it with a little luck. She needed a blessing. The movie business is a tough life. She’s not the first one who went under. The young woman I knew wasn’t the movie star and I was able to separate her two lives. The Misfits, the last film Marilyn appeared in, was a good movie, and Marilyn was good in it. She wasn’t appreciated enough as an actress and she was getting even better. She had a lot of things going for her and I don’t think she would have taken her life.” – August 6th, 1962

“I said to her, ‘What’s going to happen to you Marilyn darling?’ She began to cry and I asked, ‘Why are you crying?’ She said to me, ‘Because you’re such a wonderful man and you are interested in what will happen to me.’ I told her to take a rest and not work for a year. She said she would live alone and try to take it easy.” – Arthur Miller on the last time he spoke to Marilyn, shortly after she was fired from Something’s Got To Give, 1962.

When asked what momentos of their relationship he held on to, along with letters Marilyn sent him, Arthur pointed into his garage and said, “Her bicycle. It’s been hanging up in there for 40 years.”


“I’ll never forget Marilyn saying, ‘It’s for all time, isn’t it?’ ‘Yes,’ I told her, ‘it’s for all time, or as long as the cement lasts.’ She made me cry, she was so sweet. I believed in her. We made a hell of a team and I wish we had done another picture together.”


“Marilyn and I were very close. Once, when we were doing ‘How To Marry A Millionaire’, I got a call on the set. My younger daughter had had a fall, I ran home. And the one person to call was Marilyn. She did an awful lot to boost things for the movies when everything was at a low state. There’ll never be anyone like her for looks, for attitude, for it all!”


Wilder defined Marilyn’s special magnetism on camera as “flesh impact- she looks on the screen as if you could reach out and touch her… she had a quality no-one else ever had on the screen expect Garbo.”

“I can tell you my mouth is watering to have her in another picture. The idea that she is slipping is like saying marble is out of fashion when 100 sculptors are just waiting to get their chisels in a choice piece. The greatest thing about Monroe is not her chest. It is her ear. She is a master of delivery. She can read comedy better than anyone in the world.” – February 1962

And years after her death, he summed up his feelings:“I miss her. It was like going to the dentist, making a picture with her. It was hell at the time, but after it was over, it was wonderful.


“She came into my dressing room one day and said that what she really wanted was to be in San Francisco with Joe DiMaggio in some spaghetti joint. They were not married then. She wanted to know about my children, my home life – was I happy? She seemed envious of that aspect of my life, wistful, hoping to have it herself one day.”

“I returned home to prepare for my role of Schatze in ‘How To Marry A Millionaire.’ Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable were to be in it as well – it was about three girls looking for millionaire husbands, and it was funny, witty and even touching. I hadn’t really known either of my co-stars before and hoped the association would be a good one.

As Cinemascope was a new experiment for everyone, it was difficult. One had to keep actors moving and not too close together, as the screen was long and narrow. You shot longer scenes in Cinemascope, five or six pages without a stop, and I liked that – it felt closer to the stage and better for me. Betty Grable was a funny, outgoing woman, totally professional and easy. Marilyn was frightened, insecure – trusted only her coach and was always late. During our scenes she’d look at my forehead instead of my eyes; and at the end of the take, look to her coach, standing behind Jean Negulesco, for approval. If the headshake was no, she’d insist on another take. A scene often went to fifteen or more takes, which meant I’d have to be good in all of them as no one knew which one would be used. Not easy – often irritating. And yet I couldn’t dislike Marilyn. She had no meanness in her – no bitchery. She just had to concentrate on herslf and the people who were there only for her. I had met her a few times before, and liked her. Grable and I decided we’d try and make it easier for her, make her feel she could trust us. I think she finally did.”


“Marilyn had an incredible charisma that was so rare, I don’t think I’ve seen anything quite like it. She had a lot of talent as an actress and she used that talent to the best of her ability as well as her skills as a comedienne, which worked out marvelously for her as with that combined, she created that certain magic on film. I loved working with her and a lot of people say that is clear in our scenes together. I absolutely adored her and we got on wonderfully.”


“Bus Stop was her comeback film. And I thought she was magnificent in it, although she was always late on the set and she had a hard time remembering her lines. She also had a very short concentration span: she would start a scene and stop in the middle because she forgot her lines. So she had to do all her scenes in tiny, little pieces because she couldn’t sustain a scene all the way through. We never saw a complete scene with her. All the actors in the film came from the stage, like Hope Lange and I, Arthur O’Connell, Eileen Heckart – everyone in the film – so we were used to having a continuous performance and we would go to the rushes to see yesterday’s work. We would see all these little pieces and we thought the film was going to be a disaster. However, the first time we saw it at a preview, all of a sudden we realized what the magic of films was, with the editing and cutting it all together: she was magnificent! I never understood why she was not nominated [for an Academy Award] for Bus Stop”


“I asked her to flirt with my camera, to entice me with her sex appeal and to move as fast as possible, without any posing, while I was clicking the shutter over and over. And I spoke to Marilyn about she being a new Lillian Russell and I began teaching her to walk onto a stage. She was holding the parasol and I told her she as Lillian, the great stage actress and over and over again I made Marilyn walk towards me with more and more self assurance and sex appeal, pretending she was walking on stage! I took at least two dozen shots of her like that.

Marilyn was extremely co-operative, patient, eager to please me and eager to learn! Out of a little idea and imagination I created an enormous enthusiasm for both of us that afternoon, and repeatedly we told each other that we were going to make history! And I told her my pictures of her would last forever. It was a happy afternoon for us both.”

“She was twenty and had never experienced the intoxication of success, yet already there was a shadow over her radiance, in her laughter. I asked her to react instinctively, without giving herself time to think, to the words happiness, surprise, reflection, doubt, peace of mind, sadness, self-torment… and death. When I said ‘death’ she took hold of the folded dark-cloth and covered her head with it. Death to her was blackness, nothingness. I tried to coax another reaction from her. Death might be a beginning, the hope of an everlasting light. She shook her head: ‘That’s what death is for me.’ She turned towards me, her face set and despairing, eyes dulled, her mouth suddenly bereft of colour. To her, death was the end of everything.”


“I played Ethel Merman’s daughter in that picture and we became best friends …Marilyn Monroe played a hat-check girl in the picture, but she wasn’t around all the time. She was busy creating Marilyn Monroe. If you see that picture now, though, and really pay attention to it, you realize that Marilyn steals the whole damn picture.”


“One of my favorite credits is to say that I worked behind Marilyn Monroe and I love saying that. She was phenomenal. She only about twenty six when she made that film but Marilyn was an actress who was deeply concerned about her work and was very conscientious. Let me give you an example of her professionalism: If there ever was a cut for any reason, she never went back to her trailer to check her makeup. She’d be there on her starting mark and ready for the next take.”


“I enjoyed her company. I enjoyed working with her,” He said she had an appetite for laughter and was aware of her sense of humor describing her as a “pretty clown.”

On hearing about her death Cotten recalled “At first I was sure it had to be an accident. Such buoyancy of spirit, such sparkling anticipation, such a happy and comic attitude would deny support to any theory. But she had such moments of fear and insecurity…. As to all the other furtive theories-cover-up, murder, etc. – I have no knowledge or interest in such sordidness. I knew and acted with Marilyn Monroe. I am proud of having that privilege.”


“When I first caught sight of Marilyn, she was leaning out the window of a brownstone on fashionable 61st Street on the East Side of Manhattan, posing for a film scene. Actually my first glimpse was of her behind. When I took some photos of that now famous backside, the sound of the camera’s shutters surprised her. She quickly turned around, spotted me and smiled. I took a dozen more pictures, we both laughed and the ice was completely broken. She certainly had a sense of humour. I subsequently followed Marilyn around for days, interviewing her and taking photos. She was great to work with.


“It was a remarkable experience. Because it was one of those very few times in all my experiences in Hollywood when I felt that give and take that can only happen when you are working with good actors. There was just this scene of one woman seeing another woman who was helpless and in pain, and [Marilyn] was helpless and in pain. It was so real, I responded. I really reacted to her. She moved me so that tears came into my eyes.”


“All I did was believe in her. She was a marvelous, loving, wonderful person I don’t think many understood.”


“She treated me more like a friend than a studio associate. Before I would go into a scene to stand in for her, she would come over and fix my hair and my clothes and she’d give me the motivation for the scene, so I would know what I was doing. She was my Paula Strasberg.”


“She was a good talker… she spoke well on the national scene, the Hollywood scene, and on people who are good to know and people who ain’t.”

“She was not the usual movie idol. There was something democratic about her. Why, she was the type who would join in and wash the supper dishes even if you didn’t ask her. She knew I had an appreciation of her from two angles… first as a personality and then as an actress. She had a mind out of the ordinary for show people. I found her fairly well read. I gave her a book of my complete poetry. I wanted her to have it. Thirty-six is just too young to die. I wish I could have been with her that day… I believe I could have persuaded her not to take her life. She had so much to live for. I think it’s entirely possible that Marilyn had a hard time with her sleep. She talked a lot about wanting a good sleep. Gosh, there were a lot of people who loved her. She had loyal fans. There was no pretenses about Marilyn Monroe.”


“The last time I saw Marilyn was in late 1959, when I appeared in “Let’s Make Love” at FOX. The wide eyed naïve Marilyn I had first known was gone. This Marilyn was more beautiful than ever.”


“The sound of Marilyn’s voice still rings true in my ears. Once you heard it in person, you’d never forget it.”


“She was so childlike she could do anything, and you could forgive as you would forgive a seven year old. She was both a woman and a baby, and both men and women adored her.”


“She had this absolute unerring touch with comedy… she acted as if she didn’t quite understand why it was so funny. Which is what made it so funny.”


“Marilyn Monroe wanted to be this great star but acting just scared the hell out of her. That’s why she was always late–couldn’t get her on the set. She had trouble remembering lines. But none of it mattered. With a very few special people, something happens between the lens and the film that is pure magic. And she really had it.”


“Norma Jeane was always a butterfly. She was beautiful all of her life, within and without. During our courtship and marriage I never stopped loving to be with her, to stare at her, to laugh with and love her. We had a wonderful, joyful marriage. But in the end, it was not enough for Norma Jeane. Like all beautiful butterflies, she had to fly away.”


“She listens, wants, cares. I catch her laughing across a room and I burst up. Every pore of that lovely translucent skin is alive, open every moment – even though this world could make her vulnerable to being hurt. I would rather work with her than any other actress. I adore her.”

“When Marilyn was really sick, we had to suspend production. As for her lateness, we adjusted to it. I can sympathise with it. I know how a person feels when facing a big scene. You can get so worked up over it that you become physically sick. I think that was the case with Marilyn. On ‘The Misfits’ we would be working, and we would be playing to each other, and something would happen. And the scene would escalate! She was much more than a beautiful female, she was a fine actress. I remember the look in her eyes. She was so real. I never met anybody I liked so much to work with.”


“I disagreed and fought with her on many occasions, but… in spite of her temperament, she never let the public down. We were always personal friends. Marilyn was a star in every sense of the word.”


“She really wanted to be Jean Harlow. That was her goal. She always said she would probably die young, like Harlow; that the men in her life were disasters, like Harlow’s; that her relationship with her mother was complicated, like Harlow’s. It was as if she based her life on Harlow’s — the instant flash, then over.”


“We had exchanged pictures, but we had never met face to face before, and I was worried that I wouldn’t recognise her. All the people getting off the train seemed to look alike. And then suddenly, through a massive crowd, I glimpsed a breathtaking beauty. When she spotted me we cried out each other’s names. Marilyn didn’t look like any single one of the other travellers: she was so beautiful, radiant… We couldn’t stop staring at each other. We had the same dark blonde hair with a widows peak, the same mouth, but our eyes were different, mine are brown and Norma Jeane’s were blue like our mothers.”


“When Marilyn touched me or hugged me, I felt a warmth and softness (dare I use the word maternal in relation to her?) that was very reassuring. She, who was so much like a child herself, always had a sympathetic word or touch for “another” child, and it was this that endeared me to her. And then there was Cindy. While Marilyn and Arthur were spending a lot of time at the farm, a small, weak, half-frozen and half-starved beagle-type puppy had the luck to stagger out of the woods and into Marilyn’s backyard. She immediately took in the foundling and, with the help of a local vet, nursed it back to health. The question remained: what to do with it? After working on my parents behind my back, she brought the dog to New York and gave her to me. Marilyn had real empathy for children and animals. And I later felt, as did others, that her life might have been happier if she had had a child of her own.”


Eunice Murray attends Marilyn’s final birthday on set of Something’s Got To Give, June 1st, 1962

“Marilyn spent quite a bit of time musing with a faraway look in her eyes. Some might have seen this as depression. I feel she was probably thinking things through. Just because she was not talking did not mean she was depressed. I could note, however, how different she had been in Mexico, so alive and alert. Then there was no need for introspection. When I first met Marilyn, however, she was quiet. I did not consider this anything abnormal. She certainly had a right in her own home to be quiet at times. I didn’t expect her to keep acting. I know that there were many reasons for her to feel appreciated and wanted and many things to look forward to as well during that last summer of her life.”


“We were still negotiating to resume the picture and she was happy about that possibility.”


“She helped a great many people, and their names will never be known. She was charitable because there was charity in her heart, not because she wanted thanks.”


“She didn’t pay any attention to me and I took a few pictures of her not posing.”

“I had always thought that all those amusing remarks she was supposed to have made for the press had probably been manufactured and mimeographed by her press agent, but they weren’t. She was very bright, an instinctive person.”


“I just can’t believe it. I’m so sorry. I’m really so sorry… It’s one of the biggest tragedies in the world… I think it was an accident… she was just the victim of pills. Show business has tremendous pressures. I feel the pressure of being in the spotlight all the time. But I make it a habit never to take those things. It isn’t good. Everything about Marilyn was fascinating. The whole world will mourn the death of this great star. There will never be another Marilyn Monroe.”


“I loved her immensely, although I did not know her very well. From what I knew of her, Marilyn had very good human qualities.” 


“This remains one of the funniest films I have ever seen—and the most daring comedy. I had never seen a film where the stars dressed in drag; in the fifties it was unheard of. Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis took a real chance with this and with the help of Billy Wilder and his script and the inspired casting of Marilyn Monroe, they made it an all-time great comedy. I was having dinner with Billy one night and asked him if Marilyn Monroe had been difficult to work with and he said that she had been. ‘She was always late,’ he said, ‘and she didn’t know her lines. But then,’ he went on, ‘I could have cast my Aunt Martha, and she would have been on time and she would have known her lines, but who the hell would have gone to see her?’ It was a typical Billy Wilder comment…”


“She is the greatest farceuse in the business, a female Chaplin. In the right kind of picture she is superb and the public will go to see her. It’s only when she plays a serious role that she has trouble. The audience doesn’t believe her. I am trying to get her for one (a picture). In addition to her talent, Monroe has one important gift—she is newsworthy. Wherever she goes she drops time bombs on the front pages.”


“She was so lovely and too young to die. God bless her… I never met Marilyn Monroe, but if I had, I would have tried very hard to help her. A sex symbol is a heavy load to carry when one is tired, hurt, and bewildered.”


“Movie stardom looks fabulous from the outside. It can bring good things, marvellous things… but it doesn’t erase bad ones. The lingering pain inflicted by an uncaring parent is permanent. Marilyn Monroe knew this and I know this. At any rate, I didn’t try to erase my pain with drugs. Sooner or later they take their toll, as Marilyn tragically found out.”


“Suicide! Why do they use that word with its insidious sneer of failure to cope with life? What do they know of the pressures Marilyn was subjected to? Only Marilyn knew why she died, which of her torments goaded her to death. But at least I can understand the terrible emotional strain she must have been living through. A star in her position has no private life. I know it only too well. People dig into your past, refuse to let you alone. Every bit of scandal that can be found about you is dragged into the open. Everywhere you go, you are in the public eye, you are always conscious of being watched, conscious that all you do and say is under the public’s critical gaze. People cannot understand that you want a private life separate from your professional life. There is no other profession which exposes you to so much cruel scrutiny. She had those anguished months when her career was in turmoil. And it was not long before that, that her marriage to Arthur Miller collapsed. In these months I think she had no one to turn to for security. I suppose the public thinks that we are rich and therefore we have happiness. For women they think it’s nice to be a sex symbol, to be looked at and be desired by men. But where is the happiness in that?

Being famous and having a lot of money—these things mean nothing. We think they are going to be wonderful, but they are never what we expect. Cary Grant once asked me if I was happy. I said, no, but I was content. Nobody can always be happy. I am independent, and I take responsibility for my decisions. But it is good to have somebody to depend on even if you never need to. Marilyn, it seems, was very unhappy and had nobody to turn to. I can sense how she yearned for understanding and help from somebody really close. I could not help crying when I heard of her death. It is not easy living in the eye of the public. It is a continual strain. Everything you do is magnified; everything is discussed. I know we have a duty to the public, that we owe our position to the public. But I sometimes wish the public could understand the pressure under which we live and work.”