When Marilyn Monroe was found dead on the first Sunday of August in 1962, the world mourned the loss of a girl whose beauty of face and figure and whose sweetness
of spirit had brightened the world for them and whom they had all loved. Not only to those who care for films but even more to those who care for human values.
The death of the young is always bitter because one cannot but feel that they have been cheated out of what life promised them, and that, deprived themselves, they
have also deprived us of what they might have continued to give us down the years.
Movie careers are proverbially short, and most stars long outlive them. It is very unusual for a great star to die on the heights. Then too, Marilyn was very beautiful,
and brightness falls from the skies when beauty dies. LIFE magazine cried out "her death has diminished the loveliness of the world which we live," while the editors of
VOGUE found the "waste" by which they were confronted "almost unbearable."
Fifty years later, Marilyn's image continues to light up the world and for the woman who died so young and too soon, the world has not been able to forget her as
magazines and books continue to focus on all aspects of her life and style, some good and some brutal as is indeed the case in this, the 50th anniversary year. We've had
our share of poorly written attempts to cash in on her legacy. But Marilyn would not have been surprised. She would not have expected to be treated fairly. She never
had been in her life.
What would have surprised her would have been the recurrence of such words as "decency," "innocence," and "purity" in some of the better tributes that are currently
being paid to her in books by Michelle Morgan (Private & Undisclosed), David Wills (Metamorphosis) and Christopher Nickens & George Zeno (Marilyn in Fashion).
To mark this half century of her untimely death, Lawrence Schiller, who photographed Marilyn on the sets of 'Let's Make Love' and 'Something's Got To Give' covering
her last years and in particular the last months, filming at Fox and the aftermath. In a publishing first he has brought out two books simultaneously on Marilyn by
The first, Marilyn & Me: A Photographer's Memories, is a small hardback. The idea for this edition of the book was to be about the story and not the photos, small and
intimate. It is short, the length of a novella. The paper has what is called a "deckled edge" which is considered by many book lovers to be a nice tradition in bookmaking,
giving the volume more of a handmade feel, as opposed to the standard cheap binding and trimming processes usually used today. The book takes us back to the
summer of 1962 and Schiller's dealings with Marilyn during her final weeks, intimate and personal at times we get glimpes of the star on and off-screen in what seems
a very modest lifestyle but very much in control of her image and business dealings.
The second version is Taschen's stunning collector's edition. The box and book are covered in a duchesse silk. Custom woven for this publication, the blue silk gives the
feeling of the rippling blue water from Marilyn's famous swimming pool scene. It's lovely seeing the blue box and to feel it makes it very beautiful indeed. When I
opened it to look inside the pages, some of the pictures were like she was coming right out of them... magical!
The book is a poignant reminder of a woman whom Arthur Miller wrote: "Marilyn identifies powerfully with all living things, but her extraordinary embrace of life is
intermingled with great sadness."