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Marilyn Monroe - A Life of the Actress, Revised and Updated

Marilyn Monroe

A Life of the Actress, Revised and Updated

By Carl Rollyson
Series: Hollywood Legends Series

Paperback : 9781617039782, 275 pages, 36 b&w photographs, June 2014

The first biography to focus on the American icon's acting craft


In American popular culture, Marilyn Monroe(1926–1962) has evolved in stature from movie superstar to American icon. Monroe's own understanding of her place in the American imagination and her effort to perfect her talent as an actress are explored with great sensitivity in Carl Rollyson's engaging narrative. He shows how movies became crucial events in the shaping of Monroe's identity. He regards her enduring gifts as a creative artist, discussing how her smaller roles in The Asphalt Jungle and All About Eve established the context for her career, while in-depth chapters on her more important roles in Bus Stop, Some Like It Hot, and The Misfits provide the centerpiece of his examination of her life and career.

Through extensive interviews with many of Monroe's colleagues, close friends, and other biographers, and a careful rethinking of the literature written about her, Rollyson is able to describe her use of Method acting and her studies with Michael Chekhov and Lee Strasberg, head of the Actors' Studio in New York. The author also analyzes several of Monroe's own drawings, diary notes, and letters that have recently become available. With over thirty black-and-white photographs (some published for the first time), a new foreword, and a new afterword, this volume brings Rollyson's 1986 book up to date.

From this comprehensive, yet critically measured wealth of material, Rollyson offers a distinctive and insightful portrait of Marilyn Monroe, highlighted by new perspectives that depict the central importance of acting to the authentic aspects of her being.


"More than anything else in her life, Marilyn Monroe wanted to be taken seriously as an actress. Rollyson has done just that in Marilyn Monroe: A Life of the Actress. . . . It will be important to both film historians and to Marilyn's fans--and it would have made Marilyn feel honored and worthwhile. "

- Gloria Steinem

"A wonderful, highly readable book, the first biography that truly shows the actress at work. "

- Ellen Burstyn

"A provocative and interesting reading of Marilyn Monroe by a major biographer who has revised his early, insightful study. "

- Lois Banner, professor emerita of history and gender studies at the University of Southern California and author of Marilyn: The Passion and the Paradox and MM Personal