Marilyn, The Actress

“You know, I admire Marilyn.  I really do, despite her behavior. She’s taken everything Hollywood can throw at her and she’s triumphed.  That takes some bloody guts.  An actress has to be pretty tough to get even a tenth as far as she has. “

– Sir Laurence Olivier


Marilyn desperately wanted to be taken seriously as an actress.  The Prince and the Showgirl was an opportunity to prove herself as an actress.  She was an American actress set to co star in a production with a cast of extremely talented, experienced, trained English actors.  How daunting must that have been for her!  She had been studying The Method (a philosophy of acting) with Lee Strasberg, the father of The Method, in preparation for the movie.

As portrayed in the movie, Marilyn really struggled on the set of the movie.  She couldn’t understand her character’s motivation or who her character really was as a human being.  (The script was not the writer’s best work, so the characters weren’t really developed with logical human thought process.)  The cast and crew grew more and more frustrated with her as filming went on… They just wanted her to just “ACT” or “FAKE IT”.  Here is a scene…

Marilyn: I don’t know who Elsie is.  I don’t know her.  She is not real.

Lawrence: Then why not simply rely on your natural talents?

Marilyn: So are you saying you don’t want me to act?

 Lawrence:  Marilyn, will you just try to be sexy.  ISN’T THAT WHAT YOU DO? 

Marilyn must have been devastated.  She was working so hard to get it right and do a good job.  All they wanted was her “body” and not her “soul”.

This was the constant fight on set.

American, internal, psychological way of acting  vs. English, theatrical, external way of acting

Marilyn Monroe_reading and writing

Marilyn would write poetry as an outlet for her pain.  Here was a poem that came from one of her notebooks that she wrote in 1951.  She must have written this one before shooting a scene when panic and fear would start to consume her…


Photo Credit 1, 2


  1. Wow. I never knew very much about Marilyn. These are great truths and insights, Allie. So sad.

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