Fifty years after her death, Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe still beguiles the world, her image enthralling millions. Many books have attempted to explain her allure and tell her story, but none has succeeded as well as this work by acclaimed biographer Donald Spoto.
Spoto’s exhaustive research uncovers a conspiracy of silence, allowing him to present the facts, free from often-repeated myths and speculation. Granted access to more than thirty-five thousand pages of formerly sealed files containing letters, diaries, appointment books, and other intimate papers, he also interviewed nearly two hundred people who had never before spoken on record. From the papers of Marilyn’s psychiatrist and her medical files to recently declassified government documents, the truth emerges and provides a moving, often shocking picture of the real Marilyn Monroe - including her connection to the Kennedys and the bizarre, horrifying truth about how she really died.
©1993 Donald Spoto (P)2000 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"This is a book that wound up teaching me a great deal about Hollywood, the social history of California, the movie business, the trials of female actors in American show business, and the life of a woman who has been so mythologized that often the real woman is obscured from actual view." (Erica Jong for Washington Post Book World)
"Spoto has given Monroe the treatment she deserves. At last she emerges not as a goddess but as a human being in this extraordinary volume." (Daily Telegraph)
"Provocative!" (Entertainment Weekly)
The fact that it was unabridged. I think the narration is quite good, but I would have preferred to hear the actual author's voice.
The biographies of the Queen, the Kennedys, and Diana, Princess of Wales by Sally Bedell Smith. Sally Smith, like Donald Spoto, knows how to research and pen a proper biography, unlike hatchet hacks like Kitty Kelley and Christopher Anderson who rely too much on gossip, printed tabloid reports, and unsubstantiated or incredible sources for their books.
Marilyn Monroe herself. She would have wanted this fair and balanced account of her life written before Norman Mailer (1972) and Anthony Summers (1985) brought sensationalism into their versions, which clearly distorted her legacy and damaged the legend of Monroe. Mailer did not mince words when he admitted forty years ago that he wrote a semi-fictional biography because he needed the money. After that all MM biographers, except for Spoto, did the same. No wonder Spoto was the only one granted access to her private letters and documents. He has done full justice to her memory and once and for all cast permanent doubt on the many lies told about this heartbreaking icon. She deserved nothing less.
If anyone wishes to know the real truth about Marilyn, this is the biography to read or listen to.
Monroe's life is full of mystery, from her birth to her death. Donald Spoto tries to solve this mystery, but I don't always agree with his conclusions. For example, was Monroe's psychiatrist responsible for her death? Was Robert Kennedy completely innocent of an affair with Monroe? This is Spoto's conclusion. However, I'm glad this audiobook finally made it to Audible. Narration is fine, not great. The afterword gives some thoughtful reflections on the Monroe "cottage industry" that was primarily started by Robert Slatzer and others.This book will keep you thinking about the unanswered questions of Monroe's life and death, even if you don't agree with the author's conclusions.
Hearing fresh ideas based on concrete evidence and fact you learn how sweet and amazing she really was.
It is not centered on seedy sexual ideas or a sleazy contempt, but based on a genuin love of Marilyn as a human being.
It is based on facts and not theory
When Marilyn calls a Fox exec and gets his wife, and she thoughtfully chooses her words and asks the mans wife to deliver the message that she says F--- off. And then politely tells the wife she wishes her warmest regards and to have a wonderfull day.
Yes, very interesting!
Great read on Marilyns life and death and it chronologicly covers her life and status from start to end.
It also sets straight many myths concerning her death and a briliant well thought theory on how she died that im convinced is true.
It all makes common sense and makes you wonder why certain people werent put in prison.
God bless Marilyn
I love reading for pleasure and obtaining new insights. Audible is perfect for me /visual issues. Thanks listeners for helpful reviews!
This is actually the first Marilyn book I've read/heard. Very informative and detailed account of her early years. I got a much better understanding of Norma Jean and was somewhat surprised by her courage and perseverance. This author also presents details regarding her death that I'd never heard either. This bio of Marilyn Monroe gave me a respect for the woman and made a fan out of me.
A very balanced and in depth biography without the myths and sensationalism.
There were many points of Ms. Monroe's life that I learned about that made this book important to me as it dispelled the rumours and tabloidism surrounding this icon who justsimply wanted to be a woman who was loved for herself and her God given talent.
Ms. Fields voice was the least favorite part of the book for me. I didn't expect characterizations or anything of that sort. I just didn't care for the sound.
This book is 22+ hours, so no, I wouldn't want to listen to it all at once. There is a lot to digest as far as factual info, i.e. addresses, side bars, etc., but it is all relevant, and builds to make the listener really feel what made Norma Jean into Marilyn Monroe.
I had never read a bio on Ms. Monroe, but am watching SMASH on TV and wanted to know more about the facts of her life. She was a determined, smart, kind, generous soul who was not cared for by herself or those she trusted. I will watch her movies again with a deeper appreciation. God Bless you Norma Jean.
I am the 30 something truck driver. Listen to audiobooks often and enjoy listening to them at work.
I do not have the print version so I cannot compare.
The author did a lot of research and it shows. Also I liked that he spoke about well known rumors and told which ones had no fact behind them and put them to rest. I am glad I chose this as my first Monroe listen.
Joshua B. Miller
The most misunderstood woman and her misunderstood death are retold factually with carefyl research by Spoto.
I liked Joe DiMaggio.
I sense of how women sounded at the time Marilyn was alive.
I am so glad I read this.
This book is so enlightening and tenderly evokes the spirit and essence of the beloved Marilyn Monroe. I can't believe it took me this long to read a biography on her, as I am obsessed with history and have always been enchanted and mystified by Marilyn. I am very bothered by the oversimplification of her in the media when it is clear to pure hearts everywhere that she was phenomenal in so many ways. I am so delighted and moved by the writing of this book and its debunking of the many ridiculous myths, like the Kennedy ones. I am so sad that such a brilliant woman's life was cut short by the hangers on😫. Whyyyyyyyyy. Thank you to the author and the lovely narrator. Splendid biography. Sad that it's over and that it, and her life, ends so tragically. Marilyn Forever! May she Rest In Peace. ❤️
I very much liked "getting to know" Norma Jean. I wonder if the author had more sympathy toward her than other reporters and authors, or if this was the true picture of a tragic life. Either way, it was a refreshing change from the tabloid Marilyn Monroe the media paints and the girl in the book is someone with whom I found myself relating very much in some ways - just a woman trying to make the world a brighter place and perhaps starting about it using the only thing she felt she had going for her; but wanting to be taken more seriously.
After the first few chapters, because I found the narration dull and somewhat monotone, I researched the narrator, I realized she has narrated dozens upon dozens of audiobooks literally up until her tragic demise (drowned in her home basement recording studio during a massive flash flood in Seattle) and had more respect and made it through. That in itself made me appreciate the narrator, but I truly did not enjoy it, compared to other books I've heard by other narrators.
All in all I would recommend this book to anyone wanting a refreshing sweet and positive, though obviously tragic, biography of Marilyn "Norma Jean" Monroe.
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