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Publisher's Summary

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.

Critic Reviews

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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The Definitive MM biography

What made the experience of listening to Marilyn Monroe the most enjoyable?

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.

What other book might you compare Marilyn Monroe to and why?

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.

Which character – as performed by Anna Fields – was your favorite?

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.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Absolutely.

Any additional comments?

If anyone wishes to know the real truth about Marilyn, this is the biography to read or listen to.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Bradley
  • vernal, UT, United States
  • 07-06-13

The Tangable MM

What made the experience of listening to Marilyn Monroe the most enjoyable?

Hearing fresh ideas based on concrete evidence and fact you learn how sweet and amazing she really was. <br/>It is not centered on seedy sexual ideas or a sleazy contempt, but based on a genuin love of Marilyn as a human being. <br/>It is based on facts and not theory

What other book might you compare Marilyn Monroe to and why?

None

Which scene was your favorite?

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.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, very interesting!

Any additional comments?

Great read on Marilyns life and death and it chronologicly covers her life and status from start to end.<br/>It also sets straight many myths concerning her death and a briliant well thought theory on how she died that im convinced is true.<br/>It all makes common sense and makes you wonder why certain people werent put in prison. <br/><br/>God bless Marilyn

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Kimberly
  • YUMA, AZ, United States
  • 04-16-13

Turned Me Into A Marilyn Fan

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Maile
  • Onalaska, WA, United States
  • 04-09-13

After listening, I now feel like I know the truth

Where does Marilyn Monroe rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

A very balanced and in depth biography without the myths and sensationalism.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Marilyn Monroe?

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.

Which character – as performed by Anna Fields – was your favorite?

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.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

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.

Any additional comments?

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Extraordinary

Spectacular account of Marilyn's life. Fact and insight dominate Spoto's well-researched narration of a mysterious story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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great bio on this icon

Would you consider the audio edition of Marilyn Monroe to be better than the print version?

I do not have the print version so I cannot compare.

What did you like best about this story?

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.

What does Anna Fields bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Emotion.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

yes.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Anna Fields is Greatly Missed

Great Narrator!!! So sorry she is gone. She was a great reader, wonderful voice. The book itself was good too.

  • Overall

A must read!

Learned so much about Marilyn Monroe's sad and tragic life and death...really a must read for any true fan.

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A heart-wrenching tale about needing to be loved

This biography is nothing short of utterly tragic. It's the classic ideal that someone receives them self is never good enough when if that was true then we wouldn't be talking about her for so long. Although sad and short life was, it's obvious people did love her and still do.