Marilyn Monroe, who died at a very young age of 36, was known for her comic skills and was one of the most popular movie stars of the 1950s and early 1960s. Although her name is one that is counted among the legends of Hollywood, there were moments when she was not that legendary or beautiful. She was just a plain, vulnerable and insecure person who was scared of failure just like any other artiste.
In an adaptation of Marilyn and Me, a memoir of Lawrence Schiller, the photographer who shot her nude, it emerged that the actress, who wore a smile on screen and could make people laugh, was someone who was deeply disappointed in life.
She was jealous of actress Elizabeth Taylor and her intention behind going for a nude photo shoot was to make sure Fox Studios gave her the attention she deserved.
Fox [Studios] should start paying as much attention to me as they are paying to Elizabeth Taylor. Schiller, then just 23-years-old, had no idea that that photo shoot was going to be the biggest break of his life.
The June issue of Vanity Fair reveals the never-before-published pictures of the actress from that shoot and also details of conversations between the actress and Schiller.
Monroe's conversation with Schiller reveals that the photo shoot, where the actress seen to be coming out of swimming pool naked, was a plan to grab attention and for Fox to take her more seriously.
Larry, if I do come out of the pool with nothing on, I want your guarantee that when your pictures appear on the covers of magazines Elizabeth Taylor is not anywhere in the same issue, she had told Schiller.
At that time, Marilyn was paid nine-tenths of what actress Elizabeth Tylor was making.
The photo shoot was a desperate way to avail as much publicity as Tylor had got by dating her co-star, Richard Burton.
Marylin thought that Play boy founder Hugh Hefner's offer of $25,000 for a nude photo of her was worth every penny. $25,000 was the maximum that Playboy had ever paid for a photograph.
There isn't anybody that looks like me without clothes on, a narcissist Monroe had said.
While she was proud of her beauty, she was also a disappointed person. While she knew her stunning body was the strength for her success, she also thought of it as her weakness and was disturbed that it was only about her body and that she had not won any Academy award.
Let me ask you, Larry Wolf [Schiller first introduced himself to Monroe as the Big Bad Wolf]-how many Academy Award nominations do I have? I don't know, he said. I do, she said. None.
The actress also confessed her biggest fear to Schiller. She wanted a baby. I've always wanted a baby, she said. Having a child, that's always been my biggest fear. I want a child and I fear a child. Whenever it came close, my body said no and I lost the baby.
She told the photographer that she was worried that she would end up like her mother, Gladys Baker, who spent her life being in and out of mental institutions. Monroe was brought up in foster care.
It was a publically known fact that Monroe was disturbed in the last few years of her life. The circumstances of her death in 1962 from an overdose of barbiturates are still speculative and it is still not known if it was a suicide or a homicide.
Even after her global popularity, Marilyn Monroe was not one who was just happy with what she had. She reflected over what her identity was and where Norma Jeane (her real name) fit into the character of Monroe, as the world knew her.
I never wanted to be Marilyn-it just happened. Marilyn's like a veil I wear over Norma Jeane, she admitted to Schiller.
Marilyn was not satisfied with her success. At least, not the success that came her way because of her being the sex-symbol. She wanted to prove otherwise. She wanted to prove she could do much better than posing for pictures and flaunting her body.
It's still about nudity. Is that all I'm good for? I'd like to show that I can get publicity without using my ass or getting fired from a picture, she said. I haven't made up my mind yet.
This apparently was their last conversation. Monroe was reported dead the very next morning.