My New Friend Sonja Ahlers Told Me This About Marilyn Monroe

June 12, 2010

posted by Heather McShaneThis is a quotation from Gloria Steinem:

Volumes of Shelley, Whitman, Keats, and Rilke accompanied her on movie sets where she played the classic dumb blonde. So did novels by Thomas Wolfe and James Joyce, and books on history and mysticism. Often the contrast was too much for observers. Jack Paar was sure Marilyn was putting on an “act” when she read Proust. “I fear that beneath the façade of Marilyn, there was only a frightened waitress in a diner,” Paar wrote acidly. When Joe Mankiewicz saw her reading Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet while waiting to rehearse her famous dumb blonde role in All About Eve, he would have been “less taken aback,” as he put it, “to come upon Herr Rilke studying a Marilyn Monrose nude calendar.” When he asked her who had recommended Rilke, she said, “Nobody. You see, in my whole life, I haven’t read hardly anything at all. I don’t know where to begin. So what I do is, every now and then I go into Pickwick, and just look around. I leaf through some books, and when I read something that interests me . . .  So last night, I bought this one. Is that wrong?”

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