TLDR; It’s the worst book on Marilyn I’ve read in 5 years.
Going to start by saying this book is so full of inaccuracies that this will be a multi-part series. Today I am reviewing the first 19% of the book, and I will go into the death stuff later. Due to the number of errors, I have decided to list each one out rather than look at this section as a whole. Initial thoughts: I always start Kindle books by looking at the names of people cited. This mess has Jack Clemmons and Frank Capell as prime sources, so you know it’s going to be bad. Also worth noting that no original research went into this book. It relies strictly on other author’s work. As a university instructor, there’s no way I would let my students use this book in a research paper. Let’s begin…
Claim: “[Describing her in 1950]…Marilyn Monroe had discarded her model-starlet image and was being considered by some who mattered as ‘a serious actress.’”
Fact: Marilyn would continue in the starlet vein for three more years as well as modeling for Blue Book Modeling Agency when she needed quick cash. While All About Eve and The Asphalt Jungle did allow her to showcase her dramatic abilities, they weren’t big enough roles to allow her to discard her star image.
Claim: Gladys and Norma Jeane moved in with the Bolenders in 1927.
Fact: Both moved in with the Bolenders a few days after she was born.
Claim: Gladys was “generous with her favours” and named Stanley Gifford as Norma Jeane’s father “depending on her mood.”
Fact: Regardless of Gladys’ provocativeness, she always stuck by Gifford being Norma Jeane’s father. Furthermore, she was by all accounts extremely devoted to Gifford, who had also offered to take Norma Jeane (but not marry Gladys) when the little girl was born.
Claim: After Gladys’ institutionalization in 1934, Norma Jeane was moved from foster home to foster home before entering the orphanage in 1935. She was then released from the orphanage in 1937, moved between “her mother’s friends,” moved in with Ana Lower in 1938 and then finally got placed with Grace Goddard sometime before 1942.
Fact: Marilyn was never in the foster care system. All of her expenses were paid for by her mother’s estate, with Grace making reports for reimbursement. Most families lived with received a monthly sum of money to take care of Norma Jeane, ranging from about $25-$100/dollars per month. According to Holding a Good Thought for Marilyn (one of the best bios ever written), the families Norma Jeane lived with and their connection to her are:
- June 11, 1926 – Wayne and Ida Bolender
- May 23, 1933 – Gladys regains custody of Norma Jeane. They move into an apartment at Afton Place before Gladys purchases a home (6812 Arbol Drive) on August 23, 1933.
- January 15, 1935 – After her mother is legally declared insane, Norma Jeane continues living in the Arbol with her mother’s former boarders, the Atkinson’s.
- 1935 – Grace Goddard negotiates for Norma Jeane to live with Harvey and Elsie Giffen, parents of one of Norma Jeane’s school friends. The Giffen’s offer to adopt Norma Jeane.
- Norma Jeane also spends time in the home of Grace’s sister, Enid Knebelkamp.
- Grace is made Gladys’ and Norma Jeane’s guardian on April 4, 1935.
- June 1935 – Grace Goddard moves Norma Jeane in with her.
- September 13, 1935 – Norma Jeane is moved into the orphanage
- October 1936 – Norma Jeane lives with Grace.
- November 1937 – Norma Jeane moves in with her aunt, Olive Monroe.
- March 1938 – Norma Jeane moves in with Grace’s brother and his wife, Bryan and Lottie Atchinson.
- Possibly June 1938 – Norma Jeane moves in with Grace.
- September 1938 – Norma Jeane moves in with Grace’s aunt, Ana Lower.
- June 1941 – Norma Jeane moves in with Grace.
Claim: When asked about the best thing about fame, Marilyn replied, “I’ll never have to suck another cock again.”
Fact: This is one of those quotes that makes the rounds, with various versions, including: “I’ve sucked my last cock” and “I’ll never have to suck another Jewish cock again!” Obviously, there are no reputable sources for these quotes.
Claim: Marilyn had some sort of romantic relationship with Pat DiCicco.
Fact: There’s, again, nothing to support this. It is known that they met and went out at least once with one another, but nothing to suggest a long relationship. He’s not in any of Marilyn’s address books.
The authors make a claim about Thelma Todd being murdered by the mob. This comes directly from Andy Edmonds’ Hot Toddy (as does most of this garbage). In actuality, evidence points to Todd’s death being an accident, as detailed in the incredibly thorough tome by Marshall Croddy and Patrick Jennings, Testimony of a Death, 314 page book examining nothing but Todd’s death. Hardly anyone both then and now believed Todd committed suicide, and her death wasn’t ruled as such. The authors state, “[After her cremation] This left no opportunity to examine the body medically and give reasons for her broken nose, the blood coagulated on her face and splattered across her dress and body, or her missing teeth and two fractured ribs.” Thelma did not have blood splattered across her dress and body, she didn’t have extreme bruising nor were her ribs fractured. She did have a bloody nose and a single missing tooth, easily explained by hitting the steering wheel of her car as she lost consciousness. Todd’s heart continued to beat for several minutes before she died, causing the nose injury to profusely bleed, while some of the blood also came from frothing. Finally, her organs were removed from the body for further testing before cremation.
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