Past Imperfect

Past Imperfect – #530

Marilyn Monroe: “Arthur, I’m not really understanding this bit in your play right here, with the witches shrieking.”

Arthur Miller, off-camera due to clearance issues with his publicist: “Well, it’s an allegory about the Salem trials and McCarthyism and… why are you standing like that?”

Marilyn: “I’m posing in a glamorous manner.”

Arthur: “Why are you posing? I wasn’t even in the room and there’s no one else here.”

Marilyn: “It doesn’t matter. You should always do everything with style and purpose, even if no one else is looking, because life is too short and you might as well live it to the best of your ability.”

Arthur: “That’s an interesting viewpoint.”

Marilyn: “By interesting, do you mean naive?”

Arthur: “I didn’t say that.”

Marilyn: “You didn’t have to, your tone did.”

Arthur: “Look, I’m not getting into this argument again. We’re late for the awards ceremony.”

Marilyn: “Ah, yes, another awards ceremony for you. How lovely.”

Arthur: “And who has the tone now?”

Marilyn: “Fair enough. But do you understand why I have the tone?”

Arthur: “Because you’re trying to counter my own tone. This is a pattern that goes back to the caveman days.”

Marilyn: “And maybe it does. But I’m talking about now. You’re the celebrated playwright who writes the words, and I’m the lowly actress who only speaks those words, and everyone is making jokes about our marriage. But what I do does matter. And in the future, you might be an inspiration to a select group of people who admire those words you write, but I will be an inspiration to the rest of us who just want to validate themselves and they are willing to do what it takes.”

Arthur: “That’s a rather lofty aspiration you have, and I’d love to discuss the details, but we have a cab waiting. Blow out that candle and turn off the ceiling fan.”

Marilyn: “No, I think I’ll let both of those things be. Something tells me that someone named Elton will come along and be able to do something with those.”


This admittedly not-so-humorous post was inspired by the following quote:

“When I was five I think, that’s when I started wanting to be an actress. I loved to play. I didn’t like the world around me because it was kind of grim, but I loved to play house. It was like you could make your own boundaries… When I heard that this was acting, I said that’s what I want to be… Some of my foster families used to send me to the movies to get me out of the house and there I’d sit all day and way into the night. Up in front, there with the screen so big, a little kid all alone, and I loved it.”

Interview in Life magazine, 1962


Make your own boundaries, folks. Every day.


Originally published in “Crusty Pie” on 06/16/17. No changes made. Sometimes I serve those Pie slices a little warmer than usual…


29 replies »

  1. Can’t get enough of Marilyn. She was so much more than simply a pretty face. I wish more people would focus on her dramatic roles instead of the comedy roles. She was a superb comic actress, but she was also a very good serious actress. I think it’s a real shame she didn’t get more serious roles.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Marilyn was a foster? Well well well. “Splains a few things at least. I was going to make some snarky remark about her posing like that to show off her two best assets to their utmost advantage, but I think that would be mean, given the lovely ending you wrote. And I see my ‘candle in the wind’ remark is redundant too. I wonder if Arthur knew he’d be famous for a while, but Marilyn would go on to be an icon for decades?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The fact they married each other makes them both more fascinating, in my opinion. A woman being attracted to a intelligent man isn’t too difficult to imagine, but she seemed to make a point of it. And despite the cliches, most intelligent people prefer the company of other intelligent people. Meaning I think he saw a side of her we weren’t shown.
    So however you look at it, they were an interesting couple.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Never liked A.Miller. Found him vain and his works conceited, torturous and whiny. Had to slog through them as a theater major. Preferred T. Williams, who had pathos tempered with compassion. It’s understandable why MM married Miller, considering the lack of humanity plus absence of intelligence she endured with Hollywood mogul mentality. (And the whole father-figure-thing) He wasn’t worthy of her admiration. I fear his jealousy of her talent and gentle spirit was an accelerant to his unsavory personality.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I believe you are spot on with this assessment. The only think I might add is that Marilyn was so desperate to be considered “legitimate” that she was willing to put up with things that she shouldn’t have. Of course, I wasn’t there, so who really knows…

      Liked by 1 person

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