Marilyn monroe

Britney Spears is back with a vengeance

I am working on a play about Marilyn Monroe at the moment and, reading Britney Spears’s book, the similarities of these two fragile blondes came to mind. Both were celebrated and castigated for their woman-child sex appeal; both struggled with sinister Svengalis – Darryl Zanuck and Mickey Mouse. But one big difference between the two is that Marilyn often wished she had a father, while one imagines Britney often wishes she hadn’t. In the long and sorry history of parasitical men leeching off talented women, was there ever a more worthless example than Jamie Spears? He used his daughter as a cash-cow from her childhood; when she became an adult

Vivid, gripping and surreal: a new slice of Ellroy madness

Los Angeles, August 1962. PI and extortionist Freddie Otash is snooping on Marilyn Monroe for labour leader and racketeer Jimmy Hoffa, who’s paying good money for dirt on Jack and Bobby Kennedy. Is Jack really schtupping Miss Monroe? Who cares? Make it so. But the operation is rumbled and then Monroe dies of an overdose (or does she?) and Otash finds himself pushed from pillar to post by greasepole Pete (Pitchess, 28th Sheriff of LA County) and ratfink Bobby (US attorney general Robert Kennedy), for they too have a stake in filthing-up the film star’s name. Maybe, through it all, Otash can find who and what really got her killed

Blonde shows a Marilyn Monroe robbed of motherhood

Andrew Dominik’s film Blonde, a story of Marilyn Monroe’s life based on an adaptation of a Joyce Carol Oates novel, has been the subject of much divisive discourse on both sides of the Atlantic. Caren Spruch of Planned Parenthood told the Hollywood Reporter that she sees the film as ‘anti-abortion propaganda’. A tweet that went viral said filmmaker ‘Andrew Dominik didn’t even try to conceal his anti-choice views and hatred for Marilyn’. She is more profitable as a maiden than she is as a mother, and so she is robbed of that transformation by countless men – those who lust for her and those who earn from her While the divisiveness of the

Hollywood loves to self mythologise

Hollywood can appear self-satisfied and insular at the best of times, but it’s been a rough few months even by Tinseltown standards. Judging by the slew of trailers that have dropped in recent weeks, this season in cinema land will centre on only one thing: biopics. From Madonna and Marilyn Monroe to Elvis (and even Hillary Rodham Clinton) it’s time for a barrage of films in which big stars play bigger stars – in return for your adoration.  Hollywood’s fixation on global fame might not be entirely new – Ben Kingsley’s turn in Gandhi is about to reach its 40th birthday, incidentally – but there’s no getting away from the

Kim Kardashian is a better role model than Marilyn Monroe

When Kim Kardashian wore Marilyn Monroe’s dress to the Met Gala recently – the shimmering, crystal-studded, second-skin gown in which MM sang her infamous rendition of ‘Happy Birthday, Mr President’ to JFK in 1962 – many people had a collective fit of the vapours. You’d have thought someone had wiped their nose – or worse – on the Stars and Stripes in front of the White House, that some act of sacrilege had been committed. Kardashian (with the good manners characteristic of her – there’s a scene in an early season of Keeping Up with the Kardashians where her monstrous sister Khloe mocks her for being courteous to a nobody

The magic of JFK remains undimmed

It’s easy to forget that John F. Kennedy lived such a short life. At 43, he was the second youngest president in history; when he died, he was younger than Barack Obama was in 2009. Kennedy’s presidency was brief —‘a thousand days,’ as the historian and Kennedy confidant Arthur Schlesinger Jr memorably put it — but included some of the most intensively covered episodes in modern history, from the civil rights movement to the Cuban Missile Crisis. As a result, JFK has not lacked for attention. So, what more is there to say about him? A good deal, it turns out. Kennedy is familiar yet mysterious, and therefore difficult to