Quotes about Marilyn
Quotes from Marilyn
Quotes about Marilyn
There isn’t enough upper lip between the end of your nose and your mouth.
Emmeline Snively to Norma Jeane Dougherty
I got a cold chill. This girl had something I hadn’t seen since silent pictures.
She had a kind of fantastic beauty like Gloria Swanson, when a movie star had to look beautiful, and she got sex on a piece of film like Jean Harlow.
Leon Shamroy, on MM’s 1946 screen test
When you look at Marilyn on the screen, you don’t want anything bad to happen to her.
You really care that she should be all right…happy.
Marilyn’s insecurities nearly screamed out of her. If she had an eight o’clock date, I had to be there at noon to start on her.
If I was two minutes late she was furious, though she thought nothing of keeping others waiting for hours or days.
This is a little kid who wants to be with the other little kids sucking lollipops and watching the rollercoaster, but she can’t because they won’t let her.
She’s frightened to death of that public which thinks she is so sexy. My God, if they only knew.
Allan “Whitey” Snyder
She was not the usual movie idol. There was something democratic about her.
She was the type who would join in and wash up the supper dishes even if you didn’t ask her.
We were in mid-flight, and there was a nut on the plane.
Billy Wilder on MM and the shooting of Some Like It Hot
I took her as a serious actress before I ever met her. I think she’s an a great comedienne,
but I also think that she might turn into the greatest tragic actress that can be imagined.
Marilyn was an incredible person to act with…the most marvelous I ever worked with, and I have been working for 29 years.
When you speak of the American way of life, everybody thinks of chewing gum, Coca-Cola and Marilyn Monroe.
the Russian magazine Nedvela
~~this whole thing about her feeling she has to get married and have children and be normal and well adjusted-I blame it on psychoanalysis.
There’s a broad with her future behind her.
When she’s there, she’s there. All of her is there! She’s there to work.
It was like being sucked into a vacuum.
Tommy Noonan on kissing MM in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
She looked like, if you bit her, milk and honey would flow from her.
Artist Franz Kline
Still she hangs like a bat in the heads of the men who met her, and none of us will ever forget her.
Sammy Davis, Jr.
Marilyn’s need to be desired was so great that she could make love to a camera. Because of this, her lust aroused lust in audiences, sometimes even among women. There was nothing subtle about it. She was no tease. She was prepared, and even eager, to give what she offered.
She walks like a young antelope, and when she stands up it’s like a snake uncoiling.
Jerry Wald on early MM
She comes out of the dressing room Norma Jeane. When she stepped in front of the camera, she was Marilyn.
A lady from way back . . . quiet, gentle, gracious, and the sort of girl you’d like to bring home and say, ‘Mama, this is Marilyn.’
Columnist Henry McLemore,
Marilyn played the best game with the worst hand of anybody I know.
Marilyn Monroe is not a raving beauty, and her legs are too short for the rest of her.
She was among the least ‘naturally’ sexy or beautiful women I’ve ever worked on. Ann-Margret, Jennifer Jones, Cyd Charisse, Audrey Hepburn, Rita Hayworth, without make-up-I could name dozens who are more naturally sexy and beautiful than Marilyn Monroe was.
Marilyn is a dreamy girl. She’s the kind who’s liable to show up with one red shoe and one black shoe.
That girl really has something. She looks like a new, model Lana Turner.
Producer Frank King to Sidney Skolsky, 1951
Miss Monroe is one of the greatest comedy actresses of our time. She is simply superb. Miss Mansfield I’ve never seen.
Vladimir Nabokov, when asked his opinion of America’s sex symbols
It was impossible to think of Marilyn Monroe except as Cinderella.
One of the most unappreciated people in the world.
The trouble with Marilyn was she didn’t trust her own judgment, always had someone around to depend on. Coaches, so-called friends. Even me. Allan ‘Whitey’ Snyder
Marilyn was so bright about acting. Her trouble was only that she’d get so scared she wasn’t going to be able to do it, and so tied up in knots, that then everyone thought she was dumb.
She’s scared and unsure of herself. I found myself wishing that I were a psychoanalyst and she were my patient. It might be that I couldn’t have helped her, but she would have looked lovelv on a couch.
Hollywood, Broadway, the night clubs all produce their quota of sex queens, but the public takes them or leaves them; the world is not as enslaved by them as it was by Marilyn Monroe, because none but she could suggest such a purity of sexual delight.
I asked her where she lived, and when she said at the Studio Club, I was impressed because I knew that a girl who looked like that could have the biggest house in Beverly Hills, she could have whatever she wanted because men would give it to her. Therefore, if she lived at the Studio Club it was because she had character.
Ben Lyon on his 1946 meeting with Norma Jeane Dougherty
I have great faith that her career would have continued. She was one of the greatest draws in the history of motion pictures, and today I think she would have been tops. Marilyn had a childlike quality which made men adore her. Yet women weren’t jealous. Like John Wayne and a few other giants, she had a star quality that had nothing to do with acting. . . . What women in pictures can compare with her today? Nobody.
Marilyn is a moonwalker. When she used to live in my house, I often felt like she was a somnambulist walking around.
She’d come out of our apartment in a shleppy old coat, looking like my maid, and all the people would push her aside to get my autograph. She loved it.
Marilyn Monroe had the most beautiful mouth ever. No one has ever been able to convey so much sex appeal with just one feature.
She would have been a very unfortunate woman, because she would have had to get a face lift and she’d have lost most of her beauty, I’m afraid. She would have continued to drink and would probably have not been very attractive anymore and trying to get character parts and not have been able to get them.
Earl Wilson on MM, if she had lived to grow old
Miss Marilyn Monroe calls to mind the bouquet of a fireworks display.
I had always thought that all those amusing remarks she was supposed to have made for the press had probably been manufactured and mimeographed by her press agent, but they weren’t. She was a very bright person, an instinctive type.
Photographer Elliott Erwitt
On the surface, she was still a happy girl. But those who criticized her never saw her as I did, crying like a baby because she often felt herself so inadequate.
Look at that face-she could be five years old.
I did know her, and out of that sentiment for her, I could never talk about her for publication.
Do you remember when Marilyn Monroe died? Everybody stopped work, and you could see all that day the same expressions on their faces, the same thought: ‘How can a girl with success, fame, youth, money, beauty . . . how could she kill herself?’ Nobody could understand it because those are the things that everybody wants, and they can’t believe that life wasn’t important to Marilyn Monroe, or that her life was elsewhere.
She had such magnetism that if 15 men were in a room with her, each man would be convinced he was the one she’d be waiting for after the others left.
Publicist Roy Craft
It’s difficult to say what Marilyn’s future would have been, but I believe her career would have continued, and she would have been an important actress. I never worked with her, but I think some of the people who did failed to give her the patience and consideration she needed. She had her problems. She was disturbed in many areas, and those who weren’t close friends of hers may not have realized how grave some of her personal problems were.
She’s worth all the trouble.
Joshua Logan to Laurence Olivier
You say hello to her or it’s a nice day today, and she answers with a line from the script. She forgets everything but the work.
It may sound peculiar to say so, because she is no longer with us, but we were very close. Once when we were doing that picture together, I got a call on the set: my younger daughter had had a fall. I ran home and the one person to call was Marilyn. She did an awful lot to boost things up for movies when everything was at a low state; there’ll never be anyone like her for looks, for attitude, for all of it.
She once got her life so balled up that the studio hired a full-time secretary maid for her. So Marilyn soon got the secretary as balled up as she was, and she ended up waiting on the secretary, instead of vice-versa.
She can make any move, any gesture, almost insufferably suggestive.
It’s no fun being married to an electric light.
Joe DiMaggio may not have made a good husband for Marilyn, but no one cared more for her. He was always, before the divorce, and after the divorce, her best friend.
Allan ‘Whitey’ Snyder
Marilyn wanted only herself to look like Marilyn Monroe. She wanted no one else to look anything like her and nothing or nobody to detract from her.
I never worked with Marilyn Monroe, but if she’d lived, I think she would have been all right. She would have been President of the United States.
Dietrich made sex remote, Garbo made it mysterious, Crawford made it agonizing, but Monroe makes it amusing. Whenever a man thinks of Marilyn, he smiles at his own thoughts.
She represents to man something we all want in our unfulfilled dreams. She’s the girl you’d like to double-cross your wife with. A man, he’s got to be dead not to be excited by her.
This [The Seven Year Itch] will be her last picture for anyone but 20th Century-Fox for three years and four months. She’s under contract to this studio, and she’ll fulfill it.
Darryl F. Zanuck on the formation of Marilyn Monroe Productions
Gone was the shy, tense little girl voice, the slow groping for just the right word, the hesitation in answering a question . . . she came up, in a few minutes, with sprightlier conversation than most stars can manage in hours.
Dorothy Manning on the “new” Marilyn, circa 1956
[She was] so terrified she couldn’t speak a word, just stood there mute but refusing to engage in the vacuous small talk.
Arthur Miller on early Marilyn Monroe
I don’t think I ever saw two people so dizzy with love for each other. Having known Arthur a long time as an introspective guy, it was, well, like a miracle to see him so outgoing.
Since her divorce from Arthur Miller, she’s been in her best condition for a long time. She’s happy!
Allan “Whitey” Snyder, shortly before Marilyn’s death
Marilyn Monroe’s unique charisma was the force that caused distant men to think that if only a well-intentioned, understanding person like me could have known her, she would have been all right. In death, it has caused women who before resented her frolicsome sexuality to join in the unspoken plea she leaves behind – the simple, noble wish to be taken seriously.
Is not Monroe the image par excellence of this New Woman? She is voluptuous, but she admires Dostoyevsky.
She was a difficult woman, you know. We liked her and we said the nicest things about her and she deserved them; but, she was trouble and she brought that whole baggage of emotional difficulties of her childhood with her.
Marilyn didn’t use expressions like, ‘being made love to,’ she used a shorter, stronger word.
She knows the world, but this knowledge has not lowered her great and benevolent dignity, its darkness has not dimmed her goodness.
She’s one of the few stars who don’t act as if she’s made it. She does not coast. She worked harder in Let’s Make Love than she did in Clash by Night. She’s still the same person.
She could let herself look like an old bag for two weeks. She’d smell sometimes, and never comb her hair for weeks. That’s why it would take nine hours to get her ready to re- create Marilyn Monroe.
She had one long blonde hair on her chest that she wouldn’t let me cut off. She liked to play and fondle it. It was her security blanket.
A lady from way back … quiet. gracious, and the sort of girl you’d like to bring home and say, ‘Mama, this is Marilyn.’
Columnist Henry McLemore
It can’t be, it can’t be, she couldn’t have killed herself, she had three deals going.
A Hollywood agent
This atrocious death will be a terrible lesson for those whose principal occupation consists in spying on and tormenting the film stars.
Anyone who has ever felt resentment against the good for being the good, and has given voice to it, is the murderer of Marilyn Monroe.
It had to happen. I didn’t know when or how, but it was inevitable.
She will go on eternally.
Jackie Kennedy Onassis
In one sense, then, her life is completed, because her spirit is formed and has achieved itself. No matter what unpredictable events may be in her future, they cannot change who she is and what she has become.
Maurice Zolotow, 1960
She could have made it with a little luck.
She is a beautiful child. I don’t think she’s an actress at all, not in a traditional sense. What she has – this presence, this luminosity, this flickering intelligence- could never surface on the stage. It’s so fragile and subtle, it can only be caught by the camera But anyone who thinks this girl is simply another Harlow or harlot or whatever, is mad. I hope, I really pray, that she survives long enough to free the strange lovely talent that’s wandering through her like a jailed spirit.
I sat near her. She gulped wine by the glassful. When her name was called, she had to be helped out of her chair onto the stage. She accepted the award almost in a caricature of herself.
James Bacon on Marilyn Monroe at the 1962 Golden Globe Awards
I have the same problem as Marilyn. We attract people the way honey does bees, but they’re generally the wrong kind of people. People who want something from us – if only our energy. We need a period of being alone to become ourselves.
She seemed to have a kind of unconscious glow about her physical self that was innocent, like a child. When she posed nude, it was ‘Gee, I arn kind of, you know, sort of dishy,’ like she enjoyed it without being egotistical.
She’s really got an infection. It can’t be psychological. It’s a germ.
Peter Levathes to George Cukor, after MM failed to show up for the shooting of Something’s Got to Give
She was pure of heart. She was free of guile. She never understood either the adoration or the antagonism which she awakened.
She stood for life. She radiated life. In her smile hope was always present. She glorified in life, and her death did not mar this final image. She had become a legend in her own time, and in her death, took her place among the myths of our century.
The girl was an addict of sleeping tablets and she was made so by the goddam doctors.
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Quotes from Marilyn
My arrival in school, with painted lips and darkened brows, started everybody buzzing. Why I was a siren, I hadn’t the faintest idea. I didn’t want to be kissed, and I didn’t dream of being seduced by a duke or a movie star. The truth was that with all my lipstick and mascara and precocious curves, I was as unresponsive as a fossil. But I seemed to affect people quite otherwise.
MM to Ben Hechi on the student Norma Jeane
Jim’s such a wonderful person. I want to marry him, but I don’t know anything about sex. Can we get married without having sex?
Norma Jeane to Grace Goddard on Jim Dougherty
I used to think as I looked out on the Hollywood night- there must be thousands of girls sitting alone like me, dreaming of becoming a movie star. But I’m not going to worry about them. I’m dreaming the hardest.
MM on her early aspirations
My marriage brought me neither happiness nor pain. My husband and I hardly spoke to each other. This wasn’t because we were angry. We had nothing to say.
MM on her marriage to Jim Dougherty
To me, she was just that red-haired woman.
MM on her mother
You sit alone. It’s night outside. Automobiles roll down Sunset Boulevard like an endless string of beetles. Their rubber tires make a purring high-class noise. You’re hungry, and you say, ‘It’s not good for my waistline to eat.’ There’s nothing finer than a washboard belly.
MM on her struggling years
When you’re a failure in Hollywood, that’s like starving to death outside a banquet hall, with smells of filet mignon driving you crazy .
I was never used to being happy, so that wasn’t something I ever took for granted. You see, I was brought up differently from the average American child because the average child is brought up expecting to be happy.
No one ever told me I was pretty when I was a little girl. All little girls should be told they’re pretty, even if they aren’t.
I think if other girls know how bad I was when I started they’ll be encouraged. I finally made up my mind I wanted to be an actress ~and I was not going to let my lack of confidence ruin my chances.
There were dozens of us on the set, bit players, with a gesture to make and a line or two to recite. A few were young and had nice bosoms; but I knew they were different from me. They didn’t have my illusions. My illusions didn’t have anything to do with being a fine actress. I knew how third- rate I was. I could actually feel my lack of talent, as if it were cheap clothes I was wearing inside. But, my God, how I wanted to learn, to change, to improve. I didn’t want anything else. Not men, not money, not love, but the ability to act.
I strove to look like Betty Grable, but I thought Alice Faye had more class to her looks.
“I didn’t pay much attention to the whistles and whoops, in fact, I didn’t quite hear them. I was full of a strange feeling, as if I were two people. One of them was Norma Jeane from the orphanage who belonged to nobody; the other was someone whose name I didn’t know. But I knew where she belonged; she belonged to the ocean and the sky and the whole world.”
I think cheesecake helps call attention to you. Then you can foIlow through and prove yourself.
Mv first contract with 20th Century-Fox was like my first vaccination. It didn’t take.
QUESTIO)N: If 50 percent of the experts in Hollywood said you had no talent and should give up, what would you do? MM: Look, if 100 percent told me that, all 100 percent would be wrong.
MM to a friend, circa late 1940s
I will do whatever you tell me.
MM to Natasha Lytess, upon their first meeting, 1948
I kept driving past the theatre with my name on the marquee. Was I excited. I wished they were using ‘Norma Jeane’ so that all the kids at the home and schools who never noticed me could see it.
MM on the release of Ladies of the Chorus, 1948
In Hollywood a girl’s virtue is much less important than her hairdo. You’re judged by how you look, not by what you are.
Hollywood’s a place where they’ll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss, and fifty cents for your soul. I know, because I turned down the first offer often enough and held out for the fifty cents.
I hear you’re looking for a sexy blonde to play with the Marx Brothers. Would you like to see me.~ I’m blonde and I’m sexy.
MM to Lester Cowan on the casting of Love Happy, 1949
I think cheesecake helps call attention to you. Then you can follow through and prove yourself.
MM to Bob Thomas, 1951
People ask me if I am going on making cheesecake pictures now that I’m a star. My answer is that as long as there is a boy in Korea who wants a pinup of me, I’ll go on posing for them.
MM to Hedda Hopper, 1952
Reporter: Didn’t you have anything on?
MM: Oh yes. I had the radio on.
MM, when asked about posing for her nude calendar
Wouldn’t it be nice to be like men, just getting notches in your belt, having affairs with the most atttractive men . . . and not getting emotionally involved?
MM to Shelley Winters
You would think all other women kept their bodies in vaults.
MM, after causing a scandal for wearing a low-cut dress, 1952
I always thought that movie stars were exciting and talented people, full of special personality. Meeting one of them at a party I discover usually that he (or she) is colorless and even frightened. I’ve often stood silent at a party for hours listening to my movie idols turn into dull and little people.
It isn’t necessary to use your voice in any special way (to sound sexy). If you think something sexy the voice just naturally goes along.
I’ve given pure sex appeal very little thought. If I had to think about it, I’m sure it would frighten me.
What do I wear in bed? Why, Chanel No.5, of course.
MM to Sidney Skolsky, 1952
‘It’s like salt on a steak. All you need is a little bit of it.’
MM on jealousy, 1952
If I am a star, the people made me a star. No studio, no person, but the people did.
A photographer once told me that my two best points are between my waist and my neck.
I feel wonderful. I’m incorporated!
My fan is caught in the door.
MM, The Seven Year Itch, 1955
I think you’re just elegant.
MM to Tom Ewell, The Seven Year Itch, 1955
I’ve fallen in love with Brooklyn. I’m going to buy a little house in Brooklyn and live there. I’ll go to the coast only when I have to make a picture.
MM, July 1955
I am not interested in money. I just want to be wonderful.
I want to continue my growth in every way.
I used to get the feeling, and sometimes I still get it, that I was fooling somebody-I don’t know who or what-maybe myself. I have feelings some days when there are scenes with a lot of responsiblity, and I’ll wish, gee, if only I would have been a cleaning woman.
Even though I was born there, I still can’t think of one good thing to say about it. If I close my eyes, and picture LA, all I see is one big varicose vein.
MM to Truman Capote on Los Angeles, 1955
Everybody says I can’t act. They said the same thing about Elizabeth Taylor. And they were wrong. She was great in A Place in the Sun. I’ll never get the right part, anything I really want. My looks are against me. They’re too specific.
MM to Truman Capote
I’ve always known Errol [Flynn] zigzagged. I have a masseur, he’s practically my sister, and he was Tyrone Power’s masseur, and he told me all about the thing Errol and Ty Power had going.
MM to Truman Capote
Dogs never bite me. Just humans.
They’ve said I want to direct pictures. I couldn’t direct traffic.
MM to Earl Wilson, 1955
I don’t mind this being a man’s world-as long as I can be a woman in it.
I wanna guy I can look up to . . . I just gotta feel that whoever I marry has some real regard for me, aside from all that loving stuff.
MM in Bus Stop, 1956
I like actors very much, but to marry one would be like marrying your brother. You look too much alike in the mirror.
I don’t consider myself an intellectual. And this is not one of my aims. But I admire intellectual people.
A woman can’t be alone. She needs a man. A man and a woman support and strengthen each other. She just can’t do it by herself.
A career is wonderful, but you can’t curl up with it on a cold night.
The most unsatisfactory men are those who pride themselves on their virility and regard sex as if it were some form of athletics at which you win cups. It is a woman’s spirit and mood a man has to stimulate in order to make sex interesting. The real lover is the man who can thrill you just by touching your head or smiling into your eyes or by just staring into space.
Johnny Hyde was wonderful, but he was not my Svengali. Milton Greene was not my Svengali I’ m nobody’s slave and never have been … Now they write that Lee Strasberg is my Svengali . . . and Arthur Miller isn’t my Svengali.
Why haven’t I the right to grow and expand like everybody else?
I hope you will all forgive me. It wasut my fault. I’ve been sick all through the picture. Please. please, don’t hold it against me.
MM, to the cast and crew of The Prince and the Showgirl, 1956
I’m not going back into that film until Wilder reshoots my opening. When Marilyn Monroe comes into a room, nobody’s going to be looking at Tony Curtis playing Joan Crawford. They’re going to be looking at Marilyn Monroe.”
MM, after walking off the set of Some Like It Hot, 1958
Some of those bastards in Hollywood wanted me to drop Arthur. Said it would ruin my career. They’re born cowards and want you to be like them. One reason I want to see Kennedy win is that Nixon’s associated with that whole scene.
MM to W. J. Weatherby, circa 1960
I want him to direct me again. But he’s doing the Lindbergh story next. And he won’t let me play Lindbergh.
MM, following her ‘feud’ with Billy Wilder, 1960
What am I afraid of? Do I think I can’t act? I know I can act, but I am afraid. I am afraid and I should not be and I must not be.
a notation made in MM’s notebook while making Let’s Make Love, 1960
No, I’m Mitzi Gaynor.
MM to an extra on the Set of The Misfits who asked her, ‘Are you Marilyn Monroe?’
Remember now, cheers, no tears….
MM to the cast at the completion of The Misfits shooting, 1960
As of today, I have absolutely no regrets. I think I am a mature person now who can take things in stride. I’m grateful for people in my past. They helped me get to where I am, wherever that is. But now, I’m thinking for myself and sitting in on business transactions.
The reality is very different – it’s better to be unhappy alone than unhappy with someone – so far.
Arthur [Miller] and I are finished. Arthur saw the demon in me… a lot of people like to think of me as innocent, so that’s the way I behave to them … if they saw the demon in me they would hate me… I’m more than one person, and I act differently each time…most of the time I’m not the person I’d like to be- certainly not a dumb blonde like they say I am; a sex freak with big boobs.
MM to Jack Cardiff
I’m looking forward to eventually becoming a marvelous – excuse the word marvelous – character actress. Like Marie Dressler, like Will Rogers.
I don’t know if high society is different in other cities, but in Hollywood important people can’t stand to be invited someplace that isn’t full of other important people. They don’t mind a few unfamous people being present because they make good listeners. But if a star or studio chief or any other great movie personages find themselves sitting among a lot of nobodies, they get frightened – as if somebody was trying to demote them.
An actor is supposed to be a sensitive instrument. Isaac Stern takes good care of his violin. What if everybody jumped on his violin? It seems to me it’s time they stopped knocking their assets around.
MM, upon being fired from Fox, 1962
I’ve never been in a Hollywood fight or feud. I have the most wonderful memory for forgetting things.
MM to Sidney Skolsky
I am trying to prove to myself that I am a person. Then maybe I’ll convince myself that I am an actress.
My travels have always been of the same kind. No matter where I’ve gone or why I’ve gone there it ends up that I never see anything. Becoming a movie star is living on a merry-go-round. When you travel you take the merry-go-round with you. You don’t see natives or new scenery. You see chiefly the same press agents, the same sort of interviewers, and the same picture layouts of yourself.
I always sleep with my mouth open. I know because it’s open when I wake up.
I never quite understood it – this sex symbol-I always thought symbols were those things you clash together! That’s the trouble, a sex symbol is a thing. But if I’m going to be the symbol of something, I’d rather have it sex than some other things they’ve got symbols of!
It’s nice to be included in people’s fantasies, but you also like to be accepted for your own sake.
Please believe me, it was not my doing … I so looked forward to working with you.
MM to the cast and crew of Something’s Got to Give, 1962
Can you imagine me as first lady?
MM to Bob Slatzer, 1962
How can I learn something about the most famous philosophers in a few hours? I’m going to a party tonight and I want to be able to hold my own.
MM to Dr. G. W. Campbell, circa 1962
I have never been very good at being a member of any group – more than a group of two, that is.
I never intentionally mean to hurt anyone, but you can’t be too nice to people you work with, else they will trample you to death.
MM to James Bacon
I used to say to myself, ‘What the devil have you got to be proud about, Marilyn Monroe?’ And I’d answer, ‘Everything, everything,’ and I’d walk slowly and turn my head slowly as if I were a queen.
I don’t mind being burdened with being glamorous and sexual. But what goes with it can be a burden. We are all born sexual creatures, thank God, but it’s a pity so many people despise and crush this natural gift.
Fame will go by and, so long, I’ve had you, fame. If it goes by, I’ve always known it was fickle.
I feel as though it’s all happening to someone right next to me. I’m close, I can feel it, I can hear it, but it isn’t really me.
MM on her fame, 1962