FROM  THE  BOOK:  "MY STORY"  -  Marilyn  Monroe  with  Ben  Hecht.

In Marilyn's  own words.

We  still  have  Marilyn;  every  December  you  see  calendars  of  Marilyn.  You  walk  into  WalMart  and can  buy  a  large  photo  of  her  pretty  face.

But  how  many  take  the  time  to  read  about  her?

I'm  going  through  a  book  "MY  STORY"  in  her  own  words.





When you're a failure in Hollywood—that's like starving to death outside a banquet hall with the smells of filet mignon driving you crazy, I lay in bed again day after day not eating, not combing my hair. I kept remembering how I had sat in Mr. A's casting office controlling my excitement about the great luck that had finally come to me, and I felt like an idiot. There was going to be no luck in my life. The dark star I was born under was going to get darker and darker.

I cried and mumbled to myself. I'd go out and get a job as a waitress or clerk. Millions of girls were happy to work at jobs like that. Or I could work in a factory again. I wasn't afraid of any kind of work. I'd scrubbed floors and washed dishes ever since I could remember.

But there was something wouldn't let me go back to the world of Norma Jean. It wasn't ambition or a wish to be rich and famous. I didn't feel any pent up talent in me. I didn't even feel that I had looks or any sort of attractiveness. But there was a thing in me like a craziness that wouldn't let up. It kept speaking to me, not in words but in colors—scarlet and gold and shining white, greens and blues. The were the colors I used to dream about in my childhood when I had tried to hide from the dull, unloving world in which the orphanage slave, Norma Jean, existed.

I was still flying from that world, and it was still around me.

It was while I lay on this ocean bottom, figuring never to see day light again, that I fell in love for the first time. I'd not only never been in love, but I hadn't ever dreamed of it. It was something that existed for other people—people who had families and homes.

But when I lay on this ocean bottom it hit me, hoisted me into the air, and stood me on my feet looking at the world as if I'd just been born.......


One day I was sitting in an office of the William Morris Agency. A very short man was behind a large desk. He was talking to me in a quiet voice and looking at me with kind eyes. He was John Hyde, one of the most important talent scouts in Hollywood. Everyone called him Johnny Hyde because of the friendly look he had for everyone.

"You're going to be a great movie star," Johnny Hyde said to me. "I know. Many years ago I discovered a girl like you and brought her to Metro—Lana Turner. You're better. You'll go farther. You've got more."

"Then why can't I get a job?" I asked. "Just to make enough money to eat on."

"It's hard for a star to get an eating job," said Johnny Hyde. "A star is only good as a star. You don't fit into anything less."

I laughed for the first time in months. Johnny Hyde didn't laugh with me. He kept looking at me, and looking.

"Yes," he said, "it's there. I can feel it. I see a hundred actresses a week. They haven't got what you have. Do you know what I'm talking about?"

"Yes," I said. "I used to feel it myself once. When I was a kid, when I first started. But I haven't felt it for some time now. I've been too busy having troubles."

"Love trouble?" he said.

I said, "Yes."

"Come around tomorrow, and we'll talk again," said Johnny Hyde.

I had made another friend, a woman who was the head of M.G.M. talent scout department. Her name was Lucille Ryman.

Miss Ryman had not only been kind to me and loaned me money and things to wear, but she had also assured me I was going to be a star.

One day Miss Ryman called me up.

"There's a part for you in John Huston's picture The Asphalt Jungle that's perfect for you," she said. "It's not a big part, but you'll be bound to make a big hit in it. Tell your agent to get in touch with Mr. Huston. I've already discussed you with him."

Johnny Hyde brought me to Mr. Huston's office. Arthur Hornblow, the producer of the picture, was also present.

Mr. Huston was an exciting looking man. He was tall, long-faced, and his hair was mussed. He interrupted everybody with outbursts of laughter as if he were drunk. But he wasn't drunk. He was just happy for some mysterious reason, and he was also a genius—the first I had ever met.

I had met Mr. Zanuck, of course, who was also widely regarded as a genius. But he was a different type of genius—the genius of being in a position to give orders to everybody in a studio. In Hollywood this type of genius is the most highly esteemed and makes the most money But, in a way it is not genius at all. It's more having the best job—and the best people working for you.

Mr. Huston gave me a copy of the script. Unlike Mr. Zanuck, he did not believe that actresses shouldn't be allowed to know what they were going to act in. I took it home and my friend Natasha Lytess agreed to coach me.

"Do you think you can do it?" Johnny Hyde asked me. "You have to break up in it and cry and sob."

"I thought you thought I was a star," I said to him, "and I could do anything."

"You can," he said, "but I can't help worrying."

At first I felt that Johnny had lost faith in me. Then I realized he was just being "too close" to me and that he was worrying with my nerves and fears.

I studied the part for several days and then returned to Mr. Huston's office to read for him. Several other men were present, including Mr. Hornblow who was the only bald-headed man I had ever seen who looked more elegant than men with hair. In fact he seemed more like some cultured foreign diplomat than a mere movie producer.

They were all friendly and made jokes, but I couldn't smile. I felt, also, that I would never be able to recite a line. A pulse was pounding in my stomach. I couldn't have been more frightened if I were about to step in front of a locomotive to get run over.

"Well," said Mr. Huston, "do you like the part?"

I nodded. My mouth was too dry to try talking.

"Do you think you can do it?"

I nodded again.

I felt sick. I had told myself a million times that I was an actress. I had practiced acting for years. Here, finally was my first chance at a real acting part with a great director to direct me. And all I could do is stand with quivering knees and a quivering stomach and nod my head like a wooden toy.  Luckily the men fell to making more jokes and seemed to forget about me. They laughed and kidded as if nothing important was involved. But I could feel that behind his burst of laughter Mr. Huston was watching me and waiting for me.

I felt desperate. What was the use of reading in a shaking voice like a terrified amateur? Mr. Huston caught my eye and grinned.

"We're waiting, Miss Monroe," he said.

"I don't think I'm going to be any good," I answered.

Everybody stopped talking and looked at me.

"Would you mind if I read the part lying on the floor?" I blurted out.

"Why not at all," Mr. Huston replied gallantly "Bill here, will cue you."

I stretched myself out on the floor and Bill crouched down beside me. I felt much better. I had rehearsed the part lying on a couch, as the directions indicated. There wasn't any couch in the office. Lying on the floor was almost the same thing, however.

I went through the part, with the crouching Bill reading Louis Calhern's lines. When I finished I said, "Oh, let me do it again."

"If you want to," said Mr. Huston, "but there's no need."

I did it again.

When I stood up Mr. Huston said, "You were in after the first reading. Go fix yourself up with the wardrobe department."

I knew this part wouldn't be cut out of the picture because it was vital to the plot. I was the reason one of the stars, Louis Calhern, committed suicide. My characterization was Mae West, Theda Bara, and Bo Peep—in tight silk lounging pajamas.


In a movie you act in little bits and pieces. You say two lines, and they "cut." They relight, set up the camera in another place—and you act two more lines. You walk five feet, and they say "cut." The minute you get going good in your characterization, they cut.

But it doesn't matter. There's no audience watching you. There's nobody to act for except yourself. It's like the games you play when you're a child and pretend to be somebody else. Usually it's even almost the same sort of storyyou used to make up as a child—about meeting somebody who fell in love with you because, despite everything they'd heard against you, you were a good girl with a heart of gold. I've wondered sometimes when I've been in a picture if the people making it hadn't had their children ghostwrite it for them, and I've thought, wouldn't it be wonderful if I accidentally opened a door and there they were—the children who really make up the movies—a room full of eight and nine-year-old kids. Then I could go to the studio head and say 'I'd like to play in something a little better than the script you've given me. Something a little more human and true to life.' And when he answered me that the script was made up by the finest brains in the country and I was a fool to criticize it, I'd tell him I knew his secret—the room full of babies who were creating all the movies. And he'd turn pale and give in, and I'd be given a script written by some adult and become a real actress.  I didn't have this daydream during Asphalt Jungle because it was an adult script. There was also an audience watching me act—an audience of one, the director. A director like Mr. Huston makes your work exciting. Some directors seem more interested in photographing the scenery than the actors. They keep moving the camera around saying, "Here's a wonderful shot." Or, "This is a superb set-up. We'll be able to get the fireplace and the Oriental mask in the frame." Or they say "That'll cut beautifully; it'll give us a fast tempo."

You feel they're more interested in their directing than they are in your acting. They want the Front Office to praise them when the rushes are shown. Mr. Huston wasn't like that. He was interested in the acting I did. He not only watched it, he was part of it. And even though my part was a minor one, I felt as if I were the most important performer in the picture when I was before the camera. This was because everything I did was important to the director, just as important as everything the stars of the picture did.

Johnny Hyde was as excited as I was during the shooting. He kept telling me, "This is it, honey You're in. Everybody is crazy about your work."

When the picture was previewed, all the studio heads went to see it. It was a fine picture. I was thrilled by it. The biggest thrill, though, was myself. The audience whistled at me. They made "wolf noises." They laughed happily when I spoke. They liked me very much.

It's a nice sensation to please an audience. I sat in the theater with Johnny Hyde. He held my hand. We didn't say anything on the way home. He sat in my room beaming at me. It was as if he had made good on the screen, not me. It was not only because I was his client and his "discovery" His heart was happy for me. I could feel his unselfishness and his deep kindness. No man had ever looked on me with such kindness. He not only knew me, he knew Norma Jean, too. He knew all the pain and all the desperate things in me. When he put his arms around me and said he loved me, I knew it was true. Nobody had ever loved me like that. I wished with all my heart that I could love him back.

I told him about my love affair that had just ended and about all the pain I had felt. The affair was over in every way but one. It made it hard to love again. Johnny was even kind about this. He didn't scream and carry on. He understood. He didn't blame or criticize. Life was full of mix-ups and wrong starts, he said. He would wait for my heart to get strong again and wait for me to love him, if I could.

Kindness is the strangest thing to find in a lover—or in anybody. Johnny's kindness made him seem the most wonderful human being I'd ever met.

"The first thing to do," he said to me the next day "is get you a contract with Metro."

"Do you think you can?" I asked.

"They've got a new star on their hands," said Johnny "and they know it. Everybody is raving about your work. Most of all, you saw and heard that audience. They bought you as I've never seen any small part player bought in a picture before."

A week later Johnny said to me, "I don't want you to feel depressed, honey "We've had a temporary setback."

"Metro doesn't want me," I said.

"You guessed it," Johnny smiled at me. "It's fantastic. I've been talking to Dore Schary all week. He likes your work. He thinks you've done a wonderful job, in fact. But he said you're not star material. He says you're not photogenic, that you haven't got the sort of looks that make a movie star."

"Maybe he's right," I said. "Mr. Zanuck said the same thing when 20th dropped me."

"He's wrong," said Johnny 'And so was Zanuck. I have to laugh when I think how wrong they are and how they'll both eat their words someday—and someday soon."

Johnny laughed, but I didn't. It was frightening—to be up so high in your hopes and then take another tumble back to no work, no prospects, no money and nowhere. But I didn't quite take the full tumble this time. I wasn't alone. I had Johnny with me. I wasn't merely Johnny's client, or even his sweetie. I was a Cause he had. That's how my friend swarmed all over the studios.

My heart ached with gratitude, and I would have cut my head off for him.. But the love he hoped for wasn't in me. You might as well try to make yourself fly as to make yourself love. But I felt everything else toward Johnny Hyde, and I was always happy to be with him. It was like being with a whole family and belonging to a full set of relatives.

It's hard to hope with somebody else's heart and be happy with somebody else's daydreams. But Johnny made me happy and kept me believing in myself. I didn't run around the studios job-hunting anymore. Johnny did that. I stayed home and took dramatic lessons and read books.

One of them excited me more than any other I had read. It was The Autobiography of Lincoln Steffens. It was the first book I'd read that seemed to tell the truth about people and life. It was bitter but strong. It didn't just echo the half lies I'd always heard—about how people loved each other and how justice always triumphed and how the important people of the nation always did the right thing for their country

Lincoln Steffens knew all about poor people and about injustice. He knew about the lies people used to get ahead, and how smug rich people sometimes were. It was almost as if he'd lived the hard way I'd lived. I loved his book. Reading it I forgot all about not having a job and not being "photogenic."

But Johnny didn't forget.


"We've landed a good one," he reported one evening. "I didn't want to talk about it till I was sure. I'm sure now. It's the new Joseph Mankiewicz picture called All About Eve. It's not a big part but it will establish you at 20th." 

"But they don't like me there," I said.

"They will," said Johnny

Mr. Mankiewicz was a different sort of director than Mr. Huston. He wasn't as exciting, and he was more talkative. But he was intelligent and sensitive. I felt happy on the set, and, with Johnny Hyde's help, I was able to daydream again.

The studio was always cooking up little publicity stories for the different people under its roof. I was eager for publicity but there was one kind I refused to accept. This was the publicity you got as a result of being seen in a cafe at night with a fellow actor. The columnists would then hint that you and the young actor were setting out on a romance.

I didn't like going to fancy cafes and sitting around with some ambitious profile. I didn't like people thinking of me as being romantic about somebody I didn't know. And I knew Johnny wouldn't like it. So I stayed out of the cafes and the movie columns as a romance dizzy starlet.

The only trouble I had during the making of Eve came from Zsa Zsa Gabor (again) and Lincoln Steffens. They were both mild troubles but they confused me. The Lincoln Steffens trouble began when Mr. Mankiewicz asked me one day what was the book I was reading on the set. I told him it was the Steffens autobiography and I started raving about it. Mr. Mankiewicz took me aside and gave me a quiet lecture.

"I wouldn't go around raving about Lincoln Steffens," he said. "It's certain to get you into trouble. People will begin to talk of you as a radical."

"A radical what?" I asked.

"A political radical," Mr. Mankiewicz said. "Don't tell me you haven't heard of Communists."

"Not much," I said.

"Don't you read the papers?" 

"I'lI skip the parts I don't like," I said.

"Well, lay off boosting Mr. Steffens, or you'll get into bad trouble," said Mr. Mankiewicz.

I thought this was a very personal attitude on Mr. Mankiewicz's part and, that genius though he was, of a sort, he was badly frightened by the Front Office or something. I couldn't imagine anybody picking on me because I admired Lincoln Steffens. The only other political figure I'd ever admired was Abraham Lincoln. I used to read everything I could find about him. He was the only famous American who seemed most like me, at least in his childhood.

A few days later the publicity department asked me to write out a list of the ten greatest men in the world. I wrote the name Lincoln Steffens down first and the publicity man shook his head.

"We'll have to omit that one," he said. "We don't want anybody investigating our Marilyn."

I saw then that it wasn't just a personal thing with Mr. Mankiewicz but that maybe everybody in Hollywood was just as scared of being associated with Lincoln Steffens. So I didn't say anything more about him, to anybody not even to Johnny. I didn't want to get him in trouble. But I continued to read the second volume secretly and kept both volumes hidden under my bed. Hiding Lincoln Steffens under my bed was the first underhanded thing I'd ever done—since my meeting with little George in the tall grass.

The third and last act, I hope, of my one-sided Gab or feud took place during Eve. I was sitting in the studio commissary having lunch with Mr. George Sanders, who was the hero of the picture. We had sat down at the same table more or less by accident, having entered the commissary together, also by accident. The whole thing was an accident. Mr. Sanders was just beginning to eat his chicken salad when the cashier's assistant came to the table and told him he was wanted on the telephone. About five minutes later Mr. Sanders returned to our table, called for the waitress, and paid his check.

"If you'll pardon me, I must go now," he said to me.

"But you haven't had your lunch yet," I said.

"I'm not hungry" said Mr. Sanders.

"You said you were terribly hungry when you sat down," I said, "and would have to be careful not to overeat. Why don't you just have a bite so you'll have some strength for your big scene this afternoon."

Mr. Sanders looked so pale that I was really worried.

"Unless you're sick," I said.

"I'm in perfect health," said Mr. Sanders, "and I must leave now."

"I'll drive you over to the stage," I said. "I came in my car, and I noticed you walked."

"Oh no, thank you very much," said Mr. Sanders. "I don't want to bother you."

"It's no bother at all," I said. "I've finished my lunch. It's a shame for you to walk all that distance on an empty stomach."

I stood up and started to leave the commissary with Mr. Sanders, but he pulled briskly away from me and I couldn't have kept up with him unless I broke into a trot. So I walked out slowly alone wondering what I had done to make Mr. Sanders rush away from my company

On the set ten minutes later, Mr. Sanders' stand-in, who was almost as charming and polite as the star himself, came to me and said, "Mr. Sanders has asked me to request of you that hereafter when you say good morning or good-bye to him, you will make those salutations from afar."

I turned red at being insulted like this but I suddenly realized what had happened. Mr. Sanders' wife, Zsa Zsa Gabor, obviously had a spy on the set, and this spy had flashed the news to her that he was sitting at a table with me, and Miss Gabor had telephoned him immediately and given him a full list of instructions. I laughed when I realized this, and I thought about it for some time. I could imagine loving a man with my whole heart and soul and wanting to be with him every minute. But I couldn't imagine being so jealous of him that I would have spies planted everywhere to watch him. But maybe I was too young to understand about such things.


Johnny Hyde's kindness changed the outside world for me, but it didn't touch my inner world. I tried hard to love him. He was not only kind, but loyal and wise and devoted.

He took me everywhere. People admired him and accepted me as his fiancee. But I wasn't that. Johnny asked me to marry him. It wouldn't be a long marriage, he said, because he had a heart condition. I never could say yes.

"Tell me again why you won't marry me," he would smile at me.

"Because it wouldn't be fair," I'd answer him. "I don't love you, Johnny. That means if I married you I might meet some other man and fall in love with him. I don't want that ever to happen. If I marry a man I want to feel I'll always be faithful to him—and never love anyone else."

Johnny was hurt by what I said, but his love wasn't because he knew I was honest. He knew he could trust me. He was never jealous because of anything I had done. It was always because of what I might do. Most men have been jealous for the same reason. I've liked their jealousy. Often it was the only sincere thing about their love. Most men judge your importance in their lives by how much you can hurt them, not by how happy you can make them. But there was one kind of jealousy I never liked. It was the jealousy that kept a man asking questions about other men, and never letting up, and wanting to know more and more details. I felt then that my jealous friend was more interested in those men than in me, and that he was hiding a homosexuality in his pretended jealousy pains.

I did all I could to lessen Johnny Hyde's fears. I never went out with other men. I was as faithful to him as he was kind to me.

Johnny Hyde gave me more than his kindness and love. He was the first man I had ever known who understood me. Most men (and women) thought I was scheming and two-faced. No matter how truthfully I spoke to them or how honestly I behaved, they always believed I was trying to fool them.

When I talk I have a habit of not finishing sentences, and this gives the impression I'm telling lies. I'm not. I'm just not finishing sentences. Johnny knew that I didn't tell lies and that I wasn't planning to fool him.

The truth is I've never fooled anyone. I've let men sometimes fool themselves. Men sometimes didn't bother to find out who and what I was. Instead they would invent a character for me. I wouldn't argue with them. They were obviously loving somebody I wasn't. When they found this out, they would blame me for disillusioning them—and fooling them.

I have even tried to be straightforward with women. This is more difficult than being straightforward with men. Men are often pleased when you tell them the truth about how you feel. But very few women want to hear any truth—if it's going to be in anyway annoying. As far as I can make out, women's friendships with each other are based on a gush of lies and pretty speeches that mean nothing. You'd think they were all wolves trying to seduce each other the way they flatter and flirt when they're together.

I found a few exceptions. There was one woman who helped me a great deal in my early Hollywood days—when I used to dream of getting enough money to own more than one brassiere. She gave me money and let me live in her home and wear her gowns and furs. She did this because she sincerely liked me and because she believed I had talent and would become a star some day. I'll call her Delia and so be able to write about her without embarrassing her.

Delia was married to an important movie actor. He was not only a star but a man. This is unusual not because men movie actors are inclined to be pansies, but because acting is a feminine art. When a man has to paint his face and pose and strut and pretend emotions, and exhibit himself for applause, he certainly isn't doing what is normally masculine. He's "acting" just as women do in life. And he acquires a sort of womanish nature. He competes with women, even when he loves one of them.

Delia's husband brought me to his home one day, I had caddied for him in a charity golf tournament.

"Here's a hungry little kitten," he said to his wife. "Take care of her. She's going places but she needs a little help."

 The person I wanted to help most in my life—Johnny Hyde—remained someone for whom I could do almost nothing. He needed something I didn't have—love. And love is something you can't invent, no matter how much you want to. He would say to me, "What kind of a man do you think you will fall in love with someday?" And I'd answer I didn't know. I would beg him not to think of any tomorrow but enjoy the life we were sharing together. One evening in his home he started up the stairs to get me a book. I saw him stop on the landing and lean against the balustrade. I had seen my Aunt Ann do that a few months before she died of her heart attack. I ran up to Johnny and put my arms around him and said, "Oh, Johnny I'm sorry I'm sorry you feel bad."

"I'll be all right," he said.

A week later Johnny Hyde began asking me again to marry him. He had been to a doctor, and the doctor had told him he didn't have long to live.

"I'm rich," he said to me. "I have almost a million dollars. If you marry me you'll inherit it when I die." I had dreamed of money and longed for it. But the million dollars that Johnny Hyde now offered me meant nothing.

"I'll not leave you," I told him. "I'll never betray you. But I can't marry you, Johnny because you're going to get well. And sometime later I might fall in love."

He smiled at me.

"I won't get well," he said. "And I want you to have my money when I'm gone."

But I couldn't say yes. He was right. He didn't get well. A month later he went to the hospital. In the hospital he kept begging me to marry him, not for his sake anymore, but for mine. He wanted to think of me as never having any more hunger or poverty in my life.

But I still couldn't marry him. Joe Schenck argued with me to do it.

"What have you got to lose?" he asked.

"Myself," I said. "I'm only going to marry for one reason—love."

He asked me, "Which would you rather marry—a poor boy you loved or a rich man you liked?"

"A poor boy I loved," I said.

"I'm disappointed in you," Mr. Schenck said. "I thought you were a smart girl." But Mr. Schenck seemed to like me more after our talk.

Johnny Hyde died. His family wouldn't let me sit among them at the funeral. I sat in the back of the church among Johnny's acquaintances. When I passed by his coffin I felt such a sadness for Johnny Hyde that I forgot myself. I threw myself on the coffin and sobbed. I wished I was dead with him.

My great friend was buried. I was without his importance to fight for me and without his love to guide me. I cried for nights at a time. I never regretted the million dollars I had turned down. But I never stopped regretting Johnny Hyde— the kindest man in the world.