BY Advocate Contributors

September 21 2009 2:00 PM ET

The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe xlrg (cover) | ADVOCATE.COM

On this night, however, why would Marilyn, globally recognized as a
major celebrity, think that she was being made fun of? While she had
often wrongly believed in the past that the worst was being thought and
said about her, on this evening she happened to be right. They were
making fun of her.

By this time in her history, gallons of newspaper ink had been used to
describe to the world just who Marilyn Monroe was—that was nothing new.
However, in the weeks leading up to this performance at Madison Square
Garden in New York City, much of that ink was used to explain that she
was, above all, irresponsible. She had been chronically late or
completely absent for the making of her most recent fi lm—a production
from which she would ultimately be fired. The world knew about it and
didn’t care. After all, she was Marilyn Monroe. In the public’s
collective reasoning, she had carte blanche. Those who had been fans
for at least the last decade viewed her mounting unpredictability as a
necessary evil—just one of the things that made Marilyn . . . Marilyn.
However, the truth was that her increasingly troubling behavior was
much more than just a star’s idiosyncrasy, to be joked about over
cocktails. It was a sign that something was terribly wrong with her.

Onstage
that night, many renowned performers were assembled to celebrate the
birthday of President John F. Kennedy. Frank Sinatra was present, as
were Diahann Carroll, Jack Benny, Henry Fonda, Leontyne Price, and many other luminaries. Each of them took to the
stage to perform after being introduced in a dignified manner.

Marilyn, however, received a very different introduction.

“Mr. President, Marilyn Monroe,” the distinguished British actor Peter Lawford intoned numerous times throughout the evening.

However,
the “gag” of these many introductions was that when her arrival was
announced, the spotlight would swing to the side of the stage and
then—nothing. She wouldn’t appear. Everyone would laugh, of course.
After all, it had become a not-so-inside joke that Marilyn Monroe was a
woman upon whom nobody could depend.

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