Reality can be stranger than fiction

The last untold story in the life of Marilyn Monroe. Selected excerpts from André de Dienes's memoirs

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Norma Jeane

Reality can be stranger than fiction. Soon after I got myself installed in a bungalow at the Garden of Allah in Hollywood, I phoned Emiline Snively, who had the Blue Book Model Agency at the Ambassador Hotel, and I explained to her that I was back in Hollywood again and that I needed models for photos of nudes, artistic nudes for a new project I had in mind. And Miss Snively said there was a very pretty girl in her office, waiting for her first modeling assignment, a model who just started in the profession, and perhaps she would pose for nudes. Miss Snively said she would send the young lady to see me right away and that her name was Norma Jeane Baker.

When Norma Jeane arrived at my bungalow later in the afternoon, it was as if a miracle had happened to me. Norma Jeane seemed to be like an angel. I could hardly believe it for a few moments. An earthly, sexy-looking angel! Sent expressly for me! The impact Norma Jeane had on me was tremendous. As minutes passed, I fell more and more in love with Norma Jeane; there was an immediate rapport between us. She responded to everything I said. She started to look around in my room examining all the pictures I put on the walls and began asking questions. I had the immediate feeling that she was something special, something different from most girls and models I had met before her, mainly because she was so eager to ask questions about me and the pictures I put on the walls. She wanted to know many things right away, she was interested in me! She was utterly sincere; she did not wish to speak about herself, except when I asked her my own questions. She was sincere in wanting to know who I was and what I was doing with my life, and I began to amuse her exceedingly with all sorts of stories that ran through my mind and I just kept dishing them out to her. I still remember it as clearly as if it happened just recently.

Norma Jeane wore a pale pink sweater, tight to her body, and her curly ash-blonde hair was tied around her head with pink ribbon; her rosy pinkish face and her blue eyes reminded me of a pretty Easter bunny. I told her I had bought two large rabbit dolls in a toy shop in New York, which I intended to photograph for a new magazine I was planning to start (to be financed by a wealthy literary agent), and how sorry I was not to have brought them with me to Hollywood, because I would have loved to photograph her with the rabbits for my new magazine. Norma Jeane loved the idea, and laughed heartily.

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Photo: André de Dienes