Reality can be stranger than fiction

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

Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

She made a strange remark, saying, "André, do not publish those photos now, wait until I die!" And I asked her, how does she know she will die before me? After all, I was 12 years older than her. And in a sad, low-toned voice, she said she thought she would die before me. But that took only moments; soon she was gay and cheerful again, looking forward to her dinner date, and she was urging me to hurry, hurry, pack everything into the car and leave!

I can't forget how sad I felt that evening while driving back to Hollywood-to be on time for her dinner date. Marilyn was no longer the lovely Norma Jeane I once knew, only a few months before! She was going out to have dinner at Romanoff in Beverly Hills, and I felt terribly, terribly put down, belittled, and left behind.

I was packing my bags that night to return to New York, when the phone rang. It was her! She said she had a miserable evening with a lousy guy-a swindler, someone who wanted her to pay for the dinner! But we reasoned that since she had exposed herself to a career in Hollywood, she ought to be strong enough to cope with everything that comes along-good or bad. But I did not inquire as to what happened. Instead, she suggested we ought to go out the following night and that I ought to photograph her during the night. In a vindictive mood, I told her, "No. I am leaving for New York," and that I wasn't interested any more in her! I did go back to New York the next day.

The Bel Air Hotel

In 1949, Marilyn had posed nude for photographer Tom Kelley, because she needed the fifty dollars he paid for it. She never told me about it, but the truth came out three years later, in 1952. Ironically, I was with her when the story appeared in the newspapers that Marilyn had posed in the nude. Here I shall reminisce about it: By late 1952, Marilyn had become an extremely successful actress. She was making one picture after another. I got a phone call from my agent in New York that Pageant magazine wanted a photo layout of the "Blonde Heat," as they called her. Roy Craft, the clever publicity man who had done a great deal to make Marilyn's fame an immense phenomenon, arranged for the sitting. Marilyn told him she and I were bosom friends and we wanted to be alone the day I would photograph her, that we didn't want any hairdressers, wardrobe ladies, or make-up men around us while we photographed. Marilyn's wish was a command-we had our privacy.
Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Photo: André de Dienes