Talk:Marilyn Monroe

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Featured article Marilyn Monroe is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
Main Page trophy This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on June 1, 2016.
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September 23, 2015 Peer review Reviewed
October 16, 2015 Good article nominee Listed
November 26, 2015 Peer review Reviewed
December 26, 2015 Featured article candidate Promoted
Did You Know A fact from this article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page in the "Did you know?" column on November 15, 2015.
The text of the entry was: Did you know ... that Marilyn Monroe was featured on the cover and on the centerfold of the first issue of Playboy?
Current status: Featured article

severely addicted?[edit]

I quote: 'To alleviate her anxiety and chronic insomnia, she began to use barbiturates, amphetamines and alcohol, which also exacerbated her problems, although she did not become severely addicted until 1956.'

Apparently, Marilyn Monroe was severely addicted to barbituates, amphetamines, and alcohol, and this was the case by 1956. Or, as it were, not 'until' 1956. I think that the reference for this is Sarah Churchwell. She is, shall we say, known for her expertise in twentieth- and twenty-first-century fiction. Last I heard, she teaches American literature and culture at the University of East Anglia. For whatever that is worth. However, this is a slippery subject. Such intellectual giants as Norman Mailer, Miller and Joyce Carol Oates are criticised for having been complicit in the commodification and mystification of an icon. Miller, having been married to the woman for four years. So I think that given that Marilyn Monroe is the subject of some 600 books, we might keep in mind that Sarah Churchwell's book is not a straightforward biography. Long story short, I think the essence of the woman is perhaps not that she was severely addicted to barbituates, amphetamines, and alcohol. Anybody can see that Marilyn Monroe was ageless, at 36. Even if somebody were to say that she was severely addicted to drugs and alcohol in the last months of her life, this would be controversial. Sort of like saying that she was 'psychotic', maybe. There is reason to be truly fascinated by Monroe’s personal and domestic life, actually. I think it might be the consensus that she may have developed an addiction to barbituates. Yet I quibble, that there is a distinction between 'an addiction', and 'severely addicted', especially if we are talking about 1956. I mean, 'Some Like it Hot' was made in 1959. And really, what is this about amphetamines? I will paste a quote, nevermind the source it's just some lousy website, to illustrate the kind of thing that tests my patience:

'On Marilyn’s bedside table was a virtual pharmacopoeia of sedatives, soporifics, tranquilizers, opiates, “speed pills,” and sleeping pills. The vial containing the latter, a barbiturate known as Nembutal, was empty. In her last weeks to months, Marilyn was also consuming, if not abusing, a great deal of other barbiturates (amytal, sodium pentothal, seconal, phenobarbital), amphetamines (methamphetamine, Dexedrine, Benzedrine and dexamyl—a combination of barbiturates and amphetamines used for depression), opiates (morphine, codeine, Percodan), the sedative Librium, and alcohol (Champagne was a particular favorite, but she also imbibed a great deal of Sherry, vermouth and vodka).'

Now okay, take Librium, for example. I can allow that actually, it is true that there is a prescription order for Marilyn Monroe signed by Dr. Hyman Engelberg, written on his stationery, for Librium, an anxiety medication, dated June 8, 1962. The prescription indicates that the medication was for anxiety. However, I was asking what is this about amphetamines? Look, don't get me wrong, the point is what is the truth. The truth may not be very nice. We can easily google pictures of Marilyn Monroe's dead body lying next to her bedside table, though, and I don't think there are any amphetamines, and I am perfectly ignorant of any evidence whatsoever that Monroe ever in her life took any amphetamines. I cannot take Sarah Churchwell's word for it. Also, I do not gather the impression that actually, Marilyn Monroe was just this side of entering the looney bin, and a heavy drug user, in 1956. There is plenty of footage from her last uncompleted movie (1962), which shows her in full possession of her acting abilities during filming, and delightful, and sharp. Note that this is not a controversial point, check it out easily. I think one might tread lightly with conveying the impression that she was Truman Capote, in and out of drug rehabilitation clinics (never), or even taking drugs recreationally at all (technically, I'm thinking again this is a 'never'). DanLanglois (talk) 09:11, 15 October 2017 (UTC)

I suggest you read the book Sarah Churchwell wrote. It's a study of the narratives about Monroe, and as such also synthesizes many of the important biographies. It's not at all controversial to state that Monroe suffered from serious addiction problems in her later years, that's the consensus amongst biographers. Remember that in the late 1950s and early 1960s there wasn't the kind of 24/7 paparazzi coverage we have today, so pretty much all footage you see of a star was strictly controlled and filtered by themselves and their studio. Therefore judging whether someone had an illness based on images / film footage is pretty silly. Not all drug users look like they're ready for "The Faces of Meth" gallery. As for the use of amphetamines, that was not at all unusual; if you use barbiturates/opiates, you will need something to give you energy/keep you awake when it's time to work. If you read about stars of this age, you'll notice that the combination of sedatives + amphetamines was pretty common. TrueHeartSusie3 (talk) 10:31, 17 October 2017 (UTC)TrueHeartSusie3

Oh, you suggest that I read..let me just take a breath. I like to think I'm a reasonable guy. There are actual biographies of Marilyn Monroe to read. Look, the article says she was 'severely addicted to barbituates, amphetamines, and alcohol, and this was the case by 1956'. This is patently ludicrous, but in the first place we're not supposed to just be making this stuff up. I might be willing to take your word for it about what is 'the consensus among the biographers', but you haven't actually given a reference for this. Indeed, it seems to me that you have phrased your point rather abstractly and also informally. What biographers? What counts as consensus? Is this the unanimous view? Is it even the majority view? Of course it is neither. I feel similarly about your point that it is silly to be 'judging whether someone had an illness'. That point is stated so abstractly and informally that I am forced to guess what illness you might mean. And again, I can stipulate your point about whether 'Not all drug users look like they're ready for "The Faces of Meth" gallery.' But let's meditate on this a bit further, while examining such a gallery. Here are 10 shocking before and after pics of celebrities ravaged by drink and drugs:

Now, by contrast, obviously, if you look at photographs of Marilyn Monroe, all of them without exception, from the last year of her life, it's not true that it appears as if her body had been ravaged by booze and drugs, taken with abandon. I mean, what, do you believe in miracles? Have you seen these pictures? I'm not asking about what some consensus among biographers might be, I'm saying look with your own eyes. But I take the consensus among biographers to be that Marilyn Monroe was known as the most beautiful woman in the world.

And then your point that 'As for the use of amphetamines, that was not at all unusual.' I don't have a strong opinion about what might or might not have been 'at all unusual', so what? If I am even willing to take your word for it, so what? Does it belong here because we share this opinion about what is not at all unusual? And so forth, about whether 'you will need something to give you energy/keep you awake etc.', and 'the combination of sedatives + amphetamines was pretty common.'

This is your point about amphetamines? But, I complained that I know of no evidence that Marilyn Monroe ever took any amphetamines. I mean, that's a bald challenge. And you reply by saying that amphetamines did in fact exist at that time, and it wasn't unusual for somebody to be taking them, and such. Well, but this is not the debate. I know that there is such a thing as amphetamines, and I know about Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland, for example. I know that Dr Max Jacobson had Kennedy hooked on amphetamine-based injections. But if Marilyn Monroe was taking amphetamines, then how do you know? Did somebody actually see her put these pills in her mouth? Where did she get them? Tijuana? At this point I anticipate that you might consider it worthwile to reply that in your best guess, she probably could have gotten them somewhere, maybe from one of her friends, who never spoke of this, and neither did she. That's fine, but we are not writing a fictional novel here, right? Arthur Miller was married to Marilyn Monroe for five years. He wrote a memoir, and life with her is treated of extensively in there. Did he mention that she took amphetamines? I might hope that you already know the answer to that question, so take it as a rhetorical question..

I'd say that what is or is not 'unusual' is something to consider, it's an interesting question, but I think it leads us afield. We might say on the Hemingway page, that he took this and that drugs, and that actually, among famous writers or such, it's not unusual. Similarly, about Edgar Allen Poe, or Aleister Crowley, or Kurt Cobain, or Philip K. Dick, or whatever, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Or Robert Downey Jr. It's not unusual. Maybe we consider Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Sigmund Freud. Or Stephen King. But is this relevant? Is the article on Marilyn Monroe the place to be saying without any evidence that she was strung out on amphetamines that I suppose she must have obtained illicitly, not that you can even give an eyewitness account for this, or a receipt of payment for this, or heck, anything from the coroner's report when she died that she had anything like this in her system. And by the way, she had no alcohol in her system. In sum, there's plenty of evidence about Marilyn Monroe's life, there are many things that can be said about her that are documented facts. That she took amphetamines is not a documented fact.DanLanglois (talk) 08:22, 19 October 2017 (UTC)

The statement is backed by Churchwell, Spoto and Banner. Go consult their works and perhaps even consult the pretty extensive bibliography further if you want to learn more about Monroe's substance abuse. TrueHeartSusie3 (talk) 12:27, 19 October 2017 (UTC)TrueHeartSusie3

Fine, let's go consult Spoto, this is what I find, quoting Spoto: 'she never took amphetamines' Page 328.

You're welcome. - Thank you!

'..she began to use barbiturates, amphetamines and alcohol, which also exacerbated her problems, although she did not become severely addicted until 1956.' -- look, this isn't true, and as falsities go, this is also denigrating and crude. Alternatively, we could be noting that Marilyn Monroe was an avid collector of books, even an avid reader of books. The library of Marilyn Monroe contained over 400 books on a variety of subjects. Extensive library of classics, including books on religion, theater, literature, art, psychology and philosophy. So if you want to say 'until 1956', then maybe say that she didn't marry Arthur Miller until 1956 and leave amphetamines out of it. One could mention that Marilyn Monroe traveled in wide circles, meeting Khrushchev and Nabokov, Dinesen and Sitwell, Bellow and Sandburg, and people who actually knew her agreed about her sincerity and goodwill. Or again, we may consider that she was one of those fortunate few who seemed to get more attractive as she got older, and by 1960 the ordinarily pretty girl of the early part of her career had blossomed into a genuinely beautiful woman.

Fun fact: Marilyn Monroe was the first to wear skinny jeans, breaking the trend of "boyfriend jeans". This had started when she wore them into the ocean then came out to rest in the sun, leaving the jeans skin tight. DanLanglois (talk) 12:56, 21 October 2017 (UTC)

You will notice that I've also cited Churchwell and Banner, both more recent and written by academics. Spoto, while for the most part reliable and useful, does use some dated information and sometimes downright questionable information (e.g. his theory about her death); his claim that she didn't do amphetamines is dated information. There's plenty in that book about barbiturates, opioids, alcohol etc, hence why he is cited in that footnote. You're fixating on one sentence and thinking that it colours the entire article, when there's plenty about for example Monroe's aspirations for her career and her intelligence. Wikipedia isn't a fan page, so this discussion is a pretty fruitless one. Out of interest though, why do you find amphetamines to be so much more unpleasant than barbiturates or opioids? Why fixate on amphetamines? For the record, amphetamines were usually prescribed by doctors during this time as well, they were for example popular as diet pills.TrueHeartSusie3 (talk) 21:41, 21 October 2017 (UTC)TrueHeartSusie3
Well, Susie ... since you seem to be a practitioner of "truth by innuendo" let me say this as a person who lived through that time and "abused" plenty of drugs (by your standards.) There were people who did ups, and there were people who did downs, and never the twain shall meet. If she was doing a lot of barbs it is very unlikely that she was also doing beans. Like Mr Langlois above, I find there is way too much of this "she was a drug abuser !" nonsense plastered over people who have been dead for fifty years. In the sixties and seventies we were all "drug abusers" by your standards.
It's your standards that are screwed up, not our lives. (talk) 08:38, 5 May 2018 (UTC)

Latin American and Mayflower roots[edit]

Is it notable her mother was born in Mexico and she is a descendant of John Alden according to "Ancestry"?

Omaha Dog Bell (talk) 06:28, 20 June 2018 (UTC)

You would firstly need to find something better than a blog as a source. Wikipedia doesn't accept blog posts as reliable sources. Secondly, Alden must have hundreds of descendants. A very good source would be needed. As for the Mexico thing, I don't think it's notable, even if true. Do you have a reason why it would be? HiLo48 (talk) 06:44, 20 June 2018 (UTC)
From what I recall, Gladys Monroe was indeed born in Mexico, while her parents briefly lived there. They moved to California when she was a baby though, so it's not really worth mentioning IMHO. She didn't have Mexican citizenship or really any connection to that country other than having been born there. TrueHeartSusie3 (talk) 09:13, 20 June 2018 (UTC)TrueHeartSusie3