Yesterday - June 1st, 2010 - would have been Marilyn Monroe's 84th birthday. It is hard to believe that it has been six years (yipes) since my book about her (The Many Lives of Marilyn Monroe) first came out.
I've been lucky enough to spend the last couple of days going through early proofs of Farrar Straus Giroux's upcoming Marilyn: Fragments. (They wouldn't appreciate my giving anything away, so don't look for any spoilers here.)
The book comes from Marilyn's notes and papers, which were left to Lee Strasberg, her friend and acting teacher, when she died in August, 1962. Her will asked him to distribute her effects among her friends; because of legal wrangling (and perhaps some other reasons), that didn't happen. His wife Paula died; he remarried a woman called Anna, whom Marilyn never met; Anna Strasberg now controls Marilyn's estate, after Lee's death in 1982, and it is through her auspices that this publication has come about.
Marilyn: Fragments is due for publication in October; I will have more to say about it then. But I will say this: many books (many books) have purported to be "in her own words" since she died. This claim has been everything from highly arguable (such as her ghost-written "autobiography," My Story, which was co-authored by at least two writers, and probably ghost-revised after her death; it was certainly ghost-edited after her death) to the outright nonsensical (everything else). This book actually is Marilyn's own words--it reproduces notebook pages, in her handwriting, and then transcribes them. That alone makes it worth reading.
It was quite something to spend her birthday reading it. Happy Birthday, Marilyn.