The Husbands of Marilyn Monroe: Dispelling the Myths

One of the most intriguing aspects of Marilyn Monroe’s life is her relationships with various husbands. All three men met Marilyn at different stages of her life and career. Let’s take a closer look at her marriages and debunk some of the common misconceptions and confirm the truths surrounding their unions.


“Norma Jeane Was Happiest with Jimmy”

Contrary to popular belief, Marilyn Monroe later admitted that her “last two” marriages (referring to Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller) were her happiest. She even expressed her dissatisfaction with her relationship with Jimmy Dougherty.

“Norma Jeane Wanted a Baby”

There have been claims by biographers and Jimmy himself that Norma Jeane wanted to have a baby to keep him from leaving for the merchant marines. However, considering her young age at the time, it is unlikely she would have willingly taken on such a responsibility. Whether she intended to have a child remains a mystery, and speculation should be approached with caution.

“Jimmy Was the Only One to Treat Her Right”

While some argue that Norma Jeane would have been better off with Jimmy compared to her later husbands, Marilyn herself stated that she was unhappy in her marriage to him. In conversations with friends, she revealed, “All I wanted was to find out who I was. Jim thought he knew, and that I should have been satisfied. But I wasn’t. That marriage was over long before the war ended.” Additionally, her personal notes and biographies by authors such as Maurice Zolotow indicate instances of infidelity and physical altercations in their relationship.

“Jimmy Wanted Her to Quit Modelling”

It is true that Jimmy expressed his dissatisfaction with Marilyn’s modelling career. In a letter to her, he wrote, “All this business of modeling is fine, but when I get out of the service, we’re going to have a family, and you’re going to settle down. You can only have one career, and a woman can’t be two places at once.” Although this perspective was common in the 1940s, Marilyn’s desire to pursue her career led her to file for divorce.

“Their Sex Life Was Satisfying”

Jimmy claimed that he and Norma Jeane had a fulfilling sex life, considering himself a fortunate man. However, Marilyn’s own words tell a different story. She admitted, “I wasn’t very well informed about sex. Let’s just say that some things seemed more natural to me than others. I just wanted to please him, and at first, I found it all a little strange. I didn’t know if I was doing it right.” It is clear that Marilyn had her own uncertainties and challenges in their intimate relationship.

“Norma Jeane Was Faithful to Jimmy”

For many years, it was widely believed that Andre De Dienes fabricated his affair with Norma Jeane. Marilyn herself had stated that she remained faithful to Jimmy. However, evidence supporting De Dienes’ claim emerged in 2019 during an auction. Letters and telegrams with expressions of love and longing showcased a relationship that extended beyond the professional realm.

“My Dearest W.W. I’m so much in love with / you, Andre my darling…Don’t worry W.W. I’m being / a good girl. I wouldn’t for / the world be insincere toward / you… / all I / think about is Andre, Andre, / Andre. When will he ever get / here”

Norma Jeane & Jimmy

Norma Jeane and Jimmy married initially out of necessity to save her from returning to the orphanage, but they clearly felt a deep care for one another and made efforts to make things work. Being so young and inexperienced, filled with aspirations, must have been a challenging experience for Norma Jeane. However, she bravely made the decision to leave her husband to pursue a career.


“Marilyn Was Seeing Other Men While with Joe”

It is often claimed that Marilyn Monroe was involved with other men while she was married to Joe DiMaggio. However, it is essential to approach these claims with scepticism. Photographer Sam Shaw once remarked, “If Marilyn slept with every guy that claims he was with her, she would have never had time to make any movies.” One such claim comes from book critic Robert Slatzer, who stated that he and Marilyn eloped and got married in 1952 while she was still dating Joe DiMaggio. However, there is no concrete evidence to support Slatzer’s assertions, and his credibility is questionable. The only verifiable encounters he had with Marilyn were during the filming of Niagara in 1952. Slatzer later became known for making sensationalised claims about his relationship with Marilyn, and many of his statements have been debunked. It is important to exercise caution when considering the validity of his claims. Similarly, claims made by unreliable biographers and acquaintances of Marilyn, such as Milton Greene and William Travilla, lack solid evidence and should be treated as unlikely until proven otherwise.

“Joe Wouldn’t Let Marilyn Out of His Sight”

While it is true that Joe DiMaggio spent a significant amount of time with Marilyn as her partner and husband, it is important to recognise that Marilyn had a life beyond their relationship.

Joe often accompanied Marilyn to dinners and parties but would leave her at the door to attend to his own pursuits. Marilyn had her own schedule and commitments, which sometimes prevented them from spending as much time together as they would have liked. Marilyn herself explained that their busy schedules often made it difficult for them to coordinate their activities. For example, when asked why Joe wasn’t with her during the filming of The Seven Year Itch, Marilyn said, “We just can’t seem to fit the schedules together.” While it is true that Joe had a preference for privacy, their inability to spend every moment together was primarily due to their conflicting commitments, rather than Joe’s possessiveness or introversion.

“Joe Didn’t Support Her Achievements”

Contrary to the claim that Joe DiMaggio didn’t support Marilyn’s accomplishments, he played a significant role in her career. Joe recognised the mistreatment Marilyn faced from the studio and helped her negotiate better terms for her contracts. He advised her on financial matters and encouraged her to hire a business manager to ensure her professional and personal life was well organised. While Joe may have preferred to stay out of the spotlight himself, it does not indicate a lack of support for Marilyn. In fact, he made efforts to accommodate her career and provide guidance whenever possible. Marilyn herself acknowledged Joe’s reservations about attending events and premieres, stating, “He hates premieres and parties. So do I. But it’s my business to go. It makes no difference that we’re married. Joe has always been like this. I knew what he was like before we were married.” It is essential to understand Joe’s preferences and recognize that Marilyn accepted them as part of their relationship.

“Their Marriage Was a Publicity Stunt”

Claims that Joe and Marilyn’s marriage was a publicity stunt are unfounded. Marilyn Monroe herself expressed that their decision to marry was driven by a desire to establish a committed relationship rather than continue as long-distance lovers. She acknowledged the challenges they faced due to their respective careers and believed marriage would provide them with stability and the opportunity to be together without scandal. The notion that their marriage was merely a publicity stunt overlooks their genuine intentions and the complexities of their relationship.

“Joe Was Jealous of Marilyn’s Fame”

Joe DiMaggio, being a renowned figure in baseball history, was famous in his own right. Contrary to the claim that he was jealous of Marilyn’s fame, Joe’s own words and actions demonstrate otherwise. He expressed his preference for a private life away from the spotlight and appreciated the normalcy he found with Marilyn. In an interview, Joe stated, “Like any other guy with a job, I liked a private life when the day’s work was done. This was seldom possible. Since I’ve been married to Marilyn, I’ve led a normal, quiet life. Of course, I’m out of baseball now, and that makes a difference.” Joe’s desire for privacy should not be misconstrued as jealousy or resentment toward Marilyn’s success. Instead, it was a personal preference that he maintained throughout their relationship and his own life.

“Joe Was Physically Abusive to Marilyn”

Accusations of physical abuse by Joe DiMaggio towards Marilyn Monroe lack solid evidence and primarily stem from questionable sources. While it is acknowledged that domestic violence was, unfortunately, more prevalent during that era, particularly within marriages, no reliable sources, including Joe, Marilyn or Arthur Miller (her third husband), have confirmed such claims. The few statements suggesting physical abuse come from unnamed individuals or sources of questionable credibility. It is crucial to approach these allegations with caution and consider the lack of concrete proof.

Allan “Whitey” Snyder stated to Anthony Summers, “he beat her up a bit” but whether this was witnessed or spoken about between Marilyn and Whitey cannot be certain. In addition, Whitey had made questionable claims about other relationships Marilyn had including with Robert Slatzer who has been confirmed by researchers as being a serial fabricator.

An unnamed publicist claimed, “Joe wasn’t any great hero in Marilyn’s life. He was vicious. He couldn’t have treated her worse. He beat the hell out of her and she was terrified. He continued bothering her months after their divorce. It seems nice and considerate not to talk to anybody because of his precious memories, but he was rotten to her. I’m not sure how they got back as friends near the end… I know their friendship was blown out of all proportion by the newspapers.”

Another unnamed friend of Joe’s had supposedly said, “He was smacking her around, yes.”

Other rumours have circulated such as a broken thumb Marilyn had in 1954 before their time in Asia. Marilyn claimed, “I just bumped it.” There have been many origins to the broken thumb but none can be verified.

She was also seen with a large bruise on her right arm whilst visiting Marlon Brando on the set of Desiree whilst she was filming There’s No Business Like Show Business.

According to Bunny Gardel (Fox make-up artist), Marilyn would bruise easily during this time. But Bunny had not worked with Marilyn during her relationship with Joe DiMaggio, so it is unlikely how she would have known this for certain. Marilyn had said to reporters that she bit herself in her sleep. Marilyn also had an iron deficiency which can lead to bruising.

It should be pointed out that a bruise doesn’t equal abuse. At the same time just because someone has said how they achieved bruises or injuries, doesn’t mean they’re telling the truth. However, Joe shouldn’t be blamed for every bruise seen on Marilyn. For example, the images above show bruising but the images are taken whilst Marilyn was married to Arthur.

Did Marilyn leave Joe because of the abuse? When asked by Maurice Zolotow the real reason why she divorced Joe, she said, “For the reasons I gave in court. I know a lot of women, when they’re getting a divorce they put out reasons which are not the true reasons. But I said the truth. He didn’t talk to me. He was cold. He was indifferent to me as a human being and an artist. He didn’t want me to have friends of my own. He didn’t want me to do my work. He really watched television instead of talking to me. So what I said in my testimony was really so.”

Moreover, it is worth noting that Marilyn had previously been open about her experiences with abuse from her childhood but never mentioned any abuse from Joe later in her life. The subject remains sensitive and should be handled with care.

“Joe Physically Abused Her After She Filmed The Seven Year Itch Subway Grate Scene”

Claims of physical abuse after Marilyn filmed the famous subway grate scene in The Seven Year Itch are based on anecdotal accounts that lack solid substantiation. While it is known that Joe was unhappy with the provocative nature of the scene, the extent of any argument or physical altercation that might have occurred afterwards remains uncertain. Some accounts suggest witnesses overheard shouting coming from Marilyn and Joe’s hotel room that night, but the specifics and the presence of physical abuse are difficult to confirm.

One of the earliest mentions of a fight that night comes via Norman Mailer in 1973, stating that hotel guests in nearby rooms heard “shouting, scuffling, and weeping before the dawn”. From that point on it is hard to tell whether people witnessed much of this abuse or they were getting their information from Mailer’s book (which he admitted he mostly got from speculation). People in the hotel did witness shouting coming from Marilyn and Joe’s room. But was it a violent argument?

Amy Greene reportedly said to Anthony Summers in 1983, “her back was black and blue – I couldn’t believe it.” However, on camera in the documentary Love, Marilyn, Amy questions where these claims came from. She doesn’t deny his anger on set but goes on to state that Joe is “one of my Gods” and that she would never “say anything bad about Joe DiMaggio.” Safe to say IF Amy really did make this statement, she retracted this claim.

Later that day before her flight to LA, on 15 September, after the scene was filmed and the supposed attack occurred, Marilyn was photographed by Philippe Halsman (this was personally confirmed with the official Halsman Instagram account).

No comments were made about her demeanour and Marilyn seemed in good spirits before she and Joe left New York that same day. That’s not to say the marriage wasn’t in trouble… it definitely was. Joe by no means was a good husband to Marilyn.

Gladys Rasmussen, Marilyn’s hairstylist for the film also claimed to Summers in 1983. “They had a suite in a real old, beautiful hotel. And he beat her up a little bit. Marilyn said that she screamed and yelled for us. But we couldn’t hear her through those thick walls … It was more on her shoulders. But with a little makeup, she went ahead and worked.”

However, others have said that they could hear them shouting through the walls contradicting this tale. Not to mention Marilyn and Joe flew home on 16 September so Gladys wouldn’t have seen any bruising the next day as she wasn’t working.

A similar quote from Gladys and Whitey is combined in Spoto’s biography with Gladys claiming, “he beat her up a bit. There were bruises on her shoulders but we covered them with make-up.”

Natasha Lytess who despised Joe and had an odd obsession with Marilyn later made claims of abuse too but Natasha also implied Marilyn was a lesbian and they had a relationship so her testimony cannot be confirmed.

Another source often used to back up this story is hairstylist Sydney Guilaroff. Apparently, Marilyn had said, “Joe beat me up twice… he slapped me around the hotel room.” Sydney Guilaroff is not considered by Marilyn researchers as a reliable source so his testimony on this could be questionable.

It should be noted Joe went to therapy after the divorce and credited Marilyn for him taking this step at a time when therapy was considered not a very masculine task to undertake. He wrote a list of things he wanted to do in order to improve his relationship with Marilyn in 1955. None of these items mentions violence.

He also attended the premiere of The Seven Year Itch with Marilyn in June 1955 something he had not done before. If this scene had enraged him to the point of abusive behaviour, it’s doubtful he would’ve attended a screening with his ex-wife. Needless to say, Marilyn clearly made amends with Joe and forgave him for wrongdoing – whatever that may have been. That’s not to say his behaviour, violence or no violence, was acceptable.

Safe to say that many of the claims of abuse on that night come from questionable sources, were retracted OR were discussed two decades after the event supposedly happened. However, this does not mean it didn’t happen, it just means we have no reliable or sustainable proof.

“Joe Tried to Make Marilyn Quit Her Career as an Actress”

Contrary to the belief that Joe DiMaggio wanted Marilyn to quit her acting career, he actually supported her professional aspirations. Joe left his job in New York to move to Los Angeles with Marilyn, enabling her to pursue her career in the film industry. He actively participated in negotiating her contracts and advised her on financial matters. While it is true that Joe desired a settled life with Marilyn and expressed hopes for starting a family, he recognized Marilyn’s talent and the significance of her work. The notion that he wanted her to give up her career does not align with his actions and support for her professional endeavours.

“Joe Saved Her from Payne Whitney”

While it is often claimed that Joe DiMaggio rescued Marilyn from the Payne Whitney Psychiatric Clinic, the actual sequence of events suggests a different scenario. Marilyn made attempts to contact Joe from the hospital, but he did not have the legal authority to secure her release. It was Dr Marianne Kris who played a crucial role in having Marilyn discharged. However, Joe did provide support to Marilyn during her challenging time, ensuring her subsequent stay at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital for rest and recovery.

“Marilyn and Joe Were Going to Get Remarried in 1962”

After Marilyn Monroe’s divorce from Arthur Miller, Joe DiMaggio expressed interest in reconnecting with her. They spent time together during the last years of Marilyn’s life, prompting media speculation about a potential reconciliation. While it is true that their relationship appeared to grow closer, the claim that they were planning to remarry in 1962 lacks solid evidence. Letters written by Marilyn around the time of her death express her affection for Joe, but they do not indicate concrete plans for marriage. It is important to approach these claims with caution and recognize that their relationship was complex and subject to various interpretations.

“Joe Planned Her Funeral and Banned Many People from Attending”

The notion that Joe DiMaggio planned Marilyn’s funeral and had control over the guest list is incorrect. Inez Melson, Marilyn’s business manager, confirmed in a BBC interview that she was responsible for managing the guest list, and Joe assisted her and Marilyn’s half-sister, Berniece, in making arrangements. While Joe played a role in the funeral proceedings, he did not have the sole authority or decision-making power.

“Joe Sent Flowers to Marilyn’s Grave Until His Death”

It is often claimed that Joe DiMaggio sent flowers to Marilyn’s crypt thrice a week from 1962 to 1982. While this story has become a popular narrative, there is no concrete evidence to substantiate it. The frequency and duration of flower deliveries to Marilyn’s grave remain uncertain, and Joe never publicly commented on the matter.

“Joe Hated the Kennedys”

Contrary to the belief that Joe DiMaggio harboured animosity toward the Kennedys, he expressed support for them and even attended John F. Kennedy’s inauguration. Joe referred to JFK as a “hero” in 1979, indicating his admiration for the Kennedy family.

“Joe’s Dying Words Were ‘I Finally Get to See Marilyn'”

Claims that Joe DiMaggio’s dying words were “I finally get to see Marilyn” are disputed. While his lawyer, Morris Engelberg, claimed that Joe made this statement before passing away, Joe’s brother, Dom DiMaggio, has refuted this claim. Moreover, due to the effects of pain medication, it is unlikely that Joe would have been able to articulate such words before his death. The accuracy of this statement remains uncertain.

Marilyn & Joe

While I do not condone Joe’s actions if the abuse allegations against him are true, it is important to acknowledge that there is limited evidence suggesting he was violent towards Marilyn. I want to emphasise that this lack of evidence does not make it impossible.

Apart from a few unsubstantiated claims of violence and his emotionally abusive behaviour during their marriage, there is little else I have come across to imply that Joe was a “bad person.” In fact, overall, Joe was a fairly decent guy, particularly after their divorce. He displayed a remarkable amount of charity, was great with children, and was well-liked by his peers. It’s worth noting that he was there for Marilyn when she needed him, even when he was likely the only person not on her payroll. This aspect holds significance to me. Despite being a flawed husband, Joe seemed to have made efforts to improve himself and be the supportive person Marilyn needed, whenever she needed him. Though it was too late to salvage their romantic relationship, it didn’t deter him from being a good friend to Marilyn.

In my personal opinion, those who vehemently dislike Joe solely based on the abuse speculations tend to overlook all the positive things he did for Marilyn, which is undeniably unfair. If you are interested in learning more about his relationship with Marilyn, I recommend reading the insightful work by Silver Technicolor, who also assisted me in fact-checking this post.


“Arthur Used Her For Fame”

Arthur Miller was already an accomplished Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright before he met Marilyn Monroe. In fact, Marilyn was a fan of his work even before they became romantically involved. With over a dozen plays to his name, Miller was well-known in the literary world, and some people speculated that Marilyn was using him to gain credibility and recognition in the industry. However, it’s important to note that their relationship was more complex than a mere transaction of fame.

While it is true that Marilyn’s addiction to prescription pills and her constant need for validation through acting coaches put a strain on their marriage, it is unfair to suggest that Arthur used her for his own gain. Marilyn’s personal struggles and demanding schedule undoubtedly had an impact on Miller’s own work. In a September 1956 interview, Miller stated that Marilyn would focus on being his wife for the majority of the year, with limited time for acting projects. Their relationship required a considerable amount of attention and effort, making it a challenging task for both of them.

“Arthur Was The Reason Why She Stopped Talking To Milton Greene”

It has been suggested that Arthur’s jealousy of Milton Greene led to Marilyn severing ties with him and dissolving their partnership with Marilyn Monroe Productions. However, evidence suggests that there were preexisting tensions between Marilyn and Milton before Arthur entered the picture. In a letter from Arthur to Marilyn in 1956, he acknowledged the strained relationship between Marilyn and Milton, stating that he would take charge of handling their business affairs. While Arthur may have had his own insecurities, the issues with Milton were multifaceted and extended beyond any jealousy Arthur may have felt.

“Marilyn Was The Insecure One In The Relationship”

It is true that Marilyn struggled with insecurities throughout her life, but Arthur Miller also experienced moments of jealousy and insecurity in their relationship. In June 1956, he wrote a letter to Marilyn begging her to love him and expressing his fears of not being able to satisfy her.

“The main thing I saw was that it had all worked to make me unconsciously jealous of you and fearful that in fact I was not ‘big enough’ for you, and could not satisfy you either sexually or as a friend and a man. To say that I do not satisfy you implies that someone else could. In turn, I am therefore in danger of being ‘replaced.’ The final development, therefore, is withdrawal to one degree or another, and the deadening by degrees of my confidence in myself in relation to you.”

On September 21, 1956, he wrote: “I am going to do a risky thing. I am going to try to tell you as precisely as I know how what has been going on in me—but beyond the point where my defenses stand…. One of the feelings in me is jealousy…. I only realize now that certain things began to press in on me, some of them very subtle, until the point has come where I must face them for both our sakes so that they may be understood and be deprived of their effect on me.”

This demonstrates that both Marilyn and Arthur had their own vulnerabilities and doubts within the relationship.

“Arthur Ran Away To NYC After ‘The Diary Incident'”

The “diary incident” occurred during Marilyn and Arthur’s trip to England in 1956, where Marilyn discovered Arthur’s negative and insulting remarks about her in his diary. This discovery deeply hurt Marilyn, as she felt betrayed and exposed. While it is unclear whether Arthur intended for Marilyn to read his personal journal, the incident left a lasting impact on their marriage.

Ralph Roberts had spoken to Marilyn about it briefly during a massage in 1960, with Paula Strasberg telling him that Arthur had written, “I’ve really done it. I thought I was marrying an angel, and find I’ve married a whore.” Paula told Roberts that she managed to convince Marilyn that his artistic ego had been “battered to such an extent he had to flail out at her.”

Contrary to the notion that Arthur fled to New York City to avoid confrontation, his departure had been pre-planned to address his legal issues with the House Un-American Activities Committee. The incident itself and the subsequent fallout significantly strained their relationship.

“Marilyn was pregnant with Arthur’s baby during the filming of The Sleeping Prince

There was speculation in 1956 that Marilyn’s absences were a result of pregnancy-induced illness. This was not the case. Marilyn is confirmed to have been pregnant in 1957 resulting in an ectopic pregnancy and in 1958 ending in miscarriage. Arthur discusses the first pregnancy as being in 1957 so any earlier than that can be dismissed.

“Arthur made money from being married to Marilyn”

This is partly true. Marilyn had made Arthur Vice President of Marilyn Monroe Productions after she and Milton parted ways meaning he had a share in the company.

Marilyn also wrote several checks to Arthur totalling $47,300.00

Arthur also went against a writer’s strike in order to help with the scriptwriting of Let’s Make Love just like he had offered to do with The Sleeping Prince (“I can go through the script and make the changes”).

“Arthur Didn’t Help Marilyn With Her Addiction”

Marilyn Monroe’s struggles with addiction to prescription pills began in 1956, and it is true that Arthur Miller was not successful in helping her overcome this addiction. However, it is essential to understand the complexities of addiction and the difficulties of breaking free from such substances. Marilyn’s addiction was deeply ingrained, and despite various attempts to intervene, she continued to struggle with it. While Arthur may have had a role to play in supporting her, ultimately, overcoming addiction is a personal journey that requires the individual’s commitment and determination.

“Arthur Used The Misfits To Punish Marilyn”

The filming of The Misfits marked a turning point in Marilyn and Arthur’s marriage. Some believe that Arthur intentionally crafted a personal script that exposed and mocked Marilyn’s life, contributing to the breakdown of their relationship. While it is true that the movie touched on personal aspects of Marilyn’s life, it is unfair to suggest that Arthur used the film to punish her. The challenges they faced during the production, combined with the strain on their relationship, ultimately led to their separation, not the film itself.

“Arthur Left Marilyn In 1960”

Contrary to the claim that Arthur left Marilyn, it was Marilyn who initiated the end of their marriage. According to diary entries from Ralph Roberts, Marilyn confronted Arthur and asked him to leave, expressing that she had finally had enough. Although Marilyn had been involved in an affair with Yves Montand during the filming of Let’s Make Love, it was her decision to end the marriage. Despite the dramatic ending, Marilyn and Arthur later spoke respectfully of their marriage in the press, indicating that they had made peace with their past.

“Arthur Didn’t Love Marilyn”

During the early stages of their relationship, Arthur and Marilyn were deeply in love. Their letters to each other reveal their affection and appreciation for one another. However, as their marriage progressed, they faced numerous challenges, including career pressures, personal struggles, and the loss of their children. These factors put a strain on their relationship, causing both of them to question their compatibility and abilities to meet each other’s needs. While their love may have waned over time, it is important to acknowledge the genuine affection that existed between them in the beginning.

“Arthur Didn’t Care About His Son Daniel”

Arthur and his third wife Inge Morath had a son named Daniel, who was born with Down Syndrome in 1966. It is true that Arthur made the difficult decision to institutionalise Daniel shortly after his birth. This decision, although heartbreaking, was made at a time when society had limited knowledge, understanding, and support for individuals with Down Syndrome. It is essential to recognise the social context in which this decision was made and the lack of available resources at that time. It is evident that Arthur and Inge’s choice was a painful one, as they grappled with the realities of raising a child with special needs.

“Arthur Wasn’t Invited To The Funeral”

The details regarding Arthur Miller’s invitation to Marilyn’s funeral remain uncertain due to the lack of an initial invite list. It is unclear whether he was asked personally by Marilyn’s close family members and declined or if his absence was a result of other factors. In an unpublished essay, Arthur expressed his decision to stay home rather than attend the funeral to avoid mockery and false mourners. It is important to note that his absence does not necessarily indicate a lack of care or concern for Marilyn’s passing. The circumstances surrounding his non-attendance remain a subject of speculation.

Marilyn & Arthur

Being married to Marilyn at that time in her life would not have been an easy experience. She was struggling with her self-esteem and mental health. But Arthur endured and continued to try and make it work. Outsiders looking in would later comment on how cruel Marilyn would be to Arthur at times. Perhaps Marilyn was attempting to get a reaction out of him. Again, we cannot judge, we can only surmise.

Arthur encountered a lot with Marilyn. They lost two children together and everything they did was in the public eye. Other than his passionate love letters to Marilyn, his telegram to Billy Wilder demonstrated how much he cared for his wife.

It’s a shame it did not work but they were not meant to be.

What is unfortunate, from my perspective, is how Arthur felt it was appropriate to release a play, two years after Marilyn’s death, based on their marriage. The parallels are hauntingly similar and in poor taste.

Arthur had begun to write After The Fall when still married to Marilyn and eventually completed it and had it produced in 1964. This would’ve broken Marilyn if she had still been alive. His own friends such as Norman Rosten felt this was distasteful and disrespectful. Which it was.

WJ Weatherby stated, “Miller was obviously writing out of deep personal experience and, although Maggie was only a shadow of Marilyn – the other side of Roslyn in The Misfits, the missing side that made her unsatisfying in the movie and hard for Monroe to make convincing – it was easy to see how Miller thought Marilyn had died, and why. But many admirers of hers were indignant at the portrait and the interpretation. James Baldwin, for example, was seen stalking up the aisle and out of the theatre before the end of the play.”

From Rebecca Miller’s documentary about her father, “The play addressed his own failure to ‘save’ Marilyn, and the realisation that ‘people were far more difficult to change than I had allowed myself to believe.’ It was a success, but due to its shocking portrayal of Monroe’s downfall, was subject to ‘ugly, strident criticism’ and ‘vicious attacks’ in the press. ‘I managed to have an illusion that this wasn’t really Marilyn,’ Miller says, ‘… but it was close enough …’”

Arthur was married to Inge until her death. Arthur soon was in a relationship, with Agnes Barley who was almost 50 years younger than him.