My fascination with Marilyn Monroe runs deep.
All the elements are there: A virtual orphan who spent her life looking for a father figure and marrying men who seemed to fit the bill. An on-screen persona that could light up an entire city though her personal life was filled with desperation, depression and angst. A public face that epitomized the notion of "dumb blonde" though she was incredibly intelligent and a voracious reader. She was obstinate. She showed up late to the set and kept others waiting, sometimes for hours. Sometimes, she didn't show up at all. She was a huge drinker and popped enormous amounts of pills. She was a wreck. She was fabulous. She was her own woman. She's my Marilyn.
I started collecting Marilyn Monroe memorabilia when I was in high school. At its height, my collection consisted of about $1,000 worth of books, oodles of stamps (one set given to me by my brother that was cancelled in Hollywood), pens, magnets, a tie, mugs. You name it; I had it. I sold all my Marilyn books when I moved from Portland to Florida, a decision I regret.
Los Angeles, California. Home of the stars. In 2002, I visited a friend who had an internship at the Los Angeles Times and was living in Burbank in a huge apartment complex across the street from Warner Brothers Studios. During a visit to Mann's Chinese Theatre, I scanned the rows of names and handprints. I had to find Marilyn. I had thought about this day since high school. Even then, I had a feeling our hands would be the same size. Finally, I found her famous signature and squatted in front of it. I stretched out my arms and placed my hands where hers had once been. A perfect match. We're alike in more ways than this. Perhaps that's why I have such a fascination with her. Though my knowledge of her, I learn more about myself.