Click image to order
Never miss a post
Your email address:*
Please enter all required fields
Correct invalid entries


« Advice from Sinatra and Riddle, Van Heusen and Cahn: "Come Blow Your Horn" [by David Lehman] | Main | Michael [J.] Lally Weighs In on College Loans [by David Lehman] »

June 01, 2018


My favorite scene of Marilyn Monroe singing is in Bus Stop, when she sings "That Old Black Magic" just slightly off key. It's masterful performance in a terrific movie. I love the way Bo Decker sees her and says, "There's my angel!" Then he shushes the rowdy crowd and orders her to keep seeing which she does. She shows just the right combination of embarrassment and delight and gains confidence as she finishes the song.

Oh, I love her. "I don't care about money, I just want to be wonderful." She was Sartre's favorite movie star. Thanks for this consideration, David.

Have you noticed that her Monroe-ness is ref'd in three of her own movies? In "The Seven Year Itch" Tom Ewell says to Mr. Krahulik (with Marilyn hiding in the kitchen), "Yeah, I got a girl in the kitchen. I got Marilyn Monroe in the kitchen!" In "How To Marry a Millionaire" a dress is described: "Diamonds may be a girl's best friend, but ... " And in "The Misfits," Marilyn slams shut a closet door upon which her own celeb-type photos are taped up.

Andy Warhol said that had she lived she might've hosted her own comedy-variety show. Had he lived, he might've been a guest. Imagine that -- the blondenesses!

-- Sharon

David and Stacey: This is an excellent tribute to Marilyn’s oft-neglected singing performances. I watched a video of Gentleman Prefer Blondes last night and was impressed again—the zillionth time since my parents took me to see the movie when I was ten; I identified then with the insolent boy who gives her a hard time on the ship—by the clarity and flourishes of her renditions. Jonathan Rosenbaum has a fine essay on this film, and the singing performances in particular, in Placing Movies. He reminds us that “Jane Russell was paid $200,000 for her part (and got top billing) while Monroe, on her Fox salary and not yet a star, got only $500 a week.” Perhaps that situation was an incentive to get Marilyn to show up at the studio on schedule.

I’m still at work on a scholarly book about poems about Orson Welles and Marilyn Monroe. Many of them are of high quality. I’d love to hear from your readership about their favorites. -- Laurence Goldstein

beautiful tribute david... I remember as an adolescent seeing her on that Edward R. Murrow show that went into celebrities' homes with their TV cameras (was it called "Person to Person"?) when she was staying with her photographer friend and his family in Connecticut, and the way she sat on the family couch and tucked her legs under her etc. all seemed like the most provocatively sexual display I'd ever seen on TV up to that time (only a few years into us owning a TV)... but seeing it decades later realizing she wasn't being provocatively sexual, she was just being comfortable in her body in ways most people couldn't or wouldn't be in those times.... and Laurence, check out the poem I wrote about her not long after her death, it's in Another WayTo Play on page 37...

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

click image to order your copy
That Ship Has Sailed
Click image to order
BAP ad
"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly


I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman


  • StatCounter