Reading With Marilyn: Arthur Miller and the American Way

Writing for the New York Sun, Carl Rollyson – author of Marilyn Monroe: A Life of the Actress and Marilyn Monroe: Day by Day – looks at some of the latest Marilyn-related titles published in the U.S.

“Jules Schulback, an amateur filmmaker and Bonnie Siegler’s grandfather, happened upon the scene of Billy Wilder shooting Marilyn Monroe in that famous skirt that flew up heavenward in take after take … Much of the stuff in The American Way: A True Story of Nazi Escape, Superman, and Marilyn Monroe is secondhand, yet the authors keep putting that jejune material into some striking and revealing sentences.

We get closer to the grain of the woman herself in My Maril, a memoir that contains some misinformation but also intimate accounts of an actress who valued friendship and thought of the Kargers as family, even after her affair with Terry Karger’s father ended. The same was true with Arthur Miller’s father, whom Monroe treated with great tenderness and respect.

In her attraction to the playwright, she was acting upon her own quest for Superman, truth, justice, and the American way, and was bound to be disappointed. In Arthur Miller: American Witness, John Lahr shows how self-deceived his subject could be … It seemed an odd coupling at the time, what the press called ‘the egghead and the hourglass,’ but these books reveal that such contradictions are the American way.”