Below is an excerpt from “Marilyn in Manhattan: Her Year of Joy”, written by author Elizabeth Winder.
Ms. Winder captures Marilyn Monroe’s escape to Connecticut, where the iconic actress redefined herself. It was soon after she had recently divorced from Joe DiMaggio who it was commonly understood wanted Marilyn to be his reserved, shy housewife. DiMaggio didn’t want her having a career and, as has been documented, often abused her.
“When she wasn’t taking long walks, Marilyn read voraciously. Especially biographies — Joséphine Bonaparte, Lady Emma Hamilton, Marie Antoinette, and Eleanora Duse — of bold women who seized control of their image; women whose personalities defined the age they lived in. She was fascinated by women who had made it.”
This sequence is not about celebrity life nor profiling Marilyn Monroe as a sex symbol.
It should be noted that even when Ms. Monroe was most vulnerable, she knew she had a life outside of marriage. During the time of her retreat to Connecticut she surrounded herself with close friends, allies, supporters and mentors of all types. She aspired to be like women in various walks of life both current and throughout the ages who were themselves successful.
While Ms. Monroe lived in a much different era where stereotypes were prolific, the lessons of how she managed herself and her career continue to be useful today.