An intimate memoir recalling a young photographer’s relationship with Marilyn Monroe just months before her death, with extraordinary photographs, some of which have never been published.
“With the precision of a surgeon, Schiller slices through the façade of Marilyn Monroe in his unflinching memoir. Revealing and readable, it’s a book I couldn’t put down.” —Tina Brown
When he pulled his station wagon into the 20th Century-Fox studios parking lot in Los Angeles in 1960, twenty-three-year-old Lawrence Schiller kept telling himself that this was just another assignment, just another pretty girl. But the assignment and the girl were anything but ordinary. Schiller was a photographer for Look magazine and his subject was Marilyn Monroe, America’s sweetheart and sex symbol. In this intimate memoir, Schiller recalls the friendship that developed between him and Monroe while he photographed her in Hollywood in 1960 and 1962 on the sets of Let’s Make Love and the unfinished feature Something’s Got to Give, the last film she worked on.
Schiller recalls Marilyn as tough and determined, enormously insecure as an actress but totally self-assured as a photographer’s model. Monroe knew how to use her looks and sexuality to generate publicity, and in 1962 she allowed Schiller to publish the first nude photographs of her in over ten years, which she then used as a weapon against a studio that wanted to have her fired—and ultimately succeeded. The Marilyn Schiller knew and writes about was adept at hiding deep psychological scars, but she was also warm and open, candid and disarming, a movie star who wished to be taken more seriously than she was.
Accompanying the text are eighteen of the author’s own photographs, some never previously published. Many writers have tried to capture her essence on the page, but as someone who was in the room, a young man Marilyn could connect with and trust, Schiller gives us a unique look at the real woman offscreen.
“In this short, splendid memoir, Lawrence Schiller offers us another cut on the scintillating diamond that is Marilyn Monroe. In clear honest straightforward prose, Schiller allows us to dwell in the heart of another time. He captures Marilyn, both in photographs and words, and in so doing he gives us intimate access into one of the great stories of the 20th century: the complicated cocktail of joy and sadness that goes along with both beauty and fame.” —Colum McCann