If you want to know about the biographical facts of the life of Marilyn Monroe you can read one of the dozens of biographies written about the actress since her death in 1962 or watch one of the many lurid, conspiracy theory-tinged documentaries about her life and death and how the “Kennedys did it”, on the Discovery Channel and elsewhere. You can also enjoy the very good fictionalised biographical film My Week With Marilyn starring the excellent Michelle Williams.  

If you want to see how Marilyn Monroe, the star into whom Norma Jean Baker was transformed by Hollywood, became a mythic and symbolic canvas for the projection of mostly male American desire you can read Norman Mailer’s maddeningly egocentric, sometimes uncomfortably misogynist but often brilliant 1973 pictorial essay. If you want a more sensitive take in the battle of the sexes there is feminist icon Gloria Steinem’s angry 1986 rebuttal to Mailer, Marilyn: Norma Jean...

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