Stuttering Starlet

It is unusual for young girls to stutter. It is much more prevalent in young boys but after her unhappy stay in the orphanage, Norma Jeane emerged with a noticeable stutter. In this video Marilyn’s speaking voice is much more real than the voice she used in public and in her movies. It would appear that the relaxed, private Marilyn seemed to “let her guard down” so to speak and become more real.

normaShe remembered a painful moment when she had a “small part in a movie.” During filming Marilyn began stuttering, probably due to nervousness. The assistant director came in and yelled at me. Oh he talked awful to me…so when I got into the scene instead of my line I went w-w-w-w-. And the director came up and he was furious at me and he said you don’t stutter! And I said that’s what you think!” She cackled with laughter for several seconds but then, tellingly, she finished with, “oh it’s painful, oh God.”

She spoke in the present tense at the end of this recall. It’s painful, rather than it was painful. Norma Jeane was still present, still a shadow, and still re-living all of Marilyn’s hurts and humiliations. It would be that way until the end of her life.


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