The Last Interview

The last film Marilyn would ever make, although not finish, was Something’s Got to Give. She caused many problems for George Cukor, a director she herself had chosen. As usual Marilyn marilynwas often absent and late to the set. Cukor stated it was very frustrating for the crew, who showed up ready for a day of work, only to be told hours later that Marilyn wouldn’t be filming. Marilyn, however, pleaded sick and specifically blamed her sinuses. Yet in the middle of not filming and begging off due to illness, Marilyn foolishly flew to New York City to sing happy birthday to the President. Marilyn had been absent 21 of 33 shooting days by then. The studio had enough of Marilyn’s excuses and fired her. They felt she was “unstable and falling apart.” When Richard Meryman visited her home two days before her suicide, and for what would be labelled the Last Interview, he found a troubled Marilyn, very angry at 20th Century Fox, feeling victimized, and blaming everyone but herself for the firing. As usual she insisted she was absent from the set due to illness. “You have a cold? How dare you have a cold?” she stated sarcastically about the studio’s policy. Her lack of insight reflected her ongoing hatred of 20th Century Fox and what she believed had been their flippant behavior towards her for nearly 15 years..

Meryman stated “Marilyn was ambivalent about the press who had reinforced that [dumb Marilyn The Last Photos by Allan Grant, 1962 (8)blonde] image. They had delivered the audience to her but she still didn’t trust them. That’s why she wanted my questions in advance and clearance of the final story.” Marilyn seemed to open up to Meryman during the interview.”Do you want a drink?Come on have a drink!” Yet when Meryman asked her if she had to“crank herself up” for a role, her anger flashed. “I don’t crank anything! Yeah I don’t crank! I think it’s kind of disrespectful to refer to it that way.” A photograph Meryman took of Marilyn shows her pounding her fist in the air in frustration.

Meryman stated that Marilyn’s iconic, squeaky laugh erupted several times during the interview but often it was out-of-place. She laughed at things that really weren’t amusing. “One of my problems is that I’m late!” she giggled although that behavior was a source of aggravation for most people. One of her sentences made little sense. “This corporation over here who shall remain nameless, forgot that I’ve never lost sight that I am not at the studio any time for discipline.” True, but in that statement she lost sight of the fact that she was fired. Ultimately the studio re-hired their star but Marilyn, truly “unstable and falling apart“, died of a drug overdose before she was able to return to work.

A half hour of the film has been salvaged and spliced together. See it here.

She talked at length about her desires and struggles as an actress: But I do want to be wonderful, you know. When I walked out of 20th Century Fox and went to New York I stayed for I don’t know how many months, 15 months, 13 months, I don’t know how many months. And the lawyer you know he said, oh he was telling me about my tax deductions, my I don’t know what, and about the lawyers at 20th Century Fox and I said ‘I don’t know about that, I do know I want to be wonderful.

She was.


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