Norman Kingsley Mailer

Norman Kingsley Mailer (January 31, 1923 – November 10, 2007) was an American novelist, journalist, essayist, playwright, film maker, actor and political candidate. He was the winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, one of which was for his novel The Executioner’s Song, published in 1979. It is considered to be his best work. Although widely respected in the academic and literary fields, Mailer certainly had his personal quirks, especially when it came to Marilyn Monroe. Meh. These artsy types tend to be a bit weird, don’t they? 

Where Marilyn is concerned, Mailer was sexually obsessed with her (like most men) and he wanted marilyn10desperately to meet Marilyn and interview her. For her part, Marilyn refused an interview. Instinctively she didn’t like Mailer, sensing something scornful in him and feeling he would attempt to humiliate her. While married to Arthur Miller and living in Connecticut, Marilyn lived perhaps a few miles away from Mailer. Mailer stated in an interview that Miller never once invited him and his wife for dinner so he could meet Marilyn. “And for that I never forgave him,” he stated angrily. Clearly it didn’t occur to Mailer that the lack of a dinner invitation was from Marilyn herself. The closest Mailer and his wife Adele Morales, came to meeting Marilyn was when Miller invited them over for afternoon drinks. When the Mailers arrived (breathless with anticipation no doubt) Marilyn was nowhere to be seen. Miller made the lame excuse that she’d gone into town but neither Mailer believed it for a minute.

Morales excused herself to use the washroom. While there she thought to herself that this was the same toilet where “her beautiful ass had sat.” okayyy.Then she heard the sound of a vacuum AdeleMoralesMailercleaner as it was pushed over a carpet repeatedly. Adele had discovered Marilyn’s whereabouts, somewhere above her on the second floor. She wasn’t offended. She figured Marilyn was too intimidated by the Mailers to visit, especially since her behaviour was so odd. It is possible Marilyn was having a manic episode. For her part Morales stated “she didn’t like Norman. I think she was scared of him or something.” Marilyn was smart to avoid Norman. In 1960 Mailer stabbed Morales with a penknife during a fight in their home while they were holding a dinner party. “I didn’t see the knife in his hand. I didn’t feel it going in. I put my hand here and I lifted it and it was covered with blood,” Morales recalled. A male dinner guest came to Morales side, asking Mailer what he had done.“Don’t touch her. Let the bitch die,” Morales says was the answer. For his part, “I came in contact with the depth of my own rage for the first time in my life,” Mailer admitted. High on drugs and alcohol, Mailer had been outside punching people in the street. Rather than have him arrested, Mailer eventually pled guilty to a lesser charge of assault and received a suspended sentence.

Norman Mailer, Miami Bookfair International, 1988Years later Mailer wrote in a surly account of Marilyn’s life entitled Marilyn: A Biography and declared that he had indeed met her and spoken briefly to her once. i don’t recall the exchange but it wasn’t especially pleasant. As she turned away from him Mailer wrote “she didn’t have beautiful legs.” No wonder Marilyn wanted nothing to do with him. Her instincts served her well. Mailer berated Marilyn’s image and essentially her raison d’etre. His conclusion was “let us judge her value by the look on Joe DiMaggio’s face during the funeral,” or something like that. Seriously? Perhaps we can judge her value by her own worthwhile life and achievements. Mailer’s 1973 publication proved controversial in other ways. The book’s final chapter stated that Marilyn was murdered by agents of the FBI and CIA who resented her supposed affair with Robert Kennedy. In his own 1987 autobiography Timebends, Miller wrote scMarilyn_Monroe_-_The_Complete_Last_Sitting_coverathingly of Mailer: “[Mailer] was himself in drag, acting out his own Hollywood fantasies of fame and sex unlimited and power.” Now that I believe. Careful not to admit that Marilyn turned him down constantly for interview requests, Mailer’s account was scathing and critical. He didn’t want the reader to know how fascinated he was by this woman. Instead his ire towards Marilyn for not showing interest in making his acquaintance filled the pages of his book.

In later years, he and Bert Stein, the photographer who took the famous photographs of Marilyn for The Last Sitting    co-authored a book together on the actress called Marilyn Monroe. Obsessed much, Mailer?.

 

 

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