Happy Birthday, Marilyn

By Doug Draper

Posted June 1st, 2016 on Niagara At Large

“It seems to me you lived your life, Like a candle in the wind, Never knowing who to cling to, When the rain set in. And I would have liked to have known you, But I was just a kid. The candle burned out long before,  Your legend ever did.”

From Elton John’s and Bernie Taupin’s tribute song to Marilyn Monroe, ‘Candle In The Wind’ marilyn closeup

Believe it or not, Norma Jeanne Mortenson, known to the world Marilyn Monroe, would have turned 90 years old this June 1st, 2016.

Ninety-years old!  Wow.

It’s impossible to imagine a 90-year-old Marilyn Monroe where we would most surely have the National Enquirer and some of other more rancid celebrity tabloids parking the paparazzi in front of her home and posting a sneak photo of her looking like as wrinkled as a turtle’s neck with a headline reading; ‘Doctors Told Her She Has Weeks To Live’.

The smut rags have been doing that to poor old Doris Day for the past two decades now when all the rest of us want to remember is her blonde hair glowing in those Rock Hudson movies.

That has never happened with Marilyn Monroe who was found dead in her bedroom on August 5th, 1962 with a lethal cocktail of prescription drugs in her body.

Marilyn remains forever young on the screen – filming her ‘Marilyn walk’ through the mist of the Horseshoe Falls in one of her first starring roles in the 1952 movie ‘Niagara’, fighting (not all that hard) to keep her white dress from blowing up over her waste in ‘The Seven Year Itch’, and making the Coke-bottle lenses of Tony Curtis’s glasses steam up with a kiss in ‘Some Like It Hot’.marilyn monroe the white dress

I know I told this story once before, but I was one candle wick away from having my own moment with Marilyn when I was a baby and my parents drove to the Falls during the filming of ‘Niagara’.

Marilyn was inside the Table Rock restaurant greeting fans while we were outside. My mother told me years later that someone came out of the restaurant and said to her; ‘Oh, you should have gone in to see her. She was very nice and she loves babies. She posed for a picture taken with one.’.

It was a story my mother repeated numerous times, as if I needed reminding that I could have had my picture taken with Marilyn Monroe instead of an almost forgotten B actor named Casey Adams who co-starred in the movie.

I still consider it to be the first in a series of opportunities in my life that blew up in front of me.

Since her death at age 36, there have been plenty of Marilyn imitators, but even Madonna couldn’t quite pull it off.

There was only one and there will always only be one Marilyn Monroe.

Ninety years after her birth on June 1st, 1926, her legend lives on.

NOW IT IS YOUR TURN. Niagara At Large encourages you to share your views on this post. A reminder that we only post comments by individuals who share their first and last name with them.

Visit Niagara At Large at www.niagaraatlarge.com for more news and commentary for and from the greater bi-national Niagara region.




4 responses to “Happy Birthday, Marilyn

  1. Such talent. Much of it dismissed because of her “sex appeal”. The world will never know the private anguish in the life she lived “off stage”. So very sad!


  2. Great article, dad!

    I agree with your commentary, Gary Screaton Page. I will also add that Norma Jeane was not at all the epitome of the “dumb blonde” that the Hollywood industry painted her out to be. She was, in fact, a remarkable person for what little formal education she had, and considering her deprived upbringing, she achieved a considerable amount during the (only) 36 years of her life. From what I’ve read, she was (dare I say) an intellectual in her own right: she was a voracious reader of classic literature and even took classes in both literature and history.


    • We make idols of so many “stars”. We often lose site of their humanity. Sadly, many live lives of quiet desperation. Norma Jeane was such a one. Such a talent; seemed to have it all. So very sad!


  3. That is a wonderful little story! Marilyn is living for ever in our hearts!
    Thanks for sharing! Next year we will be again in Niagara on the steps of Marilyn…
    By the way: Casey Adams was not Marilyn, but he was an impressive actor too and the photo is very rare as well.


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