Emmeline Snively to Norma Jeane Dougherty
I got a cold chill. This girl had something I hadn’t seen since silent pictures. She had a kind of fantastic beauty like Gloria Swanson, when a movie star had to look beautiful, and she got sex on a piece of film like Jean Harlow.
Leon Shamroy, on MM’s 1946 screen test Marilyn’s insecurities nearly screamed out of her. If she had an eight o’clock date, I had to be there at noon to start on her. If I was two minutes late she was furious, though she thought nothing of keeping others waiting for hours or days
She was not the usual movie idol. There was something democratic about her. She was the type who would join in and wash up the supper dishes even if you didn’t ask her.
We were in mid-flight, and there was a nut on the plane.
Billy Wilder on MM and the shooting of Some Like It Hot
I took her as a serious actress before I ever met her. I think she’s an a great comedienne, but I also think that she might turn into the greatest tragic actress that can be imagined.
Arthur Miller ‘Marilyn was an incredible person to act with … the most marvelous I ever worked with, and I have been working for 29 years.
There’s a broad with her future behind her
When she’s there, she’s there. All of her is there! She’s there to work.
It was like being sucked into a vacuum.
Tommy Noonan on kissing MM in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
She looked like, if you bit her, milk and honey would flow from her.
Artist Franz Kline
Still she hangs like a bat in the heads of the men who met her, and none of us will ever forget her.
Sammy Davis, Jr
She walks like a young antelope, and when she stands up it’s like a snake uncoiling.
Jerry Wald on early MM
She comes out of the dressing room Norma Jeane. When she stepped in front of the camera, she was Marilyn.
Marilyn Monroe is not a raving beauty, and her legs are too short for the rest of her.
She was among the least ‘naturally’ sexy or beautiful women I’ve ever worked on. Ann-Margret, Jennifer Jones, Cyd Charisse, Audrey Hepburn, Rita Hayworth, without make-up I could name dozens who are more naturally sexy and beautiful than Marilyn Monroe was.
Marilyn is a dreamy girl. She’s the kind who’s liable to show up with one red shoe and one black shoe.
That girl really has something. She looks like a new model Lana Turner.
Producer Frank King to Sidney Skolsky, 1951
Miss Monroe is one of the greatest comedy actresses of our time. She is simply superb. Miss Mansfield I’ve never seen.
Vladimir Nabokov, when asked his opinion of America’s sex symbols
It was impossible to think of Marilyn Monroe except as Cinderella.
One of the most unappreciated people in the world.
The trouble with Marilyn was she didn’t trust her own judgment, always had someone around to depend on. Coaches, so-called friends. Even me.
Allan ‘Whitey’ Snyder
She’s scared and unsure of herself. I found myself wishing that I were a psychoanalyst and she were my patient. It might be that I couldn’t have helped her, but she would have looked lovelv on a couch.
Hollywood, Broadway, the night clubs all produce their quota of sex queens, but the public takes them or leaves them; the world is not as enslaved by them as it was by Marilyn Monroe, because none but she could suggest such a purity of sexual delight.
I asked her where she lived, and when she said at the Studio Club, I was impressed because I knew that a girl who looked like that could have the biggest house in Beverly Hills, she could have whatever she wanted because men would give it to her. Therefore, if she lived at the Studio Club it was because she had character.
Ben Lyon on his 1946 meeting with Norma Jeane Dougherty
I have great faith that her career would have continued. She was one of the greatest draws in the history of motion pictures, and today I think she would have been tops. Marilyn had a childlike quality which made men adore her. Yet women weren’t jealous. Like John Wayne and a few other giants, she had a star quality that had nothing to do with acting. . . . What women in pictures can compare with her today? Nobody.
Ben Lyon Marilyn is a moonwalker. When she used to live in my house, I often felt like she was a somnambulist walking around.
She’d come out of our apartment in a shleppy old coat, looking like my maid, and all the people would push her aside to get my autograph. She loved it.
She would have been a very unfortunate woman, because she would have had to get a face lift and she’d have lost most of her beauty, I’m afraid. She would have continued to drink and would probably have not been very attractive anymore and trying to get character parts and not have been able to get them.
Earl Wilson on MM, if she had lived to grow old
Miss Marilyn Monroe calls to mind the bouquet of a fireworks display.
I had always thought that all those amusing remarks she was supposed to have made for the press had probably been manufactured and mimeographed by her press agent, but they weren’t. She was a very bright person, an instinctive type.
Photographer Elliott Erwitt
On the surface, she was still a happy girl. But those who criticized her never saw her as I did, crying like a baby because she often felt herself so inadequate. Look at that face – she could be five years old.
I did know her, and out of that sentiment for her, I could never talk about her for publication.
Do you remember when Marilyn Monroe died? Everybody stopped work, and you could see all that day the same expressions on their faces, the same thought: ‘How can a girl with success, fame, youth, money, beauty . . . how could she kill herself?’ Nobody could understand it because those are the things that everybody wants, and they can’t believe that life wasn’t important to Marilyn Monroe, or that her life was elsewhere.
She had such magnetism that if 15 men were in a room with her, each man would be convinced he was the one she’d be waiting for after the others left.
Publicist Roy Craft
It’s difficult to say what Marilyn’s future would have been, but I believe her career would have continued, and she would have been an important actress. I never worked with her, but I think some of the people who did failed to give her the patience and consideration she needed. She had her problems. She was disturbed in many areas, and those who weren’t close friends of hers may not have realized how grave some of her personal problems were.
She’s worth all the trouble.
Joshua Logan to Laurence Olivier
You say hello to her or it’s a nice day today, and she answers with a line from the script. She forgets everything but the work.
It may sound peculiar to say so, because she is no longer with us, but we were very close. Once when we were doing that picture together, I got a call on the set: my younger daughter had had a fall. I ran home and the one person to call was Marilyn. She did an awful lot to boost things up for movies when everything was at a low state; there’ll never be anyone like her for looks, for attitude, for all of it.
Jane Russell She can make any move, any gesture, almost insufferably suggestive.
Henry Hathaway Joe DiMaggio may not have made a good husband for Marilyn, but no one cared more for her. He was always, before the divorce, and after the divorce, her best friend.
Allan ‘Whitey’ Snyder
Marilyn wanted only herself to look like Marilyn Monroe. She wanted no one else to look anything like her and nothing or nobody to detract from her.
I never worked with Marilyn Monroe, but if she’d lived, I think she would have been all right. She would have been President of the United States.
Walter Matthau She represents to man something we all want in our unfulfilled dreams. She’s the girl you’d like to double-cross your wife with. A man, he’s got to be dead not to be excited by her.
This [The Seven Year Itch] will be her last picture for anyone but 20th Century-Fox for three years and four months. She’s under contract to this studio, and she’ll fulfill it.
Darryl F. Zanuck on the formation of Marilyn Monroe Productions
Gone was the shy, tense little girl voice, the slow groping for just the right word, the hesitation in answering a question . . . she came up, in a few minutes, with sprightlier conversation than most stars can manage in hours.
Dorothy Manning on the "new" Marilyn, circa 1956 "
[She was] so terrified she couldn’t speak a word, just stood there mute but refusing to engage in the vacuous small talk.
Arthur Miller on early Marilyn Monroe
I don’t think I ever saw two people so dizzy with love for each other. Having known Arthur a long time as an introspective guy, it was, well, like a miracle to see him so outgoing.
Marilyn Monroe’s unique charisma was the force that caused distant men to think that if only a well-intentioned, understanding person like me could have known her, she would have been all right. In death, it has caused women who before resented her frolicsome sexuality to join in the unspoken plea she leaves behind – the simple, noble wish to be taken seriously.
She was a difficult woman, you know. We liked her and we said the nicest things about her and she deserved them; but, she was trouble and she brought that whole baggage of emotional difficulties of her childhood with her.
‘Marilyn didn’t use expressions like, ‘being made love to,’ she used a shorter, stronger word.
She knows the world, but this knowledge has not lowered her great and benevolent dignity, its darkness has not dimmed her goodness.
She’s one of the few stars who don’t act as if she’s made it. She does not coast. She worked harder in Let’s Make Love than she did in Clash by Night. She’s still the same person.
She could let herself look like an old bag for two weeks. She’d smell sometimes, and never comb her hair for weeks. That’s why it would take nine hours to get her ready to re- create Marilyn Monroe.
It can’t be, it can’t be, she couldn’t have killed herself, she had three deals going.
A Hollywood agent
This atrocious death will be a terrible lesson for those whose principal occupation consists in spying on and tormenting the film stars.
It had to happen. I didn’t know when or how, but it was inevitable.
She will go on eternally.
Jackie Kennedy Onassis
In one sense, then, her life is completed, because her spirit is formed and has achieved itself. No matter what unpredictable events may be in her future, they cannot change who she is and what she has become.
Maurice Zolotow, 1960 She could have made it with a little luck.
She is a beautiful child. I don’t think she’s an actress at all, not in a traditional sense. What she has – this presence, this luminosity, this flickering intelligence- could never surface on the stage. It’s so fragile and subtle, it can only be caught by the camera But anyone who thinks this girl is simply another Harlow or harlot or whatever, is mad. I hope, I really pray, that she survives long enough to free the strange lovely talent that’s wandering through her like a jailed spirit.
I sat near her. She gulped wine by the glassful. When her name was called, she had to be helped out of her chair onto the stage. She accepted the award almost in a caricature of herself.
James Bacon on Marilyn Monroe at the 1962 Golden Globe Awards
I have the same problem as Marilyn. We attract people the way honey does bees, but they’re generally the wrong kind of people. People who want something from us – if only our energy. We need a period of being alone to become ourselves.
She seemed to have a kind of unconscious glow about her physical self that was innocent, like a child. When she posed nude, it was ‘Gee, I arn kind of, you know, sort of dishy,’ like she enjoyed it without being egotistical.
Peter Levathes to George Cukor, after MM failed to show up for the shooting of Something’s Got to Give
The girl was an addict of sleeping tablets and she was made so by the goddam doctors.
Allan "Whitey" Snyder, shortly before Marilyn’s death
She stood for life. She radiated life. In her smile hope was always present. She glorified in life, and her death did not mar this final image. She had become a legend in her own time, and in her death, took her place among the myths of our century.