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Marilyn Monroe: The Biography Paperback – July 17, 2001

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 752 pages
  • Publisher: Cooper Square Press (July 17, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0815411839
  • ISBN-13: 978-0815411833
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #128,246 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


This is a book that wound up teaching me a great deal about Hollywood, the social history of California, the movie business, the trials of female actors in American show business and the life of a woman who has been so mythologized that often the real woman is obscured from actual view. (Erica Jong Washington Post Book World)

Spoto has given Monroe the treatment she deserves. At last she emerges not as a goddess but as a human being in this extraordinary volume. (The Daily Telegraph)

About the Author

Donald Spoto is the author of Blue Angel: The Life of Marlene Dietrich, Rebel: The Life and Legend of James Dean, The Dark Side of Genius: The Life of Alfred Hitchcock, Diana: The Last Year, The Hidden Jesus: A New Life, and Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis: A Life.

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Customer Reviews

Spoto's story of the life of MM is meticulously researched and a well-written biography.
Dennis M. Brown
It does a good job stating facts, not opinion allowing the reader to reach their own conclusions.
Overall, I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn more about Marilyn's life.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 38 people found the following review helpful By "zmart4ever" on May 15, 2002
Format: Paperback
Donald Spoto bases this book on the facts...not speculations and unseen sources. This is a very detailed account of Marilyn's Life,from the early years spent as a starlet thru her marriages...relationships with famous photographers and acting coaches thru ordinary people...
Marilyn's last days are realistically brought back to Life with a plausible explanation of what really happened the night she died.
One of the best parts of the book is the last chapter "Aftermath: the great deception", where Donald Spoto adresses all the tabloid biographies that sensationalize marilyn's death...the theories and speculations about her involvement with the Kennedys and the mafia and so called "best friends"....
Such as Robert Slatzer and jeanne carmen, to name the worst offenders among them.
I have read all the mayor Biographies on Marilyn and this one for me comes closest to what the truth might be about what happened to marilyn.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By "karilynx" on July 8, 2002
Format: Paperback
Donald Spoto must have done a lot of hard work to uncover all this information about Marilyn. In this extensive biography (the best I've read) we learn things that maybe we'd never heard about before.
And, by interviewing people close to Marilyn such as Milton H. Greene and Inez Nelson (?), by reading papers from Marilyn to Lee/Paula Strasberg, Pat Newcomb, and others influential in her life, DS gives us further insight into the life of this beautiful but misunderstood immortal screen goddess.
We also learn the truth about her death. No, Marilyn was not killed by the Kennedys. (Both Bobby and John had alibis, and the information DS presents show no reason why they would want to assassinate her anyway.) And from what DS says, Marilyn was planning to remarry Joe DiMaggio and to her friends it didn't seem that she was planning to kill herself.
His hypothesis is that her suicide may have been accidental, after being fed all those barbituates by different people through all the years, and Dr. Ralph Greenson and her housekeeper, Eunice Murray, may have had a hand in it.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and learned so much from it!
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Editor, SFHR on May 20, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Finally a professional biography, which does such elementary but necessary scholarship as comparing the Kennedy brothers' appointment books with Monroe's to show how miniscule the contact was. Compares accounts in previous bios with verifiable facts. (The outrageous way con-men fabricate and market a dead hero's story could make a separate book.) As Mr. Spoto documents Marilyn Monroe's endless small generosities and quirks, she becomes more lovable than one had dared to hope. Marilyn had an uncanny ability to awaken our protective instincts, and at the end, when Miller is cold and her therapist exploiting, Mr. Spoto grows furious. Otherwise, the first objective biography of this American culture hero: all serious criticism must now start with it. George J. Leonard, Prof of Humanities, San Francisco State University
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 19, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I have been a serious Marilyn collector for Years.Donald Spoto's book is the closest thing to finding the "real" Marilyn.He tells it like it was.I have long been sick with all the bull that's been written about Marilyn. Here the ending makes sense.Donald Spoto researched unbelievable amount of material,including Marilyn's spychiatrist's private papers.This book is very accurate as i have many, many pictures collaborating this biography.Don't waste your time with the outrageous claims of socalled Marilyn friends. The worst of them being that Robert Slatzer! I have THOUSANDS of Marilyn Pictures and he is only in 2 of them.And they look like tourist photographs, taking at Niagara Falls in '52. In all my books,NOBODY close in her Life EVER mentioned this man.I think the guy is full of .... myself.Get this BOOK!
PS: I have a complaint about the review from "READER FROM USA" on January 8, 1999 - Get a grip! It is people like you that keep this rediculous stuff about murder going. Reading your review i realized u don't know what u are talking about."Donald Spoto just adds his own facts?", excuse me but did u see the amount of material this guy was into? AND THERE'S NEVER BEEN ONE IODA OF PROOF OF MURDER BY ANYBODY.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By L. Lukaszewicz on March 19, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is hard to imagine the kind of painstaking research that went into creating this comprehensive work of exquisite detail. Spoto not only captures the unique essence of MM's engaging personality, he includes the minutiae of her life experiences to such a degree that even someone who did not grow up surrounded by her iridescent image would feel a part of this era. Especially interesting are the intricate details of her early life, which would later so greatly affect her vulnerable psyche.

Unfortunately, what put me off were the conclusions he draws regarding the controversial circumstances of her death. He offers some bizarre theories, apparently of his own supposition, based on less than concrete evidence and woven to fit unanswered questions. You may find his theories plausible; you may find them ridiculous. Although he does argue a somewhat convincing case, I have never seen or heard of any other documentation that would support these claims. I believe the only real conclusion to be drawn is that we will never fully answer all the questions surrounding the mystery of her death.

This is the story of a very special lady, a lost and deeply lonely little girl who would reach her whole life for an intangible dream of fulfillment that would slip again and again through her fingers. This comprensive work does well in capturing the spirit of that struggle, and those who exploited it. Judge for yourself the validity of Spoto's allegations. Beyond that, you will find this a thorough and engrossing portrayal of our most luminous screen goddess.
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