The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe, which premiered on Saturday the 31st, will continue on Sunday with the second part. Though this story presented by Lifetime provides a different twist, showing how the women in Monroe’s life affected her, rather than the men (which is the usual story), the story also highlights other things, that are too often shown in Monroe’s story. The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe, is just another documentary providing proof of how fame and fortune can destroy. The documentary shows scenes of Monroe’s thirst for fame, creation of her appearance as a sex icon, addiction to pills and alcohol, admittance to a psychiatric hospital, and much more. Though this story is not completely a secret, seeing Monroe’s life as told by the documentary mostly leaves viewers with a sad feeling about how this beautiful women was subjected to the tragedies that fame and fortune bring, as Monroe constantly sought approval from men, women, and the world.
It was from an early start in life, that Monroe dreamed of fame. Though Lifetime’s documentary Behind the Scenes: Marilyn and Her Men recalls this more than The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe does, statements are that Monroe struggled with her childhood with a mentally ill mother and resulting thrust into foster care. They say that Monroe wanted to belong everywhere, and that she felt the movies was her way in. After a young and short marriage to escape foster care, at the age of sixteen, Marilyn began desperately trying to break into show biz and was successful. However, this move may have cost her her life, as she only found struggles for many years after.
Moving from man to man and movie to movie, Monroe created a persona for herself in which she was held as a sex icon, something that was not quite appropriate in that day and age. Being a women who nearly every man wanted, Monroe quickly found herself a life of fame and fortune. The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe works to provide details on her life behind the scenes, as it was that life that no one really knew about. Just as many stars are seen in the same way, Monroe was seen by the public as the beautiful women who had it all, but few knew of the struggles she endured. Possibly suffering from mental illness, Monroe had a heavy heart from all of the things that Hollywood brought her. Quick marriages, quick divorces, betrayal, and the portrait of a hot, dumb blonde, as she often played that in the movies, affected the actress.
Her suicide was a prime example of how fame and fortune destroyed and in The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe, this was apparent after viewers could see all of the things that the actress went through during her life (and can see again tomorrow night in the second part of the two-part series). Though it is often believed that stars who commit suicide suffer from mental illness, just as non-famous people do often, the pressures put on celebrities in the public eye are enormous. According to research, fame and fortune is like a drug that its users are immediately addicted to, as they do not necessarily have time to gradually adjust, though they later began to resent it and can feel the addiction. The psychological affects of fame are enormous and can often make the person feel overwhelmed, especially as celebrities have no privacy and are often scrutinized in many different ways.
Of course, Monroe is not the only example of this, just the prime example as many are still obsessed with her death, years later. As an American icon, Monroe still receives much attention today, even in death. Sources say that it is because of her personality, which was so unlike any others. However, other celebrities who have committed suicide also attracted major attention and continue to do so today. Some celebrities other celebrities who committed suicide are Whitney Houston, Kurt Cobain of Nirvana, Robin Williams (though it was said that his was because of physical illness), and Lee Thompson Young, but the recent documentary The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe really brings out major proof that even the biggest icons are no match for the pressure that Hollywood lays on celebrities.
Viewers can tune into Lifetime on Sunday for the second part of The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe, as the sad story of how fame and fortune destroy, can continue to be seen then. Monroe’s life ended far too soon, but her fame continues to live on, even without her.
By Crystal Boulware
Lifetime: The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe
USA Today Why Marilyn Monroe remains a ‘Hot’ topic
Saybrook University: Fame is a Dangerous Drug: A phenomenological glimpse of celebrity
MN: Gone Too Soon: Celebrities Who’ve Committed Suicide