Friday, December 21, 2012


I'm so excited, and I just can't hide it! Finally my Marilyn Monroe pictorial biography is available as an eBook! I've revised and updated the text a bit, and there are 3 additional color portraits. You can download the book to your Mac, PC, Kindle, Nook, cell phone, iPad, whatever. (Amazon has a free app that will allow that.)

This was the first (and is still the only) book to tell Marilyn's full life story entirely in photographs (from George Zeno's fabled collection) and extended, anecdotal captions.

Here's the preface to the book:

 She starred in just eleven films over ten years, not a prodigious output of product compared to that of many other screen greats. But her films were just one part of the Marilyn Monroe mystique; she was a total celebrity, one in whom the public’s interest did not flag despite often lengthy periods between films.
Her rise to fame in the early 1950s was a cultural phenomenon; barely a day passed when one of the New York newspapers wasn’t featuring a Monroe photo, article, gossip column item, or all three. The public found her fascinating: she was a beautiful, successful woman who had spent an abysmal childhood dreaming of stardom; she played dumb blondes, yet was famous for her fast witticisms; she was in many ways vulnerable and na├»ve, yet had a streak of independence and ambition that would surprise many who tried to take easy advantage of her.
Her sexuality was often blatant, yet always there was a childlike innocence about her, a suggestion of the little girl dressed in her mother’s clothes and play-acting allure. The playfulness she brought to sex made her carnality at once more stimulating to men and less threatening to women.
She would become, however, Hollywood’s ultimate victim, a sensitive, insecure, frightened woman who believed her looks and sexuality were her only key to happiness. Once worldwide fame and adulation had come to her, she realized they were only a partial fulfillment. But by then it was too late to achieve happiness anywhere else—Marilyn Monroe was public property. Her enormous fame destroyed one of her marriages, and the neuroticism that her fame created in her destroyed the other. She was unable to accept happiness from one man, and the love of the masses was merely an empty, temporary tonic.

It has been said of Monroe that her one lasting love affair was with the camera. If that is so, the lens was certainly an ardent paramour. She may have been the most photographed woman of all time; cameramen were present to record her most personal tragedies as well as her most glorious triumphs.
This book might well be considered the history of Marilyn Monroe’s love affair with the camera. Although dozens of books have been published about her, none has ever attempted to tell the entire story purely through photographs. In doing so, one inevitably recaptures an era as well as a woman. For Monroe was both a perfect reflection of her time and, in many ways, ahead of it.
This book is, by necessity, primarily about the public Marilyn. There is no shortage of recent books purporting to reveal the most intimate details of the private woman. An interest sparked by this book can be more than satisfied by a visit to the nearest library. But it is valuable, I think, to take a look back at how Marilyn Monroe made her mark on the world’s consciousness, and to recreate the tumultuous excitement her existence generated over the more than ten years that she was a celebrity.
For those who lived through it, I hope this book will revive pleasant memories. For those too young to have experienced Marilyn’s life, I think the following pages will at least partially explain why, fifty years after her death, she still fascinates. As for me, it is completely gratifying that the thirteen-year-old president of the Marilyn Monroe Memorial Fan Club can grow up to do a book on his dream girl. That there is still enough interest in Marilyn in 2012 to make a book like this feasible is the ultimate indication of the extraordinary Monroe magic.

James Spada
Los Angeles, California
December 2012

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