herald

Tuesday 12 December 2017

'All I want is to die' - diary reveals movie icon Marilyn's inner torture

Five decades after her death, Marilyn Monroe emerged in her own words yesterday as a suicidal, inadequate and thoughtful woman who feared losing her mind.

Her private writings, to be published next week for the first time, also show the late star to have been an avid reader who quotes John Milton and Sigmund Freud as she despairs over her loneliness.

The actress's voice comes over clearly in Fragments, a collection of notes, letters and poems that were left to Lee Strasberg, her acting guru, on her death in Los Angeles in 1962 at the age of 36.

Le Nouvel Observateur, the French news weekly, published extracts from the papers, which have been edited by Bernard Comment, a Swiss writer and Stanley Buchthal, their current owner. The English edition is to be published on October 14 by HarperCollins.

Monroe's mental turmoil and literary aspirations are well-known. But her own vivid account of her inner life, from teenage years to a time close to her death, brings home how far the real woman was from the dumb blonde she portrayed in her films.

"Why do I feel this torture?" she scribbled in a diary in 1955, according to the French translation. "Or why is it that I feel less human than the others (always felt in a certain way that I am subhuman, why in other words, I am the worst, why?) Even physically, I have always been sure that something was not right with me."

In 1958, under psychoanalysis and after the failure of her marriage to Arthur Miller, the playwright, she writes: "Help, help, help. I feel life approaching when all that I want is to die." Miller is the only person in her life she trusted as much as herself, she confides in her notebook.

In another, undated fragment, she describes her desperation on a film set. "I am tired. I am searching for a way to play this role. My whole life has always depressed me. How can I play such a gay girl, young and full of hope?"



Solitude

As a rising star in the early 1950s, she wrote verses about her solitude. "I am alone. I am always alone, whatever happens . . . "In another poem, she writes: "How I would like to be dead, absolutely non-existent."

In 1961, Monroe writes to Ralph Greenson, her psychoanalyst, that she has been reading the correspondence of Freud and finds him depressing. She also describes how, in the clinic, she smashed a chair against a window and threatened to cut her wrists.

The following year, Monroe was found dead at home from an overdose of barbiturates. A coroner decided that her death was probably suicide.

hnews@herald.ie

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