Marilyn: A Biography; Pictures by the World’s Foremost Photographers. Produced by Lawrence Schiller; Designed by Allen Hurlburt. New York: Grosset and Dunlap, 1 August; London: Hodder and Stoughton, 8 October. 111 photographs, 271 pp., $19.95.
No dedication. Mailer’s contribution was originally to have been a 25,000-word preface to a selection of Monroe photographs, but it grew into a 95,000 word biography. Rpt: Advance excerpts appeared in Ladies’ Home Journal (73.17, 73.29), Atlantic (73.28) and New York Review of Books (73.34). A three-hour adaptation by Dalene Young, “Marilyn: The Untold Story,” appeared on ABC-TV on 28 September 1980. The 1988 reprint edition (New York: Galahad) carries the title, Marilyn: The Classic. Two excerpts also appeared in The Time of Our Time (98.7). See other 1973 entries, 75.1, 75.3, 80.14, 80.15, 81.4, 82.9, 86.22, 86.25, 94.5.
. . . the next question is whether a life like hers is not apathetic to biographical tools. Certainly the two guides already published show the limitations of a conventional approach. The first, by Maurice Zolotow, Marilyn Monroe, written while she was still alive, is filled with interesting psychoanalytical insights of the sort one can hear at a New York coffee table when two intelligent people are analyzing a third, but his material is reamed with overstressed and hollow anecdotes untrustworthy by the very style of their prose, a feature writer heating up the old dishes of other feature writers, and so a book which has fewer facts than factoids (to join the hungry ranks of those who coin a word), that is, facts which have no existence before appearing in a magazine or newspaper . . . (73.30)