"What made Norma Jean special was the quality she discovered when, bored with being a teenage bride with a husband in the Merchant Marine during World War II, she took her first and most enduring lover-the camera." So posits author Ted Schwarz in the first comprehensive look at the life of Marilyn Monroe to appear in years, a biography that benefits from interviews with many of the actress's friends and acquaintances who have remained silent until now. Putting together the pieces of Marilyn's final days, spent in the company of Peter Lawford and his brother-in-law Attorney General Robert Kennedy, Schwarz also speculates on the causes of her death, which he describes as a "Hollywood version of natural causes."
An unwanted child who had been passed around among her mother, her mother's friends, foster homes, and orphanages, the long record of rejection prompted Marilyn to lie about her childhood in her autobiography and become pathologically insecure in her relationships with men. Married five times, there was often no line of distinction as she moved from one affair to another: as Schwarz notes almost matter-of-factly, for example, Marilyn celebrated her engagement to baseball great Joe DiMaggio by going to bed with film director Elia Kazan. Upon returning from her honeymoon with DiMaggio, she immediately announced to friends her intention to marry playwright Arthur Miller-much to the surprise of Miller and his wife. "Still," Schwarz writes, "it was only to the camera that she did not look ahead to the next lover…all it asked of her was to allow it to transform Norma Jean Mortenson Dougherty…into a movie star and one of the most desired women in the world."
Ted Schwarz is the author, co-author, or "ghost" of more than 100 books, including the bestselling The Hillside Strangler. He has been a frequent contributor to such shows as Hard Copy, E!-Entertainment's True Hollywood Mysteries, and True Hollywood Stories. He lives on Cleveland, Ohio.