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Everlasting Star Community _ Magazines & articles discussion _ Esquire Magazines

Posted by: Nettie Oct 23 2013, 12:58 AM

Bennett Cerf Interviewing Marilyn Monroe for Esquire


Another 1953 episode in my life was totally unimportant but a dazzling experience for me. I interviewed Marilyn Monroe! I told you that I've always had stars in my eyes. The one star I was most anxious to meet in 1953 was America's great sex symbol, Miss Monroe! How was I to meet her and not be murdered by my wife? That was the big problem.

We were going out to the desert for a vacation. We spent several winters at a place called La Quinta, which is near Palm Springs. I got a brilliant idea. I went across the street from my office to Esquire and said that I would like to do an interview with Marilyn Monroe. They said, “We can't afford your prices.” At that time, Esquire was struggling along. I said, “Who cares about prices” I don't care what you pay me. I just want to be officially designated to do the interview.” So we made a big deal, which didn't impress Phyllis at all. My stratagem didn't work. She said, “You went over and arranged all that.” I tried to tell her that they had beseeched me.

At any rate, we got out to the Coast. Marilyn was working for Twentieth-Century Fox. Harry Brand was the head of publicity there and an old, old friend of mine. I told him that I wanted to do this piece about Marilyn for Esquire. Of course he was amused that I had worked this all out. He said, “Well, this afternoon she'll be making stills.” They were filming Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. He said, “She and Jane Russell will be posing for the stills all afternoon. Come on over. You'll have plenty of time to talk to her.” So I went over to the lot and, sure enough, here were these two girls, Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe, dressed in very little. It was the costume that they used in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes with the high hats and boys‘pants on and little roses in the proper places. What was interesting while I was watching was that Jane Russell, the veteran who had been in about eight pictures already and was a big star, had to be posed. Marilyn, whose first big picture this was, just fell into a sexy pose by instinct. They didn't have to touch her. She just naturally assumed the sexiest, most alluring position. When they were fiddling about with Miss Russell, changing her arms and her legs and the tilt of her head, Monroe did it as though she had been born to it--which indeed she was. Well, I started talking to her after this thing was finished. I was as alone with her as I would be in a crowded subway train. There were agents, musicians, managers, other newspapermen all crowding around her. She was as nice as she could be, but being pestered from all sides.

I said, “I thought we were going to be alone for a few minutes. You've got to give me a little time alone. Otherwise I can't do this story.” I must explain to you that Marilyn Monroe was very impressed with me because I was a publisher. She had enormous leanings toward the intellectual. That's why she ended up marrying Arthur Miller. She wanted to be educated. She had no education at all. She grew up in an orphan asylum and had absolutely no education. So she made a date with me for the next afternoon-- tea for two! Phyllis took a dim view of the whole thing.

We were staying at the Beverly Hills Hotel. The next morning at about a quarter to nine, the telephone rang. Phyllis answered it. She said, “It's your girl friend.” I said, “Oh, damn, she's breaking her date.” She was notoriously unreliable. Sure enough, it was Marilyn, saying, “I've got a terrible cold. I won't be able to see you this afternoon.” I said, “Oh, damn, we're going to the desert tomorrow morning. There goes the whole interview. I won't be able to do the story.” She said, “Well, as a matter of fact, I'm at the same hotel that you are. I'm upstairs. If you're not afraid of catching my cold, come on up.”

Well, with my arm twisted that way, I was half way out of the room before I hung up the phone. Phyllis said, “I'll give you fifteen minutes.” A friend named Charles Lederer, a very successful writer, was coming over to have breakfast with the two of us. She said, “Charlie and I will be up in fifteen minutes. You've got fifteen minutes to be alone with your dream girl!”

Up I went; and there was Marilyn in bed wearing a little, baby blue bed jacket. I thought that she looked particularly well. On the bed next to her was a copy of the Modern Library edition of the Essays of Montaigne. I said, “You don't have to dress the room up to please me, Marilyn.” She said, “What are you talking about?" I said, “That Modern Library book that you've got there--that's just to impress me, isn't it?" She said, “No. Why should it impress you?" She didn't know that I published the Modern Library. I said, “What are you doing with the Essays of Montaigne?” She said, “Somebody told me that every educated girl should know about the Essays of Montaigne.” I said, “You gullible girl! I don't think that anybody outside of college students who have to read the Essays of Montaigne, are aware the book is still in print. If you want to read some good Modern Library books, I'll send you a dozen that you'll love.” She said, “Do you seriously mean that I don't have to read this?" I said, “You certainly don't.” With this, to my intense delight, she climbed out of bed, in that little blue bed jacket and a very short nightgown, took the Essays of Montaigne in the tips of her fingers, walked across the room, threw it in the waste basket--and got back into bed.

I persuaded Marilyn to tell me the story of her romance with Joe DiMaggio. It made good copy for Esguire. DiMaggio emerged as a hero. Sure enough, Phyllis and Charlie Lederer arrived then, but they generously had given me twenty-five minutes alone with her. By that time, we were good friends; and I stayed friends with her until she died. She was a lovely, miserably unhappy girl all the way through.

Did you see her on different occasions after that?

Yes. After she married Arthur Miller we saw her a couple of times. We met her at parties and several dinners.

The publicity and fanfare couldn't help but go to her head. She wore ridiculous clothes. The interesting part about this girl--one of the tragedies of show business--is that, when she was about thirteen years old, she was a ward in some house and the man of the house raped her. She was a little girl and it hurt her very badly. As a result thereof, sex to her was rather unpleasant. Here was the great sex symbol of the world, who just didn't like sex because it was painful to her. Nobody would believe this unless they knew her. Of course, being a girl who had no money and posing naked for a calendar and being propositioned by everybody from studio heads to delivery boys, she learned how to satisfy men without having to go through with normal intercourse.

We published a book last year called The Symbol. It was a novel that was more or less based on Marilyn Monroe. We shouldn't have published it. It was a very good book, but the only way that that book could have been sold really was to advertise it the way that Bernie Geis books are advertised--you know, with sensational and suggestive advertising. When the ads were prepared, I wouldn't let them run. I felt they would be a bad thing for the Random House name. Without them, the book couldn't do well. We did sell it for a very big sum for a paperback so everybody came out of it well, but I've always been a little ashamed of myself. I'll use this as a moral: don't publish a book that you don't feel proud of and that you're not willing to back to the hilt.

Read the entire Transcript:

I don't have the actual article though "The Altogether Girl"

Posted by: Mezzo Oct 23 2013, 01:13 AM

Thank you, Nettie.

Posted by: Stacy Jul 31 2017, 08:57 PM

July 1953, Bennett Cerf, The Altogether Girl
all scrambled as usual


Posted by: Stacy Jul 31 2017, 10:53 PM

larger version of the article from July 1953


Esquire, November 1957
finally the reason for this image of MM by Avedon


Posted by: suusmarie Aug 1 2017, 12:12 AM

Great info on the Avedon photo banana.gif clapping.gif

Posted by: Stacy Aug 1 2017, 12:55 AM

I know...I was amazed! And that it had been documented in a magazine. (Nov '57)

March 1961


Posted by: Stacy Aug 1 2017, 01:26 AM

June 1989, written by Arthur's cousin, Morton Miller

July 1973, an account of Something's Got to Give

wish it would let me post them separately...


Posted by: Joan Newman Aug 1 2017, 03:10 AM

[quote name='Stacy' date='Aug 1 2017, 12:26 AM' post='241562']
June 1989, written by Arthur's cousin, Morton Miller

clapping.gif clapping.gif clapping.gif Wow, that was interesting to read.
" Hedda Rosten vetoed the bride's choice of a white gown." ohmy.gif

"At the gathering at Strasberg in a skin-tight, see-through dress with a clear view of her pubic hair." ohmy.gif

Thanks Stacy. bye1.gif

Posted by: Stacy Aug 1 2017, 04:10 AM

you noticed the same things I noticed. haha

Posted by: Stacy Aug 1 2017, 06:19 AM

December 1979 -- All About Eve

November 1999 -- photograph of MM and Miller

August 1987 -- photograph by Eve Arnold

December 1952 -- the article on Marlene Dietrich which caused Marilyn to seek out Eve Arnold


Posted by: Stacy Aug 1 2017, 07:10 AM

April 1956


Posted by: suusmarie Aug 1 2017, 11:47 PM

Great posts Stacy, thanks marilynbybrandon_190.gif

An advert in the NY-Times, February 1961


Posted by: Stacy Aug 2 2017, 05:06 PM

That's neat!

Posted by: suusmarie Dec 29 2018, 01:16 AM

September 1951 thumbup1.gif


Posted by: JC 96816 Dec 29 2018, 04:29 AM

marilynbybrandon_190.gif Thanks Suus clapping.gifmarilynbybrandon_190.gif Thanks Suus clapping.gif I cleaned it up a bit and made a black and white as well.


Posted by: JC 96816 May 3 2020, 12:50 AM

marilynbybrandon_190.gif 1953 07/53 Alternate cover from EBay magazine search


Posted by: linkeando May 10 2020, 12:00 PM

cover April 1956


Posted by: Stacy Aug 7 2020, 02:12 PM

Thanks Suus! She is quite adorable, and sexy, in this photo. One of my favorites.

QUOTE(suusmarie @ Dec 28 2018, 05:16 PM) *
September 1951 thumbup1.gif
Thanks Jeannette!
QUOTE(linkeando @ May 10 2020, 04:00 AM) *
cover April 1956

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