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meztisa
Any reviews, comments? I haven't read it all yet, and what I have read, isn't much! jumpymm.gif
Tara
I really like it. It's not perfect, there are a few errors and I don't always agree with his interpretation of the facts. But having said that, I think it's one of the best biographies of Marilyn. Spoto's book is important because he was the first to challenge the likes of Slatzer and Carmen. It's detailed and a great read. I think it's a must-have for any fan.
californiadude
I got that book for Christmas, but I haven't read it all yet, only a little bit. It's always has positive reviews everytime it's mentioned.
wombat
QUOTE(Tara @ Jun 9 2006, 10:48 PM) [snapback]106970[/snapback]
I really like it. It's not perfect, there are a few errors and I don't always agree with his interpretation of the facts. But having said that, I think it's one of the best biographies of Marilyn. Spoto's book is important because he was the first to challenge the likes of Slatzer and Carmen. It's detailed and a great read. I think it's a must-have for any fan.


i agree with you! it has some boo-boos (he didn't sell me on MM and Joe D remarrying; joe's biographer maury allen quoted joe's boss as saying joe quit because he was gonna to ask her to remarry him, not that it was a go -- BIG difference! nono.gif

other than that, spoto and leaming are the best and most accurate bios i've read, IMHO! thumbup.gif
Paju
If you were to read only one biography, it has to be the Spoto one. It is not perfect, but it's as close as it gets. He does seem to respect Marilyn and not think of her ONLY as a sex symbol (although he admits that there's that side to Marilyn as well).
But like I said, this is the one bio you should read smile1.gif
Katri^
marilynbybrandon_190.gif This is the best Marilyn book I've read (though I haven't read that many books). This is a basic biography.
Every Marilyn fan should read this book, it brings up new information and that kind of things about Marilyn.
destructogirl
I loved it. For once it seemed like someone wasn't trying to blame her or apologize for her. I respect Spoto for just laying out the facts and interpreting them as unbiasedly as possible.
eddie
I put it up there with Zolotow and Guiles. It does have a few predisposed views that i disagree with.
Robby
It's probably the best Marilyn Monroe biography I've ever read. Guiles comes close, but I prefer Spoto's detailed work. It's a big book, but it's worth all the reading! It brings you a bit closer to the 'legend' Monroe. I agree with other members, it's not perfect, but it is a reliable source for some things. I also love the rare pictures in the book. Good job Donald Spoto did on his book, and I really love it!
Maryleen_McBeat
I read it. As I think, this book is more widely distributed everywhere.
It was my second book and I really like it. I can't a possibility to buy books by Internet, but here, it my town you can find just that book.
I read it several times and I would like to say that it's good thumbup1.gif
Belarussian INTERNET SHOP

and the cover of it
Nancy
I'm reading this right now. I'm only on page 170 or so, but already I am getting irritated by a few things. Little mistakes, like he writes that in the '55 Person2Person interview Marilyn says her only line in Scudda Hoo was "mmm". She didn't say that, she said her line was "hello". That's an easily verifiable fact, all you have to do is watch the interview.

And I don't agree with the claim that she worked as a call girl on Sunset boulevard in exchange for meals. He writes that she told this to the Carrolls, but if she did actually tell them that, I think it was one of her "inventions".
Tara
Yes, those glitches are annoying. And I agree with you re the Carrolls. Lucille said that Marilyn would exaggerate sometimes, and yet we're supposed to believe she was a call girl? With no other proof? No, I think she was rather desperate and said whatever would persuade these people to give her a roof over her head.

There is a huge volume of detail which is great, but it does leave room for some misinterpretations. Spoto is not above manipulating the facts to suit his agenda. But overall I still recommend this book, for the content even if you don't agree with all of his opinions. Even just to compare with other biographies, it stands up well.
Kiddo
QUOTE(jemaniac @ Dec 31 2006, 12:42 AM) [snapback]123140[/snapback]
I'm reading this right now. I'm only on page 170 or so, but already I am getting irritated by a few things. Little mistakes, like he writes that in the '55 Person2Person interview Marilyn says her only line in Scudda Hoo was "mmm". She didn't say that, she said her line was "hello". That's an easily verifiable fact, all you have to do is watch the interview.

And I don't agree with the claim that she worked as a call girl on Sunset boulevard in exchange for meals. He writes that she told this to the Carrolls, but if she did actually tell them that, I think it was one of her "inventions".


Yeah, exactly... I'm reading the book right now and yesterday when I read this part about MM telling the Carrolls about her call girl time I was like shocked. In the Danish version of the book it really sounds like Spoto thinks that was what she did... work on the boulevard. Does anyone know if this was a true fact? Like are there any other books that mentions this exactl conversation between MM and the Carrolls? Did she just lie about it or is the conversation made up or? I'm confused... rolleyes1.gif
abeautifulchild
I just finished this...
Yeah Nancy & Tara, I agree that I wasnt pleased with those mishaps. I found that he also seemed to take some quotes out of context and change them around to serve his point which really bothered me the most. It was hard for me to read the end too because of what he writes about Marilyn and the Kennedys which I personally don't agree with. I liked this book a lot up until 1960-ish when he started writing about Ralph Greenson and Marilyn just because he seems so biased. I thought it was ridiculous how he stated that Eunice Murray and Greenson both had psychological problems of their own with no basis of fact too. I can't say that this is the best Marilyn biography I've ever read. I'm not crazy about Spoto's writing style: I enjoyed Guiles much better, Wolfe's too, & I have to say that I even prefer Summer's book to this one (excluding the death theories).

I guess the ending just ruined it for me, but he seems to have done his research.
Overall I give it a 7/10
Kowalczyk
Thank God Marilyn wasn't a call-girl, I was really worried when I read that and didn't know what to think. unsure.gif

I haven't read all of it yet (up to '56) but aside from errors (which I have to admit to not knowing where they are blush.gif) I like the book. My only complaint is that he doesn't write as if he's a fan of Marilyn, rather as if it's his job. Which it is I suppose. (I have another complaint - that he spends a lot of time describing the tight sweaters in her early days, but don't let that put you off! laugh.gif) But he's understanding and sympathetic mostly. smile1.gif
Margherita
I'm interested in reading the Spoto book as so many people praise it, he must have done a good job - well, I suppose the early sixties period in MM:s life, particularly the last 6 months are so controversial that few writers have managed to write about them in a way that would be fully satisfying.

I read some month ago from some net site that Anthony Summers himself nowadays concludes that in Marilyn's death, "no murder was involved", so he seems to have changed his mind.
Personally my opinion about that is nowadays around 50/50.

But what comes to the call girl thing, Carroll was not the only one who heard Marilyn telling that she occasionally worked as a call girl. Also when she moved to New York and Lee Strasberg interviewed her, Marilyn told him that she had sometimes worked as a call girl.

But if Marilyn told so (and Strasberg didn't invent it) it could also have meant that there were couple of times when Marilyn was so broke that she had to do it, I just don't think that she actually WORKED as a call girl, professionally, because her reputation doing that in a larger scale would have spread and later there would have been individuals who would have remembered her doing a call girl profession, and nobody such appeared.
And then, Marilyn sometimes exaggerated when telling of her past, to gain sympathy. And maybe she thought it might have sounded exiting to tell that, among all those New York intellectuals.
magda24
QUOTE(Ultraviolet @ Jul 3 2008, 08:21 PM) *
I'm interested in reading the Spoto book as so many people praise it, he must have done a good job - well, I suppose the early sixties period in MM:s life, particularly the last 6 months are so controversial that few writers have managed to write about them in a way that would be fully satisfying.

I read some month ago from some net site that Anthony Summers himself nowadays concludes that in Marilyn's death, "no murder was involved", so he seems to have changed his mind.
Personally my opinion about that is nowadays around 50/50.

But what comes to the call girl thing, Carroll was not the only one who heard Marilyn telling that she occasionally worked as a call girl. Also when she moved to New York and Lee Strasberg interviewed her, Marilyn told him that she had sometimes worked as a call girl.

But if Marilyn told so (and Strasberg didn't invent it) it could also have meant that there were couple of times when Marilyn was so broke that she had to do it, I just don't think that she actually WORKED as a call girl, professionally, because her reputation doing that in a larger scale would have spread and later there would have been individuals who would have remembered her doing a call girl profession, and nobody such appeared.
And then, Marilyn sometimes exaggerated when telling of her past, to gain sympathy. And maybe she thought it might have sounded exiting to tell that, among all those New York intellectuals.


In his original book Summers never claimed Marilyn was murdered. He thought there was a cover up because Bobby Kennedy was present on the death site-but if it was murder, suicide or accidental overdose- he leaves the conclusion to the reader
Vicoria Hoffman 1975
I have heard people saying that whe he wrote the book on Marilyn , he had his 'own agenda'. Can anyone tell me what that means? I did notice that unlike most books that blame the Kenedys for her death, they are barely mentioned in his book, is that what they mean?
abeautifulchild
http://www.everlasting-star.net/boards/ind...86&hl=spoto

smile1.gif
Tara
Topics merged bye1.gif
thesims2fan
So I finally finished this book last night (it seriously took me about a month to read. I'm just that slow), and I thought I'd give my impressions to anyone who's interested.

Firstly, yes I did enjoy it and think that it is certainly the best biography concerning her earlier life in particular. It's also got so many facts and quotes, which is really wonderful as it makes you feel that it is the full account.

However, I do not agree with Spoto's analysis and points on Marilyn's last months. I felt that he picked facts that suited his points, ignoring the rest and any eyewitness's accounts that did not fit in to his theories. That Marilyn had agreed to re-marry Joe, I do not believe also. Spoto's obvious fondness for the Kennedy's also came through, which was disappointing as it meant that he did not wish to put them in a bad light and thus disregarding any evidence which linked them to Marilyn in anyway. He came across as sort of arrogant in the way that he was like 'well obviously it's absurd to think suchandsuch'. Which made me think 'Don't treat me like an idiot Donald'. I also felt that near the end I was reading a book on the last days of Eunice Murray and Dr. Greenson instead of Marilyn.

Definetly had so much potential, and was near perfect I feel (bar a few wrong facts e.g. Marilyn's only line being 'mmm') up to say around 1961. If only his bias toward's certain people was not so eminent then I might have enjoyed it that much more.
audreyfan1
^This was one of the first Marilyn bios I'd read and I agree with John that it's also one of the best. I was actually thinking of reading it again because when I read it I was still a fairly new Marilyn fan, believing everything Spoto wrote was fact. Now that I've been a fan for several years and know a lot more about Marilyn's life and career, I think I should skim through the book again and see what I think of it now.
Blonde 007
Spoto's book is probably my personal favorite, as far as Biographies go (as opposed to a book I love for the great pictures). No biography is going to be perfect, unfortunately, but i think he does well to avoid writing things just for scandal's sake, if that makes sense?

This is the book I would hand to someone who is just starting to learn about Marilyn.

Just one more note - I have been an avid reader of Biographies for a long, long time. And what I have learned is that a good thing to do, if you can, is to read at least three books about a person. That way you can get the opinion and facts from 3 different voices, and get past the slant. Some of you have mentioned that Mr. Spoto seems pretty convinced and happy that Marilyn was supposed to re-marry Joe (so there was some slant there). While I would love to believe that, it's just not in any other book. The story that was told to the Carrolls (sp?) almost made me put the book down when I read it the first time, in 2001. It ... it just didn't ring true for some reason.

I think Mr. Spoto did a lot of good research. I'm very glad of what he wrote about Bobby Kennedy - how the Attorney General could not have been there the day Marilyn passed away. He also debunks that horrible man who (i assume is still saying this) pretended to have been married to Marilyn, and all his proof was that he was in 2 photographs with her. I've mentioned in this forum somewhere that I've been photographed with a few famous people too - if that's all it takes to make one married, then I am married to Tori Amos and Wayne Coyne (lead singer of the Flaming Lips)! This would probably come as a huge surprise to them biggrin.gif
SugarKane78
I'm reading this now and am glad to hear other people's insights. It's the first biography I have read about MM, I intend to read the Michelle Morgan one next. But thus far I have found it pretty thorough and informative.

I also took issue with the Hollywood Boulevard call girl part...To me, that sounds like one of the sensationalist stories about her that circulated after her death. I'm not saying there is no possible way she ever did it, but to me it seems more like an exaggeration...I think she could have found herself a sugar daddy at any time she wanted to...Either way I don't judge her, but I dislike the way Spoto presented that as fact, when really it is unknown whether or not she ever said that, or if she did say it, whether she really did it.

I haven't gotten to the part about the Kennedys yet, but I am wary as I know Spoto shows a bias in this area...
Margherita
I think the call girl thing could well have been something Marilyn herself invented. Why? At this point of her life when she told Lee Strasberg that she had been a call girl she was studying the "method acting" in which one is supposed to rely very strongly in one's own life experiences.
Maybe Marilyn felt that she didn't have enough tough things of which she could acquire, maybe she felt inferior compared with the other educated pupils that maybe seemed to know more about some sort of street and ordinary life than her (she didn't see herself in the light that she's observed then later, but maybe more like ordinary; just think of the girl we find in Michelle Morgan's book), so she exaggerated a bit, what the heck, she thought maybe...

And then- nobody has ever stepped forth remembering that: Yes, I remember Norma Jeane or Marilyn from late 40's when she was also a kind of call girl, she picked up men.
Nobody has ever witnessed her having been an actual call girl.
By the Actors Studio time she also sometimes invented other little stories, like she had given a birth to a child as a teenager.

I don't really believe the call girl thing to be true, and I don't think Lee Strasberg is trustful enough.

Marilyn had wealthy lovers, like Joe Schenck and also some others, it was not difficult for her to find somebody who could give her comfort, company, support, also economical; and I think she preferred to have that person for a while. So I don't see why she really would have had to start doing call girl jobs, allready as a well known photomodel and a great beauty.
Do you see, it doesn't actually make much sense. hmm.gif
Paju
Well said, I agree with you smile1.gif
SugarKane78
I just finished this book over the weekend and my final analysis is that it was for the most part terrific. First and foremost, it acknowledged Marilyn's incredible talent, her generosity, and her basic humanity and desire to learn and improve. It credited her for her efforts to educate herself, it showed her courage in leaving Hollywood, and, at the end, it showed that she still had so much promise as an actress. Her career was in no way finished, she had so much more yet to give the world, and I love that Spoto emphasized, above all else, her yearning for self-improvement. I feel that for Spoto, and for me, Marilyn's life was in so many ways triumphant, and Spoto does her justice by presenting the last months of her life as not a decline but as a new beginning. She fought the things that were holding her back once, and I have no doubt she would have continued to do so had she lived.

The book definitely has a slant. It is clear that Spoto is sympathetic toward DiMaggio, despite his abuse of Marilyn during their marriage. While I in no way condone any kind of violence, I do have to credit DiMaggio for always being there for her. Spoto also clearly has disdain for Arthur Miller, and I can't say that I disagree with him. The fact that Miller wrote that play After the Fall so soon after Marilyn's death was, IMO, disgraceful. I have other reasons for disliking Miller too based on other things I have read about his treatment of his son with Downs Syndrome, but I won't go into it any further herre because it's the wrong venue for it...

He does defend the Kennedys, but I think his explanation makes sense. I don't buy that RFK killed Marilyn, and whether they had an affair we'll never know (though personally I think it's unlikely). In defending the Kennedys he is also defending Marilyn - she was not some plaything "passed" from one brother to another. That rumor is very damaging to her reputation as well, as it makes her seem a weak and pathetic object at best.

I also think his assessment of Greenson and Murray's role in her death makes a lot of sense, given Greenson's unethical practices and willingness to dispense whatever drugs Marilyn wanted. Spoto does go a little far in his portrayal of Eunice Murray as a creepy witch, but honestly, her story of what happened the night of Marilyn's death changed again and again. I came away thinking Spoto's speculation was the most logical and sound explanation, because I don't believe Marilyn took her own life.

I am currently reading Michelle Morgan's bio, which is terrific. I have heard that Spoto and Morgan's are the best two, so maybe it is only downhill from here?
JC 96816
marilynbybrandon_190.gif I just bought the Kindle version but haven't read it yet. I heard it has good photos in it. I didn't see any photos in the Kindle edition.
MarilynIloveU
QUOTE(JC 96816 @ Sep 8 2013, 05:11 PM) *
marilynbybrandon_190.gif I just bought the Kindle version but haven't read it yet. I heard it has good photos in it. I didn't see any photos in the Kindle edition.


Did you check at the end of it? Sometimes they shove the pictures at the end of the Kindle books.
Margherita
I must tell that I haven't read Spoto's Marilyn for some reason although I've often thought I should.

Now this goes a little off-topic but it has to do with the credibility of Spoto.

Ingrid Bergman is an actress I really love. She was a very interesting personality, a really talented actor and her life was wild and colorful. Her mind was sharp, and she had a great sense of humour - and last but not least, she was a great natural beauty.

Sooo- I read her biography, written by Charlotte Chandler; it is wonderful !!! So I started to read another biography on her, written by Donald Spoto. But what ??? In the first page of the book, it's full of mistakes or misunderstandings.

Spoto tells that she was born in Stockholm, Sweden 29th August, 1915. A quarter past 11 pm, 23.15. Then Spoto tells about like this " .....as it was summer the sun's rays made the old houses shine etc....golden light something...." Ingrid's father was walking nervously in the living room.....

The sun goes down in Stocholm 21 minutes past 21.00 august 29th, just like in Finland. It is still warm summer evenings but it is DARK, not sunny.
In Scandinavia the evenings get darker and darker very soon after the end of July and people start having the crab parties.
We only have the white and sunny summer evenings 23.00-00.00 in southern Finland and Sweden in May and June. The evenings in august, particularly in the end of it, are dark.
There may be a twilight time after 21.21, but Ingrid - after Spoto - was born about two hours after sun went down.
So Spoto hasn't checked this.

I may be wrong, though - but I've been in Sweden maybe 20 times - Maybe there is something special the way it looks in Stockholm and I haven't noticed.

Then Spoto tells that when Ingrid was born the nearby church bells were ringing/singing - 23.15 - But they certainly don't toll every quarter of an hour ? People would go mad.

The birth time he gives, also - In all other accounts I've read IB was borne 3.30 am.

I started to read the book anyway.

But how can one trust this biographer ?
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