Marilyn Monroe’s marriage with her third husband, Arthur Miller, lasted the longest. They were opposites: a sensual movie star who was a sex symbol and an intellectual award-winning playwright who was in love with each other. But in the end, the frail actress found that her relationship with Miller was not enough, much like her second marriage to Joe DiMaggio. Monroe’s demons, manifested in her drinking and drug usage, made it impossible for her to find freedom from her marriage’s strains, which included unsuccessful pregnancies, misunderstandings, and employment conflicts.
Miller played it cool when he first met Monroe and they became pen pals
In 1950, Monroe had his first experience with Miller. At the time, she was still working toward achieving renown, while he has already recognized as one of the most accomplished writers in the country thanks to the fact that his play Death of a Salesman had won the Pulitzer Prize. Monroe was also having sexual relations with Miller’s friend and fellow director, Elia Kazan, who was in Los Angeles to discuss the possibility of working together on a screenplay.
Miller was under Kazan’s orders to take Monroe to a party, but he resisted the need to act on his evident attraction for Monroe. Monroe was convinced that this demonstrated his respect for her, which was more than enough to set him apart from the other guys she was familiar with. She shared the story of the experience with a friend “It was really similar to colliding with a tree. You know, like drinking something cold after you’ve been running a fever.”
When Miller arrived back in New York in January 1951, Monroe was there to bid him farewell at the airport. Because he had informed her how miserable he was in his marriage, she anticipated that he would soon return. During this period, she displayed a picture of him on a bookshelf above her bedside pillow. However, even though they corresponded with one another and Monroe followed Miller’s advice by purchasing a biography of Abraham Lincoln, Miller did not visit Monroe in New York.
The pair reunited four years after their first encounter and began an affair
After Miller had relocated to New York City in 1955 to pursue acting training at the Actors Studio, Marilyn Monroe did not see Miller in person until 1955. She had recently divorced DiMaggio after their marriage lasted less than a year, so she was single then and retained a strong interest in Miller. Monroe went to such lengths as cultivating a friendship with the playwright’s acquaintances, Norman and Hedda Rosten, to get closer to him.
Soon after, Miller and Monroe started having an affair together, even though Miller was still married. However, she’d become a famous actress in the years that had passed since the first time they’d met. This meant that the press followed Monroe’s every move and that their affair could not be kept a secret since the press would discover it.
Monroe desired to be with Miller because he gave her the impression that he could provide the affection and the sense of safety she had always searched for. She was also intrigued by the possibility of being perceived as a serious actor working alongside a well-known playwright. Miller was hesitant to leave his wife, but he was deeply in love with Monroe. In one of their letters, he said, “I believe that I should actually die if I ever lost you.” He moved to Nevada in the spring of 1956 to set up residency there and then proceeded with the divorce from his wife.
Monroe stood by Miller during his HUAC testimony
While Miller was in Nevada, he applied for a passport to travel with Monroe to England for a film shoot. This allowed Miller to travel with Monroe. On the other hand, as a result of his application, he was compelled to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee regarding the communist connections he has had in the past. Miller was scheduled to testify in front of HUAC on June 21, 1956, so he traveled to Washington, District of Columbia.
Miller had never been a member of the Communist Party, although, during the 1940s, he attended meetings linked with the party. He decided not to exercise his protection against self-incrimination granted by the Fifth Amendment and answered questions regarding his activities; nonetheless, he declined to divulge the names of any other attendees. Because of this, there was a good chance that Congress would cite him for contempt of court. Due to their connection, Marilyn Monroe ran the risk of having the moviegoing public lose their affection for her.
Monroe was advised to put some distance between herself and Miller or risk having her career come to a screeching halt. On the other hand, she disregarded this counsel and remained Miller’s devoted follower in public and private settings. Miller benefited much from her adoration because it was difficult to turn the public against a guy who had captured the heart of an American goddess. Her devotion was a windfall for Miller.
Miller and Monroe married in 1956 but had problems immediately
Miller was issued a contempt citation, but he could still acquire his passport. His last conviction was overturned after an appeal was filed. Miller and Monroe first tied the knot in a civil ceremony on June 29, 1956, in the office of a judge in White Plains, New York. A Jewish wedding took place on July 1, 1956. After that, they took a trip together to England so that Marilyn Monroe could collaborate with Laurence Olivier on the production of “The Prince and the Showgirl.”
The prospect of her marriage overjoyed Monroe, and at one point, she even stated, “This is the first time I’ve been really in love.” However, the movie’s filming did not proceed as planned, and she argued with Olivier. After that, she stumbled into some notes Miller had made about her. They reported that Miller was disappointed by their marriage and occasionally found Monroe embarrassing, but the specific phrases she read are unknown.
Monroe shared what Miller had written with his wife, Lee, and his wife Paula Strasberg. “How at first he mistook me for an angel but has since come to see that he was in error. That his former marriage had disappointed him, but that I had gone much further in that regard.” She had an idealized vision of Miller and was utterly crushed by what she perceived as a betrayal on his part.
Adding to the stress of the marriage, Monroe suffered several miscarriages
Monroe’s discovery in England was insufficient to cause her to abandon her marriage. She and Miller shared many joyful moments together, such as when he devoted a volume of his collected plays to her. Cooking and taking care of the house were two of Monroe’s attempts to lead a more sedate lifestyle. However, these brief periods of bliss were constantly disrupted by additional challenges.
Monroe was especially heartbroken because she could not give birth to Miller’s child. She had a miscarriage in September 1956, then lost an ectopic pregnancy in August 1957, and then had a second miscarriage in December 1958, shortly after she had finished filming Some Like It Hot. All of these events occurred within 18 months. Monroe, who was a chronic pill and alcohol abuser as well as a user, held herself responsible for her most recent failed pregnancy attempt.
Miller was having trouble finding the solitude and emotional stillness that he needed to compose, and Monroe had developed resentment toward her husband. She was displeased that he had disregarded his beliefs to redo some parts of her movie Let’s Make Love, which she considered subpar work. And she mentioned that Miller did not fight for her or even protest the liaison when she had an affair with Yves Montand, a co-star on the show.
Their marriage ended after less than five years
Monroe and Miller’s romance ended when they were working together on the production of The Misfits, which was to be Monroe’s last picture. The screenplay for the movie, which was adapted from one of Miller’s short stories, was originally written to establish her as a serious performer. However, by the time production of the movie began in the summer of 1960, she had already decided that she did not like the script, claiming at one point, “According to Arthur, it’s his movie. I don’t think he even wants me in it. It’s over and done with. Because the movie would suffer if we went our separate ways at this point, we have no choice but to remain united.”
Because of Miller’s rewrite, Monroe had difficulty remembering the last-minute dialogue before the shot, making the production more difficult. Additionally, the fact that she continued to consume substances made it difficult to progress on the picture. Because of these problems, she had to spend a week in a hospital in the Los Angeles area.
Monroe successfully made her way back and completed the film, but by that time, her marriage to Miller had already ended. On November 11, 1960, they went public to end their marriage and divorce each other. Monroe chose January 20, 1961, as the date, she would travel to Mexico to secure a divorce. She did this hoping that the inauguration of John F. Kennedy would divert the media’s focus.
Miller did not attend Monroe’s funeral
When asked about her past connection with Miller, Monroe candidly disclosed, “I didn’t always have a good attitude. It is necessary for him to have affection towards the beast. But maybe I’m too demanding. It’s possible that no man in the world could handle everything that I am. I am aware of how much I have put Arthur through. But on the other hand, he caused me a lot of trouble.” After she passed away on August 5, 1962, from an overdose of drugs, her relationship with Miller and all of the other people in her life came to an end. Miller decided not to attend her funeral and explained his reasoning by saying, “She won’t be there.”
After the Fall, a drama by Miller had its world premiere in New York City in January 1964. Maggie, a character in the story, had the same upbringing as Monroe, as well as her mannerisms and propensity toward self-destruction. Maggie was a singer and not an actress, but it was evident that she was modeled after Miller’s ex-wife because her portrayer wore a blonde wig for the role. Maggie was not an actress.
Miller was subjected to widespread criticism for his use of Monroe and her suffering as material for a play; however, he denied any connection between the two. After that, he included characters with ties to Monroe in other works, such as the drama Finishing the Picture, which was first performed in 2004 and is based on the tumultuous production of The Misfits. Even though they had broken up many years ago, it is clear that he has never forgotten about her.
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