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ClearDot.gif (85 bytes) The Roles Marilyn Missed
. . . . . .
By Bill Harry

Editor's Note: Bill Harry, Founder and publisher of Mersey Beat, the seminal London music paper that helped launch the Beatles in the early sixties, attended the Liverpool College of Art with John Lennon. Additionally, he has been the publicist for a host of successful groups and artists including Pink Floyd, the Beach Boys, Led Zepplin, Jethro Tull and David Bowie. Mr. Harry is the author of a number of popular books on the Beatles, including the new Paul McCartney Encyclopaedia (available from the Triumph PC ONLINE Bookshop).

Marilyn MonroeMarilyn Monroe's film heritage would have been much more interesting had she managed to obtain some of the parts she wanted to play, among them, Grushenka, a spirited Russian girl, Irma, a Parisian prostitute - two totally contrasting personalities that might have afforded her a real opportunity to shine. Yet, for various reasons, she wasn't able to play the parts.

Marilyn made 30 films, the majority of which are unremarkable.

As an aspiring actress, Marilyn had little choice. It was a matter of seeking whichever roles she could get, auditioning and screen testing. As a contract artist with 20th Century Fox, she had to toe the line. As she became a bigger star she refused many of the roles Fox had penciled in for her - their idea of films she was right for did not agree with hers.

Since 1950, Marilyn had wanted to appear as Grushenka in "The Brothers Karamazov", a meaty role as the leading female figure in the epic Russian novel. She announced to the world that she wanted the part. A reporter asked, "Do you want to play 'The Brothers Karamazov'?" she replied, "I don't want to play the brothers, I want to play Grushenka. She's a girl."   20th Century Fox announced that they wouldn't consider her for such a role; they obviously wanted to keep her in frothy, dumb blonde roles.

The novel eventually made it to the screen in a 1958 MGM production, in which the part Marilyn desired went to German actress, Maria Schell. The film itself was a lackluster, superficial treatment of the great Russian classic.

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