Jacket Copy

Books, authors and all things bookish

« Previous | Jacket Copy Home | Next»

Happy birthday, Marilyn Monroe

Norma Jean Mortenson was born on this day in 1926 right here in Los Angeles; she would endure a difficult childhood and become screen star Marilyn Monroe.

Although she often played blond bimbos, Monroe was quite a reader. There's a photograph of  Monroe reading "Ulysses" by James Joyce in what looks like down time during a playground photo shoot. Of course, since it's Marilyn, she's wearing a bathing suit. Such is the price of pinup-dom.

When she died in 1962, Marilyn Monroe's library included "The Fall" by Albert Camus; a book of lectures by J. Robert Oppenheimer, father of the atom bomb; stories by Chekhov; Dostoevsky's "Crime and Punishment"; Sherwood Anderson's "Winesburg, Ohio"; two books by Theodore Dreiser; three books by Bertrand Russell; lots of plays; "Moses and Monotheism" by Sigmund Freud; and "Madame Bovary" by Gustave Flaubert. Those are all part of Marilyn Monroe's library as cataloged by volunteers on the website LibraryThing.

In 2010, Farrar, Straus and Giroux released a book of Monroe's own writings, "Fragments: Poems, Intimate Notes, Letters by Marilyn Monroe." In our review, Richard Schickel noted that the book showed how much Monroe "became a devoted reader of serious literature."

Happy 85th birthday, Marilyn Monroe.


Marilyn Monroe, in her own words

Review: "Fragments" by Marilyn Monroe

Are Marilyn Monroe's musings worthwhile?

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Marilyn Monroe, reader, circa 1953. From the book "Fragments: Poems, Intimate Notes, Letters by Marilyn Monroe." Credit:  Alfred Eisenstaedt / Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Comments () | Archives (20)

The comments to this entry are closed.

A superstar of all babes!

Happy Birthday Norma Jean!! Your are missed!!

Happy Birthday to Marilyn and my Mother!

Two special ladies that share the day!

Love you!

Happy Birthday Marilyn Monroe.You will alway's be missed!!!

Happy birthday. The only thing MM and I have in common.

A truly underrated talent in many ways. We were the losers when she left us.

what a girl!

Happy Birthday Marilyn! You were such a remarkable and fascinating woman!

She'd be reading Who Killed Me: the truth about Marilyn, Jack, Bobby and the Mob.

She's dead? Darn!

Happy Birthday Norma Jean. You changed my life forever after seeing "Niagara" RIP

A trick question!! Marilyn would struggle to read.

I will never forget being one of the dancers behind you in " Gentlemen Prefer

Blondes" and you sang " Diamonds are a Girl's best Friend"...........


What would she be reading? How about "The Naked and the Dead"?


Esteem for me would skyrocket if I was judged by the books in my library. Would anyone guess there were a few titles I never got around to?

I think she'd be reading whatever she wanted to read, and I know she would have been smart enough to learn how to utilize a computer or an e-book. I agree with everybody here. Marilyn Monroe was an unappreciated talent, a skilled actress with an excellent singing voice, whose career was ultimately sabotaged by her looks, mental illness, and the Hollywood typecasating system. Hers is a heartbreaking tragedy and a pointed lesson to those who seek fame and fortune in the movie industry.

Hap...py...birrthday...to youuuu
Hap...py...birrrthday...to youuuu
Happy birth...day, Ms. Monroooooe

No, no, no one else could do it as well.

She was so much more than she appeared. A huge talent and a one of a kind. There has never been anyone who could fill your shoes Norma Jean and no one ever will.

Happy birthday to you,Happy birthday to you,Happy birthday dear Marilyn,Happy birthday to you.May the good Lord bless you,May the good Lord bless you,Happy birthday dear Marilyn,Happy birthday to you.Marilyn Monroe,you will always be The Queen of Hollywood.


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


Explore Bestsellers Lists





Tweets and retweets from L.A. Times staff writers.