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Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

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Plane Crash Survivor Dies, Dec. 17, 1960


  Dec. 17, 1960, Mirror Cover  

Dec. 17, 1960: Maurice Zolotow’s biography of Marilyn Monroe ends with a portrait of the actress’ continual insecurity, professionally and personally. And Zolotow adds a postscript on Monroe and Yves Montand.

“The breakup that was to make Arthur Miller another ex-Mr. Marilyn Monroe, like Jim Dougherty and Joe DiMaggio, had been presaged by the declining status of the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright in the Monroe menage as well as in the world of the stage. And also by rumors and jokes that emanated from Hollywood,” Zolotow says. 

  Dec. 17, 1960, Monroe  

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Comments (2)

The Zolotow series was excellent. As not much of a fan of Monroe---i felt offended growing up at the vacuous woman she always portrayed, as if it took a dumb blond to turn apparently even dumber men, like me, on---i now understand her better, and what she was going for with her palpable appeal. She was an avatar of the sexual revolution of the '60s that succeeded in liberating American culture from its multiple-millenial prudery, all the way, even, to the relatively dull '10s 50 years later.

It turns out Zolotow's Monroe book was seen as perceptive by other biographers of her decdes later: He is quoted in, and i suspect influenced, particularly in examining her psyche, no less than two dozen other Monroe biographies.

I actually saw the wreckage of the United DC-8 which crashed into Sterling Place Brooklyn on Dec 16, 1960. I saw the tail sticking straight up in the air on Sterling Place that Friday night, lit up by Police and Fire Dept high intensity lights. I was in the 8th grade and my school had just begun Christmas break that morning and I was staying at my friend's parent's house on Eastern Parkway. We walked 3 blocks over to Sterling Place and could readily see the wreckage and the smoldering buildings where the plane crashed, though the street itself was roped off from one block away. I will never forget the image, it's seared into my mind, a DC-8 tail sticking straight up in the air on a city street.


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