Based on new interviews and research, this ground-breaking biography explores the secret selves behind Marilyn Monroe’s public facades.

Marilyn Monroe. Her beauty still captivates. Her love life still fascinates. Her story still dominates popular culture. Now, drawing on years of research and dozens of new interviews, this biography cuts through decades of lies and secrets and introduces you to the Marilyn Monroe you always wanted to know: a living, breathing, complex woman, bewitching and maddening, brilliant yet flawed.

Charles Casillo studies Monroe’s life through the context of her times―in the days before feminism. Before there was adequate treatment for Marilyn’s struggle with bipolar disorder. Starting with her abusive childhood, this biography exposes how―in spite of her fractured psyche―Marilyn’s extreme ambition inspired her to transform each celebrated love affair and each tragedy into another step in her journey towards immortality. Casillo fully explores the last two years of her life, including her involvement with both John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert, and the mystery of her last day.


My Thoughts: I was a teenager on the night Marilyn died, watching TV with my cousin at her house. When a celebrity leaves us in a tragic way, we often recall where we were and what we were doing.

Since then, I have read other accounts of her life and her sad childhood, and how she struggled to achieve success, while seeking love, family, and respect for her work.

Toward the end of Marilyn Monroe: The Private Life of a Public Icon, the author shares a series of “what if” moments, miscommunications between friends, and even some tragic mistakes made by the psychiatrists involving medication. These thoughts left me very sad for this vulnerable and lonely woman. The author’s account, with numerous details presented beautifully, kept me engaged throughout. I liked these parting remarks: “Loved by millions but feeling let down and alone, on a warm summer night, she went out as the most sensational movie star of the twentieth century. She is perfected and frozen in time: beautiful, vulnerable, impenetrable, delicious—forever our white goddess.” 5 stars.



  1. I don’t remember the time she died and what I was doing. but I do remember her – I was about 12 and we were aware of film stars of course. Yes I have always thought of her with sadness for a person who was lost.

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