Running in Wonder Heels
It’s beginning to look a lot like X mas…
But Marilyn discovered only too quickly that her natural endowments, which got her into the movies were not enough to keep her there. A few months and one small part after she’d signed her contract, she was fired.
Realizing that she needed more than sex appeal for a successful career, Marilyn now started to use her brains to get ahead. For the next two years she studied voice, diction, breathing, and dramatics. Twenty hours a day she concentrated on becoming an actress.
Luckily, learning has always come easily to her, in spite of the limited encouragement she got while being raised in a Los Angeles orphanage.
In grammar school she once wrote a paper on Abraham Lincoln which was judged the best of her class. Later, to improve her mind, she read the works of Thomas Wolfe, Leo Tolstoi,Walt Whitman and Albert Schweitzer. Until recently, she was taking an evening course in “Background of Literature” at U.C.L.A. This may surprise the GI who limited Marilyn’s assets to a perfect figure, sexy voice, and a seductive smile.
Taking dramatic instruction wasn’t accomplished without personal hardships and financial sacrifices. Acting lessons cost money. Lots of it. Paying for them was hardly easy for a girl out of a job, her living dependent on occasional modeling fees. To scrape together enough money for lessons and books, Marilyn restricted herself to two meals a day, made her own clothes, cut expenses whenever and wherever she could.
-“Body and Soul” by Peer J. Oppenheimer for Screen magazine, May 1953
Elvis Presley reads fan mail at The Warwick Hotel, New York on March 4, 1956. Photographs taken by Alfred Wertheimer.