Subscribe
Search
Login
« 7 Literary Ladies under Gemini | Main | Hands of Gemini 6: Garcia Lorca »
Monday
Jun222009

Hands of Gemini 7: Marilyn Monroe

Leaving her handprints in front of Grauman's Chinese Theater, after the filming of Gentlemen Prefer Blonds, in which she figures as one of a pair (with Jane Russell), bon vivante and gender-bending. Granted, the hand is not the first body part one associates with Monroe, nor is Gemini the sign one might guess for her.  Yet that might be the very disjunction that explains her anguish. She gave herself to the camera, that is, to the state of being duplicated and multiplied, promiscuously and compulsively. Hedda Hopper, herself a Gemini (and note that both ladies rechristened themselves with alliterative names, gracing their self-created identities with the primitive charm of doubleness), observed Monroe's relation to the camera:

“No one in my memory hypnotized the camera as she did. . . In her brain and body the distinction between woman and actress had edges sharp as razor blades. Off camera she was a nervous, amazingly fair-skinned creature almost beside herself with anxiety about her roles, driven to seek relief in vodka, champagne, sleeping pills—anything to blunt the pain of her existence. When the camera was there she became an actress, using her eyes, her hands, every muscle in her body to court and conquer the camera as though it were her lover, whom she dominated and was dominated by, adored and feared.”   ---Hedda Hopper, The Truth and Nothing But (sic)

MM & HH: 2 Geminis and a mirror

As a hypermediated Gemini she was also a reader, fully entitled to wear glasses without joking. She married a writer, after all, not a bodyguard or back-up dancer. She was continually communicative, on the phone, kept in touch with everybody, even her distant half-sister, who wrote a book about her.

As Geminis do, she paired off with other Geminis.  Most memorably, Tony Curtis, JFK, and Joyce Carol Oates.Two Geminis with cameras

 

Gemini JFK avoided being caught in a photo with her, save in this rare shot taken on the sly, which includes the bonus features treasured by Gemini watchers: the Brother and the Library.

Two Geminis with phone

Gemini novelist Joyce Carol Oates announced Marilyn as her alter-ego or secret twin in the jacket art of her novel BLONDE, which had the working title of GEMINI, and is full of reflections on Gemini, including an extended fantasy of a sexual relationship between Monroe and a pair of handsome twins. A powerful chapter treats the occasion on which Monroe sang Happy Birthday to JFK. Years later tragic history repeated itself as farce when Gemini opera singer Beverly Sills sang Happy Birthday to Gemini Henry Kissinger.

(found stereogram)

(photo by Milton H. Greene)

 

reading Ulysses

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (1)

I am captivated with the wealth of your resources, insights, and noble gesture.
June 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLauren

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.