Everyone has a hidden story — even Marilyn Monroe. The fact that she was a tragic starlet who struggled to overcome a rough childhood has always been greatly publicized. It's no secret that she also had a string of failed marriages and battled addiction. The REELZ documentary Marilyn, Misunderstood reveals the story of the other Marilyn: a woman who had a long path to becoming the biggest star in the world.
Through rarely seen footage, photos and interviews with her friends and colleagues, Marilyn, Misunderstood sheds light on this other side of Monroe.
After impressing audiences with films like Niagara, Gentleman Prefer Blondes and How to Marry a Millionaire, Monroe was known as one of Hollywood’s biggest success stories.
"It was announced in the newspapers that Marilyn Monroe was coming to New York," remembers Monroe’s friend Jim Haspiel in the documentary.
"She was probably the most famous actress in the world at that point, and was a sex symbol,” adds Angela Allen, the script supervisor for The Misfits.
When she flew to the Big Apple to film scenes from her movie The Seven Year Itch, Monroe was joined by her new husband, legendary major league baseball player Joe DiMaggio. Despite the fact that everything was seemingly perfect, on the night of September 15, 1954, the documentary revisits how Monroe brought New York City to a standstill.
"She understood the value of publicity because she had been raised on publicity," recalls Marilyn Monroe photographer Lawrence Shiller. "Everything had been publicity." Life was far from perfect in her marriage and career, and soon the changes in Monroe's life would shock the world.
Haspiel speaks of filming the most iconic scene in Monroe’s career on film. "They began around midnight and within seconds there was a tousled blonde head in the middle of the crowd, they were all over her," he says of the shoot on Lexington Avenue, which went on to become one of the most iconic moments in cinema history.
"They filmed the same scene over and over 15 times until about 5 in the morning," he goes on about the moment in which Monroe is standing over a subway grate, skirts flying. "I witnessed that entire thing, along with 5,000 other onlookers I might say."
Monroe may have been blonde, but it is clear that she was not dumb. According to her friends and colleagues, she was not the tragic victim that many believe her to be. Just in time to celebrate Women’s Month, Marilyn, Misunderstood demonstrates that she was a brave, complex, brilliant, funny, outspoken and ambitious woman.
There is much more to discover in Marilyn, Misunderstood on Sunday, March 14, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on REELZ.
Watch REELZ on DIRECTV 238, Dish Network 299, Verizon FiOS 692, AT&T U-verse 1799 and in HD on cable systems and streaming services nationwide. Find REELZ on your local cable or satellite provider at www.reelz.com.