Marilyn Monroe Quotes

Most people remember Marilyn as the bombshell with the bedroom eyes, but later stories and personal documents revealed a complex woman who was intellectually curious, poetic, bright, and yes, sometimes sad and deeply emotional. As Monroe’s best friend and former roommate Shelley Winters put it: “If she’d been dumber, she’d have been happier.”  Monroe had a genuine love for books (she tended to a large personal library), her impressive IQ (reportedly 168) Those close to her who confirmed that her “Monroeisms” were no studio invention, but instead just let her words speak for themselves. Enjoy a collection of quotes from the pop culture icon that proves there was more to the woman behind the dazzling and seductive Hollywood facade.

“The ‘public’ scares me, but people I trust.”

“Here is [James] Joyce writing what a woman thinks to herself. Can he, does he really know her innermost thoughts? But after I read the whole book, I could better understand that Joyce is an artist who could penetrate the souls of people, male or female. It really doesn’t matter that Joyce doesn’t have… or never felt a menstrual cramp. To me Leopold Bloom is a central character. He is the despised Irish Jew, married to an Irish Catholic woman. It is through them Joyce develops much of what he wants to say.”

“I have always been deeply terrified to really be someone’s wife since I know from life one cannot love another, ever, really.”

“When you’re famous you kind of run into human nature in a raw kind of way. It stirs up envy, fame does. People you run into feel that, well, who is she who does she think she is, Marilyn Monroe? They feel fame gives them some kind of privilege to walk up to you and say anything to you, you know, of any kind of nature and it won’t hurt your feelings. Like it’s happening to your clothing. One time here I am looking for a home to buy and I stopped at this place. A man came out and was very pleasant and cheerful, and said, ‘Oh, just a moment, I want my wife to meet you.’ Well, she came out and said, “Will you please get off the premises?” You’re always running into people’s unconscious.”

“I don’t understand why people aren’t a little more generous with each other.”

better-unhappy-alone-than-unhappy with someone--Marilyn Monroe Quote

“Anything’s possible, almost.”

“An actor is not a machine, no matter how much they want to say you are. Creativity has got to start with humanity and when you’re a human being, you feel, you suffer.”

“Goethe said, ‘Talent is developed in privacy,’ you know? And it’s really true. There is a need for aloneness, which I don’t think most people realize for an actor. It’s almost having certain kinds of secrets for yourself that you’ll let the whole world in on only for a moment, when you’re acting. But everybody is always tugging at you. They’d all like sort of a chunk of you.

“This is supposed to be an art form, not just a manufacturing establishment. The sensitivity that helps me to act, you see, also makes me react. An actor is supposed to be a sensitive instrument.”

“Fame has a special burden, which I might as well state here and now. I don’t mind being burdened with being glamorous and sexual. But what goes with it can be a burden. I feel that beauty and femininity are ageless and can’t be contrived, and glamour, although the manufacturers won’t like this, cannot be manufactured. Not real glamour; it’s based on femininity. I think that sexuality is only attractive when it’s natural and spontaneous. This is where a lot of them miss the boat. And then something I’d just like to spout off on. We are all born sexual creatures, thank God, but it’s a pity so many people despise and crush this natural gift. Art, real art, comes from it, everything.”

“I never wanted to be Marilyn — it just happened. Marilyn’s like a veil I wear over Norma Jeane.”

marilyn monroe

“Its not too much fun to know yourself too well or think you do —everyone needs a little conceit to carry them through and past the falls.”

“This is a free and democratic country and no one has a monopoly on anything.”

“People had a habit of looking at me as if I were some kind of mirror instead of a person. They didn’t see me, they saw their own lewd thoughts, then they white-masked themselves by calling me the lewd one.”

“Everyone’s childhood plays itself out. No wonder no one knows the other or can completely understand. By this I don’t know if I’m just giving up with this conclusion or resigning myself — or maybe for the first time connecting with reality. How do we know the pain or another’s earlier years, let alone all that he drags with him since along the way at best a lot of leeway is needed for the other — yet how much is unhealthy for one to bear. I think to love bravely is the best and accept -— as much as one can bear.”

“For life: it is rather a determination not to be overwhelmed. For work: the truth can only be recalled, never invented.”

“My work is the only ground I’ve ever had to stand on. I seem to have a whole superstructure with no foundation — but I’m working on the foundation.”

“I’m trying to find the nailhead, not just strike the blow.”

“Men are climbing to the moon, but they don’t seem interested in the beating human heart.”

“I’ve given pure sex appeal very little thought. If I had to think about it I’m sure it would frighten me.”

Norma Jean Baker

“I’ve never fooled anyone. I’ve let people fool themselves. They didn’t bother to find out who and what I was. Instead they would invent a character for me. I wouldn’t argue with them. They were obviously loving somebody I wasn’t.”

“It takes a smart brunette to play a dumb blonde.”

“I knew I belonged to the public and to the world, not because I was talented or even beautiful, but because I had never belonged to anything or anyone else.”

“I want to be an artist, not an erotic freak. I don’t want to be sold to the public as a celluloid aphrodisiac.”

“Hollywood parties not only confuse me, but they often disillusion me. The disillusion comes when I meet a movie star I’ve been admiring since childhood. I always thought that movie stars were exciting and talented people full of special personality. Meeting one of them at a party I discover usually that he (or she) is colorless and even frightened. I’ve often stood silent at a party for hours listening to my movie idols turn into dull and little people.”

“Acting isn’t something you do. Instead of doing it, it occurs. If you’re going to start with logic, you might as well give up. You can have conscious preparation, but you have unconscious results.”

“A sex symbol becomes a thing. I just hate to be a thing. But if I’m going to be a symbol of something I’d rather have it sex than some other things they’ve got symbols of.”

“I love a natural look in pictures. I like people with a feeling one way or another — it shows an inner life. I like to see that there’s something going on inside them.”

“Please don’t make me a joke… I don’t mind making jokes, but I don’t want to look like one. I want to be an artist, an actress with integrity.”

“It might be a kind of relief to be finished. You have to start all over again. But I believe you’re always as good as your potential. I now live in my work and in a few relationships with the few people I can really count on. Fame will go by, and, so long, I’ve had you fame. If it goes by, I’ve always known it was fickle. So at least it’s something I experienced, but that’s not where I live.”

Marilyn Monroe

From Wiki Quotes:

    • Everyone’s childhood plays itself out. No wonder no one knows the other or can completely understand. By this I don’t know if I’m just giving up with this conclusion or resigning myself – or maybe for the first time connecting with reality. How do we know the pain or another’s earlier years, let alone all that he drags with him since along the way at best a lot of leeway is needed for the other – yet how much is unhealthy for one to bear. I think to love bravely is the best and accept – as much as one can bear.
      • As quoted in Marilyn’s personal diaries in 1958. Fragments, by Stanley Buchthal and Bernard Comment (2010)
    • For life: It is rather a determination not to be overwhelmed. For work: The truth can only be recalled, never invented.
      • As quoted in Marilyn’s personal diaries. Fragments, by Stanley Buchthal and Bernard Comment (2010)
    • I know I will never be happy but I know I can be gay!
      • As quoted in a letter to her psychiatrist, Dr. Greenson, in 1961. Fragments, by Stanley Buchthal and Bernard Comment (2010)
    • It’s not true I had nothing on. I had the radio on.
      • On reports of her nude photographs for a calendar, as quoted in TIME magazine (1952)
    • I’ve been on a calendar, but never on time.
      • Look magazine (5 March 1957)
    • I’m a failure as a woman. My men expect so much of me, because of the image they’ve made of me — and that I’ve made of myself — as a sex symbol. They expect bells to ring and whistles to whistle, but my anatomy is the same as any other woman’s and I can’t live up to it.
      • Statement c. 1962, as quoted in Marilyn (1992) by Peter Harry Brown and Patte B. Barham, Ch. 30
    • Unfortunately, I am involved in a freedom ride protesting the loss of the minority rights belonging to the few remaining earthbound stars. All we demanded was our right to twinkle.
      • Telegram, turning down a party invitation from Mr. and Mrs. Robert F. Kennedy (13 June 1962)
    • I think that when you are famous every weakness is exaggerated. … Goethe said, “Talent is developed in privacy,” you know? And it’s really true. … Creativity has got to start with humanity and when you’re a human being, you feel, you suffer. You’re gay, you’re sick, you’re nervous or whatever.
      • “Marilyn Monroe Pours Her Heart Out” interview by Richard Meryman, in LIFE (3 August 1962)
    • Say goodbye to Pat, say goodbye to the president, and say goodbye to yourself, because you’re a nice guy. … I’ll see, I’ll see.

    Marilyn Monroe Quotes

    Please don’t make me a joke. End the interview with what I believe. I don’t mind making jokes, but I don’t want to look like one. I want to be an artist, an actress with integrity.

    • Please don’t make me a joke. End the interview with what I believe. I don’t mind making jokes, but I don’t want to look like one… I want to be an artist, an actress with integrity… If fame goes by, so long, I’ve had you, fame. If it goes by, I’ve always known it was fickle. So at least it’s something I experienced, but that’s not where I live.
      • Her last taped interview, with Richard Meryman, published in LIFE magazine a few days before her death. (3 August 1962); quoted in Ms. magazine (August 1972)
    • Say good-bye to Pat, say good-bye to Jack and say good-bye to yourself, because you’re a nice guy.
      • Last words to actor Peter Lawford, in August 1962, as quoted in US News & World Report (7 October 1985)
    • An actress is not a machine, but they treat you like a machine. A money machine.
      • As quoted in Ms. magazine (August 1972) p. 38
    • Why? — It paid the rent.
      • On why she had posed nude for a calendar photograph, quoted in Ms. magazine (August 1972) p. 39
    • I restore myself when I’m alone. A career is born in public — talent in privacy.
      • As quoted in Ms. magazine (August 1972) p. 40

    I don’t want to make money, I just want to be wonderful.

    • That’s the trouble, a sex symbol becomes a thing. But if I’m going to be a symbol of something, I’d rather it be sex than some of the things we’ve got symbols of… I just hate to be a thing.
      • Comment on her sex symbol status, quoted in Ms. magazine (August 1972) p. 40
    • I’m not interested in money, I just want to be wonderful.
      • As quoted in Ms. magazine (August 1972) p. 41
    • The studio people want me to do “Good-bye Charlie” for the movies, but I’m not going to do it. I don’t like the idea of playing a man in a woman’s body — you know? It just doesn’t seem feminine.
      • On turning down a role, eventually played by Debbie Reynolds, as quoted in Ms. magazine (August 1972) p. 41

    Hollywood’s a place where they’ll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss, and fifty cents for your soul…

    • First, I’m trying to prove to myself that I’m a person. Then maybe I’ll convince myself that I’m an actress.
      • As quoted in Ms. magazine (August 1972) p. 42
    • The body is meant to be seen, not all covered up.
      • Handwritten note responding to a question about posing nude, as quoted in International Herald Tribune (5 October 1984)
    • Husbands are chiefly good as lovers when they are betraying their wives.
      • As quoted in Marilyn Monroe : In Her Own Words (1983), edited by Roger Taylor
    • My work is the only ground I’ve ever had to stand on. I seem to have a whole superstructure with no foundation — but I’m working on the foundation.
      • As quoted in Marilyn Monroe : In Her Own Words (1983), edited by Roger Taylor
    • Hollywood’s a place where they’ll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss, and fifty cents for your soul. I know, because I turned down the first offer often enough and held out for the fifty cents.
      • As quoted in Marilyn Monroe : In Her Own Words (1983), edited by Roger Taylor

    It would be wonderful to enjoy success without seeing envy in the eyes of those around you.

    Marilyn Monroe gif Diamonds

    • When you’re famous you kind of run into human nature in a raw kind of way. It stirs up envy, fame does. People you run into feel that, well, who does she think she is, Marilyn Monroe?They feel fame gives them some kind of privilege to walk up to you and say anything to you, of any kind of nature — and it won’t hurt your feelings — like it’s happening to your clothes not you.
      • Comment on fame, quoted in Marilyn Monroe: A Life of the Actress (1993) by Carl E. Rollyson, and in Symbolic Leaders: Public Dramas and Public Men (2006) by Orrin Edgar Klapp
      • Variant: People feel fame gives them some kind of privilege to walk up to you and say anything to you, of any kind of nature — and it won’t hurt your feelings — like it’s happening to your clothing.
      • As quoted in Ms. magazine (August 1972) p. 40
    • Success makes so many people hate you. I wish it wasn’t that way. It would be wonderful to enjoy success without seeing envy in the eyes of those around you.
      • As quoted in The Films of Barbra Streisand (2001) by Christopher Nickens and Karen Swenson
    • I don’t know who invented high heels, but all women owe him a lot.
      • As quoted in Her Inspiration : Secrets to Help You Work Smart, Be Successful, and Have Fun (2008) by Mina Parker

    On Being Blonde:

    Marilyn Monroe Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend

    People had a habit of looking at me as if I were some kind of mirror instead of a person. They didn’t see me, they saw their own lewd thoughts, then they white-masked themselves by calling me the lewd one.

    Quotes of Monroe from On Being Blonde : Wit and Wisdom from the World’s Most Infamous Blondes (2004) by Paula Munier
    • It’s far better to be unhappy alone than unhappy with someone — so far.
      • p. 52
    • It stirs up envy, fame does. People you run into feel that, well, who does she think she is, Marilyn Monroe? They feel fame gives them some kind of privilege to walk up to you and say anything to you, of any kind of nature — and it won’t hurt your feelings — like it’s happening to your clothes not you.
      • p. 52
    • The truth is I’ve never fooled anyone. I’ve let people fool themselves. They didn’t bother to find out who and what I was. Instead they would invent a character for me. I wouldn’t argue with them. They were obviously loving somebody I wasn’t. When they found this out, they would blame me for disillusioning them and fooling them.
      • p. 52
    • A career is wonderful, but you can’t curl up with it on a cold night.
      • p. 53
    • Arthur Miller wouldn’t have married me if I had been nothing but a dumb blonde.
      • p. 54
    • People had a habit of looking at me as if I were some kind of mirror instead of a person. They didn’t see me, they saw their own lewd thoughts, then they white-masked themselves by calling me the lewd one.

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  1. Pingback: Marilyn | Apanache

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