WEIRDLAND: Shocking Stories: Marilyn Monroe, Mamie Van Doren, Jim Morrison, Lou Reed, Mick Jagger

Monday, March 02, 2020

Shocking Stories: Marilyn Monroe, Mamie Van Doren, Jim Morrison, Lou Reed, Mick Jagger

Marilyn Monroe’s turbulent final months before her death in 1962 are to be the subject of a drama series from 101 Studios and UK producer Seven Seas Films, titled The Last Days Of Marilyn Monroe. In what is being pitched as the first “tell-all” authorized by the Marilyn Monroe estate owner Authentic Brands Group, The Mallorca Files scribe Dan Sefton will adapt Keith Badman’s book The Final Years Of Marilyn Monroe: The Shocking True Story. Seven Seas optioned the novel in 2017. It will transport viewers back to a time when Monroe found herself caught between the warring factions of the Mafia, the Kennedy political dynasty and the Hollywood elite. Sefton, who co-founded Seven Seas, said the story will be told with “compassion and sensitivity.” 101 Studios CEO David Glasser added: “Keith Badman has uncovered gems of never before released details, centered around the last few months of her sensationalized life and the accusations made. The series pays homage to the bright star whose life was extinguished too early.” Comparing her busy schedule with that of President John F. Kennedy, Keith Badman concludes that their alleged ‘romance’ was probably no more than a one-night stand. However, he does not underestimate the Hollywood rumour mill, and the likelihood that any explicit association with America’s most famous sex symbol could damage the Kennedys’ reputation in Washington. 

In Anthony Summers’ 1986 biography, Goddess: The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe, Dr Timothy Leary, guru of the psychedelic era, spoke of having taken LSD with Monroe after they met at a Hollywood party in May 1962. After researching Leary’s life at this time, as well as Marilyn’s, Badman concludes that this probably never happened. ‘The tale about his encounter with screen legend actually grew out of one of his several, highly embellished LSD flashbacks,’ Badman counters, ‘which in turn passed on to his many disciples over the ensuing years.’ Badman then speculates that Leary had confused Marilyn with one of John F. Kennedy’s girlfriends, the artist Mary Meyer who reportedly introduced the president to marijuana. Source:

Mamie Van Doren, known as one of “The Three M’s” alongside blonde goddesses Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield, has been keeping busy writing the follow-up to her titillating 1987 memoir “Playing the Field,” where she detailed her adventures and sexual escapades as a star in Hollywood during the ‘50s and ‘60s.

-Mamie Van Doren: I like sex better than rock ‘n’ roll. I was the first to do rock ‘n’ roll on the big screen and that definitely exudes a lot of your sex appeal. I got away from all the bad stuff that was going on in Hollywood. This was around the ‘60s when I left. There were a lot of drugs. Marilyn died. Jayne died. A lot of my contemporaries were gone. I just thought it was time to leave Hollywood.

-Fox News: How did you cope with the casting couch?

-Mamie Van Doren: I’m the type of person that if I don’t like someone, I’m not going to bed with them. I don’t care who they are. I missed a couple of good roles because of it. But looking back, I’m glad I didn’t do them. If some guy said to me, "I’ll put you in a movie if you do me"–I just couldn’t do it. And then I became unapproachable. So they didn’t dare. You have to put yourself in a position where you’re unapproachable. I certainly opened a lot of doors during a postwar time when things were very conservative. I was way ahead of my time. I didn’t know what the women’s movement was, but I was there living it.

-Your bio is quite original. While you are honest about your sexual escapades I lost count of how many men you turned down: Howard Hughes, James Dean, Frank Sinatra, Cary Grant, Johnny Carson, Henry Kissinger...

-Mamie Van Doren: Warren Beatty was another. He was kind of a drooler when he kissed me. I wrote my first book in 1987. It was called "Playing the Field." But a lot has happened between 1987 and 2020. So now I’m writing about what it’s like getting older and appreciating life a little more as you go along, as well as getting smarter as you get older. There’s so much to write about. A lot of material just didn’t make it in the first book. My book publisher was very conservative and a lot of stories were taken out. So I’m putting a lot of those stories back in. Source:

Eve Babitz: "Jim Morrison, a film school poet, could be all things to all people, like Marilyn Monroe. Casting anyone to play Jim was just totally ridiculous to me. Oliver Stone was asking everyone in connection with The Doors if Jim Morrison was impotent, and it makes you think Oliver didn’t know much about Jim’s main disease. You’d think he’d at least read up on the symptoms that show up in a person who takes depressants as a cure for depression. Taking Seconal and Tuinal and drinking brandy will bring your sex life to a grinding halt. After his death in Paris, I began running into women who kept Jim alive–as did I–because something about him began seeming great compared to everything else that was going on." —Eve Babitz for Esquire Magazine (March, 1991)

Andy Warhol, in his memoir POPism, remembered: ‘Jim Morrison would stand at the bar drinking screwdrivers all night long, and he’d get really far gone.’ Warhol also pinpointed part of Morrison’s appeal: "The girls were only interested in the guys that didn’t go after them. I saw a lot of girls pass on Warren Beatty, who was so good looking, just because they knew he wanted to fuck them, and they’d go looking for somebody who looked like he didn’t want to, like Jim Morrison." Janet Erwin, a friend of journalist Patricia Kennealy, remembers an occasion when Jim Morrison was cluelessly hit on by a 'poor schlub' who didn't realize that "Morrison was one of the most robustly and notoriously heterosexual men on the planet, the goddam Warren Beatty of rock."

—Patrick Humphries review for Vox magazine (May 1991): Oliver Stone's film is a wet dream for all those that wallow in the mire of the Jim Morrison myth but as a document to offer any understanding of the man, the times, or any insight into that myth it’s worthless. —Jim Cherry: Stephen Davis' biography is derivative and disappointing, relying on previous biographies like No One Here Gets Out Alive. Davis does seem to claim Jim Morrison might have been a bisexual based on the evidence that he sometimes hung out with a literary circle which might have involved some gay/bisexual poet. This, at best, seems ridiculous. Even Ray Manzarek hated Stephen Davis’s book. “Woof! This is a strange story by a weird guy turning Morrison into an Oliver Stone-like stranger again,” Manzarek told me over the phone from Los Angeles. “I don’t know the Jim Morrison he writes about. Why this guy wrote this book I have no idea unless the author is himself bisexual, had a crush on Jim and wanted to get into that supposed bisexual action himself. It’s Freudian. No way was Jim bisexual. I always saw him with women.” Davis' speculation would be worthy if it were backed up with some facts or testimony but all he does is spread gossip without any kind of evidence. Character assasination by innuendo is all this silly book is. Davis is your typical gutless coward who is also a fantasist of the worst ilk. Mick Wall has lost his crown as writer of the stupidest Morrison book ever. (Edmonton Weekly, 2004)

Wild Child - The Doors

Wild child full of grace/Savior of the human race/Your cool face/Natural child, terrible child/Not your mother's or your father's child/Your own child, screaming wild/An ancient lunatic reins/In the trees of the night/With hunger at her heels/Freedom in her eyes/She dances on her knees/Wild child full of grace/Savior of the human race (Song dedicated for Pamela Courson, 1968)

“Most of the time Jim was very calm and he wasn’t drinking very much,” says Alan Ronay during Jim and Pam's stay in Paris. “He wrote practically every day. I really felt that he’d totally reclaimed himself. For the first time, he began talking about having children.” As they had done several times before in the States, the couple obtained another marriage license. Jim had also made the first tentative steps toward bridging the chasm that had so long existed between him and his parents, following Pam's advice. Alain Ronay, Jim’s French-born friend from UCLA, stayed with Jim and Pam in Paris for a few weeks and remembers an evening Jim spent recounting affectionate, funny stories about his family. “The stories were really tender and warm,” says Ronay. “I wish his parents could’ve heard it.”

-Nancy Dixon (from Whittier, California): Pamela Courson was a very creative lady. We had lots of fun together in Laurel Canyon.... it's sad she couldn't overcome her demons. Maybe Pamela had a problem in Paris because she ran out of heroin and Jean de Breteuil was in London temporarily. It seems Jim told a friend of Elisabeth Lariviere (a model nicknamed "Zozo") that he didn't want Pamela scoring, supposedly saying, "Scoring is a man's job." Someone from Orange County recently told me that Pamela didn't care for people who couldn't appreciate her unusual personality and that's why she looked so unreachable. The people who really didn't like Pam were the people that she wasn't going to let in her life. I think it takes a lot of empathy and some advanced perception to understand her. A lot of people could not understand the relationship between Pam and Jim and it made them jealous.

-Lizzie James: I met Jim Morrison for the first time in the winter of 1968. It was a recording session for Waiting For The Sun, their third album. I was a journalist and a moonstruck groupie. I was with a writer who was interviewing Morrison for the New York Times. Jim was coming out of the studio "to get a bite to eat" with Pamela, his lady. My writer friend and I went inside, waiting for Jim to reappear. Soon we were watching him from inside the tracking room while he sang Not To Touch The Earth on the other side of the soundproof glass. "Nothin' left to do but run, run, let's run…." That night, his eyes held light, interest, intensity. His mouth moved in motions of pleased surprise. He argued, criticized, consented, refused, laughed, and suggested. Pamela, the ice queen, in a green velvet coat, waist long red hair, jerking her delicate jaw, followed Jim's movements with her heavy-lashed urchin eyes, providing him cigarettes. 

The last time I saw Morrison was in April of 1970. We went to a house high in the windings of King Canyon, a house chilled and dust-veiled from a long absence of human presence. "Sex is full of lies," he said. "The body tries to tell the truth, but it's usually too battered with rules to be heard. We cripple ourselves with lies. Sex can be a liberation. But it can also be an entrapment." He had shaved his beard and looked almost like Morrison of early "ride the snake" nights at the Whisky. But there was a certain demon that had left him and not returned. He was more solemn, smiled less readily, moved with low vibrancy, without the coiled, ready-to-spring tension. He seemed almost saintly - calm, thoughtful, resigned.  —Lizzie James for Creem Magazine - A Rock & Roll Tribute to The Doors (Summer 1981)

-Frank Lisciandro: Talking to about 30 of his closest friends, everybody says the same thing about Jim in different ways. Everyone says that he was sensitive and intelligent, that he was generous, that he was reckless. He didn’t care about money, he didn’t care about fame, he was actually like an alien in the American culture. In An Hour for Magic I asked every person the same questions, and one of the questions was, “Did you ever see Jim being violent?” No one had a story where he broke a chair or damaged furniture. Never did he hit anybody else. Never he did start a fight in a bar. Not one of the people I met even knew about a fight in a bar, let alone they had seen one. And some of these people were drinking buddies of his. Babe Hill doesn’t remember any fight in a bar. Jim avoided fights.

-Rainer Moddemann: I remember the story written in No One Here Gets Out Alive about you, Jim and Babe Hill getting into a fight at Barney’s Beanery.

-Frank Lisciandro: It’s not true. Danny Sugerman made it up. Danny and Ray Manzarek made it up. I add Ray, because I know that Ray was one of the people that worked on No One Here Gets Out Alive. Ray should have stopped trying to make Jim the bad boy of rock and a petulant child. I’m not interested in The Doors. I’m interested in The Doors only in that allowed Jim Morrison a certain amount of freedom, and then they took that freedom away from him. They did both things. It’s a very good metaphor for the fact that in our culture, the American culture, commercialism allows you an opportunity, and then it closes the door. Without demands, the band would have had to play clubs. Perfect for Jim, because Jim didn’t care about the money. He didn’t care about adulation. What he cared about was the creation. His focus was on performance. And in our culture you cannot combine the two things. Look at how many writers went to Hollywood and left. You can’t be a great writer in Hollywood because it’s a contradiction. You can’t be a good writer and become a part of a major supergroup. It’s impossible in our culture. Source:

Shelley Albin responded to both the sensitivity she detected in Lou Reed and the larger world that his interests suggested. Her parents showed little interest in where she went to school, believing that she would only be going to get her “Mrs.” degree. “It was a completely different era. You were going to be a secretary or a teacher and that was it. It was never taken seriously that girls should study or be interested in books.” She had hoped to attend Berkeley, an adventurous choice for a Midwestern girl, but her parents vetoed that. A cousin who was an artist recommended Syracuse because of the quality of the school’s art programs. Albin met Reed when she was a freshman and he was a sophomore. “When we met he had the reputation of being kind of a rascal, and you had to be careful around him,” she said. Despite his image-making, Albin did not initially find Reed a fearsome figure. “He was still more of a kid who would play basketball or tennis, and he listened to old fifties stuff,” she said. “That’s what that era was. He’d hang out on street corners with a guitar and play folk music. It wasn’t the same Lou Reed as people think of. It was a sweeter Lou. Lou was basically looking for a replacement for his mother with a little sex thrown in. He was very insecure, and he needed a nurturer.” They would remain in touch even after Reed graduated from Syracuse and returned to New York, and Albin would loom for a long time as a symbolic figure for Reed, the metaphoric embodiment of everything he “had but couldn’t keep,” as he put it in “Pale Blue Eyes,” the gorgeous ballad he wrote about her, though Albin did not have blue eyes.

“I think he toyed with the idea of having a child by then, he brought the issue up in 1964,” Shelley says, but she decided that someone who couldn’t even look after himself was not the fatherly type. Reed, she said finally, was “a romantic. He could be very sweet. He’s probably the only person who ever literally gave me a heart-shaped box of chocolates on Valentine’s Day. But he wasn’t happy unless he made somebody more miserable than he was. That is exactly what he fed off as an artist, as a writer, as a songwriter. Misery made for his best work, whether it came from me or somebody else. So I’d call him a romantic and I’d call him sweet, but I’d also call him an incredible pain in the ass. He wasn’t anybody I wanted to live with and put up with. It wasn’t worth it. It was too much grief.” —"The Dangerous Glitter of David Bowie, Iggy Pop and Lou Reed" (2009) by Dave Thompson 

Cecil Beaton’s famously bitchy diaries describe sitting next to Mick Jagger at dinner, his skin of “chicken-breast white,” “inborn elegance and perfect manners, his small albino-fringed eyes notice everything.” Meeting him again in the next morning’s harsh sunlight for their poolside photo session, Beaton could hardly believe it was the same person: “his face a white podgy, shapeless mess, eyes very small, nose very pink, hair sandy dark. He is sexy yet completely sexless. He could nearly be a eunuch.” The synchronization of the raid with Mick and Keith’s court appearance in Chichester made clear that Britain’s antidrug agencies, such as they were, had declared open season on the Rolling Stones. And this time there was no doubt about police collusion with the press. The original, wise plan had been that Marianne should not attend the trial and should stay well out of the media searchlight until it was over. That first day, as Mick stood in the dock, she had taken her son, Nicholas, to the home of the Small Faces’ Steve Marriott.

Marianne was taking acid with Marriott and the other Faces. Marianne had not been charged with any offense, so her name could not be mentioned in court. Marianne would recall that they’d been liberally dosed with Valium beforehand and were still “very scared... you got the feeling they only had to say one word out of place and they’d have been taken straight back to Brixton Prison.” Moderation was Jagger's watchword, as in everything else except vanity; despite being around heavy drug users all the time, he himself never took a smidgen too much or lost an iota of precious self-control. Even LSD gave up in despair after finding no inner demons with which to unsettle him. Marianne, by contrast, was both naturally addictive and recklessly adventurous. Mick thoroughly disapproved of her growing drug intake and did all he could to discourage it—sometimes with anger, occasionally with heartfelt tears. Marianne was expecting a baby. By then she was actually five months pregnant. She and Mick were agreed in wanting a girl and had already chosen the name Corrina, after the blues song by Taj Mahal. Mick’s immediate response on learning the news was to say they should get married. Marianne suffered a miscarriage, and she felt “devastated and guilty . . . it took me ages before I could even begin to grapple with my feelings about it.” For Mick, the loss of the baby he so much hoped would be a little girl named Corrina can have been no less devastating. His only hint at heartbreak was a seemingly incongruous line in “Memo from Turner”: “the baby’s dead, my lady said.” A couple of weeks after the Stones left Klein and Decca, Marianne left Mick. She waited until he went away on a European tour, then packed a small suitcase and took Nicholas back to her mother’s. Mick pursued her again and pleaded for them to try again, but she managed to stand firm. However, he did not try to take back the cottage at Aldworth that was now her main refuge. —"Mick Jagger" (2012) by Philip Norman

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