Few movie stars have been as talked about or imitated as Marilyn Monroe. Her death has been called an overdose, suicide, even murder and cover-up. One month before her death, she was interviewed by Richard Meryman for Life magazine. The article came out in the August 3, 1962 edition. On August 5, Marilyn was dead.
Kelly Mullis has written and performed a disturbing one-woman show based on this last interview. Her resemblance to the star is uncanny; her breathy voice and diction a close match. Clearly, Mullis has done her homework researching Monroe’s physicality. With film stills adding realism, the 75-minute drama takes us through this interview in which she speaks of fame, her career, romances and disappointments.
Monroe was a troubled soul, later turning to drugs and alcohol. She was married three times, first to sailor James Daugherty, later to baseball great Joe DiMaggio and finally to prolific author Arthur Miller. It was common knowledge that she had had affairs with several other men, including Frank Sinatra and Yves Montand, and rumored that she had slept with both Jack and Bobby Kennedy.
Mullis was quite convincing as Monroe gradually became high on pills and champagne toward the end of the interview. Her last words to Meryman were “Please don’t make me look like a joke.”
We may never know the truth behind the death of this tormented iconic star, although it was officially ruled a suicide by the coroner. But was it?
“Marilyn Monroe: The Last Interview,” written and performed by Kelly Mullis, was on stage February 1 in Sherman Oaks at Whitefire Theatre’s Solofest 2019.