Monroe Monroe, a praised and celebrated idol, is rarely remembered for her admittance to the Payne Whitney Clinic for being suicidal. In The Secret Life of Monroe Monroe, J. Randy Taraborrelli exposes the pinup girl’s staycation at the New York Clinic. After the paparazzi gained knowledge of her whereabouts, Monroe has been the target of two very broad questions till today, is she crazy or not? For the sake of this essay I choose to define crazy as being mentally deranged and instable. Monroe Monroe is not crazy, as evidenced from her actions and justifications of these actions to her doctors, and friends.
Taraborrelli opens his article with Monroe’s friend, Ralph Roberts relaying the incident of Monroe contemplating on killing herself. She overthinks the possibilities of everything that could possibly go wrong and goes on to claim that she could not have just stepped out on the ledge for there would have been a big spectacle if someone had seen her. Monroe looked down and saw a woman walking along the sidewalk, “She was wearing a brown dress…I knew her” (Taraborrelli 344). Monroe’s actions did not seem to coincide with her intentions; considering the possibilities undermines the idea of jumping. Monroe’s statement, I knew her, was a reason not to jump. To be suicidal a person cannot possibly be thinking rationally which goes to show that Monroe was not suicidal. She thought rationally, and had a conscious about the entire process which hampered her.When Marilyn Monroe shared this incident with Dr. Kris, she too agreed that Monroe’s intentions did not reflect a suicidal state. “Kris was well aware that if Monroe had genuine interest in killing herself, she could easily do so with the pills already in her possession. She wouldn’t have to leap out of a window to get the job done” (Taraborrelli 345). Though Taraborrelli mentions that Dr. Kris was trying to find the best strategy for treating her depression and anxiety Dr. Kris suggests that Monroe check in to a private ward. Not only is her suggestion deceiving, being promoted as a place rest and relax, but later regretful.
The moment Monroe walked through the doors workers carried her out to a different part of the clinic. Many of her remarks were in response to how she was being treated for the few days while being in Payne Whitney. In one incident Monroe later recalled the cell as being “for very disturbed [her emphasis] depressed patients, except I felt in some kind of prison for a crime I hadn’t committed…the violence and markings still remained on the walls from former patients” (Taraborrelli 346). The sudden disruption in life left Monroe crying. She knows she does not belong there. Other remarks by Monroe included defending her stance of being different by calling a sickly-looking woman, “a pathetic and vague creature” (Taraborrelli 346) and simply claiming that she is just different, “I just am” (Taraborrelli 350). Monroe’s emotional turmoil is her argument to prove that she does not belong in Payne Whitney.
The biggest scare, an unfair justification for being crazy, while Monroe is admitted is her improvisational sketch of trying to convince a team of doctors and nurses to let her use the phone, holding a jagged piece of glass to her wrist that she acquired from breaking a window. Monroe claims that she was acting a scene from Don’t Bother to Knock but the response she received was a carryout as they ignored her requests to attempt to contact someone. Monroe’s actions were for attention. The same way Monroe knew she was only able to leave her room if she put on a smile, she was acting. People generally do noticeable things for attention all the time.
Monroe’s actions had her sitting in front of an intern doctor who asked many rhetorical questions such as, “Why are you so unhappy?” (Taraborrelli 348) and “I don’t see how you ever could have made a movie being so depressed. How can you even act?” (Taraborrelli 349). Monroe herself was astonished by his naiveté. In the field of psychology there are different departments which study different human behaviors. Clinical & Mental focus on treatment. However the intern cannot treat Marilyn for being crazy as it was previously mentioned. He goes onto ignore Monroe’s question, “Don’t you think perhaps Greta Garbo and Charlie Chaplin and Ingrid Bergman had been depressed when they worked?” (Taraborrelli 349). To be able to diagnose a patient in psychology and give them treatment doctors must be fully aware of their past. Social psychologists study aspects of influence and how they affect individuals, someone that Monroe needs. The intern doctor cannot simply jot down “Monroe was extremely disturbed and also potentially self-destructive” (Taraborrelli 349) if all she was doing was sharing what she was feeling. Monroe was not ready for Payne Whitney she was just a simply depressed girl.
After being at Payne Whitney for a couple of days, Monroe was able to make a phone call. Out of all the people she knew she chooses to contact Joe DiMaggio, her ex-husband, because she felt “she knew she would be able to count on him” (Taraborrelli 352). DiMaggio’s willingness to drop everything and take a plane that very night shows how much he both still cares for Monroe and knows she does not belong there. His actions, arguing for her to be released into his custody, were insistent. The response he gets from Dr. Kris was crazy as he relayed to Stacy Edwards in an interview, “I got to thinking the doctor was the one who shoulda been locked up. She was acting like Monroe had her choice of resorts…” (Taraborrelli 353). Joe DiMaggio himself second guessed Dr. Kris and her intentions which shows that Monroe is not alone and that he strongly believed Monroe’s shrink was going about things “…just the wrong way…” (Taraborrelli 354).
At the very end when Joe successfully gets Marilyn out of Payne Whitney, to switch her to a different resort, Marilyn yells and throws a tantrum at Dr. Kris for “betraying her”. Dr. Kris repeated over and over again “I did a terrible thing, a terrible, terrible thing” (Taraborrelli 354). Dr. Kris is the very reason why Marilyn was not crazy. The one who started it all later contradicts herself which puts tension to rest. This all contributes to why those who loved Marilyn barely remembered her for being admitted to Payne Whitney.
Marilyn Monroe was a beautiful girl in an ugly world at the wrong time. From her initial unwillingness to adjust in Payne Whitney to her psychiatrist later regretting admitting the acclaimed blonde, advocates Monroe not being crazy. The people she came across, doctors, nurses, and the intern doctor treated Monroe unfairly. Throughout the passage we are shown the aggression made towards Monroe. If we are to believe it was necessary we are terribly wrong. Instead she should be remembered as a beautiful woman, who in her time was the most admired and sought after girl in America. A depressed girl could not be crazy, not Marilyn Monroe.