Home #Hwoodtimes Lifetime “The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe” Mini Series

Lifetime “The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe” Mini Series

Susan Sarandon

The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe LifetimeBy: Judy Shields

Photos By: THT

Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 5/12/15 – “I was 10 years old when I started ‘The Supremes’ fan club and newsletter. I moved to California when I was 18 years old.  I have written 18 biography books over the years.”  J. Randy Taraborrelli, author of “The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe” told The Hollywood Times last night at the red carpet event and screening at the Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.

Judy Shields & Kelli Garner
Judy Shields & Kelli Garner

Randy Taraborrelli, went on to say how much he loves to write and the research that goes into his biographies are rewarding.  He has written about Cher, Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra, The Kennedy’s, Michael Jackson and most recently the Hiltons.  He is just finishing up on a biography of Beyonce, due out in October, what a great book that will be. Can’t wait to read it.  He said that it was difficult to put together, because the research was harder to obtain than say Marilyn Monroe, since there is so much writings about her and not about Beyonce.

Kelli Garner & Susan Sarandon speaking with THT
Kelli Garner & Susan Sarandon speaking with THT

The Hollywood Times asked Mr.Taraborrelli, how proud was he seeing his book come to life.  “I am so proud of the final product and the cast was just amazing, especially Kelli as Marilyn, she did an amazing job.  Susan being onboard was just the best.”  He was quite pleased that we were happy with what we got to see of the miniseries.  Kelli Garner did an excellent job, it was like watching the real Marilyn.

The red carpet and private screening was held last night at the Ace Hotel on Broadway in downtown Los Angeles.  On the red carpet was the amazing Susan Saradon, staring as Gladys Morteson, Marilyn’s mother, Kelli Garner as Marilyn Monroe, Giacomo Gianniotti, as Jimmie Dougherty, Marilyn’s first husband, Jack Noseworthy, who played Marilyn’s therapist, who was the only fictional character in the story.  Keri Selig, Executive Producer, Stephen Kronish, Executive Produced & Writer, Steven Michaels, Executive Producer, Chris Manley, Director of Photograph, Tanya Lopez, SVP, Original Movies, Lifetime and J. Randy Taraborrelli, Author – “The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe”

Susan Sarandon
Susan Sarandon

First on the red carpet was Jack Noseworthy.  The Hollywood Times asked Jack how he got the role in the miniseries.

JN: I met Laurie Collyer, the director in Toronto, we had a great meeting and she offered me the part.  It was really nice.

THT: What character do you play?

JN: I play the only fictional character in the movie, I play Marilyn’s therapist and the movie is based around our therapy sessions.  My character is invented for the movie and it was great playing that part because the character could be anything we wanted it to be.  We talked a lot about what type of therapist he was or developing him into and what he relationship with Marilyn might have been, it was fantastic.

THT: How to prepare for the role:

JN: We talked about addiction therapy, she was kind of like  therapy junkie, she was kind of smart about her therapy, so as a real combination of trying to figure out who was the right type of person for her.

THT:  So what is comping up next for you in your career?

JN: I am working on a documentary film right now that I am developing, so we will see how that goes. I am going off to Toronto for six weeks to start the project. I am half Canadian.  The miniseries was filmed there.

THT: Are you involved in any type of charities?

JN: I work for a cancer charity. I run the New York City Triathlon and I run it for a cancer foundation called The Multiple Myeloma Foundation and I raise 2 to 3 million dollars a year just doing the Triathlon a year.  My Mother died of cancer.

Susan Sarandon looked stunning as usual and so relaxed talking with the reporters on hand.  The Hollywood Times had the opportunity to ask a couple of questions.

THT: how was it working with your daughter on this movie?

SS: It was great, she played the younger Gladys and did a fantastic job.  It was fun to work with her and work together is a plus.

THT:  How did you get this role?

SS: I don’t know, they just offered it to me, and I met with the director, who is New Yorker and it seemed like an interesting project to do and fun.

THT: Did you learn anything new about Marilyn or her mother from doing this movie?

SS:  Who knew anything about anybody, I think that was liberating, you don’t know anything about how she looked and of course I read the book and found out about her history that way. I didn’t know why Marilyn ended up in foster care or any of that stuff.  There are plenty of people with schizophrenic relatives, seems like it is a very common diagnoses these day. So I just asked around and we tried to agree upon of the characteristics.  There were some pictures and she had a really funny thing that helped her to escape all the time, she wore the nurses uniform, and it made her feel like she  was in charge, so they let her wear it.  But that also meant that she would walk out of   the hospitals all the time.  She was  a character. She seldom would smile and first she had two kids and they were taken away, because she was unstable.

THT:  When are you going to write your book about The Foundation of Youth, because you look beautiful?

SS  Thank you so much and I will just give you the name of my makeup person.

Kelli Garner interview:

THT: What appealed to you, about this role?

KG: I think what appeals to me about Marilyn Monroe in this particular project was here duality of being such a child and such a tyrant and I feel that I understand that.  When I read the script, it was so beautifully written and then I read the book which it was derived from, that I was so fascinated by the idea of playing her.

THT: What did you learn about Marilyn Monroe from this project?

KG: When I started, I knew nothing about her, so everything had become fascinating. I had no idea how intelligent she was. I had only seen two movies that she had done and now I have seen everything that she has done.  Her intrusion, I think she is really smart, like a sixth sense kind of way.  That was really compelling to me. Her confusion and frustration with family and mental health, was fascinating to me. I didn’t know she had the fortitude she had and that was really nice to discover.  I was surprised to learn about the mental disease that ran in her family, I had no idea that her mother was in and out of institutions — diagnosed schizophrenic.

THT: Have you seen the finished product yet?

KG: No, this will be the first time I get to see it and I am a bit nervous about it tonight.

THT: How was it to work with Susan Saradon?

KG:  When I am Susan’s age, I want to be just like her, a well-rounded woman, a true pleasure to have worked with.  She is my favorite actress and I was a little star struck.  It took a while for us to connect and Emily and Susan gave me great advise to help me.

Once the cast left the red carpet area, they headed off to the theatre area to start the screening of the miniseries.

The audience in attendance, which was a full house and the balcony was filled as well, had the opportunity to watch about an hour of the miniseries.

Mark your calendars, because you do not want to miss this miniseries, if you are not going to be home, don’t forget to set you DVR to record it.  The screening shown was about her marriage to Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller and her night with JKF.  What a teaser of an episode. Jeffery Dean Morgan stars as Joe DiMaggio and what a great job he did.  Emily Watson as Aunt Grace McKee.  Kelli Garner did an amazing job bringing Marilyn Monroe to life in this miniseries as did Susan Saradon as Marilyn’s Mother Gladys.  I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see what was going to happen next. Do don’t miss this great show.

Check out the IMDb website for full cast and crew:


There was a panel at the end of the preview screening with Laurie Collyer, Director, Susan Sarandon, Kelli Garner, Keri Selig, Executive Producer, Stephen Kronish, Executive Produce & Writer, Chris Manley, and Director of Photography to discuss the making of the miniseries.

Kelli Garner said she was overwhelmed and thanks Laurie Collyer, the director of the miniseries, who was sitting down in the audience.  She went on to say that she had seem many beautiful pictures of Marilyn before and a few films and she really fell in love with her and trust those around her to guide her during the filming.  She did not want to impersonate her but to interpret her instead.  The producers said that Kelli worked from morning until night and she was game and open to make herself foolish through take after take after take.  She had an incredible acting coach with her at all times and that she worked 46 days out of 47, WOW!  A great accomplishment for sure.

Susan Sarandon spoke about how reading the book and script was a great help and joked about how now one really knew Gladys and that took the pressure off her and said that we wouldn’t know if she did a good job or not.  Great laughter for sure!!  She just had a good time.  Her and Kelli had a great time together and she mentioned that her own daughter Eva Amurri Marin played Gladys at a younger age.  Susan also mentioned that her daughter Eva bought her daughter to Canada for the filming that that the granddaughter had the most adorable passport, by the way.  It was a way to show appreciation for the fact that Susan dragged her children around the world while she was working.

Chris Manley, Director of Photography was asked about the photographs that he used for making this miniseries.  He said that Marilyn is probably the most photographed celebrity ever so that there were thousands of pictures to look at.  Laurie would email him her favorite ones.  They used the photos that had access to create the image and style they would use in the making of the miniseries.  Stephen Kronish was asked what fact most intrigued him. He said one of the things that surprised him, that he didn’t know, was the relationship of Jack Kennedy.  He studied a fair amount about the Kennedy’s and he was under the impression that relationship lasted for about a year. The fact that it only lasted for one weekend and from that she stridulated that this was, not only the greatest love of her life, but the great love of his, that there was no way on earth that Jack Kennedy was going to leave his wife for Marilyn Monroe. The fact that she believed that was sad.

The untold story of the world’s most famous sex symbol is revealed in Lifetime’s miniseries event, The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe.  The Aviator, Pan Am star Kelli Garner stars as Marilyn Monroe in the four-hour event that covers Marilyn’s life from a lonely young woman struggling with a lonely, loveless existence in the absence of her mother Gladys (played by Susan Sarandon) to blossoming into a funny, smart, ambitious woman who turned herself into the symbol of an era.

One of the biggest secrets revealed is that Marilyn’s mother was institutionalized for mental illness.  Marilyn was sent to a series of orphanages and foster homes when her mother was institutionalized, as she grew up without a father. The movie studio told the world that Marilyn’s mother was dead, and when the two later became close, they had to keep their relationship hidden.

Unfortunately, Marilyn went on to inherit her mother’s mental illness, as her obsession with President John F. Kennedy drove her over into an insane asylum.

World Premiere of The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe airs Saturday, May 30 and Sunday, 31 at 8/7c  p.m. on Lifetime

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About The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe”

Kelli Garner (“The Aviator,” “Pan Am”) plays the legendary star Marilyn Monroe in Lifetime’s four-hour event “The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe.” The miniseries, which uncovers many closely-guarded secrets the blonde bombshell kept from the public, also stars Academy Award® winner Susan Sarandon (“Dead Man Walking,” “The Last of Robin Hood”) as Marilyn’s biggest secret of all, her mother Gladys, long institutionalized for mental illness. Academy Award® and Golden Globe® Award nominee Emily Watson (“Hilary and Jackie”) and Jeffrey Dean Morgan (“Texas Rising,” “Magic City”) also headline the cast while Sarandon’s daughter Eva Amurri Martino (“Californication”) plays Gladys in her youth. Watson portrays Grace McKee, Marilyn’s childhood guardian.

Based on J. Randy Taraborrelli’s New York Times bestseller of the same name, “The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe” begins with a portrait of a young Norma Jeane Mortenson as she battles a lonely and loveless existence with an absent mother. Despite the odds, Norma Jeane blossoms into a funny, smart and ambitious woman and soon reinvents herself to become the symbol of an era. She revels in stardom, yet remains a fragile artist, desperate for the approval and protection of men. The outside world never truly sees or understands the real Marilyn, a woman so different from her public persona. As her fame grows, all three of her marriages crumble beneath her quite publicly, including her relationships with Joe DiMaggio (Morgan) and Arthur Miller. Ultimately, Marilyn could never control her inner demons and the onslaught of mental illness inherited from her mother, Gladys (Sarandon) – a woman she loves, hates and wants desperately to save. Although her movie studio told the world that Marilyn’s mother was dead, it is the great secret of Marilyn’s life that Gladys remained a vital and troubling part of her world. As Marilyn cares for her mother, her obsession with President John F. Kennedy drives her over the edge and, ultimately, into an insane asylum. Still, as Marilyn Monroe soldiers on, she gives the performance of her life, successfully hiding her darkest secrets from the world.

Produced by Asylum Entertainment, “The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe” is executive produced by Jonathan Koch and Steve Michaels (“The Kennedys”), Keri Selig (“The Stepford Wives”) of Intuition Productions, and Stephen Kronish (“24”), who wrote the screenplay. The miniseries is directed by Laurie Collyer (“Sherrybaby”).