podcast spotlight

by bill biss


An Interview with Gary Vitacco-Robles

hat’s Monroe … Marilyn Monroe. You see her on film and still revered as a beloved icon, but do you truly know what she went through in her short life? That’s exactly what the podcast is presenting inMarilyn: Behind The Icon. The history of her life is illustrated and fact-based by the team responsible for only using the truth and that’s to be applauded. It

wasn’t always a bed of roses for Monroe, and talking with Gary Vitacco-Robles … well, I’ll let him explain why. Leave your potato chips and champagne at the door.

Let’s talk about howMarilyn: Behind The Icon started and this podcast production came to be? Gary Vitacco-Robles: After releasing my two-volumeIcon: The Life, Times, &

Films of Marilyn Monroe, I appeared on various local, national and international radio shows. Randall Libero of Voice of America radio approached me to become a panel member on a weekly show,Goodnight Marilyn Radio, which was promoting a film fictionalizing Marilyn Monroe’s death within the context of a film noir. Nina Boski of LifeBites Global was the host, and for three seasons, I was one of her weekly panel members. The intention of the series was to explore the facts surrounding Marilyn’s passing, but my role was focused on sharing her remarkable life story from a mental health perspective, as I’m a licensed mental health counselor and National Certified Counselor, in addition to being a biographer. Nina’s background is in transformational coaching, so we saw value in focusing

on the adverse childhood events and intergenerational mental illness that impacted Marilyn, and how she navigated through trauma and mental illness to achieve international greatness as an actress and enduring icon. We believed that Marilyn’s true story of resiliency could inspire others and promote increased public awareness of issues related to mental illness and addiction, and help to eliminate stigma in seeking support — the support not available to Marilyn during her era. Nina was the first to introduce the idea of adapting my two-volume biography

into a podcast. She, Randall and I formed a production company, and Randall and I starting writing scripts. The three of us hired actors and sound editors, and produced seven of 10 episodes for the first season of Marilyn: Behind the Icon.

Erin Gavin as Marilyn is a trip as she really captures the essence of her. Your thoughts on this? Both finding the talented Erin and her enthusiasm in joining our team was seren-

dipitous. She had portrayed Marilyn on stage. Erin captures the essence of Marilyn that will captivate and emotionally move the podcast audience. Her performance is textured. She will capture your heart. You will cheer when she triumphs, you will cry when she struggles with her history of trauma and mental illness. Erin studied Marilyn’s natural speaking voice from audio interviews with

journalists Georges Belmont and Richard Meryman. The script also uses Marilyn’s words whenever possible. She has Marilyn’s idiosyncratic intonation and articulation. Erin’s performance is amazing.

18 | July 2020

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