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Please share your contributions as historian onMarilyn: Behind The Icon? We based Episode 1 upon Monroe’s riveting six-page letter to Dr. Ralph


Greenson documenting her experience at Payne Whitney Psychiatric Unit at New York Hospital and Columbia Presbyterian Hospital’s Neurological Institute in early 1961. We start near the end of her life and then go back in time to explain what led to Marilyn’s severe episode. My commentary connects the dots related to Marilyn’s documented symptoms and how they may apply to current diagnostic labels. Then we return to earlier times to explain Marilyn’s family history. We depict


Marilyn’s relatives and how their symptoms impacted their lives and the family. In fact, we focus on her mother’s life before Marilyn is born, and her relationship with a friend who eventually became Marilyn’s guardian. We also focus on Marilyn’s early childhood with a family of whom she wrote in her journal about physically abusing her. We dramatize little Norma Jeane’s escape into motion pictures as a way of coping with the adverse events in her life. After each episode, Nina, Randall and I converse in a companion podcast,


Norma Jeane: Discovering Truths. In these segments, we deconstruct each episode, discuss our sources and details not included in the dramatization, and explain how we constructed the drama based upon sources and research. We specify what is completely based on Marilyn’s interviews, journals or correspon- dence, and what sources we used to create dialogue. Randall and I use material from Marilyn’s journals, estate and auctions of her personal correspondence. We are very selective about sources, using only legitimate ones.


What is your hope in being such an integral part that this podcast achieves in the memory of Monroe? Marilyn Monroe was an enormously strong and brave woman. She is the first


major film star to disclose depression and childhood sexual abuse during an era when acknowledging or speaking openly about those realities were taboo. From an early age, Marilyn visualized a better life for herself by becoming an actress to provide validation, and she made it happen. She is the ultimate dreamer. It’s the


Gary Vitacco-Robles is a co-producer and writer of the podcast and the best-selling author of Icon: The Life, Times, and Films of Marilyn Monroe (Volumes 1 & 2) as well as a licensed mental health counselor and National


Certified Counselor.


power of positive attraction, visualizing your goals and making them become a reality. I believe we might be the first to have portrayed Marilyn’s remarkable life within


the context of her being a resilient survivor of trauma. We thought we knew Marilyn, but never before like this. One cannot really understand her without understanding the context of her trauma. Marilyn is also linked to intergen- erational mental illness in her maternal family; she herself experienced mental illness, and self-medicated her symptoms with prescribed medication because there were limited treatment options for her. The podcast’s experience for the listener is an audio dramatization of Marilyn’s


Monroe’s remarkable life with a narrator, actors dramatizing scenes with music and sound effects, and my commentary to provide insight into the events described. We use temporal shifting, so an episode may begin with an event in Marilyn’s life but flashback to her early childhood and explain the events that led to the beginning scene. An episode may begin with Marilyn touring the Brent- wood hacienda with a Realtor in her last month, then focus on Norma Jeane living briefly with her mother in 1934, and end with her dancing with Clark Gable at Romanoff’s in 1954. I see it as a hybrid of a documentary and a dramatized series.


Every episode is well-done. Do you have a favorite one out of the series? First, thank you! It’s a challenge for me to identify a favorite episode, but I have


favorite moments. I love the ending of Episode 1, when Marilyn finds hope follow- ing her psychiatric hospitalization. I love the way she metaphorically references her observation of signs of springs emerging in winter and how the words apply to her hope. I like the moment in Episode 4, when she discovers the tiles on the doorstep of the last home she purchases, the one in which she died, she reads the Latin inscription and the Realtor translates it to “My journey ends here.” She is correcting the past by laying down roots and finds comfort in those words.


Behindtheicon.com is the website where anyone can access the podcast. You can also listen on your favorite podcast platform such as Apple Podcast, Spotify and iTunes.


Randall Libero is the co-producer, writer and supervising editor of the podcast. He has been a producer and writer in media and broadcasting for over 30 years. He is currently an executive producer for many popular lifestyle and entertain- ment radio shows includ- ingGoodnight Marilyn Radio, an investigation series on the life and death of Marilyn Monroe.


Nina Boski is the co-produc- er of the podcast as well as a media executive, radio and TV host (Goodnight Marilyn and other shows), keynote speaker, and life and business coach to thousands of people, and a Marilyn expert.


Erin Gavin played the role of Marilyn Monroe in the stage playMarilyn: My Secret at the Macha Theatre in Hollywood, California. She also played Monroe in the television filmMarilyn Monroe: The Last Investigation. Now she is taking on the role that was made for her, Marilyn: Behind the Icon.


July 2020 | @theragemonthly 19


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