For the non-hardcore Marilyn Monroe fans, maybe you didn't know that the actress spent some time at NYC's Payne Whitney Hospital in 1961, just a year before her fatal overdose. That year her psychoanalyst, Marianne Kris, committed Monroe; "Knowing the star would never go to a psychiatric hospital on her own— Monroe was terrified of sanitariums because her mother lived in one for most of her life and her grandmother had died in one— Kris told her that she was going to a private hospital for some rest and relaxation." The ol' R&R bait and switch!
By February 5th, the starlet was in a padded room with barred windows; she told friends, "I'm locked up with these poor nutty people. I'm sure to end up a nut too if I stay in this nightmare. Please help me." One author has taken to task the retelling of this time in a new book called The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe, even talking to a Payne Whitney intern "who visited Monroe after she tried to break down the bathroom door in her room." She told her: "You are a very, very sick girl. And you've been sick for a long time.” Indeed, Monroe's mother was a paranoid schizophrenic, and now there is "evidence that suggests that, beginning in her late teens, Monroe heard voices and believed she was being followed." Sigh. Here's some video, along with the photographs, of Monroe in New York City during happier times.
LIFE has a slew of Christmas photo galleries up right
now—Here's one of old school starlets getting dressed
up for Santa, including Marilyn Monroe (a few years
before she was committed in NYC) doing her best
impersonation of a stocking!
Ambassador Winthrop Aldrich, ex-envoy to Britain
chatting with Monroe as her husband, playwright
Arthur Miller looks on at April in Paris Ball. Circa 1957.
Monroe reaching for construction helmet while in the
Rockefeller Center "Sidewalk Superintendents Club"
during ceremony for soon to be built Time & Life
Building. Circa 1957.