Saturday, September 22, 2012
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
It’s hard to believe that 11 years have flown by since I first met Jane Lawrence. I still remember the evening of July 4th, 2001, when my neighbor said: “My friend is looking for someone to help sell some stuff on Ebay. Some memorabilia. Probably some Marilyn stuff. I mean she really knew her, and Robert Mitchum and Ethel Merman and Lucy, too. She’s got tons of stuff to sell.”
My ears perked up. “Tons of stuff to sell” was Wagner to my ears. I didn’t even care what the stuff was, but in this case it might be Hollywood stuff which probably beat the crap out of rubbers advertising auto repair shops, which, at the time, I had been peddling over the phone.
The following day, I met with Jane, visualizing her to be a woman in her early 60s who was artfully nipped and tucked, glazed with perfect but slightly too troweled-on make-up, strutting in stilettos, and unable to let go of her platinum bombshell image that had served her so well 40 years earlier. I realize now I had been thinking of Marilyn’s best friend, Jeanne Carmen, the stylishly aging B movie actress who had ridden Marilyn’s coattails for so many years after her death. But my idealization could not have been more inaccurate. I was romantically anticipating a time traveler from Hollywood’s Golden Age, a vintage beauty ready to tell me the secrets of the stars.
I was half right.
Jane did have an encyclopedic memory of Hollywood’s Golden age, but she was no Jeanne Carmen. Jane was, as the snarksters might say, “short for her weight.” And I could see by her body language, and stress in the corner of her eyes, she was in pain. Barely the thickness of a Daily Variety over five feet, my eyes immediately scanned down her attire, from the fresh (egg, I believe) stained pocket t-shirt, to the worn, baggy jeans, to the unlaced tennis shoes. On top of the shock of snow white short hair was a ball cap adorned in a Rainbow Flag and ACT UP pins. And when she spoke, her little voice seemed to belie the woman I was seeing, someone with attitude, openly gay and a kind of salty old broad.
I liked her instantly.
Two months later, Jane and I formed a bond, as she took me down the ‘Marilyn Monroe rabbit hole.’ And on September 4th (Jane’s birthday), I decided to throw her a surprise party. Not an easy task, considering many of Jane’s friends had either moved out of L.A., or simply ‘moved on.’ So, I gathered together a few of my friends, surprising Jane with a small spread of food, drinks and a homemade cake that I whipped up. On it, I placed a large car-shaped candle, in which I put Jane and Marilyn’s pictures in, reminiscent of the car that Marilyn had given Jane on her 16th Birthday. Well, you’d think that I had given Jane the world. With tears in her eyes, she told me no one had thrown her a surprise party since the 70s, and how this party was the best gift ever.
Looking back, Jane was one of the best gifts ever that the universe had given me. I met her at a time when I was fairly new to Hollywood; the bluffer’s paradise, where – to quote Woody Allen – “They shoot too many movies, and not enough actors who star in them.” Jane wasn’t an actress, so there was no hidden agenda. What you saw was what you got, and because of Jane, I got to experience various life lessons, beginning with trust. Jane trusted me to tell her story, and I trusted that she was telling me the truth.
It’s been 11 years now since I first met Jane, and my trust in her story has never wavered. Granted, there have been the naysayers and skeptics since my book’s release who’ve been less than kind in their verbal attacks on my credibility, but I’ve learned to let that roll off my back thanks to Jane who also taught me to believe in myself.
Now, as I was writing this post, I stopped to google a list of life lessons that we should all live by— When to my surprise, the first posting that came up was a quote by Marilyn Monroe. She said: “I've never fooled anyone. I've let people fool themselves. They didn't bother to find out who and what I was. Instead they would invent a character for me. I wouldn't argue with them. They were obviously loving somebody I wasn't.”
Talk about a sign, I truly believe that Jane, on what would’ve been her 73rd Birthday, is letting me know that we never fooled anyone, and those who think we have obviously didn’t bother to read my book to find out what Jane and I had: a true friendship.
Friday, August 24, 2012
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Love & Relationship expert Dr. Ava Cadell blogs about Marilyn Monroe's "little secret" on her current blog. Click the link below to read.