Monday, June 01, 2009

Happy Birthday, Marilyn ... and Andy ... and ...

For some, it may seem impossible to imagine, but Marilyn Monroe would have been 83 years old today.

Actually, Andy Griffith is 83 years old today. Pat Boone is 75. Morgan Freeman is 72. Many folks from the entertainment world were born on June 1.

I don't know if someone who will ultimately be famous was born a year ago today, but a three–alarm fire destroyed part of the backlot of Universal Studios in southern California on June 1, 2008. "Courthouse Square," which was featured in the original "Back to the Future," "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "Inherit the Wind," sustained significant damage.

It's probably easier for me to imagine the movie courthouse reduced to smoldering rubble than it is for me to comprehend Marilyn Monroe at 83. In my mind, she is always in her 30s — or younger — which is understandable, since she was 36 when she died.

Of course, if she had lived, she might have had a long film career with a variety of roles, like Bette Davis or Ingrid Bergman. I believe Marilyn had a great gift. She was a much better actress than she or her critics gave her credit for.

But if you need a reminder of her appeal, you can see a collection of unpublished photos of Monroe, taken when she was in her 20s. The long–lost photos were discovered in the archives of

Her death at the age of 36 truly was our loss.