Elia Kazan on Marilyn Monroe: Our Arms Are Empty

Interview with Elia Kazan
Conducted by James Grissom

We are going to talk about and think about Marilyn [Monroe] for the rest of time, and we should. We're going to talk about and think about her because, while she would like to be remembered as an actress and a human being who was a woman, we are going to remember her as a lesson in abuse, neglect, and greed. We threw away a person, a life, and the opportunities that her growth and happiness would have provided for all of us. We share in glory and grief with others--learn this and remember this--and here is a horrible and public reminder in a beautiful woman of what happens when we forget that and ask for the creamy reward of a quick turnaround and a quicker exit. We fall asleep and remember the deaths and the tragedies and for me--for most people who knew Marilyn--her face and her life and her exit--flit across our minds. We didn't reach out soon enough, and our arms are empty.

© 2014 James Grissom


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