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The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe 

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A chronicle of Marilyn Monroe's family life and how she succeeded in hiding her most intimate secrets from the press and an invasive world.




Nominated for 3 Primetime Emmys. Another 2 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »



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Series cast summary:
Susan Sarandon ...  Gladys Mortenson 2 episodes, 2015
Kelli Garner ...  Marilyn Monroe 2 episodes, 2015
Embeth Davidtz ...  Natasha Lytess 2 episodes, 2015
Jack Noseworthy ...  Alan DeShields 2 episodes, 2015
Eva Amurri Martino ...  Young Gladys 2 episodes, 2015
Stephen Bogaert ...  Arthur Miller 2 episodes, 2015
Giacomo Gianniotti ...  Jimmy Dougherty 2 episodes, 2015
Peter MacNeill ...  Joseph M. Schenck 2 episodes, 2015
Barry Flatman ...  Darryl F. Zanuck 2 episodes, 2015
Matthew Bennett ...  Allan 'Whitey' Snyder 2 episodes, 2015
Tony Nardi ...  Johnny Hyde 2 episodes, 2015
Tamara Hickey ...  Patricia Kennedy Lawford 2 episodes, 2015
Jeffrey Dean Morgan ...  Joe DiMaggio 2 episodes, 2015
Emily Watson ...  Grace McKee 2 episodes, 2015
Neil Crone ...  Ben Lyon 2 episodes, 2015
Ella Allan ...  Norma Jeane 2 episodes, 2015
Mia Allan ...  Norma Jeane 2 episodes, 2015
Jeff Kassel ...  Dr. Ennis 2 episodes, 2015
Daryn Pancer Daryn Pancer ...  Teen Date 2 episodes, 2015
Vickie Papavs ...  Mrs. Murray 2 episodes, 2015
Peter Tufford Kennedy ...  Joseph L. Mankiewicz 2 episodes, 2015


A chronicle of Marilyn Monroe's family life and how she succeeded in hiding her most intimate secrets from the press and an invasive world.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Fame leaves a mark See more »




TV-MA | See all certifications »






Release Date:

30 May 2015 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


The therapy sequences were the only ones that were filmed in chronological order. See more »

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User Reviews

Thoughtful Biopic
3 June 2015 | by jcfaust57See all my reviews

MM is a tough subject, clouded by 50 years of conjecture, misinformation and the subject's own spin and inconsistency.

That said, after 50 years of tireless reading and watching every foot of available film concerning MM, this is the first commentary worth viewing and rumination. There is something uncanny about Ms. Garner's portrayal and it matters little whether or not she looks like MM or not. No one will ever 'look' like Monroe anymore than anyone will 'look' like Abe Lincoln. She had the depth of character, the attitude, the walk and most importantly, the vocal cadence. Emily Watson and Susan Sarandon steal the show as they would wont to do in a project of this nature. However, Garner holds her own.

Robert Mitchum said it best about his friend and coworker when he said that Marilyn's biggest mistake was that she "burlesqued it", and burlesque was a slippery slope in Hollywood at that time. Monroe played burlesque so well, people believed it. Unfortunately MM was probably not equipped to withstand the foul misogyny that went along with post war attitudes toward any woman who was not properly corseted and house dressed, into submission.

If MM wouldn't have conjured the wherewithal to crack the studio system in 1950, she'd have ended up a depressed and divorced house wife in the Valley, with a mentally ill mother to support. For those of us who have dealt with mental illness in the family, this show is treading on new ground. That is the zeitgeist that Garner and Sarandon nail. MM was a fish out of water, which is the reason why we are all mesmerized to this day. For better or for worse she was her own woman, with no peer, before or since.

It is also worth mentioning that the costumes, makeup and set designs are spot on. The dreamy and disconcerting saturated colors and Noir lighting become good compliments to the spirit of the production and add good tension.

Kudos to Garner who did her homework and made this old MM aficionado squirm in his seat a few times, for all of the right reasons. DiMaggio probably said it best, by saying nothing and letting his actions do the talking.

Not perfect but well worth taking in, and a huge step forward from the usual Lifetime tripe.

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