For a brief spell in 1961, Marilyn Monroe was committed to a New York City psychiatric clinic. While she was confined to the sanitarium's walls, she wrote a heartbreaking letter to her psychiatrist, Dr. Ralph Greenson, describing her difficult experience.
"There was no empathy at Payne-Whitney–it had a very bad effect–they asked me after putting me in a 'cell' (I mean cement blocks and all) for very disturbed patients, except I felt I was in some kind of prison for a crime I hadn't committed," she wrote in the letter which will be up for sale in November by Julien's Auctions. Well, a carbon copy of the note will be, at least.
In her sorrowful plea, she talks about her feeble attempts to get the staff to notice her.
"I sat on the bed trying to figure if I was given this situation in an acting improvisation what would I do. So I figured, it's a squeaky wheel that gets the grease," she wrote. "I admit it was a loud squeak but I got the idea from a movie I made once called Don't Bother to Knock. I picked up a light-weight chair and slammed it, and it was hard to do because I had never broken anything in my life–against the glass intentionally."
"It took a lot of banging to get even a small piece of glass," she continued. "So I went over with the glass concealed in my hand and sat quietly on the bed waiting for them to come in. They did, and I said to them 'If you are going to treat me like a nut I'll act like a nut.' I admit the next thing is corny but I really did it in the movie except it was with a razor blade. I indicated if they didn't let me out I would harm myself–the furthest thing from my mind at that moment since you know, Dr. Greeson, I'm an actress and would never intentionally mark or mar myself. I'm just that vain."
A year later, Dr. Greenson found Marilyn dead in her Brentwood home at the age of 36.
In the letter, reprinted by People, Marilyn goes on to describe how she felt when her former husband, Joe DiMaggio, had her released from the clinic after a few days.
"Last night I was awake all night again. Sometimes I wonder what the night time is for. It almost doesn't exist for me–it all seems like one long, long horrible day."
Monroe left the letter to her acting teacher, Lee Strasberg, in her will. It's among many other rare items that Strasberg's estate will be auctioning off this fall, including Marilyn's lipstick, fur coat, and alligator skin purse.
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