Excerpt: 'The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe,' by J. Randy Taraborrelli

Photo: Book Cover: J. Randy Taraborrellis "The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe"

J. Randy Taraborrelli has had a long career writing biographies of celebrities, including Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor, Diana Ross, Frank Sinatra and Princess Grace.

In "The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe," he reveals information from newly released documents about her relationship with the Kennedy family, the identity of Marilyn Monroe's father and the half-brother she never knew. Taraborrelli also reports that Marilyn's mother, Gladys Baker, suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and that Marilyn struggled with her own mental deterioration.

Read and excerpt of the book below and CLICK HERE for all of "GMA's" authors and excerpts at our special books page.

Preface

Marilyn Monroe.

The mere name alone represents different images for different people. For some, it suggests the absolute standard of female sensuality. Beauty. Grace. Sophistication. For others, insecurity comes to mind. Misery. Tragedy. However, in order to appreciate the complex and fascinating life of this enigmatic star, one must attempt to put aside any preconceived notions about her -- certainly no easy feat, considering her iconic status.

Perhaps the first step toward truly understanding Marilyn is to accept that all of the vivid images conjured by her name are true -- from the good to the bad, the glorious to the tragic. Indeed, she was a woman who enjoyed and suffered a wide spectrum of experiences, many that are well known and quite a few -- as you will read on these pages -- that have remained private and undisclosed until now. Still, her devoted fans have always felt that they've known her well. Some who admire her without reservation can be moved to tears by the memory of a certain, maybe haunting, performance she gave on film. They fall into a group of devotees who would sacrifice almost anything to have their idol back among the living -- only this time healthy and happy. To them, she is someone to be adored and placed high on a pedestal -- preferably in a pose befitting her cinematic royalty.

Others who are more circumspect view her as a spoiled Hollywood celebrity. They see her life as a cautionary tale of the dangers of excessive superstardom. To them, she is someone to be pitied as much as loved. Again, though all judgments and musings about her have an element of truth, there is a group I'd like to invite you to join with the reading of this biography -- the select group of people who simply want one thing: the truth.

To say that much has been written about Marilyn Monroe is an understatement if ever there was one. Yet during the time I spent researching this book, I was surprised by just how muddled and conflicting the previous accounts of her life have been over the years. I also learned that there are some intriguing reasons why many of the stories about Marilyn have felt at arm's length from her, as if her time on this earth had been viewed through a diffusion filter. For one thing, many fantastic legends about her have been accepted as fact.

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