London: Marilyn Monroe was so difficult to work with that she caused director Laurence Olivier to “age 15 years” during filming, her former co-star Jean Kent has claimed.
Kent has described the former sex symbol a “surprisingly grubby, dishevelled little thing” who “never arrived on time” and forced a fellow actor to “take to drink” due to difficulties filming her scenes.
Kent, who appeared alongside Monroe in ‘The Prince and the Showgirl’, added it would be “sad” to talk about the late actress on her “downward spiral”, which is why she has now declined to appear in a documentary to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Monroe’s death.
“If you passed her in the street, you would never have thought: ‘There goes the world’s number one sex symbol’,” a leading daily has quoted Miss Kent, now 91, as saying.
Miss Kent told the newspaper that she “couldn’t bear” to discuss her experience of working with Monroe.
“She never arrived on time, never said a line the same way twice, seemed completely unable to hit her marks on the set, and couldn’t and wouldn’t do anything at all without consulting her acting coach, Paula Strasberg, whose presence was clearly resented by Larry Olivier, who was directing as well as co-starring,” she said.
“He ordered Strasberg off the set at one point, but Marilyn refused to work until she was brought back again.
“Fortunately I had only two brief scenes with her, but I think poor Larry must have aged at least 15 years during the making of that film.
“And Richard Wattis, who had a lot of scenes with her, took to drink because takes had to be done so many times.”
Olivier’s own opinion of Monroe has already been alluded to by his past colleagues, with cinematographer Jack Cardiff describing how he privately referred to her as a “b----”.
“From the first, it was evident that Marilyn was going to be a problem for Larry on the film,” Cardiff, who also worked on the 1956 film The Prince and the Showgirl, said.
“Most actors will come on the set and chat, but she would never come on the set. She went through so many agonized times with Larry because he was, to her, a pain in the arse. She never forgave him for saying to her once, ‘Try and be sexy’,” he added.
First Published: Monday, July 02, 2012, 18:32