London: Marilyn Monroe was so desperate to eclipse the popularity of Elizabeth Taylor that she decided to commission a nude photo shoot by the poolside in the 1960s, a new book has revealed.
The actress hoped to generate as much publicity as her rival’s public relationship with Richard Burton by baring all.
The surprising disclosures come from her conversations with photographer Larry Schiller between 1960 until her death in 1962 at the age of just 36.
In his memoir ‘Marilyn And Me’, Schiller says that the two met when Monroe hatched a plan to force Hollywood giants Fox Studios to take her more seriously so they would “start paying me as much attention as they are paying to Elizabeth Taylor,” the Daily Mail reported.
At the time Taylor was earning 1million dollars a film for epics like Cleopatra, while Monroe was getting paid a mere 100,000 dollars for ‘Something’s Got To Give’, from which she was eventually sacked.
Monroe posed for a set of photographs in which she entered a swimming pool with a bathing suit and came out naked.
“Larry, if I do come out of the pool with nothing on, I want your guarantee that when your pictures appear on the covers of magazines Elizabeth Taylor is not anywhere in the same issue,” Monroe told Schiller.
When Hugh Hefner agreed to pay 25,000 dollars for one nude picture Monroe told Schiller that it was worth every penny.
She said with a laugh: “There isn’t anybody that looks like me without clothes on.”
The conversations between the two, which appear in this month’s issue of Vanity Fair, also give an insight into how insecure Monroe was.
She told Schiller that she wore her public persona as a ‘veil’ over her real identity.
“It’s still about nudity. Is that all I’m good for? She once said.
“I’d like to show that I can get publicity without using my ass or getting fired from a picture. I haven’t made up my mind yet,” she had said.
Over the previous two years the pair had spoken at length and in 1960 she admitted was wracked by insecurity.
“I could tell you all about rejection, sometimes I feel my whole life has been one big rejection,” Marilyn said to Schiller.
“But look at you now,” he said.
“Exactly,” she replied. “Look at me now.”
Confused, Schiller protested, “You’re a star! Your face is on magazine covers all over the world! Everyone knows Marilyn Monroe!”
“Let me ask you... how many Academy Award nominations do I have?”
“I don’t know,” he said.
“I do,” she said. “None.”
Marilyn even confided her deepest fears that she would end up like her mother who had been a mental patient for much of her life.
She also told him that she ‘always wanted a baby’ but ‘having a child, that’s my biggest fear’.
“I want a child and I fear a child. Whenever it came close, my body said no and I lost the baby,” she said.
Since her death Monroe’s life has been the subject of endless speculation, not least her rumoured affair with former U.S. President John F Kennedy.
Although she never won an Oscar, Monroe did win a Golden Globe for her performance in the 1959 comedy Some Like It Hot, another Golden Globe nomination and a BAFTA nomination.
She was married and divorced three times and died childless.