bill pursel

    Encouraged by Bill’s [Pursel; first boyfriend after James Dougherty] interest in opera, Marilyn was happy to learn that Madam Butterfly was to be performed at the Hollywood Bowl on 3-4 September 1948, with Eleanor Steber in the title role and Eugene Ormandy conducting. Bill picked her up in his car, and the two headed up to the Bowl to see the performance. Pursel remembered: ’She sat very close to me, listening intently to the opera. She was very quiet and moody all evening, but I asked if she was okay and she said she was. When we went to eat after the performance, she was melancholy throughout our dinner, so we just sat quietly, with very little talk. It wasn’t until years later that I read Norma Jeane had been in some kind of pageant at the Hollywood Bowl when she was a little child, and she had missed a cue or something. As fragile and fearful of rejection as she was, I thought maybe this little goof may have stayed with her and being in the bowl had turned her thoughts back to that early time in her life, but I didn’t push it. She sure had a right to be blue without me or anyone else tugging at her to explain why.’

Marilyn Monroe: Private and Confidential by Michelle Morgan

She didn’t find the little cottage and white picket fence; the three children and loving dog she sought. She loved the publicity and the attention she attracted, but she was not happy. She sank into the quicksand of Hollywood like many others have done, but placing blame for the inevitable is folly. I was surprised at her death. What a tragedy. Norma Jeane had a pure soul, and an immense love of life. She was kind and generous; loved children and animals and had a strong backbone—she almost single-handed made herself a world-renowned star and was so profound that I was almost afraid of her. To me she was like a dream and that is what she really was. Raising this past has brought melancholy to a very private part of my life and if Norma Jeane is looking down on all this, I hope she is smiling.

- Bill Pursel, Marilyn Monroe: Private and Confidential by Michelle Morgan

“She didn’t find the cottage and white picket fence; the three children and loving dog she sought. She loved the publicity and attention she attracted, but she was not happy. She sank into the quicksand of Hollywood like many others have done, but placing blame for the inevitable is folly. I was surprised at her death. What a tragedy. To me she was like a dream, and that is what she really was.”
- Bill Purself