Marilyn received fan letters from all over the world…Most of her fan letters have been lost, but Marilyn kept her favorites. They offer another window into understanding her as a woman and a star.
Above all, she kept letters that touched her heart, such as a letter from a fan in Italy. She honored his request to send him a lock of her hair and an autographed photo. In the photo he sent to her, he is dark and handsome, mirroring the Clark Gable look typical of the men she fell for, like DiMaggio, Miller, and Montand–a look, that, perhaps, reminded her of her imagined father.
(top) Italian fan letter; Marilyn makes a note to send her Italian fan a lock of hair and vows to keep his letter close to her heart. (bottom) Collage enclosed in Italian fan letter, with a photo of the fan in the upper left-hand corner.
I begin to write to you and many thoughts come to mind and I cannot manage to organize them. My heart beats because I know that I write to a famous actress.
For a long time I have seen your screen work and particularly in the film Niagara–a film that brought you much success. After that I saw many of your other films, where I came to admire you even more, especially after seeing The River of No Return. After the film, I exited the theater enchanted and ecstatic to see that you know how to work so well, and admiring your beauty as well.
After this film, I developed a significantly more profound admiration of you, and I carried you in my heart as though I were…of “Cupid” in person. From that time, I started a remorseless search for photographs of you; I cut them from newspapers, and I put them in an album. I myself do not know how to explain this flame that burns in my heart: It is like a fire that always keeps a veneration of you lit inside of me. Many times I have argued with school friends because some of them claim that other actresses are more beautiful than you. In truth, I have eyes for no one but you, I adore you as though you were a goddess, you are more beautiful than Venus, and I wish that you were to remain always this beautiful.
Very often I have dreamed of you…and I…and it penetrates my blood, I look at you the silence in heart is ended. Moved by the charm of the music, I imagine that you and I danced wrapped in a sky of stars, and they smile at us. I ask for your forgiveness for my letting myself be transported this way, but my heart has spoken these words, not my mind. I have studied English for four years, I could have written to you in your language, but I could not find the right words to express what I feel toward you.
With great joy I want to say to you: “I love you but I am a boy,”…I say, “I am nothing but a fool.” Please forgive me if I have dared to say too much, but I believe that you understand me. Now I feel better, I have said what I had to say.
For many months now I have had the intention of writing to you but I was afraid to give form to this dream of mine. Now I would like to speak about myself. I am a 17-year-old boy and I attend Liceo Classico and I am in my first course of study. I am sending you two photos of me, one for you to keep as a reminder of me, the other I would like you to return to me with your autograph and a dedication. I would like as well a large photo of you, autographed in your own handwriting with a dedication to me personally. I give to you a small photo album, which will allow you to understand how much I admire you. I desire very much something that belongs to you, here I have discovered it; a curl of your beautiful blonde hair.
I would like you to respond to me with a letter. I would be very grateful for it, I would carry it with me like a knight carries his maiden’s colors with him into tournaments.
If it pleases you, I could write to you once in a while, and you might speak of me a bit.
If this summer I move to Rome, and if, by pure chance, you come for work or vacation to the beautiful Italian capital, I will come to find you. Forgive me if, perhaps, I have lost my mind.
I thank you with all my heart and with my eyes in tears, your eternal admirer.