Freedom: Marilyn Monroe on the roof of the Ambassador Hotel in New York in 1955.

Without telling anyone except a few trusted people, she exited Hollywood around January 1955 and settled in New York, where she set up Marilyn Monroe Productions with her friend, Milton Greene. Basically, she had had it with the dumb blonde roles, her poor salary, and the Hollywood studio system in general—she demanded more control, and through some clever manoeuvring, got it too, outsmarting her bosses, critics, and the studio’s shareholders.

Health problems, a failing marriage, and that eternal foe, depression, eventually put an end to her victory lap.