Film History Podcasts Women's History

Marilyn Monroe in New York: Her Year of Reinvention

In late December 1954 Marilyn Monroe came to New York City wearing a disguise.

Monroe — by then the biggest movie star in the world — came to the East Coast to reinvent herself and her career. The year 1955 would be a turning point in her life and it all played out on the streets of the city.

She intended to spend the rest of her life here.

It was a year of discovery — exploring the city, working on her craft and generally being the toast of the town.

In particular she came to New York to become a better actress via the Actors Studio and the influence of Lee Strasberg. But she also managed to see the most glamorous corners of New York and eventually — she fell in love.

Contemporary portrayals of her life have focused on the most salacious, most intimate details of her biography. Many tend to rob her of her personal agency. But in this show we hope to show a very different side to Monroe’s life. And a deep connection with New York City that never left her.

Marilyn Monroe overlooking Park Avenue from the roof of the Ambassador Hotel at Park and 51st. (The hotel was demolished in 1966). From here you can also see the Racquet and Tennis Club (1918) and the Lever House (1952). Photograph by Ed Feingersh, taken 1955.

FEATURING: New York in the 1950s with Frank Sinatra, Marlon Brando, Marlene Dietrich and many others.

PLUS: As an extra treat we’ll be joined by Alicia Malone of TCM (and Tom’s co-host on “The Official Gilded Age Podcast”) and author of the 2021 book Girls on Film: Lessons from a Life of Watching Women in Movies

Alicia Malone/TCM



Lois Banner Marilyn: The Passion and the Paradox
Isaac Butler The Method: How The Twentieth Century Learned to Act
Carl E Rollyson Marilyn Monroe: A Life of the Actress
Donald Spoto Marilyn Monroe
Gloria Steinem and George Barris Marilyn: Norma Jeane
Anthony Summers Goddess: The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe
Elizabeth Winder Marilyn in Manhattan: Her Year of Joy
Donald H. Wolfe The Last Days of Marilyn Monroe

Hedda Hopper column, January 8, 1855
The Lost Footage of Marilyn Monroe” by Helene Stapinski, New York Times
Marilyn Monroe Found Dead,” New York Daily News, August 6, 1962
Marilyn Monroe’s Crypt,” Atlas Obscura

Interview featured on this week’s show:

An interview by Edward R. Morrow for his show Person To Person with Marilyn Monroe in Connecticut.

Newsreel clips featured in the show:

Miller and Monroe make their marriage announcement:


After listening to this show about Marilyn Monroe, take a dive back into the Bowery Boys Hollywood collection:

1 reply on “Marilyn Monroe in New York: Her Year of Reinvention”

I’ve been a fan of Marilyn since ’61 (8 yrs. old) and ’62 as a half-Italian boy in Brooklyn. All the women around me had black or brunette hair, many with olive skin. She was blonde, fair-skinned & very pretty. She was my first crush. She died on the evening of 8/4/1962. The next morning I heard the news and hoped it was wrong. My Mom, quietly said no. I went to college, became a journalist, married my wife (blonde, fair-skinned & very pretty). My friends wives all said, “You’re marrying Marilyn.” No, I married my wife, still married almost 43 years. I’ve read too many bios, stories, etc. on her life. Marilyn was typecast and completely underestimated by Hollywood. Yeah, I’m a fan, but imagine her dealing with the rest of the ’60s until at least 2000? Great podcast. You did your research. And Alicia Malone, who reminds me of an oldtime Hollywood actress, knows her Marilyn stuff!

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