Oral History: Mira Sorvino, Becoming Marilyn

by Jack Tewksbury July 3, 2019
Actress Mira Sorvino, 1997, Golden Globe winner

hfpa archives

For over 40 years the HFPA has recorded famous and celebrated actresses, actors and filmmakers. The world's largest collection of its kind - over 10,000  items - is now in the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences Margaret Herrick Library.

In this excerpt from our archives from 1996, Golden Globe winner Mira Sorvino talks about Marylin Monroe's offscreen persona, Norma Jean - which Ashley Judd  played in the TV movie Norma Jean and Marilyn. Sorvino played Marilyn. Both actresses were nominated fopr Golden Globes.

“Marilyn grew up on movies where there was one big wonderful kiss at the end and then you dance off into the sunset and it was her wish for a love so big and wonderful and warm that it would blot out all the pain. That big wish so strong and naked not tempered with hard reality.  As she ages and everything starts getting worse and harder and the drugs are taking over, she starts to realize that the happy ending, that perfect happy ending is not going to be for her. She’s not going to get to it. It isn’t going to happen and that’s what leads her into that despair that makes her a suicidal person. Whether or not she actually killed herself that night, we don’t actually know. We’ll never know. I think it might have been an attempted suicide augmented by the way that it was handled that evening.  Certainly, there was a cover-up but I do think her great need for a perfect happy ending preceded her realizing there is no saving grace. I’m not going to be saved. I’m never going to be happy like that. I’m always going to be really desperate and that – so getting into that is why it took me s  long to shake Norma Jean from my head.  I was very depressed for like a month after. “