Did John Steinbeck write to Marilyn Monroe?



Excerpts from:

Stanford University

The Book Haven

Cynthia Haven’s blog for the written word

June 21st, 2021

John Steinbeck’s letter to Marilyn Monroe: was it a fraud?!?

More than two years ago, we wrote of Nobel prizewinning author John Steinbeck‘s 1955 letter to Marilyn Monroe, which sold for more than $3520 at a 2016 auction. In it, the esteemed author begged for a favor from the film goddess: Would she please send a “pensive, girlish” photo to his starstruck nephew, and sign it in her actual handwriting? Said the author of Grapes of Wrath: “He has his foot in the door of puberty, but that is only one of his problems. You are the other.” In fact, he told the blonde bombshell that Steinbeck own stock with his nephew skyrocketed when he learned Steinbeck had met her. Then the writer beseeched Monroe: “He is already your slave. This would make him mine.”

Did it happen?

There was nothing for it but to track down nephew the smitten Atkinson, now a retired minister, to his Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where he lives quietly with his wife. Quiet … until now. The elderly couple first heard about the fabled letter only a few weeks ago. One thing is certain: Atkinson never got the letter. And the signature doesn’t look like Steinbeck’s, anyway, said his wife.

From the article:

“Joan Atkinson points out that Steinbeck almost exclusively wrote his letters in longhand with a pencil. ‘I could not imagine that John Steinbeck would have had a typist or secretary from the office sign a letter like that for him. As personal as this subject was, it seems strange,’ she said.

“Did Steinbeck write the letter for an assistant to type? All we can say with any degree of confidence is the letter was in Marilyn Monroe’s possession. Unless the typist ‘mf’ can be located, this piece of the mystery may never be solved.

“We do know young Jon Atkinson never received a photograph inscribed with a personal message from Marilyn Monroe. ‘That sure would have been nice, right?’ Atkinson said.

Read the whole story here. The famous letter is below.

This entry was posted on Monday, June 21st, 2021 at 6:58 pm by Cynthia Haven and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.







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