Phyllis Smith Asinyanbi

A desperate letter written by Marilyn Monroe to her acting coach Lee Strasberg will hit the memorabilia marketplace on May 30. An anonymous American collector expects the letter to fetch $30,000 to $50,000, according to Vanity Fair.

Monroe's letter was handwritten on Bel Air Hotel stationery and, in part, stated, “My will is weak but I can't stand anything. I sound crazy but I think I'm going crazy. It's just that I get before a camera and my concentration and everything I'm trying to learn leaves me. Then I feel like I'm not existing in the human race at all."

The actress' relationship with Strasberg is well documented, and he and second wife, Paula Strasberg, influenced the star greatly. Both he and his wife served as her acting coach. Although the letter is undated, Radar Online reports it is believed to have been written not long before Monroe's death on Aug. 5, 1962.

Other items to be auctioned by Profiles in History include a never-mailed undated letter from John Lennon to Paul and Linda McCartney. The letter reflects the acrimony between Lennon and Paul McCartney when the Beatles broke up in 1971. The letter is unsigned; in it Lennon writes, “Do you really think most of today's art came about because of the Beatles? ... When you stop believing it you might wake up!” It is expected to garner $40,000 to $60,000.

Additional items are a series of 58 letters written by former President Dwight D. Eisenhower between 1942 and 1945. It is the largest group of intact Eisenhower letters and could sell for $120,000.

Two photo albums that Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini exchanged prior to World War II are included in the collection. Documentation of uniforms, troops, flags and tanks are captured in the pictures, which have a pre-sale estimate of $50,000.

The online auction contains 3,000 items from the anonymous collector's artifacts.


All the other items in the collection are historical; it's understandable why someone would bid on them. Marilyn Monroe, indisputably the greatest movie star of the 20th century, is also part of American history. Yet it feels as though she is once again being exploited. She was becoming unhinged and finding it difficult to function on any level and was reaching out to Lee Strasberg—someone she trusted—in a genuine cry for help.

Only part of Monroe's story is known, and the public remains fascinated with her, more than 50 years after her death. Perhaps it is the longing to know more about Monroe's psyche. She remains an enigma whose light was dimmed too soon. If she were living, she would celebrate her 87th birthday on June 26.

When viewing her on the silver screen, there was a vulnerability about Monroe that made both men and women want to help her. Perhaps the person who pays the $30,000-plus for the letter will occasionally read it and imagine being the star's knight in shining armor.

Monroe bequeathed money as well as all her personal effects to Lee Strasberg, requesting in her will that he distribute them to "friends, colleagues and those to whom I'm devoted." Instead, he placed them in storage and willed them to his third wife, Anna Mizrahi Strasberg, who never knew Monroe.

Wife number three promised never to sell Monroe's belongings, but indeed auctioned them in 1999, adding $13.4 million to her coffers, per the Post-Gazette. The auction, likely, was the source of this letter and it, along with Lee Strasberg's handling of his dedicated student's personal items, was a violation of her wishes.

It's a betrayal of privacy—even though the letter writer is deceased—eerily inappropriate. Yet the people still want more from Monroe.

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