What comings and goings at The Beverly Hills Hotel.
Marilyn Monroe preferred bungalows numbers 1 and 7 when she stayed there. However, when she was prepping for her role in Let’s Make Love, a 1960 musical satire about a show within a show, she and her husband, Arthur Miller, resided next to her French co-star, Yves Montand, and his wife, actress Simone Signoret, in Bungalows 20 and 21. Although the four were friends, it wasn’t a very good idea.
Monroe and Montand began an affair when Miller went to Reno to put finishing touches on his script The Misfits, to star Monroe, which would begin shooting in a few months. Monroe, as usual, was feeling insecure and despondent. Miller, in her mind, didn’t care, more concerned about his career than her welfare. When he returned to Los Angeles and crossed a writer’s strike to rework scenes for Let’s Make Love, already considered a stinker, their marriage was unraveling.
Montand, for his part, was hoping to use his role, a role, by the way, turned down by such leading men as Cary Grant, Gregory Peck, Charlton Heston, Rock Hudson, James Stewart, and Yul Brynner, to break into American films. Once production began, he soon learned what the others already knew: he was simply a foil for Marilyn. His star would rise or fall with her performance, and he readily succumbed to her advances.
Word of their between-the-sheets activities was uncovered in the usual matter: by the press lurking and skulking about, buying inside information from hotel personnel, only too happy to earn an easy buck. Neither Monroe nor Montand seemed at all concerned.
Neither was the studio. Hoping a scandal would save the movie, they contributed to the gossip, sending columnist Hedda Hopper to interview Montand. And he talked.
“I did everything I could to make things easier for her when I realized that mine was a very small part,” Montand told Hopper. “The only thing that could stand out in my performance was my love scenes, so naturally I did everything I could to make them realistic.”
With these words, Montand might have saved his marriage, but Let’s Make Love is remembered as a flop. Monroe, however, singing “My Heart Belongs to Daddy” was sensational.
© 2012 Susan Marg – All Rights Reserved
Watch Yves Montand watching Marilyn Monroe sing “My Heart Belongs to Daddy.”