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New 'Marilyn' Monroe Biography Is Rooted in Passion and Paradox

Author Lois Banner explores movie star's troubled life

Marilyn Monroe

"Marilyn, the Passion and the Paradox" provides a new perspective on the complicated life of Marilyn Monroe. — Photo by Sunset Boulevard/Corbis

Since Marilyn Monroe's death 50 years ago, dozens of authors have tried to capture the nuances of this beloved, flawed and mysterious icon. In Marilyn, women's history expert Lois Banner may have succeeded. Banner explores Monroe's public persona but also details her darker past, including sexual abuse, 11 foster homes and multiple abortions. Banner also claims to prove "beyond a doubt" Monroe's wit and intellect, her playful side and her control — not the studios' — of creating the Marilyn Monroe we thought we knew.

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Uma Thurman sings Marilyn Monroe's version of "Happy Birthday" on NBC's Smash.

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