Britney & Marilyn: The Parallels
First Published: February 5, 2008 10:06 PM EST Credit: AP
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- A dazed looking Britney Spears was placed into an ambulance on January 3 before being committed for psychiatric evaluation.
Forty-seven years ago today, another blonde was committed – and the similarities between that blonde – Marilyn Monroe and Britney are interesting.
“Both of them in a sense are cursed with being stars, and [having] all this attention focused on them. And then when their life seems to get messed up, the focus becomes even more intense,” says Donald H. Wolfe, author of “The Last Days Of Marilyn Monroe.”
On March 5, 1961, a beaming Marilyn Monroe looked perfectly put together when she left a hospital after an over three-week stay for psychological issues.
The paparazzi surrounding Marilyn barely let her get in her waiting car as she left the hospital. It was unusual for that time, but now, 50 years later, such paparazzi attention is a serious part of Britney’s every day life. Her paparazzi pack picked up every move as she was hospitalized twice in the past month.
“Marilyn's problems were deeply interior problems as Britney problems might be,” Wolfe speculated.
While Britney’s troubles have been well chronicled, Monroe biographer Wolfe said that the public was unaware of Marilyn’s demons.
Her downward spiral began with the deterioration of her marriage to Arthur Miller and was fueled after JFK’s election when she was told she could no longer be friends with the president.
“On the day JFK was inaugurated she had gone to Mexico with [her] press agent to get divorce from Arthur Miller,” Wolfe recounts. “When she returned she lapsed into what she called ‘the blues.’”
Marilyn wouldn’t eat and was taking sedatives regularly until her psychoanalyst intervened.
Similarly it was Britney’s doctor who decided last week to have Spears committed on a 5150 hold, in which she was deemed a danger to herself or others.
While Britney was taken to the hospital by a veritable motorcade, Marilyn’s doctor personally drove her to the Payne Whitney clinic.
“[It] took her totally by surprise that she was in psych ward,” Wolfe says. “She started screaming and yelling and they thought she was going berserk so they put her in straight jacket.”
Admitted on Sunday February 5, a frantic Marilyn was allowed to make one phone call, four days later.
She called her ex-husband, Joe DiMaggio.
“He came right away and threatened to take down the hospital brick by brick if they didn't let her out,” Wolfe said.
Joe brought Marilyn to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, where she stayed in its regular unit, for 23 days of rest and recuperation.
Joe visited her every day.
But it was just a year and a half later that Marilyn died, from an overdose of barbiturates. Though classified as a probable suicide, Wolfe has his doubts.
“She would have had a great deal of sympathy for Britney Spears,” Wolfe said.
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