Marilyn Monroe by Milton H. Greene 1953
Groucho Marx by Milton H. Greene 1956
Someone I met at a lunch counter told me they were making retakes on a movie called Love Happy and needed a girl for a bit part. Harpo and Groucho Marx were in the movie.
I went on the set and found the producer Lester Cowan in charge. He was a small man with dark, sad eyes. He introduced me to Groucho and Harpo Marx. It was like meeting familiar characters out of Mother Goose. There they were with the same happy, crazy look I had seen on the screen. They both smiled at me as if I were a piece of French pastry.
“This is the young lady for the office bit,” said Mr. Cowan.
Groucho stared thoughtfully at me.
“Can you walk?” he demanded.
“I am not referring to the type of walking my Tante Zippa has mastered,” said Groucho. “this role calls for a young lady who can walk by me in such a manner as to arouse my elderly libido and cause smoke to issue from my ears.”
Harpo honked a horn at the end of his cane and grinned at me.
I walked the way Groucho wanted.
“Exceedingly well done,” he beamed.
Harpo’s horn honked three times, and he stuck his fingers in his mouth and blew a piercing whistle.
“Walk again,” said Mr. Cowan.
I walked up and down in front of the three men. They stood grinning.
“It’s Mae West, Theda Bara, and Bo Peep all rolled into one,” said Groucho. “We shoot the scene tomorrow morning. Come early.”
“And don’t do any walking in any unpoliced areas,” said Harpo.
I played the next day; Groucho directed me. It was hardly more than a walk-on, but Mr. Cowan, the producer, said I had the makings of a star and that he was going to do something about it right away.
When you’re broke and a nobody and a man tells you that, he becomes a genius in your eyes. But nothing happened for a week. I sat every evening listening to my lover argue about my various shortcomings, and I remained blissfully happy.
Excerpted from My Story written by Marilyn Monroe. Published by Taylor Trade Publishing.