Was Marilyn Monroe a stoner?

An undated home movie shows the actress waiting to inhale

By Mary Elizabeth Williams
December 2, 2009 4:03PM (UTC)
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Gentlemen prefer bongs, but it appears that Hollywood's most famous blonde was content just to pass the joint.

In a newly surfaced clip, Marilyn Monroe happily puffs on an unconventional looking cigarette  while relaxing at the home of a friend. The silent film emerged out of New York collector Keya Morgan's research for an upcoming documentary that explores the mysterious circumstances surrounding her death in 1962. Morgan, who says he paid $275,000 for the four-minute film, will be offering it for sale on eBay starting Thursday.


The woman who shot the movie, who identified herself to CNN only as Gretchen, said she shot it in a New Jersey apartment some time in the late 1950's and has kept in her attic since. She also confirmed they were smoking pot, saying, "I got it. It was mine. It was just passed around. It was not a party. It was just a get-together. You know, come over and hang out."

What makes the clip interesting isn't that it's just another long-lost scrap from a famously fallen idol.  It's how relaxed and lovely Monroe looks, her movie star wattage in full effect but her giddy humanity equally on display. That she might be high is irrelevant. Unguarded in the company of friends, she looks so very happy.

Mary Elizabeth Williams

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a staff writer for Salon and author of "A Series of Catastrophes & Miracles."

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