Colin Clark – My Week with Marilyn and The Prince, The Show Girl and Me

In 1956, 23-year-old Colin Clark began work as a lowly assistant on the set of The Prince and the Showgirl, the film that united Sir Laurence Olivier with Marilyn Monroe. The blonde bombshell and the legendary actor were ill suited from the start. Monroe, on honeymoon with her new husband, the celebrated playwright Arthur Miller, was insecure, often late, and heavily medicated on pills. Olivier, obsessively punctual, had no patience for Monroe and the production became chaotic.

Clark was perceptive in his assessment of what seemed to be going wrong in Monroe’s life: too many hangers-on, intense insecurity, and too many pills. Before long, Monroe and Clark spent an innocent week together in the English countryside and Clark became her confidant and ally.

This special theatrical edition also includes The Prince, The Showgirl and Me, Colin Clarks diary during the films production.

Author: Colin Clark
Narrator: Simon Prebble
Duration: 10 hours 3 minutes
Released: 11 Apr 2010
Publisher: Dreamscape Media, LLC
Language: English

User Review:

gash frenzied

Listening to this memoir, my mind kept wandering to memories of the Animaniacs, whenever they decided to lampoon Jerry Lewis. Like the Jeckyll and Hyde of comedy, Jerry could be the clown on camera and the stentorian Voice of Wisdom on the Subject of Comedy. If all you know of Curtis Armstrong is on screen, this will be a revelation. Armstrong is a serious actor, serious about acting–however goofy his roles. This isn’t the Booger You Know. The over-enunciation and earnest eloquence of the narration takes some getting used to; there’s a bit of the Uncanny Valley going on (is this really the same guy? It kinda sounds like him, but …)

Armstrong’s early years in Europe and Detroit may interest you, but I suspect most will choose to skip to the juicy parts once Tom Cruise and other 80s superstars enter the narrative. Armstrong doesn’t disappoint. He’s candid but not cruel (mostly), and is better than many at empathizing with others. He shares his (progressive) politics and causes repeatedly, but not too obnoxiously, and he has met at least one Republican-leaning person he doesn’t dislike (no spoilers).

If you want celebrity dirt, it’s here in spades, though it’s more confirmation than revelation, though he writes from his journals so the new-to-me feel is retained. It’s a surprisingly melancholy book for someone who’s spent so many years making people laugh with iconic characters. But “the tears of a clown” isn’t a recurring historical theme for nothing.

At times entertaining, at times…less so…this was a selection I don’t regret, but it’s not destined to be a classic. But as Armstrong’s career attests, you can make a decent living by reaching base consistently. As a serious actor taking even unserious characters seriously, he has injected even “Booger” and “Snot” with a life that resonates for generations. The book may tell more than show that life, but it’s enough to call it money (or a credit) well spent.