Great Cities’ Fallen Stars: Marilyn Monroe, Princess Diana


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Paris has Diana and Los Angeles will always have Marilyn.
Part of Princess Diana will always belong to Paris because this is the city where she spent her last moments on Earth. It’s only fitting that while passing through the City of Angels we should pay our repects to another diva, Marilyn Monroe, who like Princess Diana has struck a chord with so many who knew her only as an ephemeral image – a dream girl, an attitude, an era.

When I saw this bouquet of yellow roses placed so lovingly at Marilyn Monroe’s quiet, unfussy monument tucked in a quiet corner of Hollywood, I thought also of Princess Diana – although they came from two totally different milieus, their ability to stir the imagination – and to create a persona which touched the hearts of so many – is in many ways – synonomous with Paris’s effect on people who may have never even set foot in the City of Light.

Just as Paris has become an icon representing all that’s beauty and elegance – so, too Princess Diana was all beauty and elegance – and Marilyn – the ultimate in femininity.

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The ‘memorial’ marking the place where Princess Diana died in Paris is much less impressive – it’s been described as a ‘makeshift’ shrine. In effect, flowers have been placed in front of a ‘flame of liberty’ offered by the International Herald Tribune in 1987 to France in the name of Franco/American friendship. When I first visited the flower strewn monument just above the Pont d’Alma tunnel, I thought it was a pretty nice gesture for the IHT – not realizing they had never intended to create a memorial for Princess Diana. It would be appropriate that the media that ultimately destroyed her life – might think about creating a monument to help people remember that the media is capable of shedding light on the world – but also destroying lives when greed and ambition override common sense.

If there were ever two women who were destroyed by the greed and ambitions – and fears of others, Marilyn and Diana – they’re the ones. Flowers, flowers and more flowers!