PETER BRANDT
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Marilyn

The last year of her life, she seemed to be blazing out to people. She had made her last film. Her frantic activities seemed a desperate attempt to hold on to a shattered life.

She sang for a president, and became a supernatural phenomena transcending life and death. She gave her final interview and made a last photo session, nudes and lots of black dresses. She died…so Vogue put her out in black.

When I was born she had already been dead for quite a time. But she felt much more present to me than most living people did. She seemed to be just as much on the outside as me. I grew up and she followed me through life, ever present like the sky.

One day I just had to know how it felt to be her that day at The Bell Air Hotel. I gazed into the camera and for a split of a second I was her. A moment of terrifying catalytic truth. I removed my make-up and went out in the street. In a daze. It slowly dawned on me I had touched a butterfly.

She terminated her life but experienced an even more frantic afterlife. She is gone but goes on forever.

Peter Brandt, text to Marilyn edition, 2000.