It is ironic, and perhaps even more tragic, that a woman so objectified by the world found such solace in possessing an object that held such deep memories associated with it.
Her rather unassuming white lacquered piano, produced in the early part of the 20th century (original manufacturer unknown), is recounted in Marilyn Monroe’s posthumously published autobiography:
“One day a grand piano arrived at my home. It was out of condition. My mother had bought it secondhand. It was for me. I was going to be given piano lessons on it. It was a very important piano, despite being a little banged up. It had belonged to the movie star Fredric March.
“‘You’ll play the piano over here, by the windows,’ my mother said, ‘and here on each side of the fireplace there’ll be a love seat. And we can sit listening to you. As soon as I pay off a few other things I’ll get the love seats, and we’ll all sit in them at night and listen to you play the piano.’”
Sometime later, Monroe’s mother was sadly taken to the Norwalk Mental Hospital, and Monroe was sent to an orphanage. All of their belongings including the piano were taken away.
“I never forgot the white painted house and its furniture. Years later when I was beginning to earn some money from modeling [,] I started looking for the Fredric March piano. After about a year I found it in an old auction room and bought it.
“’I have it in my home now in Hollywood. It’s been painted a lovely white, and it has new strings and plays as wonderfully as any piano in the world.” [ 2 ]
Marilyn’s piano was auctioned in October of 1999.