Her Story Was Far From Finished

Author Interview
Terry Karger Author Interview

My Maril is your personal memoir about growing up with Marilyn Monroe in your life and the real person behind the Hollywood image. Why was this an important story to tell?

I’ve read many of the books on Marilyn or “Maril” as we called her in my family. I finally decided to write this book with my coauthor Jay Margolis because I wanted people to see who Maril really was. The one you read about in all the other books is not the one I recognize and neither did my surviving cousins. She was very bright, extraordinarily intelligent, and highly determined to become a movie star. As we all know, Marilyn Monroe very quickly became the most famous woman in the world. I’ve never read a book about Maril from a child’s perspective and I felt that’s why my story needed to be told, to show people how innocent Maril was and that she truly loved children. She herself was as innocent as a child and she sought refuge in my family because we treated her like a normal person even after she became famous. We were her true family, the one that adopted her. My grandmother Ann “Nana” Conley thereafter became Maril’s mother for the rest of her life. So even though Maril never really connected with either of her parents, she did in fact have our family, the Kargers, to come home to until the day of her premature death.

I appreciated the candid nature with which you told your story. What was the hardest thing for you to write about?

Maril’s death was easily the hardest part to write about. It makes me cry when I realize this friendly and lovely woman who I had known for almost fifteen years must have been murdered and that it was no accident with enough drugs in her blood to kill three people but absolutely ZERO undissolved capsules in her stomach. It was alleged she had swallowed SIXTY-FOUR pills but NOTHING in her stomach. It means she didn’t swallow the drugs that killed her and that she wasn’t responsible for her own death. It makes me wonder, “What if she hadn’t been taken from us?” Her story was far from finished.

What is a common misconception you feel people have about Marilyn’s death?

I never believed Marilyn Monroe committed suicide. My cousin Ben, my cousin Jacqui, and my own mother Patti, who was a best friend of Maril’s, all very strongly believed Maril had been murdered. I personally just never saw this woman killing herself when she had so much going for her. She’d been rehired by Twentieth Century-Fox, her interview with LIFE Magazine had just been released the day before her death and she was calling everyone including my grandmother Nana with the happy news. Maril was very proud with the positivity of the article. So Nana and her sister Effie were wondering to each other, “Why would she end it all the very next day at this very joyous time in her life?”

What were some goals you set for yourself as a writer in this book?

I wanted the reader to be placed for a short time in my shoes, to see my Maril the way I saw her. My main goal was the hope that this book would be transformative for the chauvinists of the world who thought Maril was simply a “dumb blonde,” the way the studios had perceived her, and how certain men would actually think Maril must have been that dumb in real life. Nothing could be further from the truth. She was highly intelligent. As Maril herself once said, “It would be awfully silly if people thought you were whatever you played in movies.” Maril should not only be remembered for singing “Happy Birthday” to the President. She was so much more than that. We must not forget Maril was a human being.

Author Links: GoodReads | Amazon

Terry Karger is a child of Hollywood: the granddaughter of Metro Pictures cofounder Maxwell Karger, and the daughter of Fred Karger, a vocal coach at Columbia Pictures. Terry’s story revolves around Fred and a trio of silver-screen legends: her stepmother Jane Wyman, Ronald Reagan, and, primarily, Marilyn Monroe.

Marilyn, recently evolved from Norma Jeane Mortenson, was an unknown starlet when, as a twenty-one-year-old, she first met six-year-old Terry—and began dating her dad—in the spring of 1948. The orphaned, emotionally fragile actress initially babysat Fred’s daughter while turning to his family for support. Although the Marilyn-Fred romance lasted just over a year, her close friendship with the Kargers, including Fred, continued for fourteen years until the end of Marilyn’s life.

While Fred was Marilyn’s first true love, his mom, Nana, was the mother she never really had. “Maril,” as they fondly called her, was allowed to relax and be herself. It also enabled Marilyn to appease her own unfulfilled maternal instincts, acting as a cross between a sweet, playful big sister and generous, caring surrogate mom to Terry.

This memoir also reveals privately taken, previously unpublished photos of the iconic superstar with her adopted family and friends.

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on February 12, 2023, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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