LIFE cover 8-17-1962: Memories of Marilyn.
LIFE cover 8-17-1962: Memories of Marilyn.

The headline on the front page of the Detroit Free Press read: “Marilyn Monroe is Dead of Pill Overdose.” Among those shocked by the report was the author Joyce Carol Oates, who years later would write the Monroe-inspired novel Blonde, and who has come to be one of the most prolific writers in America. “I saw the newspaper headline and felt such a sense of loss,” Oates tells TIME. Then a 25-year-old newlywed, she had moved to Michigan that year with her husband, Raymond J. Smith, to teach at the University of Detroit. “How could such a beautiful, successful and famous young woman kill herself?” she asked, recalling her emotions of that August in 1962.

Read the full article by Nick Charles in Time/Life.

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