My Maril: Marilyn Monroe, Ronald Reagan, Hollywood, and Me

By , ,

Terry Karger is the one living person who intimately knew Marilyn Monroe and Ronald Reagan.

“Looks will get you far, but not as far as a good education.”
—Marilyn Monroe to Terry Karger

Terry Karger was a child of Hollywood: the daughter of Columbia Pictures’ vocal coach, composer, and musical director Fred Karger; the granddaughter of Metro Pictures co-founder Maxwell Karger. And what a story she has to tell, centering on and revolving around Fred’s relationships with a trio of silver-screen legends: Jane Wyman, Ronald Reagan, and, primarily, Marilyn Monroe.

Marilyn, recently evolved from Norma Jeane Mortenson, was still 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 much-needed moral support. Although the Marilyn–Fred relationship lasted just over a year, her close friendship with the Kargers, including Fred, continued until the end of her life.

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

The unique insight this gave Terry will help readers get to know a side of Marilyn Monroe the public never saw: the human side. My Maril reveals a sensitive yet strong-willed woman of great emotional and intellectual depth. Marilyn Monroe was no dumb blonde.

While appealing to anyone with an interest in Hollywood’s golden era, this unique memoir will grab the attention of Marilyn Monroe fans worldwide thanks to privately taken, previously unpublished photos of the iconic superstar with her adopted family and friends.