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My Maril: Marilyn Monroe, Ronald Reagan, Hollywood, and Me
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 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This memoir also reveals privately taken, previously unpublished photos of the iconic superstar with her adopted family and friends.