The final months of Marilyn Monroe’s life are set to be dramatized in a new series from BBC Studios that will explore her relationship with Hollywood studios and with public figures such as JFK and Bobby Kennedy.
BBC Studios, the BBC’s production and commercial arm, has teamed up with Dan Sefton and Simon Lupton’s U.K. indie producer Seven Seas Films to develop the new show. It has the working tile “The Last Days of Marilyn Monroe” and will be based on parts of Keith Badman’s book “The Final Years of Marilyn Monroe: The Shocking True Story.”
Monroe, who died in 1962 at age 36, remains the subject of enduring fascination. The producers said the series would cover a period in which her behavior became increasingly erratic as her dependence on alcohol and medication caused her glittering film career to plunge.
Sefton – whose credits include Jodie Whittaker series “Trust Me,” ITV drama “The Good Karma Hospital,” and Sky comedy “Delicious” – will pen the series. “Marilyn’s desire to be taken seriously as an actress and her battle with the powerful men who control the studio system is sadly as relevant today as it ever was,” Sefton said.
Badman’s book tells Monroe’s story from various perspectives. The series will adopt a similar approach, detailing her romantic involvement with American baseball great Joe DiMaggio, John and Bobby Kennedy, and Rat Pack member Peter Lawford. The show will also explore the delays in reporting her overdose on the night of her death.
BBC Studios executive producer Anne Pivcevic said the series would tackle “big themes such as power, love, loyalty and politics.” She added: “In the last few months of her life, Marilyn was sincerely loved, callously betrayed, cynically filled with hope and ultimately cruelly abandoned. Her death changed the lives of everyone in her orbit and cemented her status as a legend.”
No broadcaster or platform is attached to the project, but the writing and producing team, and proven source material about an enduring icon, make for a strong package, with U.S. and international appeal.