Lifetime has made a two-night TV mini-series called The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe. It claims to chronicle the sex symbol’s family life and “how she succeeded in hiding her most intimate secrets from the press and an invasive world.” Much of the series focuses on Marilyn’s mother Gladys Pearl Baker who “was so mentally unstable that she was unable to care for Norma Jeane.” Gladys is portrayed by Oscar-winning actress Susan Sarandon (Dead Man Walking, Thelma and Louise).
Marilyn is portrayed by a lesser known actress, Kelli Garner. Garner has appeared in films including The Aviator with Leo DiCaprio, Horns with Daniel Radcliffe, and Lars and the Real Girl with Ryan Gosling, but might be best known for her lead role in the short-lived TV drama Pan Am. For the Marilyn miniseries, Garner recently told the Los Angeles Times with a laugh, “They made me jump for the role.” The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe premieres on Lifetime on May 30 at 8pm.