Michelle Morgan

Michelle Morgan and Astrid Franse

Before Marilyn

The Blue Book Modelling Years

The History Press (July 2015)

Franse Morgan Before MarilynBefore Marilyn tells the story of Marilyn Monroe’s modelling career, during which time she was signed to the famous Blue Book Agency in Hollywood. The head of the agency, Miss Emmeline Snively, saw potential in the young woman and kept detailed records and correspondence throughout their professional relationship and beyond. On the day of Monroe’s funeral, Snively gave an interview from her office, talking about the girl she had discovered, before announcing, rather dramatically, that she was closing the lid on her Marilyn Monroe archive that day – to ‘lock it away forever’. This archive was purchased by Astrid Franse, and together with bestselling Marilyn Monroe biographer Michelle Morgan they draw on this collection of never-before-seen documents, letters and much, much more. Before Marilyn explores an aspect of Monroe’s life that has never been fully revealed – by charting every modelling job she did, and illustrating the text with rare and unpublished photographs of the young model and her mentor.

Michelle Morgan

The Girl

Marilyn Monroe, The Seven Year Itch and the Birth of an Unlikely Feminist

Running Press (May 2018)

Morgan The GirlWhen Marilyn Monroe stepped over a subway grating as The Girl in The Seven Year Itch and let a gust of wind catch the skirt of her pleated white dress, an icon was born. Before that, the actress was mainly known for a nude calendar and one-dimensional, albeit memorable, characters on the screen. Though she again played a “dumb blonde” in this film and was making headlines by revealing her enviable anatomy, the star was now every bit in control of her image, and ready for a personal revolution.

Emboldened by her winning fight to land the role of The Girl, the making of The Seven Year Itchand the eighteen months that followed was the period of greatest confidence, liberation, and career success that Monroe lived in her tumultuous life. It was a time in which, among other things, she:

* Ended her marriage to Joe DiMaggio and later began a relationship with Arthur Miller
* Legally changed her name to Marilyn Monroe, divorcing herself from the troubled past of Norma Jeane
* Started her own production company;Studied in private lessons with Lee and Paula Strasberg of the Actors Studio and became a part of the acting revolution of the day

The ripple effects her personal rebellion had on Hollywood, and in trailblazing the way for women that followed, will both surprise and inspire readers to see the Marilyn Monroe in an entirely new light.

Michelle Morgan

The Battered Body Beneath the Flagstones and Other Victorian Scandals

Robinson (April 2018)

Morgan The Battered Body Beneath the Flagstones and Other Victorian ScandalsA grisly book dedicated to the crimes, perversions and outrages of Victorian England, covering high-profile offences – such as the murder of actor William Terriss, whose stabbing at the stage door of the Adelphi Theatre in 1897 filled the front pages for many weeks – as well as lesser-known transgressions that scandalised the Victorian era.

The tales include murders and violent crimes, but also feature scandals that merely amused the Victorians. These include the story of a teenage man who married an actress, only to be shipped off to Australia by his disgusted parents; and the Italian ice-cream man who only meant to buy his sweetheart a hat but ended up proposing marriage instead. When he broke it off, his fiancée’s father sued him and the story was dubbed the ‘Amusing Aberdeen Breach of Promise Case’. Also present is the gruesome story of the murder of Patrick O Connor who was shot in the head and buried under the kitchen flagstones by his lover Maria Manning and her husband, Frederick. The couple’s subsequent trial caused a sensation and even author Charles Dickens attended the grisly public hanging.

Drawing on a range of sources from university records and Old Bailey transcripts to national and regional newspaper archives, Michelle Morgan’s research sheds new light on well-known stories as well as unearthing previously unknown incidents.

Michelle Morgan

Carole Lombard

Twentieth-Century Star

The History Press (October 2016)

Morgan Carole LombardCarole Lombard was the very opposite of the typical 1930s starlet. A no-nonsense woman, she worked hard, took no prisoners and had a great passion for life. As a result, she became Hollywood’s highest-paid star.

From the outside, Carole’s life was one of great glamour and fun, yet privately she endured much heartache. As a child, her mother moved Carole and her brothers across the country away from their beloved father. Carole then began a film career, only to have it cut short after a devastating car accident. Picking herself back up, she was rocked by the accidental shooting of her lover; a failed marriage to actor William Powell; and the sorrow of infertility during her marriage to Hollywood’s King, Clark Gable.

Lombard marched forward, promising to be positive. Sadly her life was cut short in a plane crash so catastrophic that pieces of the aircraft are still buried in the mountain today. In Carole Lombard, bestselling author Michelle Morgan accesses previously unseen documents to tell the story of a woman whose remarkable life and controversial death continues to enthrall.

Michelle Morgan

The Ice Cream Blonde

The whirlwind life and mysterious death of screwball comedienne Thelma Todd

Chicago Review Press (November 2015)

Morgan The Ice Cream BlondeEchoing closely the glitz and the sinister undercurrents of The Great Gatsby, the blonde silent movie actress, Thelma Todd, was just 29, when she died in mysterious circumstances in December 1935.  She was found by her housekeeper in a garage in Hollywood, owned by her lover, film director Roland West and his wife, the actress, Jewel Carmen.  The inquest concluded that her death was “accidental”, caused by inhaling her car’s exhaust fumes.  The garage was 271 steps above her newly-opened and fashionable Thelma Todd’s Sidewalk Café.  In this intriguing and gripping investigation, Michelle Morgan, author of several major books on Marilyn Monroe and Hollywood, proves that Thelma had been murdered.  But by who?  Through her special talent of discovering new sources of information and interviewees who have never divulged their inside knowledge previously, Michelle gets to the definitive solution of  who killed Thelma Todd.

Michelle Morgan


Robinson (April 2015)

Madonna_coverMadonna: singer, songwriter, actress, businesswoman, not to mention one of the most renowned cultural icons of the last three decades. Since her first, eponymous album, over thirty years ago Madonna has sold a remarkable 300 million records worldwide, making her the top-selling female recording artist of all time. Madonna is famous for continuously reinventing both her music and her image. By pushing the boundaries of mainstream popular music with both her lyrical content and the imagery in her music videos she achieved extraordinary popularity. Morgan offers a richly illustrated, comprehensive account of the artist’s phenomenally successful career. Reviews, interviews, commentary, and Madonna’s own words shed new light on her videos, books, tours, fashion, charity work and every other aspect of her life.

Michelle Morgan

The Mammoth Book of Hollywood Scandals

Constable & Robinson (October 2013)

Michelle Morgan tells the stories of Hollywood’s secrets, lies, murders, suicides and mysteries. 60 famous as well as near-forgotten scandals across almost 100 years of Hollywood’s history include the tragic account of Roscoe ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle’s murder trial that ruined his life, the death of Lana Turner’s boyfriend, and on through to the present day, with the divorce of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, the death of Whitney Houston and the love-triangle between Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie.

Michelle Morgan

Marilyn Monroe

Private and undisclosed

Constable & Robinson ( 2007)

MarilynMichelle Morgan ran the UK Marilyn fan club for many years, and is probably the most knowledgeable person on the planet about her.  Her special talent is to find people who knew Marilyn, but have never previously shared their memories and photographs, that is until the very persuasive author discovered them for her intimate and illuminating biography of the actress’s private and professional life.