Don Murray was an unknown actor appearing on Broadway in Wilder's The Skin of Our Teeth when Joshua Logan saw him and cast him in
Bus Stop, the film version of William Inge's play. Murray played Bo, the
wide-eyed cowboy who falls head over heels for a saloon hostess named Cherie
whom he tries to drag back to Montana to marry. The ambitious Cherie-- for a
time anyway--has her sights set higher than marrying the rowdy young rancher.
|MM and Arthur Miller outside their Sutton Place residence|
|AL:||Bus Stop had been a hit on Broadway.
Kim Stanley played Cherie. The role I played in the film,
Bo, was done on Broadway by a wonderful actor named Albert Salmi. After I
landed the part, and we started shooting, I learned for the first time the
movie was being co-produced by Marilyn Monroe and Milton Greene, a
photographer who was her business partner. They had bought the rights to the
play for Marilyn to return to Hollywood after studying at the Actors Studio.
|AL:||She had spent a year studying
with Lee Strasberg as a special student.
Paula Strasberg was on the
set as Marilyn's acting coach. Before a take, they would talk quietly off to
one side, or if Marilyn seemed disturbed, Paula would take her aside and
talk to her. They huddled together. You never heard what they said. Paula
was polite but didn't pay attention to anyone else. She was very devoted to
Marilyn. She never discussed the Actors Studio or offered any other actor
|AL:||How did Josh Logan, the director, react to Paula Strasberg's
presence on the set?
Paula was there every day, even on location in Phoenix
and Sun Valley (Idaho). Logan worked with it very well. He let her talk to
Marilyn. Then he would step in and direct. He was very patient. Very few
directors would have put up with it.
|AL:||How was it working with
Every scene was difficult to get through. She had
difficulty remembering her lines, concentrating. If she had a long
paragraph, for instance, and was supposed to say, "Oh," at the end--she
would come to the end and there would be no, "Oh." On some scenes there
would be thirty takes. The average film scene requires about five takes. If
Marilyn was having trouble getting through a particular scene, and finally
got it, they would print it. It did not matter how the other actors did. I
had a feeling of relaxation doing the scenes she wasn't in. I loved the
stuff with the horses at the ranch and the rodeo sequence we shot in
|AL:||Did Marilyn socialize with the rest of the cast?
Marilyn didn't socialize with anyone. She was going with
Arthur Miller, so anytime she was away, she was seeing him. It was
clandestine. He was still married. We were shooting all day, so nobody was
going out on the town. Sun Valley was very cold. When the shooting was
finished, you went to your room.
Did you get to know Marilyn?
She was detached, into herself. On the set, she appeared
frightened, worried. Just thinking about what she had to do. There was not
much interchange. While they were setting up lights, she would sometimes
have conversations about relationships. Marilyn didn't say so, but we knew
she was talking about Arthur Miller.
|AL:||Ezra Goodman, who was covering the filming of Bus Stop,
thought that Marilyn was bitten by the star bug.
At the time I was going with
Hope Lange who was also in the cast. The story is true that Marilyn objected
to having two blondes in the film. So they darkened Hope's hair a little.
|AL:||You have that kissing scene with Marilyn at the end of the
Love scenes in movies are
pretty mechanical. You have to make sure you put your head in a certain
position so you don't throw a shadow. In those days, it was pretty strict.
You had to keep your mouth closed or it wouldn't get past the censor. In
viewing the rushes someone noticed that Marilyn had her mouth open during
the love scene. They could not cut around it. So we had to redo the scene
even though the filming was over. Marilyn was lighthearted. She was
laughing. It was the most relaxed I'd seen her. She didn't have any lines to
|AL:||Did you get any feedback from
Inge was shy, but he was
very appreciative of what we were doing. He liked the movie very much.
George Axelrod wrote the screenplay. In the play, all the action takes place
at a bus stop. George added the ranch and rodeo sequences. He created the
movie as much as Inge did.
|AL:||Did you have any contact with
Marilyn after the film?
I never saw her again. I
never talked to her again. I heard from other people that she was upset. She
was expecting to get a nomination for one of the awards.
(Ezra Goodman's The
Fifty-Year Decline and Fall of Hollywood, New York, Simon and
Schuster, 1961, provided background information on the filming of Bus