On Friday, June 29, 1956 at 7:21 pm, actress Marilyn Monroe married playwright Arthur Miller at the Westchester County Courthouse in White Plains, New York. The ceremony, presided over by Judge Seymour Robinowitz, was attended by only a few friends and family members – one of whom snapped photographs. There were no photojournalists or reporters present. The item released by The New York Times the following day said the pair “slipped quietly into the Westchester County Courthouse here tonight and were married by a city judge. Miss Monroe wore a sweater and a skirt and no hat. Mr. Miller wore a blue suit and a white shirt but no tie.”
After the brief ceremony, “Mr. and Mrs. Miller then got into their sports car and disappeared into traffic.”
LIFE photographer Paul Schutzer photographed the couple during their drive back to Miller’s home in Roxbury, Connecticut – exchanging a kiss, stopping for hot dogs and Cokes, and filling the gas tank. Their photographer friend Milton Greene, who photographed the wedding, sits shotgun.
Many of the widely circulated photographs of Monroe and Miller’s nuptials portray the pair at their intimate Jewish wedding ceremony which took place on July 1, 1956 at the home of a friend. Schutzer’s photos, however, show the just-civilly-married, casually attired, and clearly smitten couple in Miller’s Thunderbid convertible as they head back across the state line to Connecticut.
If the couple looks slightly subdued in the pictures, they can’t be blamed. Nor can they be blamed that they opted at the last minute for a quiet, private ceremony. The day and its accompanying media frenzy had earlier turned tragic when journalist Mara Scherbatoff was killed in a car accident while pursuing them. The teenage driver was also hurt in the accident. According to the Danbury NewsTimes,
“A press car carrying reporter Mara Scherbatoff, 48, crashed into a tree on Gladmine Road near the farm, while in pursuit of the car in which Miller and Monroe were riding…Scherbatoff, the New York bureau chief for Paris-Match, was thrown from the car [and] died three hours later while in surgery. Differing reports say Miller was furious with the press and Monroe was nearly hysterical over the accident.”
Monroe and Miller then held a press conference to appease the hundreds of journalists who had descended on the small town of Roxbury, Connecticut upon hearing the news they would marry.
As the commotion over Scherbatoff’s death and the subsequent press conference unfolded in Roxbury, Arthur Miller’s attorney, Samuel Slavitt, obtained a waiver of the 24-hour waiting period normally required to marry after receiving a marriage license. “Later that evening,” the NewsTimes says, “Miller and Monroe slipped across the state line into White Plains, N.Y., where they were married in a civil ceremony.”
In 1987, Arthur Miller spoke about his relationship with Marilyn Monroe in an interview. The interviewer asked, “Why do you think she needed you? What drew her to you, do you think?”
“First of all, I took her at her own evaluation, which very few people did. I thought she was a very serious girl – way back – and that she was struggling, I thought. Because she generally was thought of as being a rather lightheaded, if not silly, human being. That’s because I loved her, so I took that attitude toward her. And so the best of her, she thought, was in my eye, therefore the hope she had was with me. For that time in her life.”
Of Miller, Monroe wrote in a diary entry from that period –
“I am so concerned about protecting Arthur I love him—and he is the only person—human being I have ever known that I could love not only as a man to which I am attracted to practically out of my senses about—but he [is] the only person … that I trust as much as myself—because when I do trust my- self (about certain things) I do fully”
Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller would remain together until 1961.
(Featured Image – AP)