Screenwriter & Author

Who is Merlin, the deadly Pentagon hacker inside the heart of the Secret Government?

And who is hunting the hunter?

The Secret Government

A new novel by Stephen Leo Davis, now available in the Amazon Kindle Store


Los Angeles. 1953 Aldous Huxley lifts a water glass to his lips and the freeways turn and point to a new Bethlehem.

The Migrants' Song

A new novel by Stephen Leo Davis, now available in the Amazon Kindle Store

Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, and Kevin… six degrees?


I tracked down the photograph that shows Kevin McCarthy two rows behind James Dean at a class at Lee Strasberg’s Actors’ Studio on New York in the early 1950s.  But is that Marilyn Monroe they’re listening to? Monroe became a passionate and ardent follower of Strasberg and often attended classes there – though actress Doris Roberts remembers her sitting at the back –

“I used to sit near Marilyn Monroe in the Actor’s Studio. She’d get dressed up because that was her identity. Sad. Those cameras wouldn’t leave her alone. She didn’t know where to hide.”

But she also performed at the Studio and took part in readings and learned the confidence that projected her on her way in film acting.  There are famous images of her in the audience at classes.  Is her blonde hair a little too short and her dress a touch too conservative in the Jimmy Dean picture – or is she in character?

When I showed Kevin McCarthy the picture, in an old James Dean fanzine I had found at a nearby bookstand, he couldn’t remember the young star in a class at the Studio, and he never mentioned Monroe.  But does anyone think that could be Kevin on the far left of the second image below?

Acting is a small world even in a big city like Los Angeles.  A diner in Los Angeles close to Kevin’s and Kate’s house showed a framed enlargement of a speeding ticket handed out to James Dean – whose registered home address was a few doors down the street from the McCarthys in Sherman Oaks.  Six degrees of separation, or fewer?

Marilyn Monroe at The Actors' Studio

Marilyn Monroe at The Actors' Studio by Roy Schatt

Marilyn Monroe in The Actors' Studio by Roy Schatt

Marilyn Monroe in The Actors' Studio by Roy Schatt










The Migrants’ Song is set in Hollywood around the same time as these pictures were being shot in New York.  Marilyn Monroe hadn’t got there yet  – but Marlene Dietrich had…

The Migrants' Song by Stephen Leo Davis

The Migrants' Song by Stephen Leo Davis


3 Responses to Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, and Kevin… six degrees?

  • Hi:

    I’m doing research on the Actors Studio — can you tell me where you found the photograph of Dean that is clipped from a magazine or newspaper? I want to be able to cite where this caption is from– thanks!

    Annie (

    • Hi Annie – I’d be delighted to. It’s from an early James Dean fanzine – I will look it out for you and send more details.

  • Can anybody clear up the question of James Dean at the Actors Studio? Different biographies claim different facts: he auditioned in April, May, September or November 1952; he was hurt by Lee Strasberg’s criticism of his performance
    of Barnaby Conrad’s MATADOR) a few days after his acceptance, or in Dec 1952 or in early ’53; never came back or came back in late Spring ’53; was a listless member of the audience or took part in a very emotional session with Shelley Winters looking on; spoke scathingly of Strasberg or praised him to the skies as the most inspirational influence in his career. Can anybody please help or suggest an AS book/chronicle which may clarify these points?
    THANKS ! Edwige

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Strip joint-owner Jack Ruby, the Dallas Mob, the CIA and the assassination of JFK.

Starring Danny Aiello and Sherilyn Fenn.
Directed by John MacKenzie.
Screenplay by Stephen Davis from his play Love Field.

See Ruby at the IMDB

Double Agent

Tommy Lee Jones stars as CIA officer Steve Daley trying to unravel the riddle of high-level KGB defector Yuri Nosenko (Oleg Rudnik).

The real-life espionage case that started a secret war inside the CIA.

Screenplay by Stephen Davis.

View the details for the film at the IMDB

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