Born in Dublin, Kassandra Carroll received her first introduction to Marilyn Monroe at age five while watching her films with her mother, a big fan who also happened to bear a resemblance to the late movie icon. Her mom sang Monroe songs with Carroll’s father, who played the double bass in a jazz band; much like Jack Lemmon did in Some Like It Hot, Carroll’s favorite Monroe film. At age 11, a mother/daughter trip was made from Ireland to Hollywood for Carroll’s 11th birthday just so the young girl could place her hands and feet in Marilyn’s famous hand and heel prints in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater.
After studying acting and performance at the College of Music Ireland along with stage and television roles Carroll hopped a plane to Palm Springs and felt Los Angeles calling…. She was asked to enter “The Spirit of Marilyn Contest” and since then, has been in high demand appearing and performing as a ‘tribute’ to her childhood idol. MM fans converse with Carroll as if she were Monroe herself and she is constantly asked to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ a la Marilyn to which she happily obliges. Carroll recently appeared as Monroe in the short film Baby Cries directed by Serge Rocco and is now working with P.M. Howard (as the late great Dean Martin) putting together a traveling show depicting what may have been post-Something’s Got To Give, of which, upon Marilyn’s untimely death, Martin dropped out of the film that was eventually recast with Doris Day and James Garner playing the leads. A little known connection between the late singer Ella Fitzgerald and Monroe is just one of the surprises that audiences will be treated to during this new stage production. Carroll is currently up for the role of Monroe in a feature film and musical based on the last year of the movie star’s life. The Toluca Lake resident kindly sat down with The Tolucan Times for this interview.
Car Designer George Barris, a friend of Marilyn’s, and you have a special relationship….
I met George Barris and had the privilege to be around all of his classic cars. He said, “You know you do have her energy … I’ve seen a lot of impersonators, but you could be a ‘tribute’ to Marilyn.” I loved the fact of being a ‘tribute’; not an impersonator. I was asked to enter a contest, called George and he told me I have the aura of her. When I found out it was about the spirit of Marilyn I went for it! George hired me to be Marilyn in Vegas with ‘Stars and Their Cars.’ We made a little trip to Hollywood Boulevard and pulled up to the Grauman’s in the Batmobile. I thought every character wanted to get pictures by the car, but I was absolutely shocked because they all wanted to be photographed with Marilyn as I got out of that car! I started crying….
I have a very special room in your home dedicated to Marilyn.
The original blueprints to Marilyn’s house in Brentwood are almost identical to mine and both of our streets are a lady’s name; hers was Helena. My Marilyn room looks a lot like her bedroom [where she passed away], but I wanted to celebrate her life; not her passing. Mine has the Spanish terracotta tile and the wood ceilings are very similar to hers.
I have a turnstile from a vintage shop somebody gave me; I mimicked my white music room to her room at the Roosevelt Hotel!
People have given me some beautiful items; I can’t believe it! I have a lovely Marilyn doll, little Marilyn trinkets for my Christmas tree, gadgets like a Marilyn clock, pictures of her and someone sent me a lithograph of Sammy Davis Jr. with Marilyn for my birthday last year!
We are recording with the Big Band with new arrangements of all the songs that Marilyn would have preformed to live audiences