From Edward S. Herrington's letter to Southcoasttoday.com
I am writing in response to "The importance of voice" (May 29), which mentioned that famous actor James Earl Jones struggled with stuttering. Another famous voice that you cited was the trademark breathy voice of Marilyn Monroe; however, you did not make mention of the fact that Marilyn Monroe also struggled with stuttering at various points in her life, sometimes very painfully.
Actually, her famous breathy voice came as a result of her childhood stuttering. The actress stuttered as a child, and yet the stuttering returned to plague her speech for two years in high school. A speech therapist taught her how deliberate breathing prior to speaking could guide her to fluency, and the rest is history.
Believe it or not, Monroe's stuttering would affect her life in her final days. During the filming of her last movie, the unfinished "Something's Got to Give" from which she was fired, the troubled actress was under so much stress from her personal life, not to mention the abuse of prescription drugs, that her stuttering returned, sometimes forcing her to not be able to deliver her lines at all. Tapes from the outtakes of "Something's Got to Give" have circulated in the underground for decades, and it is said that her stuttering is quite noticeable at times.
I am surprised that you did not give proper credit to Marilyn Monroe's famous voice as being one that was cultivated in response to stuttering. When young people who stutter see famous names such as Marilyn Monroe and James Earl Jones, they can see that they too can strive to have the same kind of important voice, whether they choose acting or any other profession.