Do you know the real reason that Marilyn and Yves Montand actually really hit it off? What happened with Montand was, yes he was attractive and if you look at him he was kind of the type of man she liked, but he confessed to her on the set [of Let’s Make Love] that he was terrified. He was as frightened as she was because he was having trouble with his English, he felt that he was making an idiot of himself, and he felt like George Cukor wasn’t helping him. And what happened is Marilyn said, “Gee, you feel just the way I do. I never had a male co-star who admitted that he was scared.” And so they made this immediate kind of connection.
I don’t have this in my book either, this particular kind of secret, but she was very sick and she hadn’t been able to go to work. Montand was in the bungalow next door to her at the Beverly Hills Hotel and she sent my mother next door to ask him to come see her. And he talks about going in and holding her hand and seeing that she had a fever. Arthur had gone off someplace to Ireland and Simone had left the country. Montand talked about the fact that he felt her forehead to see that she had a fever and he was gone, they kissed and that was it. The interesting thing is he was very condescending as many people were to Marilyn. He confessed years later to me while having a couple glasses of wine, “You know, I really did love her,” in spite of what he said in the newspapers which was very demeaning. “To tell you the truth, I was afraid I would become Mr. Monroe.”
- Susan Strasberg, interview with Skip E. Lowe