Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Legend of a Hollywood Beauty

August 5, 1962. That was the day Hollywood found out that Marilyn Monroe, the "Blonde Bombshell" herself, was dead at 36 from a drug overdose. Her death was ultimately ruled a "probable suicide", but many speculate it was an accident or even murder. Now fifty years later, Monroe's legend has grown, even more than when she was alive.

Though viewed as a cherished name in Hollywood now, Monroe wasn't exactly like that during her years as a movie star. She tried hard to be accepted by her colleagues. It was easier said than done. Her directors resented her for showing up late on the set and fumbling her lines. Her co-stars felt the same way. Yet there was one thing they always agreed on: she just radiated on screen.

She was mainly cast as a sex symbol (or, simply put, a "dumb blonde") when she did a movie, but not many people appreciated (or perhaps acknowledged) that Monroe could actually act. She had excellent comedic timing, wonderfully shown in How to Marry a Millionaire and Some Like It Hot. Don't Bother to Knock and Niagara displayed her ability to play a bewitching femme fatale. But it was when she did dramatic roles like Bus Stop and The Misfits she shined the brightest.

The reason? Her characters usually led a tumultuous life, much like Monroe herself. Her own life was littered with memories of a bad upbringing, failed marriages and personal demons. With the 1950s being a "wholesome" period in Hollywood, studios made sure to cover up anything involving their stars' personal lives. It's likely the studios that hired Monroe had to do that often, but sooner or later the truth would be revealed.

There have been many portrayals of Monroe throughout the years since her death. But there was only one person that could portray Monroe the best and that was Monroe herself. After all, she went through many personal tragedies that only she could express. Only she could depict her true feelings on the events of her life because she was there, not the actresses who have portrayed her.

Who knows what would have happened had Monroe lived more than 36 years? Would she have burned out or faded away?


  1. Brilliant post. I have always been intrigued by Monroe. She seems to have led such a troubled life, but due to her popular persona, one cannot help but be intrigued about what sort of a person she really was.
    What makes her most enigmatic to me is expressed by your closing lines. Her death, and what could have been her life is she hadn't died, is I think the biggest mysteries of them all. But in a way it is sort of good, because she will always be remembered for those very reasons.

  2. Great post. There is a lack of tributes for her today. I've done one of my own. Some of the wise things she had said were incredible. People always forget how smart and self-aware she was in real life.

  3. Interesting question there Anna, I always wonder about that too, actors like Marilyn and James Dean, would they have been the icon we know today if they had lived much longer. I'm not familiar w/ Marilyn's life, but after seeing 'My Week With Marilyn' she strikes me as a tragic figure. Talented and beautiful but somehow couldn't escape her own demons.


Comments are appreciated. More so if they are appropriate.