Marilyn Monroe, Ultimate Sex Symbol
Some have said that if you slap some red lipstick on a gal and dye her hair blonde, they all look pretty much alike, but is that really so? If you’re a big fan of the red lips and blonde hair look, you have to agree that no other celebrity who has rocked the look is as well known, or as popular, as Marilyn Monroe. In the 1950s, in addition to Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield and Mamie Van Doren were instantly recognizable by their red lips and blonde hair.
They were known as the three Ms and they did have similar looks, but Jayne and Mamie never captured the public imagination in quite the same way as Marilyn Monroe. Marilyn was and continues to be, even decades after her untimely demise, the ultimate sex symbol.
Marilyn Monroe’s road to stardom began in 1947 with a bit part in a 1947 flick called “The Shocking Miss Pilgrim”, which we have never seen and don’t know a damn thing about and she apparently played other roles that we don’t a damn thing about until ….
Her first noteworthy role came in the year 1950, when John Huston’s thriller “The Asphalt Jungle” provided her with the role of Angela Phinlay and the memorable line: “Haven’t you bothered me enough, you big banana-head?” This really is a great movie, an urban crime/heist film. It was one of the first films that completely and specifically detailed how to pull off an authentic-looking heist.
Later that same year, Marilyn’s was cast as Claudia Caswell in “All About Eve,” (starring the great Bette Davis), a movie that won many awards. One of her lines? “I don’t want to make trouble. All I want is a drink.” It must have been quite a thrill to be in this one.
In 1951, Marilyn played Joyce Mannering in “Let’s Make it Legal” which starred Claudette Colbert. Robert Wagner (4 years younger than Marilyn and with less film credits than her at the time) was in this flick too. As Joyce, Marilyn says: “Who wouldn’t want to meet a man who has millions, who isn’t even bald?”
The highlight of 1952’s work was the screwball comedy, “Monkey Business,” starring Cary Grant. Marilyn played Charles Coburn’s secretary, Miss Lois Laurel, a dumb blonde role with such lines as “Mr. Oxley’s been complaining about my punctuation, so I’m careful to get here before nine.” That is not to disparage the movie – far from it. It’s very enjoyable and also has Ginger Rogers in it.
1953’s “Niagara” brought stardom to Marilyn in the role of Rose Loomis, a beautiful young wife who plots to kill her older, jealous husband (Joseph Cotten). What happens to Rose is a fate that never happened to a Monroe character in any of her other films.
From this point on, Marilyn made a notable movie or two almost every year until her tragic death on August 5, 1962 at the age of 36.
In death, she became an even larger icon and object of adulation than she was in life.
The subject of countless books,, (some true and some not-so-true) and documentaries, art, collectibles and what-have-you, Marilyn continues to fascinate the public and make money, even for some people who never knew her!