On August 5, 2012, Marilyn Monroe will have been dead fifty years. I was six years old when she died and didn't know anything about her. Other than what one can glean from biographies, films, newspapaer articles, documentaries and such; we still don't know much about Marilyn Monroe the person. Yet, she persists as an icon of Americana legend; and is argued over to this day on many points.
BEAUTY: I'm a guy, so I guess I can only speak from one guy's perspective. I've been around long enough to know that Hollywood has a way of making women more beautiful than they really are. I think the most beautiful woman I've ever seen was Elizabeth Taylor. In her younger days, had she ever approached me I would have been speechless in her presence. However, Marilyn Monroe's creation by Hollywood exuded sex appeal like no other woman I have watched on film. I never tire of seeing the photo where she is allowing her dress to be blown upward on a sidewalk.
It is a highly suggestive picture of a woman who may know no bounds and is far from chaste. Yet, it also reveals a woman who is confident in who she is and carefree. We know now she was not confident within herself, but I am merely saying this is what the photo portrays. It was Marilyn in this state that gained, and still gains, men's attention. She was one of the sexiest women to have ever lived...in my humble opinion.
ACTING: Marilyn Monroe started out as a model and soon garnered minor roles in movies. She was very adept at playing the dumb blonde, but wished to broaden her abilities and went to acting school. The film that made everyone stand up and pay attention was Bus Stop. It was highly acclaimed and brought her into the spotlight. She made several films that were very popular and in which she received awards. She could never be put in the same league as Meryl Streep or Gwyneth Paltrow et al, but neither could those women cause the excessive drooling of men on a planetary scale. I go to see Streep movies because of the quality of the performance. I watch Marilyn movies because of the physical quality of the woman.
MENTAL MAKE-UP: As with many people, Marilyn Monroe had a problem with fame. Hollywood has a way of sucking out the soul with no anesthesia or mercy. By ag 36, Monroe was used up. She was under constant psychiatric care. She would often turn to alchohol and drugs to numb the inner pain she was experiencing. And still there were few to help her. Most people only wanted what they could get from her; her body, her money, and whatever fame that could rub off on them by being close to her. She was a lost and vulnerable spirit trapped in a vat of piranha, and had no chance of coming out in one piece, much less alive.
Hollywood makes you what they think can bring in the most amount of money. They don't care who you really are, inside. I like to think the picture below is one that shows the true beauty of Marilyn Monroe:
Here, she is a wholesome, pretty young woman. She is dressed as any woman in America would have dressed at that time. Her smile looks genuine, and in her eyes you might be able to notice the joy of life.
Now, look at this one, where she is singing Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend in the movie Gentlemen Prefer Blondes:
Doesn't even look like the same woman. If it had been possible for me to choose one over the other, I would have taken the woman in plain dress, with a plain hairdo, but with a genuine smile. The last image was of a person that didn't exist. She was a myth, and it's the myth that is lauded as being a success.
For some reason I can't explain, Marilyn Monroe exemplifies everything that is wrong with Hollywood, and at the same time everything that is right about Hollywood. Still, hers is a sad story of human tragedy at the pinnacle of what the world sees as success. And, strangely, I can't help but marvel at her. She was, and is, an image to be admired and to be thoughtfully contemplated on when we look at what direction we wish to take in life. No matter what you think of her, she captivates to this very day.