Today, August 5th, marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Marilyn Monroe. She was one of Hollywood’s biggest stars ever, one whose image still has a powerful effect today. Even people who don’t know her name or why she was famous, would recognize her face–or her body.
Oh yes, the body. Marilyn Monroe was famous for her sexy hourglass figure (though today she’d probably be called fat by some over the top fashion executive or blogger), and the combination of the bombshell body with Monroe’s wide eyed look and breathy, little girl voice was irresistible to many men. Like many beautiful women before or since, though, she wanted to be taken seriously and wanted to prove she had real acting talent. She tried, but was also overwhelmed by the personal problems that beset her offscreen, including the drugs that would eventually kill her.
There are many, many (MANY) places where you can read in-depth analyses of Monroe, her career, and her impact on movies and culture. I fully admit that while I love old movies and old Hollywood, I’ve never been a Monroe fan. I don’t actively dislike her; I just have never been enchanted by her and don’t really like any of her movies, not even the popular “Some Like It Hot.” I respect her place in film history, though.
Moviefone has a list of “25 Things You Didn’t Know About Marilyn Monroe.” Here are my favorites from it:
2. In an early modeling gig, at an agricultural festival in Castroville, California, Monroe was named the state’s first-ever Artichoke Queen.
3. Even though Monroe got into movies through modeling — and would eventually become the most lasting visual sex symbol in movie history — her first film role featured only her velvety voice. She played a telephone operator in 1947′s “The Shocking Miss Pilgrim” and was never shown on camera.
5. In 1951, a poll of servicemen voted her the Present All GIs Would Like to Find in Their Christmas Stocking. Soldiers stationed in the Aleutian Islands voted her the Girl Most Likely to Thaw Alaska.
6. Monroe arrived two hours late to her first date with Joe DiMaggio, but she charmed him into forgiving her when she told him, “There’s a blue polka dot exactly in the middle of your tie knot. Did it take you long to fix it like that?”
It’s one thing to be Artichoke Queen; to be the first Artichoke Queen, though, well that’s really something. Read the rest of the list here.