Happy Birthday Miss.Monroe
Today marks what would have been Marilyn Monroe’s 85th birthday, and I would be remiss to not comment on her legendary beauty and iconic status. Marilyn Monroe is as timeless as an icon could possibly be, her image forever emblazoned basically everywhere. She was a legendary siren with a complicated beginning and ending to a life too short. However, the photos that immortalize her will always remind us of an impossibly gorgeous yet simple girl, trying so hard to enjoy her life.
She was not the ferocious intense fatale that was Elizabeth Taylor, nor the girl next door turned elegant beauty a la Audrey Hepburn. Marilyn was a movie star goddess in every sense of the word, who came from poverty and abuse, and spent her entire life overcoming it. Marilyn Monroe’s story is one of struggle, and ultimately ends in tragedy, but it is the light in her eyes that somehow shines though every single photograph of her that leave millions of people entranced.
I cannot remember when my fascination with Marilyn Monroe began. I think it was her timeless beauty that lured me in, and once I began reading about her tragic life and fragility, I could not get enough. I have over 20 books on Marilyn, one of only 25,000 special reprinted editions of the first ever Playboy that featured her on the cover, and tons of memorabilia with her face on it. I was lucky enough to visit her hand prints at Grauman’s Theater, and solidified my forever fanaticism by visiting her tomb at Westwood Memorial Cemetery in Hollywood.
Marilyn’s beauty is unrivaled. Everything about her was beautiful, and a sultry sexiness oozed out of every pore. Yet, all she ever wanted was to be taken seriously. As her third husband Arthur Miller once said “She was a poet on a street corner, trying to recite to a crowd pulling at her clothes.” I have an unusual fascination with actresses like her that didn’t realize their full potential, like Judy Garland, who possessed the most beautiful voice that could bring you to tears, and still she ended her life in overdose. These women were so full of life, light, and talent, but could not overcome their demons, with no help from the bigwig studios that enslaved them.
Every picture of Marilyn Monroe takes my breath away, no matter how many times I study them,“Marilyn’s a phenomenon of nature, like Niagara Falls and the Grand Canyon. All you can do is stand back and be awed by it,” Nunnally Johnson once said, and it’s true. I am absolutely entranced by her, I could stare at pictures of her for hours. Marilyn Monroe was the most photogenic woman that has ever walked this Earth, and in every single picture you can see something else happening under the surface. There is a darkness and a lightness inside of her, clearly in a battle to take over her fragile little life. My favorite pictures of her are not he Hollywood studio glamour shots, but rather, the ones where she looks the most happy or pensive. Her movies are good, but she never had the acting chops of her competitors, and you still cannot take your eyes off of her. Richard Widmark once commented, “Marilyn was terrible to work with. I remember I was talking to Olivier who was working with her for the Prince and the Showgirl. He was saying it was a miracle to get her to do anything. But then he said, “I finish the day, I go to look at the rushes, and she has batted me right off the screen,’ That was Marilyn.”
From Elizabeth Taylor we have learned to take no prisoners, leave life passionately and intensely, making no apologizes for who you are; from Audrey, we learn to live life with grace, humility, and class; however, from Marilyn we learn to take nothing for granted, learn to overcome our hardships and a darkness that resides in all of us from time to time. Marilyn’s is a cautionary tale. At the very least, Marilyn is a Hollywood goddess who would have realized her footprint on the world if she had stuck around with us long enough to find out. She was the most delicate illusory legend of them all.
“What she has– this presence, this luminosity, this flickering intelligence– could never surface on the stage. It’s so fragile and subtle, it can only be caught by the camera. It’s like a hummingbird in flight: only a camera can freeze the poetry of it.” -Truman Capote
Happy Birthday Marilyn