Happy 85th Birthday, Marilyn Monroe

Had she lived, Marilyn Monroe would be turning 85 years old today. What would this American sex symbol be like as an 85-year-old woman? Marilyn died long before I was born, but I was a fan from the time I was teenager and staying up late "doing my homework" exposed me to the old movies on TCM and AMC. My favorite Marilyn movie is Some Like it Hot with Tony Curtis (doing a hilarious send-up of his own idol, Cary Grant, when in his character's oil tycoon alter-ego) and the incomparable Jack Lemmon.

Marilyn plays Sugar Kane, a musician in an all-girl band who just wants to find the right (rich) guy. Sexy as ever, she somehow lends her innocence to a character who is an unabashed gold-digger. Marilyn is one of my all-time favorite fashion icons, and I'm not alone. Actresses and starlets have been mimicking Marilyn's famous style for decades, with varying degrees of success; in the end we all know that there is only one Marilyn Monroe, and the rest of us are just playing dress-up. In honor of Ms. Monroe's 85th birthday, here are some of my favorite photos of her, and of the women who were inspired by her.

Marilyn's style, for all it's popularity, is quite simple. She wore lots of neutrals, favoring white, and the clothes were always impeccably tailored to show off her best assets. Her white Seven Year Itch halter dress with a long, pleated skirt is probably more famous for the white boy-cut briefs she wore underneath.

Marilyn makes another white dress famous--this Ann Klein ballerina satin-and-tulle confection--in a photo shoot for Seven Year Itch with photographer Milton Greene.

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Christina Uticone