Marilyn Monroe is one of the first of many women that will completely floor any red-blooded man, gay or straight, at first glance. There is simply no way that those eyes, that smile, that shock of blonde hair, and that figure can leave you feeling devoid of emotion. Girls want to be her, and guys just want someone like her to even look their way.
Monroe would have been 85 years old today had she not passed away in the summer of 1962. Of course same say it was an accidental overdose, a sad and lonely suicide, the Kennedys, the Mafia, and/or the CIA protecting their interests, public and private.
Her mark on popular culture shines even almost 49 years on, with women still idolizing her girly-grace, her acting, and her hold on men. Born Norma Jeane Mortenson, she would begin her modeling career during World War II, and go on to become one the most lusted-after starlets in the world but the beginning of the '50s. She was the first cover girl for burgeoning publisher Hugh Hefner's men's magazine Playboy in December 1952.
Monroe's marriage to the New York Yankees' Joe Dimaggio, her second, is still one of the most idealized and written-about marriages in modern history. The aging ballplayer and the pin-up, destined to make pretty babies, but they would divorce after less than a year.
Films like Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Bus Stop, How to Marry a Millionaire, and The Seven Year Itch would cement her matinee-queen status, while also showing her to be a stellar comedic actress. Most say that the ditzy blonde persona was just an act to lure in men. We can't imagine third husband and playwright Arthur Miller married to someone he couldn't match at least some wits with.
It's fun to think about what turns Monroe's life and career would have taken had she not died in that Brentwood bungalow. Maybe Jack Kennedy would have divorced Jackie and shacked up with Monroe by the late '60s. There would have been Las Vegas stands, a few televsion series', Oscars for playing haggard drunks, a disco album, maybe even a late-career Betty White-type existence by now as a foul-mouthed octogenarian.
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Musicians have routinely dragged Monroe's name into their art, putting her up as a tragic heroine, more a woman-child and less a person with complex feelings and desires. Like a doll. She's a great metaphor for most any sort of withered or tattered archetype. The flawed beauty queen with scrapes on her knee and running mascara.