60th Anniversary of Death
She was the first pop icon. The magic of Marilyn Monroe continues to this day. New publications, films and documentaries prove: that Marilyn Monroe lives – in legends and longings.
Marilyn Monroe died 60 years ago today, August 4, 1962, of a barbiturate overdose at the age of 36. Between the birth and death of this icon of the twentieth century, the difficult spectrum of success and failure of a public figure is revealed.
Marilyn Monroe was born Norma Jeane Mortenson in California in 1926. She grew up in difficult circumstances. Father is unknown, mother is mentally unstable. Norma Jean lived in orphanages and foster families. Stability, warmth, unconditional love, she was deprived of all that as a child. At the age of sixteen, she married James Dougherty, who is four years her senior, in 1942 at the urging of her guardian. She adapts to the role of a housewife and wife until her husband goes to war. Then I started working in a factory that makes umbrellas.
It was discovered there in 1945 by photographer David Conover, who selected workers to take the cover photo. After the first pictures appeared, she was referred to as “Miss Flamethrower”. Her husband fought at the front while, under the name Norma Jeane Mortenson, she began her modeling career. She looks friendly, personifies the girl next door, but above all a young woman who feels comfortable in her own body and knows how to use it. Mouth kiss, wink, classic pin pose.
Photographers like André De Dienes are also fascinated by the young woman. De Dienes will take her first photos, which signify the transformation from Norma Jeane Mortenson to Marilyn Monroe.
Marilyn Monroe was born
The young model sends her husband’s divorce papers to the front and chooses the brave stage name Marilyn Monroe for herself. The first photos of De Diene show Norma Jean with long brown hair, in 1949 she was already dyed platinum blonde and shorter. Her way of appearing becomes more lively, natural, and personal – the limited aesthetic of a pin girl is no longer good. Marilyn Monroe was born.
This was followed by more shootings and the first small film roles – at first it was still relatively unsuccessful, and later Monroe played the attractive but slightly stupid woman in such works as “All About Eva” to “Honey, I’m Getting Younger” – this It was the way the image that Marilyn Monroe struggled with, even though those roles made her more famous. Talent scout Johnny Hyde was by her side at the time. He modeled for her and the beginning of her career, fell in love with her, and wanted to marry her. In 1950 he died of a heart attack – this was followed by Monroe’s first suicide attempt.
In 1954 she married baseball champion Joe Dimaggio. Marriage fails. Marilyn divorced after only nine months.
Already during this time films with enormous influence were produced. No longer the cute blonde Marilyn, she is quick-witted, funny, and, as it seems from the outside, she decided herself very hard. Her role in “Niagara” attests to this change of image, she’s working on herself – today she attends The Lee Strasberg Theater & Film Institute in New York, and upon her return to Hollywood, she fights for contractually guaranteed joint decision rights to screenplay and direction at 20th Century Studios. Fox. Marilyn goes through her professional and private life in seven leagues.
Because of her marriage to writer Arthur Miller in 1956, she can imagine becoming quieter, even more domestic, but that doesn’t work. Miller has children from his first marriage. Deprived of the desire to have children, she suffers from miscarriage and endometriosis. In 1960 the two separated. In 1962 she died.
Unconventional and visionary
If you read through its life stages, the pace will make you dizzy. Your success is incomparable. The tragedy with which her success ended is not unusual for a legend who was already alive. Childhood, adolescence, 16 years of tireless career development and her death at the age of 36 paint the picture of a woman who fights nonstop. She fought for visibility, recognition, and independence. The side effects of this endeavor were depression and unfulfilled desires.
Marilyn Monroe was Joan of Arc in her time who embodied the image of a woman who attracted both women and men. Unconventional and visionary. The desire to live, the danger of a difficult life fearlessly – at a fast pace and with great fluctuations between success and fragility.
Not all stories told yet
Numerous photos and films of Marilyn Monroe show a woman who has not disappeared from the spotlight to this day. A new publication by Italian author and art professor Massimiliano Capella titled “The Charm of Marilyn Monroe – The Life, Passion and Style of a Fashion Icon” beautifully illustrates this from a fashion perspective. Australian director Andrew Dominic’s “Blonde,” which can be watched on Netflix in September, will also feature Marilyn Monroe legend. Not all stories have been told yet.
The fascination with Marilyn Monroe can be explained by the fact that she was conspicuous, ambitious, strong, independent, and pushed boundaries – not only in what constitutes her style, but also in how she used hers. Marilyn Monroe, arguably her allure, was clearly a woman who made decisions—unconditionally and in complete danger. Although she was producing parachutes when she was young, she must have put them down somewhere at some point.
The Charm of Marilyn Monroe – The Life, Passion and Style of a Fashion Icon by Massimiliano Cappella
Eden Verlag’s publication focuses on fashion. On the one hand, Massimiliano Cappella highlights the fashion of the time in general, but of course also the evolution of Marilyn Monroe’s style from a brunette to a woman of unusual style who has not lost any of her charm. today. Two chapters on fashion at the time and Monroe’s style are preceded by a chapter containing biographical details of the actress. The insightful publication is available here for €22.
“Blond” by Andrew Dominic
As of September 28, 2022, “Blonde” will be shown on Netflix in Switzerland. Australian director Andrew Dominic directed and wrote the script. It stars Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe and Adrien Brody as Arthur Miller. The film is based on the novel “Blonde” by Joyce Carol Oates. (Photo: Blonde. Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe. Cr. Netflix © 2022)