Growing up the iconic photo of a beautiful blonde actress in a white dress, standing over a subway vent with her dress up flying up, caught my attention. No one told me much about her expect that she is “Marilyn Monroe“. It seemed that I was excepted to know who she was so, there I was at the age of ten sitting at a computer mesmerised by such beauty and talent. As I grew older, Marilyn Monroe was mentioned in passing and as a references several times. I did not look into her life at the time and was to young to understand, but going through adolescence and wanting to become an actress myself, she became someone who I admired and played a significant role in Hollywood’s Golden Ages.
Marilyn Monroe, formally know as Norma Jeane Mortenson (1926-1962) was destined to be a star. Despite her difficult upbringing and childhood, Norma screamed talent. In the summer of 1946 she started modelling. Her beauty and photogenic nature turned heads as she walked down the street and whilst working in the factories, which is how she was discovered by Bruno Bernard. He gave her his business card, as he wanted to do some prints of her and Norma’s modelling career took off as pin up and print model, however her desire to become an actress was always on her mind. She started doing photo shoots for magazines and calendars. Later on, in the 1946 Norma started to use the name Marilyn Monroe and legally change her name from Norma Jeane Mortenson (baptised Norma Jeane Baker) to Marilyn Monroe. On May 27th 1949, Norma did an implied nude shoot for photographer Tom Kelly which caught the public’s eye. Monroe worked along side John Hyde who was a close friend and mentor during her early career, and many other influential people during Hollywood’s Golden Ages.
All About Eve directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz was one of Monroe’s first screen roles. She played the character of Claudia Caswell, the stereotypical blonde bombshell dreaming of stardom however, she only appeared a few times throughout the film for a short period of time. Ms. Caswell is dependent on men to climb the social and theatrical hierarchy as men hold the position and authority within the industry. The relationship between Ms Caswell and Addison Dewitt exemplifies the power and influence that men had during that era as he is capable of making them a star or bringing their downfall. The men in this film hold the power which mirrors the theatre industry of the Golden Ages.
There were several differences between Monroe and the character she played. Ms. Caswell was just another stereotypical classical actress dependent on men, however, off screen Monroe was nothing like her character, yes she was beautiful and talented but there more to Marilyn than what met the eye. Monroe was a humanitarian who believed in equality and fought for the rites for woman to be able to able to direct, produce, screen write and turn down roles. She set women free from being trapped playing the same type of characters and only acting, not taking part in anything else. Monroe changed the world theatre world.
During her career Monroe had several divorces, Arthur Miller, Joe DiMaggio, which is said to have impacted her mentally. It is also said that the star’s secret affair with President John F. Kennedy could have lead to her demise. It was a well known fact that Monroe was mixing sleeping pills and alcohol regularly and became depend on them. Monroe had been working on the film “Something’s Got to Give“ (1962) and was either late or ill majority of the days, putting pressure on the studio as they had to shoot later or did not at all. There were several issues with film in terms of being over the budget finically and conflict between directors, producers and the cast. Monroe was let go from the project, however, in the star’s final days she had been re-hired but everything got too much for the star and she took her own life. However, there are theories which suggest her death may be linked to Kennedy family.
Monroe was destined to be an actress. Her talent, beauty and strong passion for equality has changed the theatre world; allowing women to take part in different roles such as directing and screen writing. She has inspired many across the world and has been adapted through different platforms including films on her life, television series and games. Monroe is seen as part of pop culture, history and is a style icon. Her legacy, mystery and what she had to offer the world still lives on today.