When picturing Marilyn Monroe, we often envision her soft, clear skin, fluffy white-golden locks, and the iconic scent of Chanel No. 5. However, amidst the idolization, there are certain narratives and rumours circulating on the internet that attempt to tarnish her image. In this article, we will address some of these claims, debunking the myths surrounding Marilyn’s alleged lack of hygiene and unkempt appearance.
Trigger Warning: This article contains a discussion surrounding Marilyn’s death.
Lena Pepitone – A Questionable Source
Lena Pepitone, Marilyn’s East Coast housekeeper, had a working relationship with Marilyn, but her book, “Marilyn Confidential,” sensationalises their relationship and includes numerous falsehoods, as expertly debunked by April Chambers. Pepitone makes outlandish claims, including being Marilyn’s confidante and close friend. However, these assertions, along with claims of Marilyn’s lack of bathing, cannot be verified and can be assumed false.
Lena commented on how Marilyn would keep dirty plates under her bed, and would disgustingly let her period spill over her bedsheet.
Ralph Roberts, Marilyn’s masseuse and friend, noted in his book “Mimosa” that Marilyn always referred to Lena as “the Italian woman” rather than by name, suggesting that their relationship might not have been as close as Lena claimed. Additionally, Marilyn’s half-sister Berniece attests that Marilyn never discussed intimate matters with her employees, reinforcing the notion that Lena’s claims are dubious. It is essential to consider these conflicting accounts.
Allan Abbott – Questioning the Appearance
Allan Abbott, the funeral director responsible for Marilyn’s service, claimed in the book “Pardon My Hearse,” co-authored with Gregory Abbott, that Marilyn’s body was unrecognisable when it arrived at the mortuary. The book describes her as an average, ageing woman who had not taken good care of herself. However, it is crucial to remember that the circumstances surrounding her death likely contributed to her appearance not to mention the fact that Marilyn was human. Abbott’s statements, including the mention of Marilyn’s unbleached roots and the need for beauty treatments, are used to shock readers, but they fail to recognise that these are natural aspects of anyone’s natural appearance.
So, was Marilyn a dirty, unhygienic slob who didn’t bathe or take care of herself?
The ridiculous claims made by Lena and rehashed by David Bret, author of “Clark Gable: Tormented Star,” suggest that Marilyn was unhygienic, frequently drunk, and used her sheets as a napkin. However, there are pieces of evidence that contradict these rumours.
Ex-husband James Dougherty stated that Marilyn washed her face several times a day to avoid breakouts, which resulted in dry skin that may have led to her Vaseline baths. In addition, Ralph Roberts, her masseuse, described the incredible feel of her skin, contradicting claims of poor hygiene.
Furthermore, documents and receipts from Julien’s Auctions reveal that Marilyn invested a significant amount of money in personal care and beauty products throughout her life. Spending thousands of dollars on beauty treatments demonstrates her commitment to maintaining her appearance.
It is essential to separate the person from the public image when examining not just Marilyn Monroe but any celebrity. While some individuals aim to destroy the illusion for personal gain, it is crucial to remember that Marilyn was a human being. Like anyone else, she occasionally had days off from make-up or washing her hair, deviating from the image she meticulously crafted. It is unjust to judge her solely based on fleeting glimpses that may contradict the beauty standards of her time. Beauty goes beyond skin deep, and it is high time we appreciate Marilyn Monroe for the icon she was, without perpetuating unfounded myths and trying to scrutinise her appearance.