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More Than Just Our Marilyn Monroe

On this day in 1962, Marilyn Monroe got out of bed for the last time.

What exactly happened on the night of 4 August 1962 cannot be completely told for certain. A lot of what we know is based on scrambled information over the years… What we do know is Marilyn lived a full life in her short 36 years.

As always, especially on the anniversary of her passing, I like my main focus to be on what she achieved before and after she left us. For a more detailed timeline of Marilyn’s life, you can view that here. If you would like to learn more about how she passed away you can read about that here.


  1. She starred in 30 movies, the last of which wasn’t completed (Something’s Got To Give).
  2. Marilyn won 3 Golden Globes (1954 World Film Favorites, Actress In A Leading Role – Musical Or Comedy 1960, World Film Favorites 1962).
  3. Marilyn Monroe’s Golden Globe Award sold for a record-breaking $200,000 at Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills.
  4. At least 37 celebrities have impersonated Marilyn including Madonna, Anna Nicole Smith and Lisa Marie Presley.
  5. 10 of Marilyn’s films were the top-grossing movies in the USA in their release year.
  6. From 1954-1956 Marilyn was one of ten top money-making stars in the USA.
  7. Infamous acting coach Lee Strasberg deemed Marilyn to be one of the greatest actors of all time.
  8. Some Like It Hot was listed as the greatest American comedy film of all time by the American Film Institute in 2000.
  9. In June 1999 Marilyn came sixth in the American Film Institute’s list of the top twenty-five female stars of all time.
  10. In 2016, Julien’s Auctions received its second placement in the Guinness Book of World Records for the sale of the world’s most expensive dress ever sold at auction. Marilyn’s “Happy Birthday Mr President” dress sold for $4.8 million. The dress alone wasn’t what was so iconic, it’s who wore it and the performance she gave.
  11. Marilyn was one of the first women in Hollywood to start wearing jeans.
  12. She was on the cover of the first-ever Playboy magazine and her photos by Tom Kelley were the centrefold. Marilyn never posed for Playboy or give permission for these photos to be used. She had been paid $50 for her nude pin-up images in 1949 when they were taken.
  13. By 1962, her movies had grossed $200 million. Adjusted for inflation that is the equivalent of approximately $1.8 billion.
  14. The calendar in which the Tom Kelley images first appeared was re-released due to the discovery that the photos were of Marilyn Monroe. In 1955 they sold approximately 4 million copies.
  15. Marilyn has remained a sex symbol, beauty icon and one of the most famous stars of classical Hollywood cinema.
  16. Marilyn is immortalised at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre with her hand and footprints marked in cement.
  17. She also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
  18. The creator of Playboy, Hugh Hefner, is buried next to Marilyn as per his wishes.
  19. Hundreds of biographies and novels have been written about Marilyn.
  20. She has been the subject of films, plays and operas as well as works of art.
  21. Absolute World: Building #4 and Building #5 are nicknamed “Marilyn Monroe” for their shapely figures.
  22. She has been written about by scholars and journalists who are interested in gender and feminism; these writers include Gloria Steinem, Jacqueline Rose, Molly Haskell, Sarah Churchwell, and Lois Banner.
  23. Marilyn worked with severall charities in her life, many of them with a focus on children.
  24. Marilyn won 10 of the 15 awards she was nominated for.
  25. In 1954, Marilyn performed to 100,000 troops in Korea over the span of 4 days whilst on her honeymoon with Joe DiMaggio.
  26. She is deemed one of the most famous icons in pop culture.
  27. The song “File My Claim” from River of No Return (1954) sold over 75,000 copies in its first three weeks of release.
  28. Another song from River of No Return, “One Silver Dollar” was featured in the last series of Peaky Blinders.
  29. She appeared on the cover of LIFE magazine seven times.
  30. There have been several poems and songs written about Marilyn including Candle In The Wind by Elton John and a poem by Norman Rosten, a friend of Marilyn’s.
  31. According to Emmeline Snively from the Blue Book Modelling Agency, Marilyn was one of the hardest working models she’d met and that no one would be able to match her.
  32. Marilyn owned a collection of over 400 books.
  33. Art historian Gail Levin stated that Monroe may have been “the most photographed person of the 20th century.”
  34. The Smithsonian Institution has included her on their list of “100 Most Significant Americans of All Time” 
  35. Both Variety and VH1 have placed her in the top ten in their rankings of the greatest popular culture icons of the twentieth century.
  36. Marilyn’s image/likeness has appeared in over 60 advertising campaigns including Dior and Mercedes Benz.


I think Marilyn is bound to make an almost overwhelming impression on the people who meet her for the first time. It is not that she is pretty, although she is of course almost incredibly pretty, but she radiates, at the same time, unbounded vitality and a kind of unbelievable innocence. I have met the same in a lion-cub, which my native servants in Africa brought me. I would not keep her, since I felt that it would in some way be wrong…I shall never forget the almost overpowering feeling of unconquerable strength and sweetness which she conveyed. I had all the wild nature of Africa amicably gazing at me with mighty playfulness.

Karen Blixen in a letter to the American author, Fleur Cowles Meyer, in 1961, as quoted in Fragments (2010), by Stanley Buchthal and Bernard Comment

I referenced things like Marilyn without trying to be accessible. I have a personal relationship with my perception of who marilyn was. She was the kind of female who was really warm and giving. I like that type of girl who’s friendly and easy. I was always looking for girls like that as friends.”

Lana Del Rey in an interview with Complex Magazine, 2014

There are people so vivid in life that they seem not to disappear when they die, and for many weeks I found myself having to come about and force myself to encounter the fact that Marilyn had ended. I realized that I still, even then, expected to meet her once more, somewhere, sometime, and maybe talk sensibly about all the foolishness we had been through — in which case I would probably have fallen in love with her again. And the iron logic of her death did not help much: I could still see her coming across the lawn, or touching something, or laughing, at the same time that I confronted the end of her as one might stand watching the sinking sun. When a reporter called asking if I would be attending her funeral in California, the very idea of a burial was outlandish, and stunned as I was, I answered without thinking, “She won’t be there.” I could hear his astonishment, but I could only hang up, it was beyond explaining.

Arthur Miller, Timebends: A Life (1987)

In repose her face was at moments strangely, prophetically tragic, like the face of a beautiful ghost—a little spring-ghost, an innocent fertility daemon, the vegetation spirit that was Ophelia… quiet, with great natural dignity and extremely intelligent.”

Dame Edith Sitwell, poet

Marilyn was one step from oblivion when I directed her in The Asphalt Jungle. I remember she impressed me more off the screen than on…there was something touching and appealing about her.” 

John Huston, director of the Asphalt Jungle (1950) and The Misfits (1961)

I saw that what she looked like was not what she really was, and what was going on inside her was not what was going on outside, and that always means there may be something to work with. In Marilyn’s case, the reactions were phenomenal. She can call up emotionally what is required for a scene. Her range is infinite.” 

Lee Strasberg, creator and director of the Actor’s Studio, Marilyn’s acting couch and friend

She is a brilliant comedienne, which to me means she also is an extremely skilled actress.”

Sir Laurence Olivier, co-star in The Prince and the Showgirl (1957)

As near genius as any actress I ever knew.”

Joshua Logan, director of Bus Stop (1956)

She was an absolute genius as a comedic actress, with an extraordinary sense for comedic dialogue. It was a God-given gift. Believe me, in the last fifteen years there were ten projects that came to me, and I’d start working on them and I’d think, ‘It’s not going to work, it needs Marilyn Monroe.’ Nobody else is in that orbit; everyone else is earthbound by comparison.”

Billy Wilder, director of The Seven Year Itch (1955) and Some Like It Hot (1959)

Marilyn Monroe is the greatest farceuse in the business, a female Chaplin.”

Jerry Wald, producer

Nobody discovered her, she earned her own way to stardom.”

Darryl Zanuck, president of 20th Century Fox

Somewhere along the way, the image of Marilyn Monroe as superstar, as sex goddess, as legend, has been tarnished by the image of Marilyn as tragic victim. She has become Marilyn the conspiracy, with each new claim more outlandish than the one before. Flying saucers are now part of the scenario. Marilyn is too much of a good thing to disappear into this black cloud – she still has much to offer and inspire us.”

Foreword to The Ultimate Marilyn by Ernest W. Cunningham

That death, so untimely, so ambiguous, caused me terrible distress. And it got me thinking. I thought about the meaning of beauty, about loneliness, about the need to find love that’s hidden in the heart of each and every one of us. I remembered Marilyn’s seductive smile veiled with sadness. It wasn’t enough to be the most beautiful woman in the world to be happy. Marilyn had been a great actress, crushed by the weight of her own talent, by all the men who had asked her for everything without giving her anything in return, or by those who had wanted to transform her according to their own tastes. Marilyn’s allure had ended up destroying her, reducing her to an ill-fated sex symbol. She hadn’t managed to find her own way. I felt a shiver run up my spine, as if a shadow had been cast all around me. The world is a cruel place, nourished by and satisfied with appearances, rarely concerned about what lies beneath the surface. This is why it’s up to each of us to keep any fairy tale anchored to real life, so that we never forget who we are, where we come from.”

Sophia Loren, from her autobiography Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow: My Life (2014)

Once she was ready, [to be photographed] she would surpass the expectation of the lens. She had a shimmering quality like an emanation of water and she moved lyrically.”

Inge Morath, Photographer on the set of The Misfits in 1960.

Sophia Loren and Marilyn Monroe are the ones i most admire. Marilyn Monroe is fantastic, she started from nothing and thanks to her own efforts reached the top.”

Brigitte Bardot during an interview in 1957

From what I know of her, Marilyn had very human qualities.”

Elizabeth Taylor

She was a whirling light to me then, all paradox and enticing mystery, street tough one moment then lifted by a lyrical and poetic sensitivity that few retain past early adolescence. It was an ironical summer that I will never forget, my soul only half there (at work) and exhilarated with life and at the same time ridden with guilt. I loved her as though I had loved her all my life; her pain was mine.”

Arthur Miller

I too was struggling because I could not smash her enemies with one magic stroke, our own relationship was wounded because she was beyond my reassurance, she had no means of preventing the complete unravelling of her belief in a person once a single thread was broken.”

Arthur Miller

I miss her. It was like going to the dentist, making a picture with her. It was hell at the time, but after it was over, it was wonderful.”

Billy Wilder

Marilyn had an incredible charisma that was so rare, I don’t think I’ve seen anything quite like it.”

Jack Lemmon, co-star in Some Like It Hot

I enjoyed her company. I enjoyed working with her.”

Joseph Cotten, co-star in Niagara (1953)

All I did was believe in her. She was a marvelous, loving, wonderful person I don’t think many understood.”

Milton Greenephotographer and friend

She listens, wants, cares. I catch her laughing across a room and I bust up. Every pore of that lovely translucent skin is alive, open every moment-even though this world could make her vulnerable to being hurt. I would rather work with her than any other actress. I adore her.”

Montgomery Clift, co-star in The Misfits

Marilyn is an expert comedienne and therefore a good actress.”

Lawrence Olivier, actor and co-star

Quite simply I do not believe I would be working in the film industry if it were not for Marilyn Monroe.”

Gabriella Apicella, filmmaker 

I think Marilyn knows exactly where she’s going and that it’s forward. It’s just possible that she’ll turn out to be not only the sexiest but the smartest blonde of our time.”

Earl Wilson, reporter

Her sincerity is impressive and her willingness to listen to and take advice is one of her outstanding qualities. Marilyn is wonderfully sincere in her work. She is always trying to improve and wants to do her best in every scene, yet she makes no effort to steal a scene or upstage anyone ever.”

Jane Russell, actor and co-star

I’ll tell you a girl I’d like to meet and that’s Marilyn Monroe. She must be a fascinating personality, considering all she has gone through. She’s taking a lot of knocks because she’s on top now. I wish there were some way I could tell her not to let it get her down.”

Lana Turner, actor

I think she has done a great deal of good for the movie industry. She is just what the business needed someone to put some glamour and magic back into Hollywood.”

Marilyn Maxwell, actor

If she stays as she is, holding her ground, being herself, she will be one of the great stars of all time.”

Faith Domergue, actor

I think my husband has the solution: he says that nervousness indicates sensitivity and that’s what Marilyn has, great sensitivity. And then, Marilyn is still frightened, although she is overcoming it, Lee says show me an actress who isn’t frightened and nervous and will say she won’t go far.”

Paula Strasberg, acting coach 

Marilyn has a God-given talent, really phenomenal talent. My husband says she is a combination of Jeanne Eagels and Pauline Lord. Like them, she is greatly misunderstood. Where Marilyn’s work is concerned, she wants perfection and to achieve perfection in anything is well-nigh impossible. But she constantly seeks it- even at the expense of her health and peace of mind.”

Paula Strasberg, acting coach 
Our Marilyn Monroe



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