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Marilyn Monroe - Her life in films.

Marilyn Monroe - Her life in films.

It would have been Marilyn Monroe’s 80th Birthday in June 2006 (had she still been alive).
Here is a small selection of the main film titles and a mini biography Click to view Marilyn Monroe stock items or on the underlined to view related memorabilia in stock - enjoy!

The Asphalt Jungle (1950)
Niagara (1953)
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)
How to Marry a Millionaire (1953)
River of No Return (1954)
There's No Business Like Show Business (1954)
The Seven Year Itch (1955)
Bus Stop (1956)
The Prince and the Showgirl (1957)
Some Like It Hot (1959)
Let's Make Love (1960)
The Misfits (1961)


Marilyn made only 30 films during her life, but her influence and popularity will remain with film history forever as probably the most celebrated of all actresses. ‘She had an intoxicating quality of volcanic sexuality wrapped in an aura of almost childlike innocence.’

Born Norma Jean Mortenson on 1st June 1926 (later to changed to Baker, then Dougherty through marriage) Her mother worked for RKO Studios as a film cutter, suffered from mental illness and was in and out of institutions. Marilyn began her career modeling swimsuits and it was at this time that she dyed her hair blonde. This caught the attentions Howard Hughes then of RKO and Marilyn was offered a screen test so starting her career in films.

Her first films in 1947-48 were really only bit parts The Shocking Miss Pilgrim (1947). Dangerous Years (1947) Scudda Hoo! Scudda Hay! (1948). Ladies of the Chorus (1948) for which she sang two numbers with favorable notices for her, if not the film.
Then Love Happy (1949). It was also in 1949 that she posed nude for the now famous calendar shot which was later to appear in Playboy magazine in 1953 and further boost her career. She would be the first centerfold in that magazine's long and illustrious history.

During 1950 she appeared in five films (two uncredited) and two The Asphalt Jungle (1950) and All About Eve (1950) that got her noticed “ditzy but very sexy blonde performances.”

In 1951 she made four films and got a more sizable role in Love Nest (1951). The public was now getting to know her and liked what it saw.

In 1952 there were five films including Don't Bother to Knock (1952), with it’s tagline “You never met her type before... “ in which she plays a psychotic babysitter, this was also Marilyn Monroe's 12th film and an attempt to prove to critics that she could act. Unfortunately the critics didn't particularly care for her work in this picture. It was Monkey Business (1952), directed by Howard Hawks & starring Cary Grant and Ginger Rogers, where she plays a sexy young secretary and is seen for the first time as a platinum blonde, the look that became her trademark.

The next year she appeared in Niagara (1953) Her first starring role and the only Marilyn Monroe movie in which her character dies. The films success led to Fox choosing Marilyn instead of Betty Grable for Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) & co-starring Jane Russell. This was 'Jane Russell' 's only film with Marilyn Monroe although they got along well. Russell called Monroe "Blondie" and was often the only person on the set who could coax Monroe out of her trailer to begin the day's filming. When Fox asked director Howard Hawks how production could be sped up one suggestion was replace Marilyn.
It was in 1953 that Marilyn began dating Joe DiMaggio the baseball player.
Marilyn now a genuine box-office draw was to appear with Betty Grable, Lauren Bacall and Rory Calhoun in How to Marry a Millionaire (1953). This was 20th Century Fox's first CinemaScope feature. The film was nominated for an Oscar for Best Costume Design, a BAFTA for Best Film & Writers Guild America WGA Award for Best Written American Comedy. On the plane, Pola (Marilyn) is reading a book called "Murder By Strangulation" which is how Marilyn Monroe's character met her demise in Niagara.

On 14th January 1954, Marilyn wed DiMaggio. Marilyn announced her divorce from DiMaggio in October 1954 after only eight months.

River of No Return (1954) with Robert Mitchum. The film ran over schedule and budget due to mishaps caused when director Otto Preminger insisted that actors perform their own stunts for the scenes of the raft struggling down the rapids. On one occasion, Marilyn Monroe had to be saved from drowning when her boots filled with water, and on another occasion, she and Robert Mitchum had to be rescued when their raft became stuck on a rock and was on the verge of overturning.
Marilyn then proceeded to film There's No Business Like Show Business (1954), for which she was promised the lead role in The Seven Year Itch (1955) if she appeared in this film to boost the box-office potential. It was nominated for 3 Oscars, with another 1 nomination. Marilyn Monroe's voice on the Decca soundtrack album "There's No Business Like Show Business" was replaced by singer Dolores Gray because Monroe's voice was under contract to another record company that would not release the rights for use on the album.

And so followed The Seven Year Itch (1955), a fast-paced fabulously funny, sex farce thats "Just Elegant!" and which showcased her considerable comedic talent and contained what is arguably one of the most memorable moments in cinema history: Marilyn standing above a subway grating and the wind from a passing subway blowing her white dress up. Tom Ewell won a Golden Globe award for Best Motion Picture Actor - Musical/Comedy and Marilyn was nominated for a BAFTA for Best Foreign Actress with two further nominations for the film.

Due to the fact that Marilyn was continually late to the set and generally unwilling to co-operate with her producers, directors, and fellow actors she lost roles in How to Be Very, Very Popular (1955) & The Girl In Pink Tights but then came Bus Stop (1956). Marilyn finally showed critics that she could play a straight dramatic role Marilyn was nominated for Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture Actress - Comedy/Musical. & Don Murray was nominated for an Oscar for the Most Promising Newcomer
Murray has said that Monroe was actually naked under her sheets because she thought that her character would really have been naked. Married playwright, Arthur Miller.

In 1957 Marilyn flew to Britain to film The Prince and the Showgirl. Laurence Olivier not only played Charles, the Prince Regent but was the director for this movie. Although it proved less than impressive critically it was Nominated for 5 BAFTA Film Awards including Best Foreign Actress for Marilyn Monroe & Best British Actor for Laurence Olivier Another 2 wins, one from David di Donatello Awards a Golden plate award for acting to Marilyn Monroe & 1 further nomination. Laurence Olivier was reputedly so driven mad by Marilyn Monroe's difficult behaviour that he practically abandoned directing for the screen (until his return in 1970 anyway)

After taking a year out Marilyn returned to the screen in the comedy masterpiece from Billy Wilder, Some Like It Hot (1959) with Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon. The film was an absolute smash hit, with Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon pretending to be females in an all-girl band after witnessing a mob hit.
Monroe wanted the film to be shot in color (her contract stipulated that all her films were to be in color), but Wilder convinced her to let it be shot in black & white when costume tests revealed that the makeup used for Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon gave their faces a green tinge.
Marilyn required 47 takes to get "It's me, Sugar" correct, instead saying either "Sugar, it's me" or "It's Sugar, me". After take 30, Billy Wilder had the line written on a blackboard. Another scene required Monroe to rummage through some drawers and say "Where's the bourbon?" After 40 takes of her saying "Where's the whiskey?", 'Where's the bottle?", or "Where's the bonbon?", Wilder pasted the correct line in one of the drawers. After Monroe became confused about which drawer contained the line, Wilder had it pasted in every drawer. Fifty-nine takes were required for this scene and when she finally does say it, she has her back to the camera, leading some to wonder if Wilder finally gave up and had it dubbed. Rumours abound as to the many difficulties Monroe had with the cast and crew, she was routinely 2 to 3 hours late to the set, and occasionally refused to leave her dressing room. Wilder publicly blasted Monroe for her behavior, and she was not invited to the wrap party.
Marilyn won a Golden globe award for Best Motion Picture Actress - Musical/Comedy
The film won an Oscar for Best Costume Design, Black-and-White and was nominated for another five. Jack Lemmon won a BAFTA Film Award for Best Foreign Actor In all it won a total of ten awards and had a further eight nominations, (including the 5 Oscar nominations).

In 1960 Marilyn appeared in George Cukor's Let's Make Love (1960), with Tony Randall and Yves Montand, while it made money, it was critically panned as stodgy and slow-moving and yet was nominated for four awards including and Oscar and won a Golden Laurel award for best musical.

Marilyn’s final film, The Misfits (1961) was well liked and accepted critically. Written by Monroe's then husband, Arthur Miller, and produced as their marriage was ending, it provided Monroe with the role of her life, unfortunately it was to be her last and also proved to be the final film for the legendary Clark Gable. On the last day of filming, Gable said, "Christ, I'm glad this picture's finished. She [Monroe] damn near gave me a heart attack." The next day, Gable suffered a massive heart attack; he died 11 days later.

Her last film in 1962 Something's Got to Give was never completed due to her constant absenteeism for which she was fired. On 5th August 1962, she was found dead by her housekeeper lying face down, nude on her bed, apparently the victim of an overdose, she was 36.

 

 

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A Classic Club original recording.
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