I have decided to look at five common misconceptions about Marilyn Monroe for today’s post. As a lifelong fan of this blonde bombshell, I have a strong opinion on her being misrepresented in the media, looking at you Kim Kardashian!
Number 5: Marilyn Was the Real Woman
~I figured I would start strong with this very obvious misconception. Marilyn was a character made up by Norma Jean Mortenson, sometimes called Norma Jean (or Jeane) Baker, and by her maiden name of Dougherty, when she came into Hollywood. So Marilyn was a persona that a very talented young woman created to portray characteristics she thought attractive in public!
Number 4: Marilyn was NOT a Serious Actress
~Marilyn was very much a serious actress who cared about her career. She even went so far as to live in New York for a year and study at the Actor’s Studio under the great Lee Strasburg. In fact, Lee Strasburg’s wife Paula would go on to be Marilyn’s acting coach for the latter part of her career! She even started her own production company and got script and director approval before returning to Hollywood from her NYC sojourn!
Number 3: All of These Quotes Were Said by Marilyn
~Marilyn is perhaps the most misquoted Old Hollywood celebrity. In the last couple of decades as the internet blew up, it became common to see Marilyn’s name attached to countless quotes on memes. While this would be a great way to honor her memory, more often than not it is something she never said. It is frankly insulting to misquote a dead celebrity just because we can! We must learn to fact-check those quotes before taking them as gospel!
Number 2: Marilyn Wore a Current Size 12
~Was Marilyn curvy and sexy? Yes, of course, she was! Was she what we would consider a size 12-16 by modern standards? Hell No! This is one of those pervasive things that gets talked about a lot. Marilyn wore about a size 12 by 1950s standards, which is between a 6 and 8 by today’s standards. While she had luscious curves, she was in no way a large woman. She was compact and curvy at the same time! All one needs to do is look up her measurements in order to disprove this common misconception! This woman had a serious tiny waist, we are talking 22 to 23 inches!
Number 1: Marilyn Was a Dumb Blonde
~The final misconception I will cover continues to be assumed by those who only have a passing knowledge of the icon. She was not in any way a dumb blonde, hell she was not a natural blonde for that matter! She was intelligent and well-read with a great thirst for knowledge. This is what attracted her to men like Arthur Miller, as she valued intellect. She is known to have had a library of 400 books! Not to mention, that she read heavy-duty works. These included Ulysses by James Joyce and The Thinking Body by Mabel Ellsworth Todd!
~I hope you have enjoyed learning a bit about common misconceptions perpetuated about the great screen siren Marilyn Monroe. Did you know these were fake? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Note: I may do a follow-up of more misconceptions if enough people are interested. I focused on more common ones here, but there really are so many fictional statements made about this actress that I would love to set right!
Note on Image: The image at the top of the post is a casual picture of Marilyn. I found the image on https://nypost.com/2021/06/05/marilyn-monroes-personal-cookbooks-go-up-for-auction/.
- The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe by J. Randy Taraborrelli
- Goddess: The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe by Anthony Summers
- Marilyn: The Passion and the Paradox by Lois Banner