Marilyn Monroe is one of the biggest celebrities of 20th century America. From baseball stars to movie actors, men of all ages and professions were awed by her beauty and sex appeal. Even the Heads of State were not immune to her charm, as it is an open secret that John F. Kennedy had a secret liaison with her during his presidency. It was the juxtaposition of her childlike innocence and a diva-like physical appearance that were key ingredients of her popularity. For example, Marilyn Monroe “was recognized around the world as the embodiment of beauty and glamour. Quite simply, her name and her image have timeless appeal.” (Lockwood, 2011) But behind the wealth, glamour and celebrity status was a lonely woman who was earlier an insecure child. It is now fairly conclusive that she died of over-consumption of sleeping pills – a sad and tragic end to an icon of American popular culture. She died so young – she was just 36 – but her legend continues to live even today. Her popularity may have been surpassed by celebrities from subsequent generations, but her place in the Hollywood Hall of Fame remains uncontested. Even within the film industry, she made a great impact. For example, “film-exchange managers, vice-presidents, producers, directors, exploitation men and actors, each felt in his own mind that he, personally, had discovered an exciting new personality. A succession of people discovered her”. (Johnson, 1952) The following passages will highlight various aspects of her Marilyn Monroe’s appeal to people.
Life and Achievements:
Grady Johnson’s article for the Coronet magazine, written in 1952, captures the popularity and appeal of Marilyn Monroe when she was a rising star of Hollywood. He notes how the emerging star had seen 11 private foster homes in the first 16 years of her life. Coming out of this uncertain start is tough enough. But when we take into account how she’d always felt as an unwanted, underprivileged and low self-esteemed child, this maturation into a beautiful heartthrob is all the more astounding. Even as early as 1952, she was described with adoration by various journalists and film analysts. Here’s a sample: “She has been pegged the most promising star of 1952 by Movie Columnist Hedda Hopper, and described by Saloon-and-Sex authority Earl Wilson as having “the year’s most outstanding figure.” Producer Jerry Wald says, “She walks like a young antelope. When she stands, its like a snake uncoiling. When she speaks, you don’t hear her words – it’s as though she were whispering love to you.” She even is developing a singularly unnecessary skill as an actress.” (Johnson, 1952) If such is the adoration of seasoned critics and commentators, one can understand the kind of impact Monroe must have made on the general public. She was able to transcend class and gender barriers and garner the admiration of a whole generation. Even today her legacy is firmly established and her iconic status remains undiminished. An aspect of Marilyn Monroe’s personal life which had added to her appeal is her numerous affairs. It is not surprising for actresses of her time to be involved with rich and powerful men. She had had relationships with sport stars, co-male-stars, and even with President John F. Kennedy. Instead of diminishing or sullying her image in the public eye, this tendency had only enhanced her romantic appeal. During her peak, she was every man’s dream girl. (Lockwood, 2011)