“It was a 1951 dinner party. I was a first-year English student at Barnard. My father was a doctor and so was the guy who hosted the party. Marilyn was very shy, so they sat her next to the least threatening person in the room – me.”
Growing bold as the night progressed, Joan Molinski (Rivers’s given name) found the courage to advise Monroe that she, too, hoped for a career in show business.
“ ‘Honey, let me tell you a secret,’ Marilyn told me,” Rivers continues, adopting Monroe’s feathery voice. “ ‘Men are stupid and they like big tits.’ ”
‘I’m really into quotes, like reading quotes by Dolly Parton and Marilyn Monroe and people like that, and Marilyn Monroe’s got a great quote where she says, “A career is great but you can’t curl up with it on a cold night.” I mean, I’m such a workaholic that I have always put my work before everything.’
Sheridan Smith (a gifted young comic actress whom UK readers will recognise from TV shows like The Royle Family, Two Pints of Lager, Gavin and Stacey) is currently starring in Legally Blonde: The Musical at London’s Savoy Theatre.
The Daily Star claims that the Girls Aloud singer hinted they were for Cheryl Cole, as she was heard saying that she was buying them as “a present for a friend who had been very ill.”
“The silkscreens are of Marilyn Monroe with big pink lips set on pink, black and silver backgrounds,” a source said.
The insider added that the three pieces have now been taken to be framed, saying: “They’re really coveted items. Kate Moss has a few and Sarah was very lucky to get them.
“They are a very thoughtful girly present. Cheryl will love them.”
Ever since Madonna and Stephen Meisel’s 1990 ‘Homage to Norma Jean’ spread in Vanity Fair, celebrities have been imitating Marilyn Monroe’s style – with mixed results.
“This trend of infinite iterations starts and ends with Marilyn Monroe, the dead starlet that every living starlet wants to imitate. As Lynn Hirschberg notes in a profile of Megan Fox (who has a Marilyn tattoo on her forearm), “Monroe was her own brand before branding existed.” What better way to send a career-branding message, then, than to channel the original tortured personal branding bombshell? Or so the logic goes.
But the Marilyn kabuki act rarely works as intended. Every time I see Lindsay Lohan as Marilyn, I question the troubled starlet’s mental health. Every time I see Megan Fox as Marilyn, I wonder if she’s not just an Angelina imitator, but a LiLo imitator, too. When Nicole Kidman did Marilyn, she looked old. When Scarlett did Marilyn—well, that was actually pretty good. But when Jessica Simpson did Marilyn (via famed Marilyn lookalike Virna Lisi, making hers an imitation of an imitation) it was an unmitigated disaster, lifeless and awkward.
This is what the future will look like if we don’t kill the starlets-imitating-starlets trend now. Starlets, stylists, editors: Start cultivating your own iconic looks. Do something original! Surprise us! Otherwise we’ll all be spinning in tutus in the rain for the decades to come, and between the Monroe imitators flipping their skirts up on the sidewalk, and the Mary Tyler Moore imitators spinning with shopping bags, the streets are crowded enough with pantomimes, already.” – Gawker
Fans in the Everlasting Star community have been monitoring this trend for some time now, and you can look back at the many celebrity homages to MM – the good, the bad, and the downright bizarre – in the member’s forum.
The ‘ice-cool blonde’ immortalised in Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1958) discussed her long career with Liz Smith this week. Perhaps inevitably, the conversation turned to another screen goddess of the fifties – Marilyn Monroe…
I ask this ultimate survivor – the blonde who got away – why she did survive, and Marilyn Monroe didn’t?
“I think it’s family, roots. Marilyn didn’t have that. Even if there are troubles in your family, at least it’s there. It gives your life a deeper substance, especially if you are working in a business that is so much about the insubstantial. You need something to fall back on. You need to know you are more than the face or the body or the career. Without that stability, you are lost.”
Kim Novak may never make another movie, but she will be forever remembered as the star who never got lost.
In a longer Novak profile for Q last year, Smith explored the parallels between Kim and Marilyn in greater detail. Kim was under contract to Columbia, and touted by boss Harry Cohn as a rival to Monroe. Ironically, Marilyn had signed to Columbia years earlier but was dropped (allegedly after refusing Cohn’s advances.)
Additionally, Kim’s birth name was actually Marilyn, but she decided to change it because of Monroe. Not much is known about their association, but Kim was also a guest at the Lawford beach house in 1962 where Marilyn met Bobby Kennedy.
Like many other young actresses, Novak was deeply affected by Monroe’s untimely death:
A year later, in 1963, Novak was handed a copy of the magazine Eros, in which some of Bert Stern’s famous nudes of Monroe appeared. Kim was horrified when she saw that Stern had released shots which Monroe herself had edited and crossed out. She burst into angry tears. To her, this was an act of cruelty and betrayal.
The Kim Novak Collection is now available on DVD in the US.
The stunning red-haired actress, best known as sexy, ambitious Joan Holloway on TV’s Mad Men, speaks to Parade about those Monroe comparisons:
“I don’t think any woman in the world could get tired of being compared to Marilyn Monroe. It is embarrassing, though, because I think that I could never hold a candle, but it is also incredibly flattering, and she’s someone I admire greatly. So it’s always a really nice thing to hear.”
Set in the New York advertising world at the dawn of the sixties, Season 2 of Mad Men references MM’s life and impact in depth. In Episode 6, ‘Maidenform’, the creatives devise a campaign slogan for Playtex bras, ‘Are you a Jackie or a Marilyn?’
And episode 9, ‘Six Months Leave’, explores the differing reactions of the characters to Monroe’s death. In a pivotal scene, Joan’s sadness reveals a hitherto unseen vulnerability behind her glamorous persona.
While Kelly Osbourne doesn’t look much like Marilyn, I appreciate her efforts to copy some classic images here. After all, it’s an opportunity few Monroe fans would be able to resist…
Marilyn appeared on TV’s The Jack Benny Show on September 15, 1953.
Thanks to Paul Harkness Glazebrook
Before her latest misadventure (a stint in jail), actress Lindsay Lohan took time out to talk about her admiration for Marilyn Monroe at Stylelist.com
SL: 6126 is named for Marilyn Monroe’s birthday, and you’ve recreated Monroe’s famous portrait sessions for famed photographer Bert Stern. Why is she such a strong influence?
“LL: She is an icon. I love her sense of self. She is glamorous and represents a time in Hollywood that was a changing point for women. I also think she was misunderstood.”
Whatever one may think of Lindsay’s current situation, her interest in MM seems entirely sincere. Few people understood the pressures of fame better than Monroe, and I think she would get a kick out of knowing that she continues to inspire today’s young starlets – especially in troubled times.
Paris Hilton‘s new perfume, ‘Tease’, features an ad campaign with the celebrity heiress posing in the style of her idol, Marilyn Monroe. ‘I am all about being alluring, but with a wink, and a fun, fresh take on all that is enticingly feminine about a woman today,’ says Hilton in a press release.
Paris rather fancifully compared herself to Marilyn four years ago. ‘There’s nobody in the world like me,’ she said. ‘I think every decade has an iconic blonde, like Marilyn Monroe or Princess Diana and, right now, I’m that icon.’
Some MM fans were incensed by this comment; others, like myself, found it endearingly silly. Paris doesn’t remind me of Marilyn so much as one of the characters Monroe played, Lorelei Lee in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
It’s not hard to imagine Paris Hilton saying something like, ‘A kiss on the hand might feel very good, but a diamond tiara lasts forever.’ But while Marilyn spoofed the gold-digger stereotype for comic effect, offscreen she was thoughtful and reserved.