Marilyn: A Natural Beauty (And Then Some)

The question of whether or not Marilyn had plastic surgery has long been controversial. Over at Immortal Marilyn, Marijane Gray sets the record straight.

“The truth of it is that Marilyn had extremely minimal work done- so minimal that it’s undetectable in before and after photos, so minimal that when her chin implant was reabsorbed it didn’t alter her stunning face in any perceptible way. However, even if every single claim of plastic surgery were true, it does not diminish Marilyn’s remarkable beauty … Let us appreciate her for how she chose to look without picking apart what was natural and what may have been enhanced, and let us stop trying to assuage our own insecurities by feasting on the flaws, real or imagined, of other women.”

‘The Seven Year Itch’: The Girl, a Dress and a Mystery

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That iconic scene from The Seven Year Itch – and the dress worn by Marilyn as she stood over the subway grate – is constantly being referenced in popular culture. One recent example is this magazine ad for the Marilyn-themed Sexy Hair brand.

On Immortal Marilyn this week, Marijane Gray unravels the mystery of what happened to that dress, designed by Marilyn’s regular costumer, Travilla.

“The white pleated halter dress that Marilyn Monroe wore in The Seven Year Itch is always described in superlatives: most iconic, most recognized, most recreated, most expensive. It can also be called the most mysterious: how many copies of the dress were there? Is there another one in existence, hidden away all these years? Did Marilyn herself own a copy of the dress, and if so, where did it end up? And perhaps most intriguing: was a copy of the dress really stolen back in 1993?”

Also this week, Keena Al-Wahaidi reviews the movie that started it all for The Medium, the student magazine for the University of Toronto. (Incidentally, the campus is based at Mississauga, which is also home to a skyscraper complex whose curvaceous design has earned the nickname The Marilyn Monroe Towers.)

“The most notable aspect of The Girl is her obliviousness towards her own allure …. The most dubious fixture of this film is the lack of identity in Monroe’s character. The reason for her ambiguity is because she’s nameless … However, Monroe’s lack of identity contributes to the mystery of the film’s plot. Regardless of the immorality of the situation, we find ourselves rooting for Richard and The Girl. Despite the futility of their relationship, or perhaps owing to it, their fling is undeniably enthralling.”

‘Goodnight Marilyn’ Returns

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Goodnight Marilyn, the internet radio show which explores unanswered questions about Marilyn’s death, has returned for a third season. In the opening episode, an expert panel including biographer Gary Vitacco-Robles and Immortal Marilyn staffers Leslie Kasperowicz and Marijane Gray joins regular host Nina Boski in a discussion of the District Attorney’s report following the re-opening of Marilyn’s case in 1982.

Marilyn’s Daughter: Hoax Claim Warning

Not pregnant: Marilyn films a wardrobe test for 'Something's Got to Give', 1962
Not pregnant: Marilyn films a wardrobe test for ‘Something’s Got to Give’, 1962

An early candidate for Most Ridiculous Marilyn Headline of 2016 entered the ring today, as satirical news-site World News Daily Report screamed, ‘Woman Claims She is the Daughter of MM and JFK.’ Last year, they published another fake story, claiming that a former CIA agent had made a deathbed confession to Marilyn’s murder.

Both stories were penned under the same pseudonym, ‘Barbara Johnson‘, though the author page’s URL names her as ‘Barbara Jennings’.

This isn’t even an original idea, as several people have falsely claimed to be Marilyn’s child over the years. It’s also in bad taste, as Marilyn was unable to have children. And perhaps worst of all, it’s not even funny. As Matt Novak pointed out in a recent article for Gizmodo, ‘A joke without a punchline is just a lie. And there sure are a lot of missing punchlines on the internet these days.’

Finally, the woman pictured in the photo accompanying the article is Susan Griffiths, a successful Marilyn impersonator who has never claimed any family connection. So the article not only misrepresents a deceased actress, but also a living one.

In a new blog post, ‘Marilyn Didn’t Have a Daughter‘, Immortal Marilyn staffer Marijane Gray has debunked this latest hoax.

“Other claims in the article are also complete fabrications. The Marilyn/JFK affair rumors have been greatly exaggerated and outright lied about over the years. You can read more about how the lies came about in this Immortal Marilyn article. Photos of Marilyn from each month from January to July 1962 prove conclusively that she could not have been pregnant and given birth at any point during that year.

The hoax article also states ‘Some persistent rumors, originating from her gynecologist, Dr. Leon Krohn, have suggested that Marilyn Monroe had become pregnant again in 1961, and given birth to a baby girl in June 1962.’ While Marilyn’s gynecologist was indeed named Dr. Leon Krohn, he has never made these ludicrous claims and the rumors definitely did not originate from him.”

Marilyn, JFK and the Mythmakers

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Over at Buzzfeed today, Immortal Marilyn’s Marijane Gray debunks some of the rumours about Marilyn and President John F. Kennedy.

“Because of Robert Slatzer, who kept selling ever more lurid tales to the tabloids, the myth of the actress and the President has snowballed out of control and has been repeated so often that the general public just accepts it as fact even though it’s fabricated.

The image of Marilyn that is projected through this tabloid lens is not that Marilyn that her fans know and admire. She is portrayed as a a needy, clingy, pathetic, vindictive woman who was utterly delusional….and that’s not who she was at all…

Look for proof. Learn who in Marilyn’s life was a credible source and who was not. Don’t repeat something as if it’s true because you maybe sort of heard it somewhere one time. Get comfortable with the idea that something you were certain was true just might not be.”

‘Why Marilyn Photoshops Are So Damaging’

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Taken by Philippe Halsman in 1954, this photo shows Marilyn sorting through prints from a recent collaboration, and deciding which shots to approve or discard. She took her image very seriously, and as Immortal Marilyn staffer Marijane Gray explains in a new Buzzfeed post, would most likely have taken a dim view of the Photoshopped images that now proliferate on social media.

“With the internet age comes technology used to fool people. Whether it’s a false headline or a photoshopped image, it serves no purpose other than to say ‘gotcha!’. Unfortunately for Marilyn fans, the last few years have shown a trend for creating images with Marilyn’s head or face photoshopped onto someone else’s body. What’s the harm in that? Not only is it incredibly disrespectful to Marilyn, who took pride in her body and worked hard on her figure, it’s disrespectful to the poor woman who’s had her head chopped off and replaced with Marilyn’s.

Photoshopping pictures of Marilyn are muddying the waters for newer generations of her fans. They’re putting in her in situations that never actually occurred, obscuring her history and her true self. They’re presenting an image of her that is completely false and if it continues in this fashion we may lose entirely who she really was.”

Marilyn: What Size Was She Really?

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With Marilyn so often cited as an exemplar of ‘curvy’ beauty, comes the misconception that she was overweight. Several articles debunking this myth have appeared recently, on websites like Mental Floss and newspapers such as the Daily Mail.

The definitive article on this topic, however, comes from Immortal Marilyn’s Marijane Gray and can be read here.

UPDATE: Another excellent article on this topic has been posted by Scott Fortner on his MM Collection blog, measuring Marilyn’s true size from the original clothing in his possession.