Though Marilyn has been gone for over 50 years now, she remains to be a much sought after mystery. Women want to be her, crossing generational lines still today; and men want to be with her. Her untimely death has been the catalyst that haunts us even today about the woman who became the quintessential sex symbol.
Over the next several blogs, we are going to reveal some little known, tidbits shall we call them?, about Marilyn Monroe. These tidbits of one of America’s most iconic people will serve two things:
One ~ to show the fun, quirky and unexpected side of the “Sex Goddess” Marilyn Monroe
Two ~ to show the vulnerability and humanness of a woman who has always seemed bigger than life.
This is the fun part, so let’s get started!!
~~Marilyn owned many dogs during her life; her last was a Maltese terrier given to her by Frank Sinatra, which she named Maf (short for Mafia Honey). At the Christie’s sale in 1999, two Polaroids of Maf sold for £220,000.
~~Goya was her favourite artist: “I know this man very well, we have the same dreams, I have had the same dreams since I was a child.”
~~Her weight went up and down so dramatically during the filming of The Prince and the Showgirl that the costume designer, Beatrice Dawson, had to create facsimile dresses in different sizes. “I have two ulcers from this film,” she said, “and they’re both monogrammed MM.”
~~Marilyn whitened her skin with hormone cream, one side effect of which was to encourage the growth of blonde down on her face; Marilyn would not remove this peach fuzz, believing that it gave her face a soft glow on camera.
~~She was named “The Most Advertised Girl in the World” by the Advertising Association of the West in 1953. Among the brands she represented were American Airlines, Kyron Way Diet Pills, Pabst Beer, Tan-Tan Suntan Lotion and Royal Triton Oil.
~~In 1950, Johnny Hyde, her agent, paid for her to have two plastic surgeries: a tip rhinoplasty (reshaping the soft cartilage at the end of her nose); and a chin implant.
~~She was an early devotee of yoga, and was taught by Indra Devi, a Swedish-Russian Bollywood film star who also taught Greta Garbo and Gloria Swanson.
~~Marilyn’s intervention got Ella Fitzgerald her first major engagement at a Los Angeles nightclub. In 1955 the colour bar was still in force, but Marilyn convinced the management to let Fitzgerald play by promising to sit in the front row for a week. (For more information, see our blog “Marilyn and Ella, an unlikely duo?”)
~~She preferred to go naked. Among female studio employees – wardrobe mistresses, hairdressers, make-up artists – she often went without clothes. She gave interviews in the nude and often went out wearing nothing under the black mink that Joe DiMaggio had given her.
~~Marilyn’s hero was Abraham Lincoln: “I used to read everything I could find about him,” she wrote in her (ghosted) autobiography, My Story. “He was the only famous American who seemed most like me, at least in his childhood.”
~~Veronica Hamel, an actress, bought Marilyn’s house in 1972. She claimed that when she was renovating the house she discovered an extensive system of wire-taps. (Four sets: FBI, Mafia, Kennedy’s and Marilyn herself!)
~~The books she was reading at the time of her death were Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and Captain Newman MD, a novel by Leo Rosten based on the life of Monroe’s psychiatrist, Ralph Greenson.
~~Two men claimed paternity of Marilyn on their deathbeds: C Stanley Gifford, who both Marilyn and her mother believed was her father, but who refused to meet Marilyn when she was alive; and Edward Mortensen, who was married to her mother at the time of her birth, and whose (misspelled) surname appears on her birth certificate.
~~She was athletic. As a young married woman on Catalina Island in the early Forties, she studied weightlifting with a former Olympic champion named Howard Corrington. She later went tandem surfing with a boyfriend, Tommy Zahn, balancing on his shoulders as they cut through the waves.
~~She only owned one home by herself: the house she died in at 12305 Fifth Helena Drive, Brentwood.
~~She was an excellent cook, and famous for her bouillabaisse. When writers at The New York Times tried to make her recipe for stuffing, they were surprised to discover that it was highly complex – it took them two hours to finish. (We would love to find that recipe, and others of hers today!)
Well, we think this is enough to digest for one post. We would love to hear from you and find out which one of the above is most surprising to you? If you have a juicy tidbit to add, please feel free to comment below.
K.R. Hughes and T.L. Burns