Marilyn Monroe: An Enduring Legacy

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Image courtesy of Netflix’s “The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe: The Unheard Tapes”

Jenna Cao, Senior Editor

Marilyn Monroe, one of the world’s most enduring pop culture icons, whose name never strayed far from the spotlight even after her death, has been making her way back into news headlines in recent days. But, even with all the recent attention across the internet, many are still wondering who was the woman whose portrait recently sold at auction for $195 million dollars and whose dress created controversy at the Met Gala? 

Monroe, born Norma Jeane Mortenson, was an American actress and model who hit her prime in the late 1950s and early 1960s. She quickly became one of Hollywood’s most famous actresses for her roles in the musical “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” (1953), and films such as “How to Marry a Millionaire” (1953) and “The Seven Year Itch” (1955). She received her first critically acclaimed award for her role in the film “Some Like It Hot” (1959), where she won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress. 

 At the peak of her fame, Monroe captured  the attention of her viewers with her beauty and  grace. She also pioneered the role of the “dumb and seductive blonde.” After her death, people started to recognize the difficulties Monroe had to face and a more complex picture of the star emerged. 

There are many iconic moments from Monroe’s career that continue to circulate online. Monroe’s iconic crystalized and translucent dress that she wore to serenade former president John F. Kennedy was recently taken out of its spot in Ripley’s Believe It Or Not museum to be worn by Kim Kardashian at the 2022 Met Gala.  

Kardashian’s decisions attracted a lot of attention and controversy. She is being blamed for ruining a “historical artifact” by taking the dress out of its stored environment and for wearing something people deem a historic relic that should remain untouched. Kardashian has also come under fire for “promoting eating disorders” after admitting to spending weeks adhering to a strict diet in order to lose the sixteen pounds needed to fit into Monroe’s custom-made dress. 

The controversy brought a lot of attention to Monroe’s name but it is not the only time that Monroe’s name has come up in recent news. In early May, an iconic 1964 silk-screen portrait of Monroe by Andy Warhol sold for over $195 million dollars to an unknown buyer. Alex Rotter, Christie’s auction house art expert, describes the piece as “one of the greatest paintings of all time.” 

The public’s need to acquire Monroe’s  clothing and portraits proves the significance Monroe’s presence left on Hollywood and the world. Indeed, her films still touch the hearts of millions. 

In the recent Marilyn Monroe Netflix documentary, “The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe: The Unheard Tapes,” Monroe’s life and still-mysterious death are explored through never before heard interview tapes.  

In an interview with Netflix, Director  Emma Cooper says, “ (Monroe) was the precursor to all these brilliant women that we see now who are masters and mistresses of their own destiny, like Kim Kardashian…(Monroe) was a real pro.” 

She was one of the first actresses who was able to manipulate the media and successfully “played the game”  that is being a Hollywood celebrity. From her talent, beauty, and alluring presence she was able to achieve world renown fame lasting past her death and into the next century. And, with a wealth of fantastic Monroe films, fashion, and art available for consumption, her legacy will continue for decades to come.