August 05, 2006

Norma Jeane

When I was growning up, we weren't supposed to watch TV... we were Pentecostal. So my ma finally goes out and gets a VCR and a "monitor," and a bunch of old movies. Can't be anything wrong with old movies, now, can there? We watched tons of Danny Kaye, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Gene Kelly, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, Cary Grant, and Jimmy Stewart, just to name a few. I still love those movies. Evil sex symbol that she was, we even watched Marilyn Monroe.

I didn't really care for her that much. Oh sure, she could sing, dance, and make ya laugh, but she irritated me in some ways. I used to mock her. Even though I would admit that she was pretty damn good looking, I just didn't see the appeal. That is, until we had a garbage sale, and my aunt had a book on Marilyn that she put up for sale.

Mostly a picture book (it even had some nekkid pictures!!!), it had some biographical info. After reading that... which was after looking at the nekkid pics... I kinda changed my mind. Or maybe it was the pics... I can't remember.

Marilyn was discovered while she was working in a factory inspecting parachutes, and spraying fire retardant on airplane parts. She began modeling and appeared on numerous magazine covers, which attracted the attention of a talent scout in 1946. She had some minor roles in a couple of films, and then went back to modeling while she tried to improve her list of contacts in Hollywood.

In 1948, she got back into acting. It wasn't all smooth road, but she finally started drawing the notice of movie-goers, then critics.

It was around this time (1952) that she played Cary Grant's receptionist in Monkey Business, one of my favorite Grant movies. While I liked Grant and Ginger Rogers' parts (especially once they started acting younger and younger), and Monroe's character did not have a big part, she seemed to help carry the movie. She had some pretty funny lines, and delivered them well.

While she starred in some serious films, notably Niagara, and proved that she could actually act, and do "serious" well, she was in more comedy type movies. And that's what I remember her for.

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, How to Marry a Millionaire, The Seven Year Itch, and one of my favorite movies of all, Some Like It Hot. The pic on the left shows Monroe as Sugar Kane, and over her shoulder, you see Jack Lemmon, and Tony Curtis. (Sorry, Eric... I couldn't find a pic of her climbing through the porthole in Gentlemen...) She looks pretty damn good, no?

Unfortunately for Marilyn, and perhaps the rest of us, she died in 1962, at the age of 36. As a matter of fact, she died forty-four years ago today, an apparent overdose. Suicide? Murder? Doesn't really matter now... her physical heart stopped beating. Look around, though, and you can see impact she made. That heart beats on.

I suppose you're wondering why I posted all this. Well, I am, too. See, though I no longer mock Marilyn, she still doesn't do a whole lot for me. Yeah... she was a looker, and she had some great curves, but I've never needed a drool bucket for her. Although, there are a couple of scenes where...

Anyways, the whole purpose of this post was to tell you that, while not a Marilyn fan, I was gifted with a portrait of her, some time back. It was passed along to me by a good friend, and it meant alot to me. At least, while I had it.

When I was home in July, it became clear that the picture was no longer with me. It may have decided that it was time to move on, or perhaps it didn't like hanging out in a blast furnace house. Either way, it is no longer in my possession.

I know that I can get another copy, but that's not the point. What mattered was that picture alone... it's not like any other. I can't really explain it, but should you ever run across it, you'll know immediately.

That pic had class. Whoever ends up with that is a lucky bastard...

Posted by That 1 Guy at August 5, 2006 02:58 AM | TrackBack

Dang. And after all the time you spent holding it up with one hand!

Posted by: og at August 5, 2006 01:33 PM

What happened?? Marilyn had great gams but that portrait certainly didn't grow a pair and walk away....

Posted by: Richmond at August 5, 2006 04:53 PM

One thing is certain, she had a very natural sexiness to her...

Posted by: armywifetoddlermom at August 5, 2006 06:40 PM

... man, I still get excited just thinking about that porthole scene.... either side of that bulkhead had wonderful possibilities....

... as for the picture.. heh.... we've created a thing of myth and legend now....

Posted by: Eric at August 6, 2006 07:44 AM

I don't prefer blondes, but after seeing Some Like It Hot, I understood why some people do.

I went in prepared to be unimpressed, since I figured a rep like hers HAD to be overblown hype, but I think she actually deserved it.

Posted by: Harvey at August 6, 2006 01:36 PM

I had a guide book that had all these different Hollywood sites in it. One day in Brentwood, I drove by Marilyn's bungalow where she died, Nicole Simpson's condo, OJ's house, and the Mommie Dearest (Joan Crawford) house. It's bizarre to be in a neighborhood where almost every house had a previously or currently famous owner.

Great pics of Marilyn. RIP

Posted by: Jerry at August 6, 2006 08:27 PM