Why Marilyn Monroe Managed to Win People’s Hearts Despite There Being Many Other Blonde Actresses in Hollywood
The phenomenon of Marilyn Monroe can be spoken about endlessly — an ordinary girl has suddenly becomes the biggest actress of the ’50s, and the men were literally falling down at her feet. The girl gained enormous popularity, and her photos were all over the billboards of cinemas and on magazine covers.
We at Bright Side tried to figure out why this blonde girl became the symbol of the country and why she still remains irreplaceable.
How a simple girl Norma became the iconic Marilyn
Before the start of her career, the girl changed her look drastically. She had a clear understanding at that moment that a blonde girl with styled hair had more chance to make it in the cinema world.
It was when she already had her famous appearance that she signed her first contract with 20th Century Fox. Ben Lyon outlined right away that the surname of her husband, Dougherty, had too many possible pronunciations. So they started to think over a new nickname for her together. Norma offered to use the surname of her maternal line, while Lyon chose the name Marilyn because Norma resembled the star of the Broadway musical Ziegfeld Follies, Marilyn Miller, to him.
In one of her letters, the actress wrote that the nickname Clare Norman was also being considered as a screen name. It will take 10 more years for her to officially change the name.
But Marilyn Monroe is not only about a bright name. The actress’ look was shaped gradually. At first, the girl received only small roles, acting as a chic, luxurious woman. The audience liked this image, and Monroe’s popularity was growing.
Despite the fact she had plenty of offers to take part in movies, Marilyn wanted to develop as a professional actress, so she was taking acting lessons. But it seems nothing of this made sense because the directors were only seeing an attractive doll in her. That’s why she started to do what she could do the best — portray beautiful women.
The shot from The Prince and the Showgirl movie. It’s the only flick with the participation of Monroe that was not shot in Hollywood.
It’s worth noting that women didn’t like Monroe’s image. They considered her to be too vulgar. However, Marilyn started a trend for dresses enhancing the curves of the body. She wasn’t feeling shy to choose outfits that were making her even more attractive and beautiful.
Monroe had many “clones”
Marilyn and Lana Turner.
Of course, Monroe was not the first blonde girl who appeared on TV screens. For example, Lana Turner started to take part in filming before her. Both Lana and Marilyn couldn’t boast a happy childhood. In 1951, Turner got the title of the most glamorous woman in the history of world art.
Another bright blonde of Marilyn Monroe’s time is Grace Kelly, who finished her career to become the wife of the Monaco prince. However, rumors say that the Prince was recommended to marry a Hollywood actress, and initially, he chose Marilyn.
Marilyn and Grace Kelly.
After Monroe’s success in and outside Hollywood, blonde girls started to appear like mushrooms after the rain. Everyone wanted to repeat her success.
Jayne Mansfield, who also signed a contract with 20th Century Fox, was one of such actresses. The studio was planning to replace the naughty and demanding Monroe with the new blonde. Despite her outer resemblance, Mansfield didn’t consider herself to simply be “Marilyn’s clone.” She kept insisting that she and Monroe actually don’t look that much alike.
Marilyn and Jayne Mansfield
As curious as it might sound, another Hollywood blonde, Kim Novak, was also named Marilyn at birth. People remember her by her main role in the Hitchcock classic Vertigo. Monroe and Novak looked alike not only by appearance, both of them had a difficult childhood and issues with their psyche.
The studio hired Novak to replace another popular actress, Rita Hayworth, who was getting extremely difficult to work with and who was no longer bringing in a significant income. The owners of the cinema studio were hoping that Kim would bring them as much money as Marilyn.
They tried to adjust her to be familiar to the viewers’ stereotype, but the girl turned out to be not that simple and was desperately confronting them, trying to keep her uniqueness. At first, she refused to change her name, then the studio demanded that the actress lose weight and make her hair even lighter. Having found the right wardrobe for her, Novak was turned into an ideal sample that was about to start bringing them mountains of gold. It did work.
Marilyn and Kim Novak.
There were other actresses who looked like Marilyn, like two peas in a pod. Betty Grable was one of them. They acted in the movie How To Marry A Millionaire together.
There were rumors that Monroe and Grable didn’t get along well. Betty, whose popularity was going down, was said to envy Marilyn, who was supposed to become the new star of the studio. In fact, the actresses had a good relationship. They say that once, Grable told Marilyn that she had already gotten what she wanted and wished her good luck.
Marilyn and Betty Grable
Sheree North was another iconic blonde actress. She was rumored to have been hired by 20th Century Fox only to frighten the naughty Marilyn Monroe. Not only was North as light-haired, but also matched Monroe’s parameters almost 100%. But unlike other actresses, Sheree wasn’t feeling shy about aging and was ok with playing the roles of more mature women.
Marilyn and Sheree North
Mamie Van Doren was also called Marilyn’s clone. The girl was working with a different studio, Universal, that was in search of Monroe’s analog. Mamie was dyed blonde, and they started to film her in roles of silly but attractive beauties. In her interviews, Mamie Van Doren said that movie studios simply didn’t know what to do with her because they were used to working with male stars like Rock Hudson, Jeff Chandler, and Tony Curtis.
Marilyn and Mamie Van Doren
There was another diva on the other side of the ocean — Diana Dors — the British version of Marilyn Monroe. She was named this because of her incredible resemblance to Marilyn. When the movie The Asphalt Jungle came to the UK, journalists remarked that the actress who played the main role looked very much like Diana Dors.
In 1956, Diana went overseas to conquer Hollywood and signed an agreement with the RKO film studio. But this plan failed, the company stopped the agreement with her because the movies with her participation failed.
Marilyn and Diana Dors
Another actress whom the studio was planning to replace Marilyn with was Anita Ekberg. She was born and grew up in Sweden. In 1951, she visited the USA as a participant in the Miss Universe contest. And though the girl didn’t win it, she was noticed by the Universal studio.
In the mid-50s, the Paramount studio started to work with her, promoting and presenting her as “Paramount’s Marilyn Monroe.” Anita got world fame through her role in Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita.
Marilyn and Anita Ekberg
Today’s stars gladly copy Marilyn’s look.
Madonna and Christina Aguilera.
Marilyn left a range of classic looks after her that became the main elements in pop culture. There are many celebs who tried to repeat her looks like Madonna, Scarlett Johansson, Christina Aguilera, Michelle Williams, Mariah Carey, Gwen Stefani, Lindsay Lohan, Lady Gaga, Drew Barrymore, and others.
In fact, Marilyn’s image doesn’t fade over time, and the attempt to replace her with other blonde actresses failed.
What do you think is the secret behind Marilyn Monroe’s popularity? Why other blonde actresses failed to repeat her success?