- Los Angeles, CA
- Actress, Model, Singer
- Brains and beauty
- Marilyn had an IQ of 168
- Marilyn was an early yoga devotee
Even before the Los Angeles native became Marilyn Monroe, she was undeniably an It Girl. The camera loved her back when she was Norma Jean Mortensen. Each of her photos captured her true essence; a natural coquettish sexuality and vulnerability. Marilyn Monroe was also synonymous with the feminine image that Playboy creator and founder Hugh Hefner needed to launch his new publishing vision— the lovechild of Esquire Magazine and The Kinsey Report. As Playboy’s first cover girl, Marilyn came to represent the physical embodiment of the magazine’s then revolutionary, now iconic worldview of a playfully free, fresh and delightful take on sexuality.
Audiences’ insatiable need for Marilyn Monroe has never waned in the 56 years since her passing. She still lives on vibrantly in memorable, classic performances thanks to films like 1961’s The Misfits, 1959’s Some Like It Hot and 1956’s Bus Stop— where she proved to be much more than her often misconceived ditzy blond image. “My God, how I wanted to learn! To change to improve,” Monroe said in an autobiography about acting. “I didn’t want anything else. Not men, not money, not love but the ability to act.”
Only a laughing and luminous Marilyn could create an iconic pop culture moment, by simply wearing a white dress and standing on top of a subway grate for the 1955 film The Seven Year Itch. When that New York City subway vent blast sends her white dress to the heavens, it simultaneously catapulted her career into legendary sex symbol territory.
Her professional life was surrounded by myth and legend, but her personal life had a gritty realness. She survived life as an orphan and grew up in and out of foster care. Monroe had three husbands (and three divorces); the latter two were to a baseball giant (Joe DiMaggio) and a genius playwright (Arthur Miller). Marilyn Monroe, the woman, could probably be best described as a layered complex vixen, but never a victim. She was a Renaissance woman; an Actor’s Studio trained actress, a voracious reader on a variety of subjects, a talented singer and poet all wrapped up in one stunning package of feminine power and fragility. Today, her white-hot legacy thrives on; she’s immortalized on everything from memorabilia to the live stage and in museum exhibits. Marilyn even did a triple revisit to our cover posthumously in the years 1997, 1999 and 2005, and in the process, permanently sealed her connection to Playboy for eternity.