The screen Marilyn Monroes in the 1960s without the original star

The screen Marilyn Monroes in the 1960s without the original star

It was late at night on August 4, 1962 when actress Marilyn Monroe died in her bed in Los Angeles. She was just 36 years old and her life ended with an overdose of barbiturates – officially ruled an accidental suicide. She was found only on the morning of the 5th.

There, MM became an even bigger myth than it already was. From the most famous movie star, she passed into 20th century history, an image recognizable even by those who have never seen any of her films. Capable of getting someone to spend a few million at an auction to take possession of an Andy Warhol pop art painting of Marilyn’s face.

Image: Reproduction/New York Mirror

This permanence in the last 60 years owes much to the legion of imitators. From the anonymous professionals who dress up as MM to liven up events or perform in nightclubs to the women who live their 15 minutes of Marilyn posing for photo shoots for fashion, entertainment or men’s magazines. And, of course, the actresses who played the star in film, TV and music videos.

Marilyn probably wouldn’t mind, as she considered herself the No. 1 member of this club.

“All my life I’ve acted as Marilyn Monroe, Marilyn Monroe, Marilyn Monroe… What I do is an imitation of myself”, he once told film director Henry Hathaway.

Identity was complicated for someone who was born Norma Jeane Mortenson (father’s surname), became Norma Jeane Baker (a stepfather’s surname) in childhood and adopted her stage name Marilyn Monroe, using her mother’s maiden name.

The 60th anniversary of Norma Jeane/Marilyn’s death coincides with anticipation for the new biopic blondea Netflix production with Cuban actress Ana de Armas trading her usual dark hair for the platinum hairstyle to play Marilyn.

Image: Disclosure

The film will have its world premiere on September 23, but the trailer was enough to irritate certain types of fans. Many complained about Ana’s Latin accent.

Before Ana, many turned into Marilyn on screen. Some famous actresses and others now forgotten or who were never very well known. We briefly highlight some below.

Misty Rowe in Goodbye, Norma Jean (1976)

Despite some disguised impersonations in movies or Marilyns in alternative plays in New York, this was the first time the star was played on screen with a first and last name. Scenes from Misty in this film were reused in 1989 in a kind of sequel called Goodnight, Sweet Marilyn, with Paula Lane as Marilyn.

Catherine Hicks in Marilyn: The Untold Story (1980)

A movie for TV, and that made a lot of difference back in the day – many saw this type of production as second-rate compared to cinema. It was shown by ABC on September 28, 1980. It was shown in Brazil as Marilyn’s Loves. Actress Hicks was praised at the time and nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Dramatic Actress.

Madonna in “Material Girl” (1985)

An instantly classic music video when it aired on MTV in its heyday. MM admirer, platinum blonde Madonna – already a worldwide hit because of “Like a Virgin” – decided to be a reincarnation of Marilyn singing “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” in the film Men Prefer Blondes (1953).

The music is different, but the visual minutiae are impressive. It lost the MTV Video Music Awards to a Tina Turner clip that very few remember. The video for “Material Girl” is enduring.

Madonna returned to pay greater tribute to Marilyn in an April 1991 Vanity Fair shoot, photographed by Steven Meisel.

Theresa Russell in insignificance (1985)

In Brazil, it hit theaters as Atomic Malice. The crazy plot sees Marilyn locked in a New York hotel room in 1954 with her then-husband and baseball idol Joe DiMaggio, scientist Albert Einstein and communist-hunting senator Joseph McCarthy. The latter is played by former star Tony Curtis, who played opposite the real Marilyn in the hotter the better (1959).

Susan Griffiths in pulp Fiction (1994)

The actress is a “professional MM” and, since 1983, has appeared as her in more than ten films, series and clips. The biggest role was as the protagonist of Marilyn and Mefrom 1991. But the best known film is this one by director Quentin Tarantino, in which Susan wins a look-alike contest thanks to the scene with Marilyn’s raised dress in Sin lives next door (1955).

Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino in Norma Jean & Marilyn (1996)

Baptized in Brazil from The True Story of Marilyn Monroe, has two then-rising young actresses who were later ostracized. Ashley did well with the Norma Jean part (she was nominated for a Golden Globe), but Mira doesn’t convince like the Marilyn in the story.

Barbara Niven in The Rat Pack (1998)

HBO film about the Rat Pack, the bon vivant gang led by Frank Sinatra (played by Ray Liotta, from the good companions, who died recently) in the late 1950s. The story includes then Senator and future US President John F. Kennedy growing his eye towards Marilyn Monroe. In Brazil, the film has the terrible title The Majorswhich fortunately no one adopts.

Mariah Carey in “I Still Believe” (1999)

Video in which singer Mariah Carey recreates a classic but less imitated Marilyn moment: her visit to American soldiers in the Korean War in 1953.

Poppy Montgomery in blonde (2001)

The title is the same as that of the new Ana de Armas film. But this was a two-episode miniseries based on the book by writer Joyce Carol Oates published a year earlier. Critics found the production too fanciful.

Samantha Morton in Mr Lonely (2007)

The great curiosity of this film: Samantha is a professional Marilyn impersonator who lives a romance with a professional colleague specializing in Michael Jackson…

Charlotte Sullivan in The Kennedys (2008)

Inevitably, the eight-episode miniseries has Marilyn singing “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” in front of 15,000 people in a skin-tight dress and sex-laden voice at the May 1962 John Kennedy 45th birthday celebration at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Michelle Williams in My Week with Marilyn (2011)

Perhaps the best of the jobs on this list. It even has a proper Brazilian name (Seven Days with Marilyn). It was based on the memoirs of a valet during Marilyn’s visit to London in 1956. Visually, Michelle is one of the best Marilyns in audiovisual history. And she was nominated for an Oscar for the third time for her performance.

Uma Thurman, Katharine McPhee and Megan Hilty in smash (2012-2013)

The three actresses have their “Marilyn moment” in this short-lived TV series about the backstage feuds of a Broadway show about Marilyn Monroe called “Bombshell.”

Blake Lively in gossip Girl (2012)

In the 100th episode, Blake, star of this hit series at the time, slips into a pink dress, puts on a vintage blonde wig and voices Marilyn singing “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend”. For no apparent reason.

Kelli Garner in The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe (2015)

Miniseries in two episodes. Kelli was highly praised for her performance. The plot addresses Marilyn’s relationship with her mother Gladys, who spent her life in asylums and hospitals for schizophrenia since the actress’ childhood. The great Susan Sarandon embodies the sick lady.

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