Marilyn Monroe: Impact on Popular Culture Research Paper

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Probably the most celebrated of all actresses, Marilyn Monroe was born Norma Jean Baker on June 1, 1926, in Los Angeles General Hospital, to Gladys Baker. Gladys had been a film cutter at RKO studios, but psychological problems prevented her from keeping the job and she was eventually committed to a mental institution, because of that Norma Jean spent time in foster homes until she was 16 years of age. As an unlucky soul, Marilyn focused on her dreams of becoming a movie star.

Being born and raised to a custom of fame and fortune in her home town of Los Angeles nourished her addiction to satisfy her dream to become a star in her own way. Destiny took its place. Studying at the prominent UCLA she took evening classes in Arts and Literature. While studying there she built a network of friends in the music, arts, journalism and publishing industry which made an influence of improving her connections in the entertainment business. Her attributes set herself apart from the millions while leading her to a transformation into the astonishing Marilyn Monroe. Her personify was to her advantage, her fortune.

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Marilyn’s early films lacked a prominence until she got a contract with Fox Studios and then Colombia Pictures, taking all sorts of interests such as singing lessons and stage directions. In 1948 she had starred in Groucho Marx in Love Happy and at this time Marilyn had to make a visible impression in life representing a genuine yet pure and polished Marilyn Monroe. Marilyn Monroe’s nude calendar photo made a public impression in 1949, 20th Century Fox Studios went into shock, Marilyn cooled the situation with her justification: “The human body was nothing to be ashamed of as I had to pay rent”.

Who dared to refuse the body or rent? The mass media loved this kind of material…. Marilyn had a visual aspect of alluring the companionship of writers and artists such as: Andy Warhol, Tom Wesselman, Jackson Pollack, Mark Rothko, and Carl Sandburg. Marilyn’s era concurred with the rise of Pop Art: she became a reflection of an icon, especially in New York. In the time of June 1942-1946 she had met and married a local boy, Jim Dougherty. Soon after, Norma Jeane dyed her hair blonde (borrowing her grandmother’s last name). In the state of New York she legally changed her name to Marilyn Monroe on February 23rd, 1956.

Marilyn then married Joe DiMaggio in January 1954 – October 1954, at the turning point in her young career preparing one of her biggest hits, The Seven Year Itch. Then divorce later followed. In June 29, 1956 she got married to Arthur Miller one of the greatest American playwrights in a Jewish ceremony. While married, Arthur wrote the part of Roslyn Taber in 1961’s The Misfits especially for Marilyn. The union between Marilyn and Arthur ended on January 20, 1961, and The Misfits was to be Marilyn’s (and Gable’s) last accomplished film. She studied at the Actors Studio in America and formed Marilyn Monroe Productions in 1956.

During that time Marilyn won an award in the World Film Festival, the Golden Globe awards in 1953. Best Actress for 1954 for Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and How to Marry a Millionaire. Best foreign actress in 1958 for the Prince and the Showgirl. Golden Globe Award in 1959 for Best Actress in a comedy and a Golden Globe award for Some like it Hot in 1961. At the 1962 Golden Globes, Marilyn was named female World Film Favorite, once again establishing her widespread allure. Even during her lifetime, Marilyn reached a level of recognition that made er stand out from her peers. Her quality as a movie star was indicated by the box-office success of her films, by the groundbreaking contract she arranged with her studio, and by the amount of publicity she established in the press. After Hollywood loved her… In her last and magnificent years Monroe’s life was evident of sickness and personal problems. She had abused a cocktail of prescription drugs that lasted over ten years which now had become a part of her life. She had attempted suicide numerous of times and had been committed in the past to a psychiatric wards.

Still after that her essence that was Marilyn remained untarnished. In a terrible turn of circumstances on the early morning of August 5, 1962, 36-year-old Marilyn died in her sleep at her Brentwood, California home with the phone attached to her hand. Rumors speculate of an overdose or intentionally killing herself. There was also speculation and gossip of having an affair with John F Kennedy and that she was about to go public with what she knew about JFK and Bobbi Kennedy. Also that she was murdered by ‘government agents’ to safeguard the president.

Another conspiracy incident was that Marilyn was killed by the mafia as punishment to the Kennedy’s for their attacks on them, and to expose Kennedy’s many love affairs. Now with all the aspects of her death, Marilyn had plans to work on new movies and a possible Broadway play and a televised production was in the works. So how could this be? The events that surrounded Marilyn’s death will probably never be known. What was known for certain was that a living legend mysteriously died before her time, in a mist of confusion, defamation and uncertainty. Marilyn Monroe had such an impact on American culture immensely.

Her films have become a big part of pop culture, her sweet voice, her voluptuous body, platinum blonde hair, and the events that took place in her life especially her death was legendary. Marilyn represented sexuality in comedy and popular culture. She had brought on screen and in real life innocence and childlike quality since the days of Jean Harlow in the 1950’s; to audience’s she was a mysterious soul, one that escapes individual’s minds till this day. But we still can’t deny her huge impact in the world of entertainment being an A list actress in her own right.

Let us not forget her tragic death as an alluring sex goddess of all time, with signs of uniqueness. During Marilyn’s career she had made 30 films and left one; Something’s Got to Give, unfinished. She was more than just a movie star or glamour bombshell. A global sensation in her lifetime, Marilyn’s popularity has extended beyond star status to icon. Today, the name “Marilyn Monroe” is closely associated with beauty, sensuality and effervescence. She remains a divine inspiration to all who strive to defeat personal obstacles for the goal of acquiring greatness.

Marilyn Monroe had a memorable life filled with many ups and downs. Who would think that such a successful young woman had such an unstable life? If you add her loyalty and devotion of movie stardom to the years since her death, Marilyn Monroe has been part of our lives and imaginations for nearly four decades, but her legendary status and mysticism will remain with film history forever. Marilyn Monroe is still beautifully preserved years after her mysterious death. All around the globe she is impersonated by actors and actresses and fans from all walks of life. She has been the subject of repeated Life retrospectives.

For her image became; her empire. She was one of the most graceful successful actresses of American cinema history, the world’s most photographed stars and one of the most beloved personalities of the 20th Century… Marilyn Monroe is very meaningful to me as a pop culture icon and as a reminder that successful souls can come from humble beginnings knowing that movie stars were once like us all and that they didn’t have to be starve to look like beauty queens. There is so much we know about her life but ultimately she is still a mystery to the world and her intricate persona will forever baffle us.

How could a woman so powerful be so delicate, so persistent and motivated be so self-destructive, so light have so much darkness, so much honesty can have such a gloomy past… “I knew I belonged to the public and to the world, not because I was talented or even beautiful, but because I had never belonged to anything or anyone else. ” Marilyn Monroe Written By Khristiee J


Marilyn Monroe, Still Life, July 19th, 2006 [online]. Available from: http://www. pbs. org/wnet/americanmasters/episodes/marilyn-monroe/still-life/61/. Accessed 12th of June 2010. John Kobal [ed. ] 1988, Marilyn Monroe: A life on Film.

The Hamlyn Publishing Group Limited, London. Sam Shaw and Norman Rosten, 1989, Marilyn: Amongst Friends. Bloomsbury Publishing LTD, London. Marilyn Monroe Facts, The Estate of Marilyn Monroe: CMG Worldwide [online]. Available from: http://marilynmonroepages. com/facts. html#general. Accessed on 12th of June 2010. Carl Rollyson, [ed. ] 2005, Female Icons: Marilyn Monroe to Susan Sontag. The IUniverse, Lincoln. U. S. A. pp. 23-39. John . A. McGrossan, 2000, Books and Reading in the loves of notable Americans: A Biographical sourcebook, Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc. pp. 167-170. S.

Paige Baty, 1995, American Monroe: The Making of a Body Political, The Regents of the University of California, University of California Press, California U. S. A. pp. 5-8. Marcel Danesi, 2008, Popular Culture: Introductory Perspectives, Published in the U. S. A by Rowan & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. pp. 111-112. Liz Stanley, 1990, Feminist Praxis: Research, Theory and Epistemology in Feminist Sociology, Published by Routledge a division of Routledge, Chapman & Hall Inc. pp. 262-264. Anne Verlhac, [ed. ] and Forward by David Thomson, 2007, Marilyn Monroe: A life in Pictures, First Published in the U. S. A, by Chronicle Books, LLC. pp.

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