89 years ago today, a little girl named Norma Jeane Mortenson entered the world, destined for great success, and regrettably great tragedy.
As Marilyn Monroe, she became a classic comedienne, sex symbol, style icon and Hollywood legend. And you can toast every stage of her life and career with this selection of streaming titles.
All About Eve
As an unknown ingenue, Monroe scored a small (but scene-stealing) role in a vehicle of her idol, Bette Davis. This was pretty impressive considering the same studio had fired her two years before because producer Darryl F. Zanuck declared Monroe “unphotogenic.”
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
By 1953, Monroe had replaced established star Betty Grable opposite Jane Russell in this rom-com musical. And with the song number “Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend,” the dazzling starlet cemented her spot in cinematic history.
How To Marry A Millionaire
For this cheeky comedy, Monroe teamed with Grable and the graceful Lauren Bacall, playing a trio of gold-diggers with hearts of gold. The film’s screenwriter, Nunnally Johnson, pinpoints this as the point in Monroe’s career where audiences “liked Marilyn for herself [and that] she diagnosed the reason very shrewdly. She said that it was the only picture she’d been in, in which she had a measure of modesty… about her own attractiveness.”
Though she was often written off as eyecandy, Monroe was a serious student of her craft. After she trained at the lauded Actor’s Studio in New York, she proved it with this drama that scored her a Golden Globe nod.
The Seven-Year Itch
By 1955, Monroe was already such an icon that she was able to have some fun with her bombshell image in this Billy Wilder comedy, which contains that unforgettable scene between her white dress and a drafty subway grate.
Some Like It Hot
Funny enough, Monroe’s most popular picture is one of her less iconic. To some degree, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis in dresses stole the spotlight from Monroe. But as the bubbly Sugar Kane Kowalczyk, she was an absolute dream.
Her final completed film was plagued by production problems that followed Monroe and her husband/Misfits screenwriter Arthur Miller home. 10 days after returning from the shoot, the pair announced their split.
Marilyn In Manhattan
What became of Monroe in the final days before her fatal overdose? That’s the question this short but informative doc aims to answer.
The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe
For something more comprehensive and melodramatic, check out the recently released Lifetime mini-series.
And on her birthday, perhaps no one can sing her praises better than Monroe herself. Happy Birthday, Miss Monroe. Happy birthday to you.
Kristy Puchko left out My Week With Marilyn on purpose, because it’s terrible and hearsay parading as memorial.