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Marilyn Monroe: Beyond the blonde

Marilyn Monroe: Beyond the blonde

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She is an icon whose image dances on the silver screen of collective memory, a siren with songs of both allure and agony. Yet she was also concocted out of contradictions, a maze where light and shadow perpetually intertwine

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Touseful Islam

Publisted at 5:08 PM, Sun Jun 2nd, 2024

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Hollywood shines bright thanks to its stars, but there is one that glimmers blonde and brighter - Marilyn Monroe. 

She is an icon whose image dances on the silver screen of collective memory, a siren with songs of both allure and agony. Yet she was also concocted out of contradictions, a maze where light and shadow perpetually intertwine.

Yesterday was her birth anniversary.

Before Marilyn meandered into Norma 

Before she was Marilyn, she was Norma Jeane Mortenson, a girl with dreams as vast as the Californian sky under which she was born. 

Her early life was marked by crescendos of aspiration and diminuendos of despair. 

Abandoned by her father and troubled by her mother’s mental illness, Norma Jeane’s childhood was a carousel of foster homes and orphanages. 

The transformation from Norma Jeane to Marilyn Monroe was not merely a change of name, it was as if the young woman was sculpted a new identity from the raw clay of her being. 

Discovered by a photographer while working in a munitions factory during World War II, her ascent to fame was meteoric. Her golden hair, her enchanting smile, her beguiling vulnerability — each became brushstrokes in the portrait of an icon.

Marilyn’s screen presence was magnetic, a blend of innocence and sensuality that captivated audiences and critics alike. 

Films like "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" and "Some Like It Hot" showcased her comedic genius, while "The Seven Year Itch" immortalised her in the collective consciousness of cinema. 

Yet, beneath the glimmering surface of stardom, shadows loomed.

Grim beneath the glitters

Despite her radiant public persona, she grappled with profound personal demons. The chasm between her public image and private anguish widened as she struggled with insecurities, addiction, and mental health struggles. 

Marilyn Monroe was a prism through which the harsh light of celebrity refracted into a spectrum of human experience.

Her marriages to baseball legend Joe DiMaggio and playwright Arthur Miller, though emblematic of fairy-tale romance, were marred by turbulence and heartache.

Her pursuit of artistic legitimacy was often met with resistance from an industry that preferred her as the quintessential blonde bombshell rather than a serious actress. Her efforts to transcend this typecasting, including her studies at the Actors Studio under Lee Strasberg, were a testament to her unyielding ambition and depth. 

Marilyn's yearning for acceptance and respect as an artist was as poignant as it was profound, a quest tragically cut short.

Her life and legacy are a blend of glamour and gloom, triumph and tragedy. Her untimely death at the age of 36, under circumstances shrouded in mystery and speculation, only deepened the enigma. Was she a victim of her own fragility, a casualty of an unforgiving industry, or a tragic heroine who burned too brightly for this world?

She is an icon whose visage continues to grace pop culture to this day - from Andy Warhol’s art to Elton John’s elegy. 

Marilyn Monroe is a name that conjures visions of timeless beauty and haunting melancholy, a symbol of the complex interplay between light and shadow.

 

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