Monday, March 10, 2008

Monroe


Marilyn Monroe is haunting me.

Until the last 10 days, I had barely spared her a thought in years. But now, I switch on a music channel and Sir Elton, complete with outrageous blue periwig, is singing Candle in the Wind, backed by footage of a kiss-blowing Marilyn. A Marilyn ‘expert’ is fooled by a Madonna picture in a wannabe pose and Lindsay Lohan attempts to ape MM in a magazine photoshoot. A columnist praises the pneumatic blonde for her support of Ella Fitzgerald in segregated ‘50s America. An interviewee asks for my opinion on dream dinner party guests. “Monroe and Kennedy,” I say, without missing a beat.

At 18, Monroe and fellow ‘live fast, die young, have a beautiful corpse’ icon James Dean were my retro poster stars of choice. In the late ‘80s, student union poster sales were packed with arty shots of MM to cover crappy student house wallpaper and peeling paint. I devoured biographies, soaked up conspiracy theories and stared hard at grainy black and white images taken after the post-mortem. My homage extended to my bleached platinum bob and a period sporting scarlet lipstick and fingernails.

Like other teenage obsessions, it passed. But, nearly 50 years after her death, it seems the world’s obsession is still strong. That, I suppose, is a mark of true charisma and star quality. I look at the fragile and vulnerable blonde with the big, vibrant smile and consider today’s crop of celebrities. I wonder how many of them will still be making it into the news – or even people’s thoughts – half a century after they’ve gone?

8 comments:

Pig in the Kitchen said...

A very good point M&M, a pic in heat magazine does not a celebrity maketh. I got rather sidetracked imagining you with a blonde bob, scarlet lips and nails...any pix to show us?!
Pigx

Expatmum said...

Am with you here although I don't remember her in my life. Have you seen her in "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes"? Me and Drunk Mummy used to know all the words to all the songs and argue about who was MM and who was Jayne Mansflied. Given that we were both blonde and fairly busty at the time, it was a heated debate!

Gill said...

You got me thinking about why she is still an icon and inspired me to post up some picturs on my blog.

Jane said...

Today's celebrities making it into peoples' thoughts in 50 years' time? I can't think of any good way Paris Hilton could do that.

Mopsa said...

MM was just so very, very lovely. And the films! Some Like it Hot is still stunning. I can't think of anyone coming close to her today, probably because we know just too damn much about them. A bit of mystery is key.

Winchester whisperer said...

What about Di - do you think she'll be an icon in 2048?

rilly super said...

M&M, have you seen 'insignificance' with the very sexy Theresa Russell as 'the actress' who just happens to be blonde and stand over grates in a white dress. Not sure whether it's genius or an overblown episode of blackadder, you know those ones where the duke of wellington meets samuel pepys or whatever but it's worth a watch.

mutterings and meanderings said...

Pig, alas and alack, the scanner is in the other room ...

expatmum, I have a Monroe cassette i useed to sing along to when I was cooking ...

Gill, I think she has something indefinable ...

Jane, oh no, not the French hotel mentioned on my blog!!! Oh, the shame ..

Mopsa,I love Some Like It Hot. A time when women were allowed to have hips...

WW, I think it is possible ... there is def a cult of diana

Rilly, I must confess I don't know Theresa Russell at all...