50 Years Later, Marilyn Monroe Still ‘Rising in the east like the sun’

Marilyn’s flaunt of seduction followed by escape from Hollywood

-by Spencer Althouse

Letting forth a dizzying combination of quick wit and beauty, Marilyn Monroe surrendered a life spent yearning for contentment.

(photo credit: Ed Clark—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

Though the world once beaconed at Monroe’s fingertips, fame proved too much for this sex symbol, and a fear of loneliness overshadowed her hopes of unruffled happiness.  This compelled Monroe to escape into something more poetic, something that allowed her to relish in life’s opportunities rather than Hollywood’s fairytales.

In 1950, a nearly unknown Marilyn garnered rave reviews for her cameo in All About Eve, Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s film of 14 Academy Award nominations.  This film paradoxically forced Monroe to play the very stereotype she despised.  Her character, Miss Caswell, was an empty-headed actress who fearlessly advertised her body in search of success.  Here, an impressed Addison DeWitt (George Sanders) gazed into the eyes of Miss Caswell, exclaiming that he can see her career “rising in the east like the sun.”  This statement was the truest form of art emulating life.

(photo credit: J.R. Eyerman—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

Monroe was an actress on the brink of a brilliant career, but her physical presence and “dumb blonde” typecast were romanticized to no end, which eclipsed her natural talent.  “A sex symbol becomes a thing,” Monroe declared.  “I just hate to be a thing.”

Despite her awards and accolades – including two BAFTA Awards for The Prince and the Showgirl and The Seven Year Itch and a Golden Globe win for her work in Some Like it Hot –Monroe was inadvertently treated as a hanger for clothes.  The American Film Institute acknowledged Marilyn Monroe as the sixth greatest female star of all time, proving that her talent and success is of unmatched excellence.  Still, her identity was absorbed in her material presentation.  Marilyn once flaunted this perfect amount of seduction in hopes of stardom, not knowing that fame would ultimately define her and, thus, be her demise.

Heartbreaking despair followed this troublesome actress.  A string of divorces occurred,

(courtesy: mptvimages)

her life marked by illness for the world to see, and she was given the unhealthy reputation of a diva.  Her final picture, Something’s Got to Give (1962), was merely considered a stunt for the actress to half-heartedly pull, but others believed it was her last hope at salvaging a tarnished career.  In the film, Monroe played a woman lost at sea, foreshadowing a very lost Marilyn in real life, only to be rescued the day her husband remarries.  Tragedy struck, however, and the movie was abandoned due to Marilyn Monroe’s untimely death.

Now, nearly 50 years after her passing, Marilyn is recognized as one of the World’s largest cultural icons.  Simon Curtis’ 2011 British film, My Week with Marilyn, proved that even a deceased Monroe is capable of a comeback.  Michelle Williams played the legend, which earned her an Oscar® nod and a Golden Globe® win for Best Motion Picture Actress – Musical or Comedy, the same award Marilyn won back in 1960.

Playing a character both onstage and off, Marilyn seemingly led a life of struggle and heartbreak.  Her moral beliefs remained true, though, which is why attempts at preserving the starlet’s existence are so sought out by Hollywood.  Her most recent biopic, Marilyn in Manhattan, is the surprising documentary which chronicles Marilyn’s secret move to New York City.  Here, she developed her own production company, helped break the color barrier, and experienced love and heartache through those infamous relationships.

The true compassion of this documentary is found in Milton Greene, Marilyn’s most trusted partner, as he pushed her to break that Hollywood mold she so desperately feared and regretted.  Also included in the feature are interviews with Marilyn’s closest friends, including Academy Award® winner Ellen Burstyn, archival footage with Joe DiMaggio, Arthur Miller, and Lee Strasberg, and exclusive photographs from Milton himself.  This documentary will be available on all digital platforms via Virgil Films and Entertainment on July 31st just in time for the 50th anniversary of Marilyn’s final moments, which will ultimately glorify the star and remind everyone the true power of fame.

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