When Marilyn Monroe first appeared on the big screen oozing curvy blonde sex appeal, audiences had the same reaction – women wanted to be her, men wanted to sleep with her and Hollywood producers wanted to hitch their wagons to her star. But there was more to Monroe than flesh and fantasy. The National ENQUIRER exposes the real story behind Hollywood's wildest scandals and sensational crimes, in the new docuseries National Enquirer Investigates! The first episode delves into the troubling death of screen goddess Marilyn Monroe. Was her "suicide" really a murder? Premieres Sat. May 28 9 ET/PT on REELZ Channel.
Behind the dumb blonde exterior was a talented actress and savvy Hollywood player. She made more than 30 movies in her brief career, including classics like Niagara, Some Like It Hot, Bus Stop, The Seven Year Itch and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. She was at the height of her career when she died from an overdose in 1962. She was 36. More than 50 years after her passing, she's still as big a superstar as ever. Here's a look back at her film career and the flicks that show her progression from Norma Jeane Baker, movie extra, to Marilyn Monroe, movie legend.
Dangerous Years wasn't Monroe's first movie, but it was the first one released to theaters. The budding star plays a wayward teen who comes under the influence of young gang leader Danny. She learns her lesson when Danny is involved in a robbery gone bad and goes on trial for murder.
Marilyn Monroe and Actresses in Ladies of the Chorus
In Ladies of the Chorus Monroe becomes the star of the burlesque show when the featured dancer quits. Her character achieves fame and fortune but could lose it all after she falls for the wrong man. Monroe was listed in the supporting cast when the movie was first released. When it was re-released in 1952, she received top billing.
Photo of Marilyn MONROE
Scudda hoo! Scudda hay! It's a breezy romantic comedy about a farmhand, Lon McCallister, who falls in love with the farmer's daughter, June Haver, while training a pair of mules. Monroe, who plays a friend of the farmer's daughter named Betty, has one line of dialogue and is uncredited. In case you were wondering, scudda hoo, scudda hay are mule-training terms for left and right.
Marilyn Monroe And Groucho Marx In ‘Love Happy’
In Love Happy she is part of a group of aspiring stage actors and actresses who get a boost from the Marx Brothers at the same time they bust a ring of diamond thieves. Groucho, 59, had the hots for diamond-in-the-rough Monroe, 23, and cast her in the movie for the sexy way she walked.
Dan Dailey And Marilyn Monroe In ‘A Ticket To Tomahawk’
The blonde bombshell is a chorus girl again in A Ticket to Tomahawk, only this time it's in a saloon in Colorado during the 1870s. A Ticket to Tomahawk is the story of a fight between a stagecoach and a train line to win a government transportation contract. Marilyn sides with the train line led by Dan Dailey.
Monroe, Marilyn – Actress, USA – *01.06.1926-05.08.1962+ Scene from the movie ‘The Asphalt Jungle” – with Louis Calhern Directed by: John Huston USA 1950 Produced by: Metro Goldwyn Myer (MGM)
Critical acclaim was heaped on Marilyn for her role in Asphalt Jungle as the girlfriend of an older attorney, played by Louis Calhern, who not only chokes the beauty but was also as crooked as his clients. The New York Times called it "a star-making turn." Legendary director John Huston headed this film about a criminal mastermind who puts together a gang for a major bank heist.
Monroe, Marilyn – Actress, USA – *01.06.1926-05.08.1962+ Scene from the movie ‘All About Eve” – with Anne Baxter, Bette Davis and George Sanders (from r) Directed by: Joseph L. Mankiewicz USA 1950 Produced by: 20th Century Fox
Bette Davis was a witch to newcomer Monroe in All About Eve causing the young starlet to throw up during the filming of the drama, which also starred George Sanders. Monroe and Davis' relationship was one of life imitating art. All About Eve is the story of a starlet working with an established star and eventually surpassing her.
Talk about odd couples. Mickey Rooney (right) is a roller derby star who romances Marilyn in The Fireball which also featured actor James Brown (middle). But she dumps the skater after he comes down with polio. Mickey's nickname is "The Fireball" but it's Monroe who burns up the screen as a shallow but sultry groupie.
Dick Powell And Marilyn Monroe In ‘Right Cross’
Marilyn is knocked for a loop by a sports reporter played by her dining companion here, Dick Powell, in the boxing soap opera, Right Cross. Powell's character Ric is in love with sports promoter's daughter Pat, played by June Allyson. But Allyson's character is in love with prize fighter Johnny played by Ricardo Montalban. The best thing about this movie is Monroe's name in the small, uncredited role – Dusky Ledoux.
“Home Town Story”
In Home Town Story typecast typist Monroe plays a sexy secretary for newsman Blake Washburn (Jeffrey Lynn) in a small town divided by politics. Monroe had to supply her own outfits for the flick. The gray sweater with black sleeves that she wears in the movie can also be seen in All About Eve and The Fireball.
Marilyn Monroe in As Young as You Feel
Monty Woolley stars as a business exec forced to retire at 65 who concocts a crazy scheme to avoid being put out to pasture in As Young As You Feel. Maybe it's because he doesn't want to give up his voluptuous secretary played by Monroe. This movie is noteworthy because the starlet met future husband, playwright Arthur Miller during filming.
Jack Paar And Marilyn Monroe In ‘Love Nest’
When a pretty military veteran Roberta (Monroe) comes to visit old Army buddy Jim (William Lundigan), his wife Connie is not happy. Looking at Monroe on the set of Love Nest, with bit player Wally Brown, you can't really blame her. If you come across this comedy, check out a rare acting appearance by former Tonight Show host Jack Parr.
Marilyn Monroe Portrait
In Let's Make It Legal, Monroe is a marriage-saver, not a home-wrecker. Just hours before a couple's divorce becomes legal at midnight, the husband Hugh (Macdonald Carey) has second thoughts. Complicating things, his wife Miriam's old boyfriend Victor (Zachary Scott) shows up. But Victor forgets about Miriam (Claudette Colbert) when he is introduced to Joyce (Monroe), who's delighted by his attention because he's rich. "Who wouldn't want to meet a man who has millions?" she says.
Clash By Night
Somehow Monroe makes working in a fish cannery look like a sexy profession in 1952's Clash By Night. Co-worker Joe (Keith Andes) is in love with Monroe's character Peggy. But he is afraid to marry her because he worries she will end up like his sister Mae, who is unfaithful to her husband. The New York Post gave Monroe high marks for acting in this drama.
In We're Not Married! Monroe is prepared to enter the Mrs. Mississippi beauty contest, when she suddenly discovers she's not legally married. It turns out the Justice of the Peace presided over her marriage ceremony five days before his license became valid. This leaves Marilyn free to enter the Miss Mississippi beauty contest. Marilyn won that competition the second she slipped into her bathing suit. The cast includes Ginger Rogers and Zsa Zsa Gabor.
Marilyn Monroe And Richard Widmark In ‘Don’t Bother To Knock’
Hide the children! Marilyn plays a mentally ill babysitter in Don't Bother to Knock opposite Richard Widmark. Her character Nell is watching a child in the same hotel where Widmark's character Jed is staying. Jed is there to watch his girlfriend Lyn sing. Widmark realizes someone should be watching the babysitter when she imagines that he is her ex-fiancé.
Cary Grant plays a chemist searching for the fountain of youth in a pill in Monkey Business. Grant's character thinks he has discovered it when one of the lab's chimps mixes a concoction in the water cooler. Unfortunately, there was no chemistry between Grant and Monroe on – or off – screen. "She seemed very shy," said Grant.
O. Henry's Full House is a compilation of five short stories by the American writer O. Henry. Monroe was given star billing even though her appearance in the segment "The Cop and the Anthem" lasts less than 60 seconds. She plays a prostitute who meets a homeless man who wants to go to jail to get out of the cold. Ironically when he finally does get busted, he's changed his mind.
Marilyn Monroe In ‘Niagara’
It's the honeymoon from hell for couple Polly (Jean Peters) and Ray (Max Showalter) when they meet fellow vacationers Rose (Monroe) and George (Joseph Cotton) in Niagara. Rose is cheating on her hubby and plots to kill him with her lover Patrick (Richard Allan). But it ends badly for Rose and Patrick, who share a smile here but wind up dead. This is the only film in which Monroe's character dies.
Marilyn Monroe And Jane Russell In ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’
Marilyn and Jane Russell are singers looking for love on a cruise ship to France in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
Marilyn Monroe In ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’
Betty Grable was the first choice, but Monroe jumped at the role when Grable dropped out. An attack of bronchitis during filming couldn't stop her.
Monroe, Marilyn – Actress, USA – *01.06.1926-05.08.1962+ Scene from the movie ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” Directed by: H
A professional singer had to fill in the high notes for her on "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend."
Monroe, Marilyn – Actress, USA – *01.06.1926-05.08.1962+ Scene from the movie ‘How to Marry a Millionaire” Directed by: Jean Negulesco USA 1953 Produced by: 20th Century Fox Vintage property of ullstein bild
Money can't buy love unless you're Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable or Lauren Bacall in How to Marry A Millionaire. They play gold-diggers who plan to marry for millions.
How To Marry A Millionaire
Ironically, all three marry for love. Monroe, cozying up with actor David Wayne, went on a crash diet before filming to look her best next to Grable and Bacall.
Marilyn Monroe And David Wayne In ‘How To Marry A Millionaire’
Trivia buffs will be happy to learn it was the first movie shot in CinemaScope.
“River Of No Return”
Robert Mitchum and Marilyn Monroe. Sounds like a match made in movie heaven, but Monroe hated River of No Return. She called it a: "A cowboy movie in which the acting finished third to the scenery and CinemaScope."
Donald O’Connor And Marilyn Monroe In ‘There’s No Business Like Show Business’
In There's No Business Like Show Business the vaudeville act "The Five Donahues" threatens to break apart when son, Tim, played by Donald O'Connor, falls for hat check girl Vicky played by Monroe. She and O'Connor didn't get along behind the scenes because she felt he looked too young to be her leading man and as a couple they had zero sex appeal.
Monroe, Marilyn – Actress, USA – *01.06.1926-05.08.1962+ Scene from the movie ‘The Seven Year Itch” – with Tom Ewell Directed by: Billy Wilder USA 1955 Produced by: Charles K. Feldman Group
When his wife and kids go away for the summer, New York family man Richard Sherman (Tom Ewell) falls for his sexy young neighbor (Monroe) in The Seven Year Itch. This film features one of the most iconic and sexy images in Hollywood history – Marilyn Monroe standing over a subway grate when her white dress accidentally blows up, exposing her charms.
Marilyn Monroe In ‘Bus Stop’
In Bus Stop Monroe plays a singer, Cherie, kidnapped by a lovestruck cowboy Bo (Don Murray), who wants to take her to his ranch. His plan is thwarted when their bus is forced to stop because the road is closed. In one bedroom scene, method actress Monroe got naked under the sheets because she believed that's what Cherie would've done. Marilyn thought her performance deserved an Oscar nod.
Marilyn Monroe in The Prince and the Showgirl
In the film The Prince and the Showgirl Monroe's desire to be taken seriously as an actress is made clear. In the only movie her own company produced, she stars opposite Laurence Olivier, the greatest actor of his day. The story features a repressive grand duke (Olivier) who changes his ways after he is smitten by a London showgirl (Monroe).
Some Like It Hot
"Nobody's perfect" is the hilarious last line in Some Like it Hot, but Monroe is perfect as Sugar Kane in this comedy classic. Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis play two men who dress in drag and join an all-girl band to escape mobsters trying to kill them. Rumor is that Curtis got Monroe pregnant during filming but she miscarried.
Let’s Make Love
Marilyn took this movie title seriously. In Let's Make Love she had a torrid off-camera affair with co-star Yves Montand. When Montand's wife Simone Signoret was told of the affair, her response was that Monroe has good taste in men. In the movie Montand plays a billionaire pretending to be an actor to get close to Monroe, who's starring in a musical revue.
Clark Gable And Marilyn Monroe In ‘The Misfits’
As a child, Monroe fantasized her real father was Clark Gable. This made for a psychological tsunami during filming of The Misfits, a movie about turning wild horses into dog food. Gable suffered a heart attack, Monroe had a nervous breakdown and her marriage to Arthur Miller collapsed during the production of what would be her final completed movie.
Monroe’s Last Film
Something's Got to Give was the fragile actress's last film. It tells the story of a woman who is declared dead, but is then discovered to be alive. Sadly, there was no reprieve for Monroe after she died. Her erratic behavior had been apparent during filming and sent the movie over budget. Her last performance is best known for a scene in which she goes skinny dipping. The movie was never completed.
Yes the blonde movie goddess is gone, but she lives on in the hearts and minds of her fans and will be forever young on the silver screen. Look into the secret files of the most feared newsroom in America — as The National ENQUIRER exposes the real story behind Hollywood's wildest scandals and sensational crimes! Learn more about the troubling death of screen goddess Marilyn Monroe. Was her "suicide" really a murder? Premieres Sat. May 28 9 ET/PT on REELZ Channel.