Marilyn was the iconic bombshell luring movie goers from behind the screen to question, "How can she be so beautiful?" The camera has loved many faces but the camera was never so kind as it was to Marilyn Monroe, shining, glowing and jiggling, better than any other actress tempting us into her world. She had "IT" a word coined for Clara Bow but usurped by Marilyn long after Bow had faded from the marquee. "IT" a word used to describe what a movie star should be, a word hard to define but in essence means we want to know more about this person than we do and can't get enough of this person than we get. Today's celebrities want to give "IT" away for free, arranging for the photographers to be exactly where they are at any given moment of the day. "IT" is more about what we don't know and don't see of a celebrity that makes them more enticing, makes us want more. One of the most enduring qualities about Marilyn is that she is forever trapped on the screen never to age past 36, always beautiful always Marilyn.
She probably would have continued growing older on film losing a bit of her mystique as she aged becoming a caricature of her former white hot goddess persona and her films surely would have gotten worse as her latter films testify but we will never know. You can only coast along on sex appeal for so long or can you, Mae West did it up until the very end but sooner or later the question of substance arises and the public grows weary of the same clichéd performances over and over again.
No two women ever looked so glamorous on film than Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”
Marilyn did try to break free from the studio pigeonholed niche of the ditzy blond but the movies and her performances lacked that sparkle of her previous work and the public and critics opinions were less and less kind. Marilyn would have been 81 this year, 2007 and the itching question of “IT” still lingers. Wondering what would have become of Marilyn? What kind of films and career would she have forged ahead to produce? These questions only tighten the grip for a star that 45 years after her death still has more “IT” than all the rest. The Monroe estate has been a text book example of the posthumous exploitation of licensing a star’s likeness, marketing and merchandising opportunities and branding. Very few deceased movie stars have had the draw power that Marilyn has exhibited, except for maybe Elvis, and she still pops up in ads, commercials, and posters. A perennial favorite of female impersonators and artists alike she lives on in recreations and homage’s to this day.
It’s doubtful that she would have aged very well considering the life that she lead, the pills that she took, the fragile personality, and never having truly enjoyed fulfilling relationships. Maybe Zsa Zsa or Raquel Welch would be examples of how a glamorous movie star close to Marilyn’s era can proceed gracefully into the future preserving their looks with the then-and-now available procedures. Marilyn Monroe indeed had more “IT” but aren’t we all left with a vague curiosity as to, “What "IT" would look like today?”