When you think of classic Hollywood actors, Marilyn Monroe is probably on that list. It’s hard to believe, but America’s most famous blonde bombshell has been dead for over 50 years. Tomorrow marks the 54th anniversary when the news broke that Monroe had been found dead from a sleeping pill drug overdose at just 36 years old. Thankfully, the actress has inspired many artists who have recreated her likeness in creative ways. Let’s take a look at some of the most famous Marilyn Monroe images to celebrate this beautiful, talented woman.
Andy Warhol created one of the most famous Marilyn Monroe images in 1962. Called simply “Gold Marilyn Monroe,” many times you’ll see just Monroe’s image, with her teal eye shadow and blouse, for sale at poster shops. This is one of many pieces that Warhol painted soon after Monroe passed away. This one in particular was based off of a publicity shot of the actress for the 1953 movie “Niagara.” Although Warhol obviously had great respect for Monroe, he did admit that he believed her public persona was an illusion. This idea can be seen in his work where a celebrity’s face is repeated several times on a canvas, conveying that celebrities can be manufactured and consumed by the public.
In 2011, Seward Johnson created a 26 foot tall statue of Marilyn herself. Probably the most famous of the Marilyn Monroe images, Johnson chose to immortalize the moment from the 1955 movie “The Seven Year Itch” where Monroe’s dress flies up as she’s standing over a vent. The statue traveled to Australia this year and was on display in Bendigo, which had a museum exhibition dedicated to Monroe. Although the statue’s original home was in Chicago, many were glad to see it go, as some did not enjoy the vulgar photo opportunities that it presented. Palm Springs, California is trying to get the piece for permanent display.
Ben Ross captured some of the most simple, yet gorgeous Marilyn Monroe images that are out there. Called the Emotions sessions, this was just one of the three photo shoots that Ross did with Monroe. The other two were earlier in the actress’ career, but it is clear that Monroe had grown to trust the photographer by this session in 1953. She is wearing a simple black sweater and, as the story goes, the photo shoot happened late at night when Monroe showed up unexpectedly at Ross’ hotel room, but the resulting images are breathtaking.
This photograph isn’t one you necessarily think of when you think of Marilyn Monroe, but it’s one you won’t forget. Taken by photographer Milton Greene, he encouraged the actress to try and stray away from the dumb blonde persona that she played into. The two became business partners and Monroe even spent most weekends from 1953-1955 at the Greene family cabin in CT. Soon after that happy time, Monroe met Arthur Miller, who ended up being a toxic relationship for the star.