Marilyn Monroe covers Vanity Fair again: are you tired of dead-celebrity covers?

Guess who covers the June issue of Vanity Fair? ANOTHER DEAD CELEBRITY. Dear God. Why does Vanity Fair keep doing this? And Marilyn Monroe is one of their favorites – it’s always Marilyn or one of the Kennedys, although they did put Elizabeth Taylor on the cover (just before she died) and Grace Kelly (when her stuff was coming up for auction or something). The whole reason for VF to devote yet another cover story to Marilyn Monroe is because “just before Marilyn Monroe’s shocking death, in 1962, photographer Lawrence Schiller hit the jackpot, capturing the world’s most famous blonde at her most seductive.” Basically, this Schiller dude has written a book about the “never before seen” photo shoot he did with Marilyn before she died. The problem? I’ve seen some of these photos before – they’ve been around for a while. Maybe Schiller is showing some never-before-seen pics, but the one Vanity Fair used online has been seen before.

You can read an excerpt from the VF cover story here – there’s nothing really earth-shattering, and most people with a passing interest in Marilyn already know this stuff. Like, Marilyn was really jealous of Elizabeth Taylor, and Marilyn had plans to stunt-queen her way into getting more press and attention than Elizabeth. Here’s a good Marilyn quote: “There isn’t anybody that looks like me without clothes on.” She also allegedly told this dude, “I’ve always wanted a baby… Having a child, that’s always been my biggest fear. I want a child and I fear a child. Whenever it came close, my body said no and I lost the baby.” Which I swear comes from Joyce Carol Oates’s Blonde.

Now, of course it’s interesting if you like Marilyn and you don’t mind reading the same old stuff about how she was a really screwed up person. But I have to wonder – why did Vanity Fair make the choice to put their Marilyn fetish on the cover yet again? It’s not like there aren’t several huge summer blockbusters coming out soon, with big-name stars who would love a chance at a VF cover. Why wouldn’t Michael Fassbender make a better cover? Or Kristen Stewart? Or Charlize Theron? Or Christian Bale? Or Anne Hathaway? Or even Channing Tatum? And I can’t believe I’m saying this, but if they were so hellbent on putting a dead celebrity on the cover, why not Whitney Houston? They have a story about Whitney inside – why not make it the cover? All I know is that I get so tired of Marilyn. Let that poor, tragic woman rest in peace.

Photos courtesy of Vanity Fair.

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112 Responses to “Marilyn Monroe covers Vanity Fair again: are you tired of dead-celebrity covers?”

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  1. Lindsey says:

    They need to stop “fucking this chicken.”

    This is their 3rd cover of her, iirc, in as many years. Her and Jackie O. need to be retired as cover photos for about 23 years.

    • Maguita says:

      I respectfully disagree:

      As long as they put the REAL Marilyn and the REAL Ms. Taylor on their cover, not some disturbing has-been trash like Lindsay or Kim IMITATING one or both of these Ladies, I am all for it.

      Let this cover remind Lindsay how far her image is of the real celebrity!

  2. EmmaStoneWannabe says:

    I think we can all agree Marilyn was beautiful and a huge star. However, this is a fad for some reason right now: everything Marilyn. Kind of hoping it just stops soon. Let’s move on.

    • Zelda says:

      It will be a lot this year because she died in 1962. It’s a major anniversary, of sorts.

    • patricia says:

      I will never tire of her. I remember being six and seeing the headline in our newspaper bolded,”MARILYN MONROE DEAD.”

  3. bowers says:

    I’d rather see dead stars than RiRi or Gaga or Lindsay Lohan.

    • Minty says:

      Yup. At least these dead stars have stood the test of time. Marilyn died half a century ago and is still talked about, still relevant. The fact that younger generations (born long after she died) are still interested in her says a lot about her star power and personal charisma. Many of her contemporaries are not as fondly remembered. Marilyn also kept much of her life private, which is why there are now dozens of biographies dissecting her life. Rihanna, Madonna, Lohan, Goop, and many others overshare every little detail to the point of nausea. They leave no mystery.

      Kaiser, Vanity Fair wouldn’t put MM, Jackie O, and the Kennedys on their covers if they didn’t sell. Maybe VF is sentimental about retro celebrities because of the mediocrities who become famous these days. Like others have said, it’s better to put them on magazines instead of D-list celebrities like Lohan, the Kartrashians, and Parasite Hilton.

    • anonymoose says:

      So right on. Not tired of Marilyn. Not tired of celebrities of substance. Dead doesn’t make interesting. Substance and specialness does.

      One Marilyn is more compelling than bland hot dogs on sticks like Beyonce, Gwyneth, Lohan, K family, K Stewart, K Knightly, A Hathaway, K Middleton, Aniston, Jolie, Pitt, J Lopez, J Roberts, H Barry, S Johannson, A Kutcher, J Biel, N Kidman, Rihanna, Madonna, and anyone on Glee put together. :-)

      The vivacious Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Ian Somerhalder, Georgia May Jagger could each hold their own on a cover.

      Guaranteed sale if Patti D’Arbanville, Ian Somerhalder, Anouk Aimee, Colin Firth, Kyra Sedgwick, Billy Campbell, Jon Tenney, Catherine Deneuve, David Bowie graced a cover. (Hopefully featured alive and well!)

      But I will always pass on overexposed D-Listers.

      • Tiffany says:

        I think Marilyn was a great beauty who lived a tragic life…but saying she has “substance” where modern stars do not is a bit silly, IMO. She wasn’t a deep thinker, she didn’t contribute to any movies like To Kill A Mockingbird that spoke to larger themes of the American society in her time. She was a beautiful woman who started in some fun movies, and died tragically. That doesn’t really equal substance in my opinion.

        I do think that distance makes it easier to idealize and create myths that wouldn’t hold up to reality.

      • Stephani says:

        In response to Tiffany, Marilyn was a person of substance. It’s sad people still believe she wasn’t. Yes, her movies are not comparable to the great classics of American culture, but that doesn’t say anything about her as a human being.

      • Mr.Smurf says:


        I’m not a mega fan………someone who knows every detail of her life, but she did try to bring equal rights to blacks. I read a story where she was friends with a black female jazz singer (can’t remember her name, she became famous) and this club wouldn’t let her play for a week until Marilyn said she’d sit in the front seat every day. She did and the house was packed. Plus, with the lack of substance in her films, they made her do the ditzy blonde character. Towards the end of her death, she wanted to do more serious roles.

      • anonymoose says:

        @mr smurf: Ella Fitzgerald

      • Tiffany says:

        At the end of the day, she helped create and spread the idea of her as a ditzy blonde. If she wanted to make an impact and be known for something other than T & A, she had the opportunity.

        The story about her being interested in civil rights is nice, but she had the power as a major movie star to do something so MUCH greater than just helping one jazz singer.

  4. The Original Mia says:

    Rather see her than Lilo pretending to be her.

  5. paola says:

    yes i am

  6. Maya says:

    This ongoing “cultural necrophilia” (as one writer called it) really needs to stop.

    • G says:

      Well described. “Cultural necrophilia”.

      FWIW, I think that ever generation canabalizes previous ones and takes what they like and recontextualizes it for their own use. It just gets tougher to watch, the older you get.

  7. Zelda says:

    Interestingly, I just HAPPEN to be reading a book about her life in the months up til she died, including the naked pool scene of the film that never got finished.
    As with a lot of bios, the book is pretty biased, but it swears that she was dazzling and lucid the day they filmed it.

    That picture above, though…I highly doubt she was fully coherent…

    • anonymoose says:

      Oh don’t tease! What is the name/author of this book? :-)

      • Zelda says:

        “The Last Take”
        Peter Brown & Patte Barham.

        A lot of information that contradicts the official studio version of events. I like it.

    • dahlianoir says:

      Thanks Zelda, I just ordered it on amazon. I LOVE old hollywood biographies.

  8. Aqua says:

    Even in death these celebrities have no peace.Especially if their death or circumstances surrounding their death is somewhat suspicious.I find it all rather sad.

  9. ellie66 says:

    cause most of the celebs now look like plastics dolls (creepy plastic dolls)…anyway i love Marilyn so cool for me!!!:)

  10. cupidityrox says:

    It’s simply because today’s so called “stars” are so banal, boring, generic looking .uninteresting & uninterested! We know everything about them..there’s no mystique anymore..which to me is essential in an icon. I can’t blame VF.

  11. Manuela10 says:

    real star real legend. i dont see any star like her now days

  12. iloveretro says:

    C’mon Vanity Fair, enough with the damn MM covers already. Aren’t there some other beloved cultural icons you can put on your covers? And I’m not talking Rihanna or Lindsay.

  13. ladybert62 says:

    Yes – I am really tired of Marilyn Monroe and her cult-religion fans; now whitney houston – please, spare me.

    They are dead – get over it.

    • Happymom says:

      I’m seriously sickened by the white washing of some of these people. And Marilyn-let that poor woman rest in peace.

  14. Lindy says:

    Sick of this trend. Also bored by living celebs who dress up/pose/are styled as dead celebrities. So, so, so bored. No words to express the boredom. I will almost never spend money buying a dead celeb/living celeb styled as dead celeb mag unless it is the issue that directly reports the celeb’s very recent death.

  15. corny says:

    Wow, Marilyn Monroe died? who knew?

  16. BW says:

    Can you imagine if someone actually really looked like MM today, if they would be considered pretty? I think not. Her eyes slope down (no cat eyes). She has crows feet and parentheses around her mouth. She has my mom’s lips (the shape of the lips when you use a lipstick brush to do a particular outline that was popular 50 years ago). Her boobs were a normal slopy shape. She’d look refreshingly natural if it weren’t for the fried, bleached hair.

    • Minty says:

      The downward slope of her eyes was entirely due to eyeliner and fake eyelashes positioned at the outer corners. It was a deliberate makeup choice to give her a sleepy-eyed look.

      People who knew her said she had this “inner light” and “magnetism” that enhanced her looks. She is considered pretty today. Why do you think so many other celebrities imitate her image in photos and on the red carpet? I know children and teens who think she’s a glamour and beauty icon. It’s not just those who were around when she was alive. I’m in my thirties and I’m underwhelmed by the people that Hollywood PR pushes as great beauties now, especially when compared to MM, Liz Taylor, Ava Gardner, Dorothy Dandridge, Gene Tierney, etc. Cameron Diaz, Kate Hudson, Demi and Gwyneth? Puh-leeze.

      • Nina says:

        Totally agree. She was gorgeous. I don’t see anyone in Hollywood today like that….

      • Minty says:


        Yes, I don’t see that either. Hollywood can’t duplicate an original.

        People who imitate MM, Elizabeth, Audrey, Grace, Garbo, Josephine Baker, Louise Brooks, etc, fail to realize that what made these ladies unique was not their makeup or clothes, but their personalities, their insides, which still showed underneath the well-groomed and artificial public facade.

        Unlike today, they didn’t constantly famewhore. They didn’t sell out their private lives to the tabloids.

      • LAK says:

        @Minty – i always think that GOOP is channelling Carolyn Bessette Kennedy. She was SWFing her long before she died, and has continued for more than a decade now.

  17. D1 says:

    “They have a story about Whitney inside – why not make it the cover?”

    LOL. Fifty bucks says that if VF ever did a “Buzzworthy Dead Celebrities” fold-out cover in the style of their annual upcoming young actors covers, Whitney Houston and anyone else darker than a paper bag would be relegated to the inside panel.

    The average VF reader is a 40-year-old woman with a $75,000+ income. Apparently, this demographic is fascinated by the Kennedys & Marilyn Monroe. Some of us may be tired of these covers, but VF keeps using them because they sell.

    Though I do love old Hollywood. But if they insist on doing these covers, I wish they’d at least mix it up and feature someone other than Monroe – Katharine Hepburn, Louise Brooks, Bette Davis, Marlene Dietrich, etc. were all pretty interesting women.

    • zoehart says:

      Ugh, you are so right re: Whitney Houston and other celebrities of color. It’s so transparent, especially since VF often does big ensemble covers/photoshoots with lots of actors. I’m just going off memory here, but it also seems that they really go for the desaturated look with their photography. It always makes white actors look SUPER white and Aryan, and that also lightens the skin of actors of color!

      From the current issue of Vanity Fair:

    • pwal says:

      Louise Brooks… OMG, if they had a cover about her, I would so buy that issue.

      A few years ago, I read a book she wrote… I think that it was called Lulu’s Hollywood or something like that. Not only was it a good read, but she really had a good writing style. And I also loved her acting too.

      Unfortunately, she seemed pretty forgotten, which is a shame because if she does make a magazine cover, most would chime in and observe that she resembled CZJ’s Velma Kelly instead of the other way around.

      • D1 says:

        Her greatest films were silent, and European to boot, which means that modern American audiences are less likely to have seen/want to see her work. I mean, nowadays, it’s hard enough to get young people to watch films made in the 60s & 70s. It’s too bad that such an amazing screen presence is mostly remembered for her haircut

        Lulu in Hollywood was great – I can’t wait until her recently unsealed (per her instructions) private journals are published.

  18. lisa says:

    I think it’s just that some celebs only do covers to promote a film. Others do them at the drop of a hat. And instead of just a couple of mags..they do loads. Thing is with the exception of a few these covers don’t sell well.

  19. MST says:

    I don’t know why people idolize this woman. She was pretty, but she was a mediocre actress who slept her way to the top and liked to help herself to other women’s husbands, including RFK and JFK — sleeping with two brothers is pretty nasty. What’s classy about that?

    • LAK says:

      HAve you watched a MM film? she was a good comedy actress. Her films are funny. She wasn’t a drama actress ala Betty Davis. And my god she looked good on film.

      Yes, her private life was scandalous, but so was everyone else.

      And yes, we have been over saturated with her for the last 20 years. I can’t think it was tis bad in the 80s.

    • Minty says:

      Oh hush. You base your sanctimonious judgment on tabloid gossip instead of biographies where actual research was involved.

      Marilyn Monroe proved many times over what a talented model she was. Everyone still copies her photos. She proved she could do well in dramatic acting in “Bus Stop”. She proved she was a good singer in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” and “River Of No Return”. She was a triple threat.

      Why does MM get singled out for having affairs? Most of Hollywood (male and female) cheated. Ingrid Bergman cheated on her first husband. Liz Taylor “broke up” 2 marriages. Audrey Hepburn slept with 2 married men. Grace Kelly was well-known by the film community to be notoriously promiscuous. Yet Audrey and Grace get a pass because their movie image was “refined blue blood lady” and not “sexy bombshell”. How hypocritical of you. It’s likely she had a brief fling with JFK (who cheated on Jackie with dozens of women). Where’s the moral critique on JFK?. MM’s closest friends said it’s possible about JFK, but doubt anything happened with RFK. So you get your proof from thirdhand crap hearsay?

      See, if you get past the simplistic shorthand version of her (that pop culture promotes) by reading half a dozen bios, you’ll learn:

      The breathy airhead persona was an act. It made her studio millions of dollars in box office receipts, so she was typecast. The public loved the image so she felt obligated to play it up for them. Robert Mitchum, who knew her when she was still Norma Jeane, said she thought it was a lark and “burlesqued” the sex symbol character for laughs. That was not who she was in real life.

      She was very generous even when she had little money. She was underpaid most of her career. She donated to charities and participated in many charity fundraisers.

      She was nothing like the gold digger characters she played. Before she was famous, her powerful agent, Johnny Hyde, wanted to leave his wife and marry her. He was very rich and already dying. He told her she would inherit his millions. She turned him down because she wasn’t in love with him, wanted a career of her own, and didn’t wish to be a kept woman.

      She was one of the least materialistic actors of her time. Rented apartments and later owned a modest 3-bedroom house. Her jewelry was mostly costume jewelry. Her fancy evening gowns were borrowed from the studio wardrobe for public events.

      She believed in racial equality during the racist 1950s. She went out of her way to get Ella Fitzgerald an important singing gig at a whites-only nightclub. Ella later said: “After that, I never had to play a small jazz club again. She was an unusual woman – a little ahead of her times. And she didn’t know it.”

      At great risk to her career, she publicly supported husband Arthur Miller when he was invesitgated by the HUAC, during the communist witch hunts. She was warned by her employers she could be blacklisted if she did so.

      She fought her movie studio for better pay and more autonomy and won. She was the first at 20th Century-Fox to win director, cinematographer, and script approval. She was also one of the first actors to form her own production company.

      Sure, she had her weaknesses and personal problems, but I am sick of people (who don’t bother researching her history) painting her as some perpetual victim and passive plaything for men. If she was forced to play the casting couch, then so did many other attractive actresses, especially at the beginning of their careers. That stuff still happens today. She wasn’t an addict of recreational drugs like Lohan. She was dependent on prescription pills because she suffered from insomnia, endometriosis, and painful menstruation. She developed a tolerance for the pills, so she increased the dosage and took them with champagne. Elvis had a similar problem. Prescription drug interactions were not as well understood as today. The side effects made her behavior erratic.

      She fought a lot of powerful executives for a better career. She was fired from her last film, then rehired with a much better contract just before she died. Plus, she would never have reached the summit of Hollywood without her ambition and strong willpower. It was even harder for her because she grew up dirt poor and had no family to support or protect her.

      But whatever, don’t let the facts get in your way while you are dissing her.

      • Nanea says:

        + 1!

        I co-sign everything you said. My favorite MM poster is one of her on a bed in a nightgown reading a book by the German poet Heinrich Heine. Had she wanted to use a book as a prop, she surely would have picked something that would impress the average fan, not something people have never heard of, unless they are German or have majored in European Lit.

      • Minty says:

        Hi Nanea!

        Thank you. And very perceptive observation about the Heine book. She really did read literature and poetry. She was trying to make up for a lack of formal education, since she didn’t finish high school. She was married off at 16.

        She even read The Thinking Body and anatomy books, studying how to pose and move. But fools thought her books were props. Also, she was later mocked by the press for wanting to play Grushenka in The Brothers Karamazov. Reporters laughed at her for wanting better roles. They called her pretentious for reaching higher, wtf! The press and the studio executives wanted her to keep playing the same role because it was a moneymaking machine.

        She already proved in “Bus Stop” that she could handle drama as well as comedy. In the film, she had a convincing hillbilly accent and deliberately sang bad, as her character was a third-rate saloon singer. Many movie critics at the time thought she very good in that film, but Hollywood snubbed her because she dared to break away from her studio contract when she moved to New York.

        Sorry, I’m sure you already know all this.

      • MsJAPrufrock says:

        Minty, thank you for showing that Monroe, like many of our beloved icons, was far more complex and nuanced than we’ve cared to imagine.

        Anyone who has read legit biographies on MM, and not sensationalist, trashy ones, knows that the tragedy of Marilyn Monroe was not her life, but her untimely death at age 36 when she was really coming into her own. She was on very warm and amicable terms with ex Joe DiMaggio, had just went to Baja to buy furniture and decor items to decorate her first house she recently bought in Brentwood, and was starting to boot-out some people in her life who were toxic to her independence and well-being, i.e. the Strasbergs and her psychiatrist, and other leeches.

        The story of her career trajectory and life in Hollywood is fascinating and inspiring if you look at where she came from. Monroe was an abandoned child who was shuttled back from one foster home to another until she was a teenage bride at 16. No wonder she grew up hypersensitive, childlike, and desperate for love, but she was also intelligent, kind, generous, and strong. Marlon Brando in his autobiography said that Monroe was one of the most emotionally intelligent people he had known.

        Monroe’s life was no more messier than a lot of other A-list stars of her day, as Minty pointed out. Jesus, Kate Hepburn and Spencer Tracy had their year extramarital affair for 30 years. The thing is that she had a vulnerable quality and a history of childhood abandonment that attracted people in life who would abandon/disappoint her. But she never played the blame game and always acted with class. Unfortunately, as she was maturing and starting to really take responsibility in life, she tragically died–not of suicide–but an accidental overdose, administered by people whom she should not trusted.

        There are legit magazines, like Vanity Fair, that will profile any new MM book, even if it based on lies, rumors, and prurient gossip, such as MM’s death by suicide, the absurd “Kennedy murder” theory and MM’s supposed connection to “the Mob” or her 30 abortions.

        The best MM bio is by Donald Spoto, who basically discredits all the trash that has become accepted as fact about MM.

        Unfortunately, of course, it’s the dirt that sells, which is why the more garbage-oriented books about MM sell better and will continue to be published until all of us are long gone.

      • Stephani says:

        <3 Minty!

      • Minty says:

        MsJAPrufrock, thanks for the kind words. I love your post. Spoto’s biography is well-researched. Yes, MM was really coming into her own before she died. She was rehired for “Something’s Got To Give” and was in discussion for other future projects. She had stronger confidence in her acting abilities. She called Milton Greene to rekindle their personal and professional friendship. They were planning to meet up. She went to Mexico to buy furniture for her new Mexican-style house. I don’t believe she committed suicide. You don’t make future plans when you intend to kill yourself. It’s true she had several suicide attempts in the past, but they were always done when someone was nearby to stop her. They were more a cry for help. I don’t think she ever really meant to carry it through to that sad end. If she was really serious about killing herself she would never have reached the age of 30.

        Oh, one other thing. It says a lot about her character when people who knew her say how kind and generous she was. Her type of background would turn many people into mean and bitter adults. Or criminals. Several famous people trashed her to the press but she never retaliated. She kept a dignified silence. That’s pretty classy.

      • Minty says:

        Awww, Stephani, that’s sweet. :)

      • MsJAPrufrock says:

        “She had a little girl quality to balance the strong sexuality and that’s difficult to pull off if it’s not a natural part of your personality (I’m talking to you Lohan, Paris, Michelle Williams).” – Minty

        You just described the enduring appeal of Marilyn Monroe. It could be said that there were sexier, more seductive women in Hollywood–Eva Gardner, Sofia Loren, Brigitte Bardot, for example, but none really came close to being as available and vulnerable as Monroe. You see that in her pictures–that inner radiance regardless of the rather plain features in comparison to Liz Taylor or Audrey Hepburn.

      • LAK says:

        @Minty – Bravo.

      • MsJAPrufrock says:

        Minty, Marlon Brando, who knew MM well, in his autobiography expressed his frustrations about people’s general perceptions of Monroe and also stated that he didn’t believe she commit suicide. In fact, he revealed that she had called him to invite him to dinner but because he already had plans, promised to see her the following week. Three days later she was dead. She wanted to have dinner with him to talk about her career and get some advice. This, along with other actions, was not a sign of a depressed woman.

        Brando, complicated and highly imperfect in his own way, was a very astute player in Hollywood, who knew how to get every inch out of the studio system, would have been a good ally for MM.

      • lili says:

        Minty as a Monroe fan here, you nailed it, go read about her and know the facts!!

      • XYZ2 says:

        Well said Minty. Norma Jean, where ever her spirit resides or continues to shine would be humbled by your defense of her integrity as an (Actor and Human being) and enlightening the ignorant sheeple.

        Thank you….

    • pwal says:

      I beg to differ. MM was a wonderful actresses, especially in comedies. Plus, she had this vulnerability that’s appealing to both sexes.

      For anyone to shrug off her contributions reveals more about their character than hers. She makes damn near any female who attempts film comedy look woefully outclassed.

  20. Nina says:

    I actually love Marilyn, she was beautiful and had such a rare combination of innocence and sensuality. Too bad that her life was so tragic.

  21. DemoCat827 says:

    I don’t know – I wouldn’t mind seeing a Benjamin Orr cover.

  22. wunder says:

    She died way back in 1962, so how is this B grade actress even relevant today???

    • Jaded says:

      Ummm, ever seen a movie called “The Misfits”? “Niagara”? She could act, she wasn’t just a “B” movie actress like Jayne Mansfield whose only talent was thrusting out her tits. These were major roles with major actors and she did a hell of a good job. She could do comedy, poke fun at herself, do a full-out dramatic, scenery-chewing role as well as the sexpot stuff. “Some Like It Hot” was not a “B” movie, it was one of the best movies of all time. Brush up on your movie history.

    • LAK says:

      to call MM ‘B’ grade really shows how much you know about film and MM’s film catalogue.

      As @Jaded said, Jayne MAnsfield or Diana Dors were ‘B’ grade. Not MM.

      • Minty says:

        Actually, Diana Dors made some good films. They are not as well-known outside of the UK.

        But Jayne Mansfield, yeah, she was campy to the extreme. Marilyn wanted to be taken seriously and put a lot of effort in self-improvement (The Actors Studio in NYC; read literature, poetry, & psychology; took art history classes at UCLA when she was a starlet). Jayne was naturally intelligent, but she loved her tacky Hollywood image. She was content being a stunt queen, prancing around in bikinis and having wardrobe malfunctions.

      • MsJAPrufrock says:

        Minty, MM’s intellectual aspirations is another thing that impressed me about her, yet she was naturally inquisitive so interest in reading the heavy tomes were sincere. It’s a shame that many people in her lifetime didn’t take her seriously, such as her husband Arthur Miller, who despite being a great playwright and intellectual, was too egotistical to really see his famous wife as a serious and like-minded student of knowledge and ideas.

  23. shalibali says:

    Rather see her than one of the hollywood skanky girls on the cover

  24. TheOriginalVictoria says:

    Am I the only one who thinks Marylin was a just a basic bitch with botched dye job. I mean I guess her story was tragic and I’m not denying she had an allure or whatever, but how seriously overrated is this chick on all levels?

    I just never understood her hype.

    Elizabeth Taylor? I got that.
    Greta Garbo? I feel that
    Marilyn? I reject that.

    • D1 says:

      I think Monroe’s self-destruction and death at such a young age is largely responsible for her status as a major cultural icon – it basically cemented her persona as this beautiful tragedy, the “candle in the wind”.

      Would our culture be as interested in a Marilyn Monroe who died at 85? I doubt it. She had a real comedic gift, buckets of charisma, and a unique persona, so I’m sure we’d remember her, but I don’t think she’d be the huge icon she is now.

    • LAK says:

      Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

      In a world of 50s/60s bottle blonds that includes Betty Grable, Diana Dors, Jayne Mansfield, Jane Powell, Doris Day, Lana Turner, Grace Kelly….MM stands out. And also, her films are pretty funny. She did manage to hold her own in the few dramatic roles she took on.

      to be honest i rather loathe the cottage industry that has grown around her because it has completely obscured the film work.

      • anonymoose says:

        I would totally buy VF cover feature of Doris Day!

        Have you seen That Touch of Mink? Va-va-VOOM!

        Day managed to be a knockout vixen and a clean cut lady while also having a gift for singing, dancing, comedy, and acting. Her philanthropy adds further dimension to her very accomplished legacy. Shame that her personal life was filled with such heartbreak and tragic disappointment.

      • pwal says:

        anonymoose says:
        May 1, 2012 at 1:39 pm

        I would totally buy VF cover feature of Doris Day!

        Have you seen That Touch of Mink? Va-va-VOOM!

        Day managed to be a knockout vixen and a clean cut lady while also having a gift for singing, dancing, comedy, and acting. Her philanthropy adds further dimension to her very accomplished legacy. Shame that her personal life was filled with such heartbreak and tragic disappointment.


        I agree that Doris Day deserved a cover. For heaven sakes… she just turned 88, released an album of music and SHE’S STILL WITH US.

        Of course, she voluntarily withdrew from public life, but she is missed by many, if her GMA phone interview is any indication.

    • Minty says:

      Umm, read my long reply to #19. It’s apparent she was a complex person, contradictory to her bombshell image. People get too much in the habit of thinking an actor is the same as the characters he/she played. They confuse the film persona for the real person.

      • TheOriginalVictoria says:

        I am well versed in Marilyn’s history. And I am not confusing her “acting” with anything. I am talking about her public persona and who she was professionally and her reverence in that matter. I’m sure she was a nice lady who was troubled but she was not a good singer. She was a RiRi: okay but not thrillingly so. Lena Horne was a signer; the chick that dubbed for Deborah Kerri the King and I could sing. Marilyn could carry a tune. Period.

        Her acting was not bad and she did have some talent there but only her stans think she was on some Hepburn greatness. Her look was revered and is copied because she was blonde and pretty and chosen to be the sex symbol we’re all supposed to honour. IMO, while I thought she was much prettier as Norma Jean, she is not all that beautiful; not enough for me to hoist her up on my shoulders and go, “if only I looked liked that.”

        Like many basic chicks in Hollywood, the surgeries and paint makes you more than what you really are.

        There was nothing more complex about Marilyn than the average person who deals with a shitty existence on a daily basis but aren’t celebrities so they can’t get the good she had to numb the pain. Who she was as a person in contrast to the public made her a puzzle to many who wanted to figure her out, but yeah, still basic.

      • LAK says:

        @original Victoria – No one is comparing MM to Hepburn. Hepburn is only comparable to Davis or Stanwick. They are drama actresses, MM is primarily a comedy actress who was sexy as hell.

        And BTW, very few people in Hollywood could sing. Marni Dixon dubbed for practically everyone.

        That does not negate MM’s talent for comedy nor does it make her basic model looks wise or what she accomplished professionally.

        And she was pretty. If you see her in ALL ABOUT EVE or THE MALTESE FALCON where she’s up against regular people, it really hits you how pretty she is as opposed to other roles where her features are the focus of the plot.

        Unfortunately for her, over exposure has completely obscurred her professional accomplishments to the point where you can come on here and call her basic and mediocre.

        And to dismiss her successful life as though she was born with a silver spoon….Please. It’s like her success offends you.

        For the record, i am not a stan. My favourite actresses of all time are Vivien leigh and Josephine Baker. But i do appreciate MM and many others, and i don’t allow my knowledge of their often scandalous personal lives to cloud my judgement….with the exception of Fatty Arbuckle and Charlie Chaplin.

      • Minty says:


        It’s something called personal charm, an “it” factor that Marilyn, Audrey, Grace and others had. Sure, MM was not the female equivalent of Olivier, nor was she as good a singer as Ella Fitzgerald or Sarah Vaughan, but she continues to entertain generations of people. Period.

        Greta Garbo had mystique, but her range of characters was limited. Basic, as you wrote. Could Elizabeth carry a tune? Could Greta? Nope. Liz couldn’t handle comedy (which Olivier said was harder to do) and although very beautiful, she was rather mediocre as a model, quite inferior to Marilyn in that aspect. She just stood there with the same serious expression in photos. An Oscar for Butterfield 8, really? Pffft, just Hollywood sympathy votes.

        If Marilyn was some basic blonde Hollywood chick, then why do all her imitators fail miserably in comparison? I’m not going to get into a silly blondes vs. brunettes debate either, because people are more than their haircolor. She was one-of-a-kind. She had a little girl quality to balance the strong sexuality and that’s difficult to pull off if it’s not a natural part of your personality (I’m talking to you Lohan, Paris, Michelle Williams).

        You say she was “chosen to be the sex symbol we’re all supposed to honour”. Hollywood can roll out a “product” at their leisure. It’s up to us, the public, to decide if we want to buy or not. No one is twisting my arm into liking MM. I’m free to choose or reject any celebrity who’s promoted. Funny that you seem to blanket label anyone who likes her as stans.

        It says a truckload that many people all over the world, from different cultures, different backgrounds and different time periods like her. Great as they were, how many (especially young people) know about Garbo, Harlow, Louise Brooks, Clara Bow, Anna May Wong, or Josephine Baker? For some reason, they don’t have the same impact.

        Marilyn has an inner quality that people respond to, underneath the shiny blonde facade. Yeah, many of us know the public image was an act and look beyond the pop culture interpretation. The fact that she had a poor background added to public sympathy. Liz and Grace both grew up in wealth and privilege.

        Obviously you don’t like her. That’s your prerogative. Yet you care enough to spend time dismissing her here. The opposite of love isn’t really hate. It’s indifference.

      • D1 says:

        I agree with your assessments of Marilyn’s charm & talent, but there are plenty of other factors at play:

        -Luck. She became famous at the right time in American history (the beginning of the sexual revolution) and film history – if she had made her films in the 20s & 30s, she would not have the cultural status she has today. If most of her films had been silent, as is the case with Louise Brooks & Clara Bow, she would probably only be remembered by silent film buffs.

        -She died young & beautiful. As with James Dean, this played a big part in her becoming a legendary figure.

        -Her persona & appearance were quintessentially “all American”, so it’s not surprising that she is one of America’s preeminent cultural icons. And yes, being a blonde Caucasian woman is part of that.

        (I have to say, I found your inclusion of Josephine Baker & Anna May Wong on that list bizarre – you do realize that a non-white actress in pre-1970s Hollywood who had 100x the charisma, charm, and talent of Marilyn Monroe would have still been stuck playing caricatures, servants, and otherwise minor supporting roles, right?)

        -Our culture is fascinated by beautiful & troubled people who self-destruct, to the extent that we romanticize them & their struggles. Her emotional fragility, personal demons, & “little girl lost” vibe accounts for a lot of the public fascination with her – sadly, a psychologically healthy Marilyn who lived a long & happy life would not be as compelling to people.

        -Her life satisfies our desire for salacious scandal, including her association with the Kennedys, those other major American icons that people still obsess about.

        None of this is an insult to Monroe. The point is, people who become major cultural icons do so because they tap into and reflect their culture’s collective values & desires – both positive and negative.

    • XYZ2 says:

      It’s a safe bet that Miss Vicky feels inadequate by Norma Jean, (Marilyn Monroe.)NJ/MM light shines so bright there is nothing The Original Victoria can do to dim the light that is/was MM. Miss Vicky, find out what is lacking in your life and stop projecting it on MM. She is a legend, Deal.

  25. HadlyB says:

    No I’d rather see Marilyn than anyone today honestly.

    What I am sick of is todays celebs or models doing photo shoots AS Marilyn. Or Liz. Or Jackie.

  26. G says:

    She had some fine qualities as a performer and she did help create an identifiable “type” but there is really no getting round the fact that her life was pretty screwed up.

    Is there really something new of interest to be found rooting around in the minutia of her life? Let’s move on.

  27. Dawn says:

    Well first of all I think of MM as an actress first and foremost. Celebrity to me is someone who we all know their names but we haven’t a clue to why because they have NO talent. So no, I like to see talented actresses from the past so that we can all remember what talent once looked like. But that’s just me.

  28. Onyx XV says:

    Common sense: she still sells mags. And she’s a helluva lot more interesting than any of the modern stars that you mention. I happen to love the Schiller photos. IMO she was at her loveliest towards the end (ironically).

  29. bluhare says:

    Well, I think it’s safe to say VF’s demographic and CB’s demographic are not the same.

    You guys to Lohan and Rimes. They do Marilyn and JFK. Same thing only different.

    • anonymoose says:

      bluhare, I think you are onto something! I WISH cb (and media in general) covered more of my taste in pop culture, but the ubiquitous self-important narcissists of today (Lohan, Rimes…) just take up SO MUCH SPACE.

      Anyone can use makeup to achieve prescribed notions of beauty. What holds interest is what is on the inside and that which can be communicated through the arts.

      It will be interesting to see who among today’s celebrities-of-the-moment will even be remembered in 25-50 years. Or even in 10, after publicists are off the payroll and the face fillers and cosmetic surgeries can’t distract from lack of internal quality any more.

      The fashions and stars of 1955-1965 are my favorites, and they were before I was born. Celebs from the 90s, 80s, 70s just don’t do much for me.

      The responses to this post is showing that there IS interest in stars of that era, i.e., if cb featured some old school stuff, there is an appreciative demographic for it at this venue. :-)

      • bluhare says:

        Thanks, Anonymoose. I agree with you. But I think the internet is part of the problem. If they had the scrutiny people do today, they wouldn’t be remembered in quite the same way.

        There is something to be said for a bit of mystery.

  30. jesstar says:

    What? No! I would’ve sworn that is the fresh face of one, Ms. Lindsay Lohan! LMAO!

  31. faye says:

    She was a horrible actress and not even that good looking.

    • LAK says:

      And yet her films have stood the test of time, and people of different cultures and generations try to emulate her ‘look’

      I’ll wager she was no Ava Gardner but who apart from a very specific demographic of age and interests can pick her out of a line up and or name a film she was in??

  32. jover says:

    Excellent comments all esp. like anonymoose,minty, cupiditroyix – Has anyone seen that great pic of MM reading hemingway or dickens in her apt. in jeans white blouse with several shelves of books behind her Best pic of MM showing she actually did educate herself – second, like Jimi, janis, jim morrison, etc. an early death enhances one’s legendary status (except, if you’re BB king);
    Third, there can be no aura and mystique in a wrap around transparent media world – today’s media saturated world has finally collapsed and destroyed the aesthetic distance between artist and audience;
    WHen everything is common and accessible it becomes boring – and today’s “stars” are not interesting in themselves, the media glare just reduces them even more.

    • anonymoose says:

      Thx, jover.

      I agree with your astute observations (and bluhare, above) about the effects of today’s media machinery and the resulting market saturation; the abundance of exposure and accessibility reduces mystique as it reduces the distance between artist and audience. Today’s “celebrity” is simply modern “pop art.”

    • LAK says:

      how about Cate Blanchett and Tilda Swinton.

  33. Turtle Dove says:

    The 50th anniversary of her death is this summer. I think they’re getting the jump on the covers before other magazines do.

  34. jules says:

    The reason is simple Marilyn Sells more magazines than anything they have going. They should have picked better celebrities

  35. Phil says:

    Sidenote to the MM debate: WTF is up with Vanity Fair’s bizarre use of italics?

  36. TheOriginalVictoria says:


    I did not say anyone on here compared her to Hepburn, I said her stans do. People who treat Marilyn Monroe as if she is the paragon of all feminine beauty, sex appeal, and mystique just have a limited view of the world IMO. I think had elements of all those things and there interesting aspects to her character, but she is not the epitome.

    As someone one pointed out those who topped her on all levels would have never had the chance to get to her position because of the unequality that ran rampant in those days. People said that Dororthy Dandridge was all of that and then some, and yet where is her totem pole? Her life was just as tragic and she was even more beautiful than Marilyn.

    And then there was Josephine Baker who truly was a woman who trumped the majority of women in terms of entertainment, philanthropy.

    Marni Dixon! Yes, I could not think of her name for the life of me. She did dub for a lot of people but that was not my point. We weren’t talking about all the people who couldn’t sing, we were talking about the claims that Marilyn’s basic voice being praised.

    I used Elizabeth Taylor and Greta for their beauty and talent respectively. Elizabeth smokes Marilyn in the looks department and Greta’s “limited” characters (side eye) and her public personal runs circles around Marilyn as far as I’m concerned.

    Marilyn basically played the pretty dumb blonde so her comedic talents were not even explored to the fullest. She only did what? Nine or ten films? And in those films while all enjoyable, she was still basic for me.

    I’m pretty much standing by my point forever and you are fully welcome to stand by yours. I stan only for the greats.

    • LAK says:

      And our point as written many times by Minty amongst others is that Marilyn was NOT a basic model. There are others like Jean Harlow, Veronica Lake, Mae West, Jayne Mansfield, Diana Dors, Betty Grabble, Doris Day etc. All very appealing and yet not as celebrated.

      And Greta Garbo?? her filmography??? PLEASE!!! she made very few films, none of which are significant or memorable. She is chiefly remembered for being lit a particular way and for that infamous line about wanting to be alone from GRAND HOTEL.

      As for the voice, you brought it up AS IF MM was the only Hollywood actor who couldn’t sing or had their singing tracks dubbed.

      Josephine Baker is an example that perhaps Dorothy Dandridge should have followed ie left racist america to fulfill her dreams elsewhere.

      And please, as for the Hepburn crack, you said it. Own it. MM was a good comedic actress. And fought to get away from the dumb blonde stereotype that the studios had straitjacketted her in. Many female stars had to fight for this with varying degrees of success.

      Don’t let your dislike of the woman stand in the way of facts. And just because we like her does not make us stans.

      i think many MM fans, i would wager the stans too, understand that MM was a persona. A character rather than the person. just like Rita Hayworth. I have never heard her held up as a paragon of feminine ideal. She’s the no 1 Drag act. no one is lining up to transform into ET for the very reason that we understand that ET was her own person. She did not need to take up a ‘persona’ to become.

      And finally, the crack about celebrity having better access than a regular person – you really need to read up on MM’s life. She had a very very hard upbringing, born of a mentally unwell mother, passed around from orphanage to orphanage until she married at 16 to get some stability in her life. Really the fact that she managed to become a movie star despite her very bad start in life, and with no support system is a miracle and says something about her will, determination etc. That is something to be admired. The fact that she was never able to conquer her demons, is a her tragedy.

      MM’s filmography is memorable and great. SOME LIKE IT HOT is voted consistently and repeatedly as the greatest comedy ever made.

      • D1 says:

        I appreciate your spirited defense of Monroe, but your comments about Garbo, who, like Monroe, was the towering figure of her era, seem ungenerous in the extreme.

        Even if her movies are not to your liking, her acting technique – which so differed from that of her silent movie peers in its subtlety and artistry – was hugely influential. Great dramatic actresses like Bette Davis, Katharine Hepburn, and Barbara Stanwyck all acknowledged her influence & spoke of her as a singular talent.

        But your comments basically confirm how this is all subjective -if someone doesn’t “get” why a particular star is special, important, and/or a major talent, it’s impossible to argue them into changing their minds. You can’t prove or disprove an opinion like “X is basic.”

        After all this arguing all day long, I’m sure none of us have actually moved from our original positions. So I’m going to spare you my impassioned thesis on why Garbo is such an important figure in film history & agree to disagree.

  37. Irishae says:

    I think it’s odd that Whitney Houston, as cray-cray trashy as she was in her later years, was relegated as a side note on a a long-dead woman’s cover when she recently passed away and is arguably just as iconic. To me, that’s wrong and borderline offensive. And I’m not even a Whitney Houston fan.

  38. wallycally says:

    regardless of her b-list/a-list/whatever-list status i think this is more telling of how magazine buyers respond to a non-photo shopped cover. peopled are so refreshed to see a naturally beautiful woman remain naturally beautiful (although with a full face of makeup) they eat it up. it’s so funny to me people magazine making such a big deal out of “stars with no makeup” i bet if they did a full issue with no photo shop it would outsell everything else the rest of the year.

  39. misstrishm says:

    I’m not so much for MM but give me Ave, Gene and Rita any day.

  40. B says:

    While I don’t enjoy seeing morons like Lindsay Lohan on covers (as others are putting up as defense), I also am tired of Marilyn Monroe. I’ve never gotten into her, I find her dull, and I don’t understand the obsession with her and with reviving her every few months. Move on already.

  41. dorothy says:

    Enough with Marilyn. Someone new please…

  42. Eleonor says:

    Well at least they didn’t photoshop her.

  43. Marla says:

    @Tiffany: You clearly have NOT done the research required to really know a person and make valid comments. For Marilyn to help even one person,attain equal rights during a time when it was not allowed, is miraculous. Why in the world would you compare MM efforts to help others to an all or nothing issue? You have some sort of misplaced anger and resentment towards MM who wrote and spoke well, who was savvy, and who knew how to use it instead of lose it. You just don’t know enuf to make a solid point.

  44. Lauren says:

    Marilyn has always been beautiful..before the bleach & plastic surgery. She had a sweetness, vulnerability & neediness that drove men wild. Her body was unbelievable. No one compares, even 50 years later! I watched her movie -Niagara- recently..i was mesmerized. The only other actress that can keep my attention for more than 7 minutes is Annette Bening. Some woman are just and out of bed.

  45. sup says:

    i’m not tired of it, rather creeped out by it. there’s something inexplicably creepy about seeing a dead person on the cover, even moreso when it’s from a beautiful/alluring photoshoot.

  46. A.Miller says:

    Shut up haters. This woman was EFFORTLESSLY ICONIC AND GORGEOUS and so much more than that, SHE WAS A LOVELY HUMAN BEING.