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Marilyn Monroe - Success and InfluenceMarilyn Monroe - Success and Influence


Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962)


American movie star, born Norma Jeane Mortenson (pictured right).

Famously sang happy birthday to the American president, John F. Kennedy.

She married and divorced:Marilyn Monroe - Success and Influence

  • Joe DiMaggio (baseball player)

Her death has caused much speculation: suicide (much the most likely) or murder?


Why was she successful and influential?

Marilyn Monroe - Success and Influence


1. Charisma and image

She wasn’t naturally beautiful, but, with the help of a lot of make-up and determination, she transformed herself from ordinary Norma Jeane (pictured right in 1945)  into gorgeous Marilyn.

 “I can make my face do anything”, she said.


2. FallibilityMarilyn Monroe - Success and Influence

She had many weaknesses:

  • unpunctuality and impatience.
  • temper and vanity.
  • lack of self-confidence.

Tony Curtis, her co-star in her most famous movie, Some Like It Hot (1959), pictured right, said kissing her was “like kissing Hitler”.

But these fallibilities made her seem more human and gave her a vulnerability that endeared her to millions.Marilyn Monroe - Success and Influence

She wanted love, but success made many people envy and hate her.

“She lived her life like a candle in the wind, never knowing who to cling to, when the rain set in”, as Elton John (pictured right) sang about her.


Marilyn Monroe - Success and Influence

3. Ability and self-respect

Her dumb blonde image, made her a much underestimated actress, but Billy Wilder the greatly respected director of Someone Like It Hot (pictured together right filming it), called her:

“an absolute genius as a comic actress”. 

Such praise was vital to her self-respect that was much more important to her than fame and money.

She realized that you’re only as good as cinema goers say you are. 

“Only the public can make you a star”, she said.


4. Willpower and determination

She intensely wanted to succeed and learn as an actress.

She had to overcome many difficulties:

  • a vicious father and a schizophrenic mother
  • sexual abuse
  • insecurity and depression.


5. Ambition, learning and positive thinking

Monroe (pictured right below in the film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes) :Marilyn Monroe - Success and Influence


a) wanted to be a great movie star

She didn’t want to let fear and disappointment destroy her dream. 

“Fear is stupid. So are regrets”, she said.


b) knew she could act and wouldn’t let anyone convince her otherwise

She didn’t let her mistakes get her down but learned from them to become a better actress.


c) wanted to be somebody, not a sex object.

“It’s nice to be included in people’s fantasies, but you also like to be accepted for your own sake”, she said in her last interview.


6. Wit

Her self-deprecating humour was very appealing.

When photographed by Playboy magazine and asked what she had on, she said the radio!

When asked what she wore in bed, her reply was the perfume, Chanel No.5!

 Marilyn Monroe - Success and Influence

7. Intelligence

Her dumb blonde image disguised her brains.

She read classics by:Marilyn Monroe - Success and Influence

  • Fyodor Dostoevsky, the Russian writer (pictured right above). 
  • James Joyce, the Irish writer (pictured right)  - his book, Ulysses.
  • Thomas Paine ,the English philosopher(pictured right below).Marilyn Monroe - Success and Influence



8. IntegrityMarilyn Monroe - Success and Influence

Monroe (pictured right in 1962) knew that being true to herself and her acting potential were much more important to her than the fickleness of fame.

Solitude was particularly important to her to:

  • develop her talent.
  • restore her soul.


Key quotes on success

It’s nice to be included in people’s fantasies, but you also like to be accepted for your own sake.

All I want is to be loved, for myself and for my talent.


Key quote on women and beauty

I can make my face do anything.


Key quote on fear and anxiety

Fear is stupid. So are regrets


Key quote on careers

A career is wonderful, but you can’t curl up to it on a cold night.


Key quotes on motivation

The actress is not a machine, but they treat you like a machine. A money machine.

Hollywood’s a place where they’ll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss and fifty cents for your soul.


Key quotes on relationships

A wise girl kisses but doesn’t love, listens but doesn’t believe and leaves before she is left.

The real lover is the man who can thrill you just by touching your head or smiling into your eyes or by just staring into space.

If you can make a woman laugh, you can make her do anything.

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