In the 60 years since her death at age 36, Marilyn Monroe has been immortalized by countless references and multiple onscreen portrayals of her ill-fated rise to stardom.
One of the world’s most iconic faces and tragic figures, Monroe overdosed on sleeping pills, with her death officially ruled a probable suicide. Yet Monroe’s high-profile relationships with ex-husbands Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller, and rumored affair with John F. Kennedy, further fueled conspiracy theories rooted in Monroe’s seductively breathy, infamous performance of “Happy Birthday, Mr. President.”
Born Norma Jean Baker, Monroe’s tumultuous upbringing included bouts in an orphanage after her mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Monroe modeled before inking an acting deal in 1946 with 20th Century Fox.
“I didn’t like the world around me because it was kind of grim. When I heard that this was acting, I said that’s what I want to be,” Monroe told Life magazine in 1962 during the last interview before her death (via The Guardian). “Some of my foster families used to send me to the movies to get me out of the house and there I’d sit all day and way into the night. Up in front, there with the screen so big, a little kid all alone, and I loved it.”
Now, Monroe’s legacy and mysterious personal life have spurred actors opting to transform into her for the modern big screen. Ana de Armas is just the latest star to don blonde locks as Monroe for Andrew Dominik’s NC-17 rated Netflix film “Blonde,” based on Joyce Carol Oates’ fictionalized portrait imagining the intimate inward battle behind Monroe’s bombshell public persona. “Blonde” premieres at the 2022 Venice Film Festival before debuting September 23.
While “Blonde” was not completed in cooperation with Monroe’s estate, Marc Rosen, president of entertainment at Authentic Brands Group, which owns the Marilyn Monroe Estate, issued a statement after the viral trailer sparked debate over de Armas’ accent as Monroe.
“Marilyn Monroe is a singular Hollywood and pop culture icon that transcends generations and history,” Rosen said. “Any actor that steps into that role knows they have big shoes to fill. Based on the trailer alone, it looks like Ana was a great casting choice as she captures Marilyn’s glamour, humanity, and vulnerability. We can’t wait to see the film in its entirety!”
Check out more actresses who have taken on playing Monroe below.