Simply months after Austin Butler portrayed the twentieth century’s most famous man in Elvis, Ana de Armas is now portraying the most famous woman. Sure, Netflix’s adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates’s fictionalized biographical novel Blonde sees the Cuba-born actress get to reside her wildest silver screen fantasy as Marilyn Monroe. However De Armas isn’t simply moving into the footwear of the Hollywood heroine. She’s additionally following within the footsteps of quite a few different actors who’ve depicted the Some Like It Hot star’s rise and tragic fall. Ignoring transient cameos (The Kennedys’ Charlotte Sullivan), MTV homages (Madonna’s “Materials Lady”), and show-within-a-show impersonations (Uma Thurman in Smash), right here’s a take a look at 10 of probably the most outstanding depictions of Hollywood’s ultimate It Girl.
“Not a terrific movie, however I used to be the primary.” It’s important to admire Misty Rowe’s honesty whereas referencing her main girl position in 1976’s Goodbye Norma Jean. The Californian discovered fame taking part in one other vivacious blonde on CBS’s country-themed selection present Hee Haw, and he or she transferred these expertise to the large display for Larry Buchanan’s barely sordid depiction of Monroe’s early Hollywood years.
Not everybody was impressed. Time Out wrote that Rowe “fail[ed] spectacularly as a reincarnation” of the intercourse image, however the director was clearly glad. He requested the actress to reprise the position of Norma Jean Baker in his 1989 follow-up, Goodnight, Candy Marilyn, with Paula Lane inhabiting the Hollywood icon’s extra well-known alter-ego.
Rowe might have been the primary notable display Monroe, however Catherine Hicks was the primary to court docket awards consideration. The seventh Heaven star had already performed a fictionalized model of the blonde bombshell in a school manufacturing of Arthur Miller’s play After the Fall, and due to additional teaching from co-star and one-time Monroe rival Sheree North, Hicks picked up an Emmy nod for her convincing portrayal within the 1980 TV film Marilyn: The Untold Story.
Hicks, who beat out actresses Ann Jillian and Bonnie Bedelia for the half, later admitted: “After I take into consideration her, I’m by no means pondering that it’s an adoration of a terrific film star, however that she’s my lifeless older sister.”
“That was a pile of horses**t I didn’t wish to step in. All people had these preconceived concepts, and I didn’t need [to do] a caricature.” It’s honest to say that Theresa Russell wasn’t initially enamored by the prospect of taking part in such a well-known face in Nicolas Roeg’s Cannes hit Insignificance. The Californian wasn’t even credited as Monroe, both. The difference of Terry Johnson’s same-named play relies on a fictional resort room encounter between anonymous characters merely referred to as The Ballplayer, The Professor, The Senator, and The Actress. However Russell’s blonde locks, purple lips, and recreation of The Seven-Year Itch’s iconic wind gust scene made her identification crystal clear.
Few actresses have dedicated to taking part in Monroe more durable than Susan Griffiths. After impressing within the 1983 satire The American Snitch, the Californian basically grew to become Hollywood’s go-to Marilyn impersonator: She’s made a dozen cameos in all the things from Nip/Tuck to Pulp Fiction. However in 1991, Griffiths lastly bought to get pleasure from some extra notable display time in Marilyn and Me, an ABC film based mostly on the alleged (and unproven) marriage between Monroe and author Robert Slatzer. The lookalike, who’s in a long-term relationship with a Dean Martin tribute act, continues to channel the enduring blonde, though she did turn down a proposal to pose nude for Playboy on the grounds it was “disrespectful to [Monroe’s] reminiscence.”
Shortly earlier than giving up appearing to develop into a clinical social worker specializing in habit, Melody Anderson portrayed a Tinseltown icon whose latter years had been dogged by substance abuse. The Flash Gordon star took prime billing in 1993 TV film Marilyn & Bobby: Her Closing Affair, which, as its title suggests, additionally facilities on a relationship steeped extra in gossip than reality. The Bobby in query was, in fact, Robert F. Kennedy, the politician brother of one other rumored paramour, JFK. And whereas Leisure Weekly’s Ken Tucker wasn’t significantly satisfied by the narrative, he did reward Anderson for taking part in the actress “sympathetically as a fragile ditz.”
Mira Sorvino was introduced with the identical cherry-emblazoned gown sported by Monroe in 1961’s The Misfits for her flip because the tragic heroine within the 1996 HBO film Norma Jean and Marilyn. Maybe this piece of cinematic historical past helped the Oscar winner channel the garment’s authentic proprietor extra authentically than anybody earlier than. Sorvino herself, who obtained each Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for her portrayal of Monroe, actually appears to imagine so. As she told Entertainment Weekly in 1996, “Placing it on cemented the half. It was a spiritual expertise.” The truth is, Sorvino grew to become so invested in her character that she suffered from depression for a month after filming wrapped.
Whereas Sorvino portrayed the peroxide blonde in her iconic years in Norma Jean and Marilyn, Ashley Judd performed the pre-fame model of Monroe who, in varied surreal fantasy sequences, pops as much as torment her celebrity alter-ego.
Judd is first launched in her birthday swimsuit—one thing she apparently wanted a little encouragement to undergo with. “I informed my co-star, Mira Sorvino, how frightened I used to be since I didn’t understand how my mom would reply. ‘Can I be frank with you?’ she requested. ‘I’ve seen your mom in interviews, and he or she seems to be pretty tousled. I don’t suppose there will likely be a lot you possibly can do to shock a girl like her.’”
Seems that Netflix’s Blonde isn’t the primary adaptation of Oates’s Pulitzer Prize-nominated novel. Only a 12 months after its 2000 publication, CBS screened a TV film during which With out a Hint star Poppy Montgomery helped blur the traces between fiction and actuality. Regardless of admitting she may neither sing nor dance, the Aussie managed to tug off a stunning rendition of “Diamonds Are a Lady’s Finest Good friend” throughout a efficiency that was praised by just about everybody however the actor herself. “I felt like a drag queen,” she told TV Guide about seeing herself as Monroe within the mirror for the primary time. “I used to be like, ‘Oh, my God, that is terrible.’”
Michelle Williams is (to this point) the one actor to obtain an Oscar nomination for taking part in Monroe. And in contrast to most of her predecessors, the Dawson’s Creek alum didn’t must endure quite a few transformations to realize the feat. Simon Curtis’s 2011 movie My Week with Marilyn facilities on simply seven days of the star’s dramatic life, the interval during which she allegedly launched into an affair together with her chauffeur whereas filming The Prince and the Showgirl (1957). However Williams still had to suffer for her art, significantly throughout a skinny-dipping scene, which was filmed throughout a cold British autumn: “I simply couldn’t bounce again from it,” Williams stated. “I couldn’t get my blood heat. I used to be frozen to the core.”
Having beforehand performed early scream queen Religion Domergue in Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator, Kelli Garner returned to the Golden Age of Hollywood period in 2015 for one in every of Lifetime’s most acclaimed miniseries. The Secret Lifetime of Marilyn sees Monroe relive her varied traumas—significantly these brought on by her mom (performed by Susan Sarandon)—in an exhaustive remedy session. Garner, who used the make-up methods she’d realized on one other nostalgia fest, Pan Am, to bag the position, excels in a efficiency which spans 21 years of the star’s all-too-brief life. Remarkably, Garner had solely ever seen two Monroe movies earlier than touchdown the gig.