1. Marilyn Monroe’s short career as an actress spanned just 15 years. In that time she made 32 films, and left one uncompleted. Her career took off in 1952 when she was cast in her first starring role in Don’t Bother to Knock.
According to Life:
She [Marilyn] only graced LIFE’s cover six times while she was alive…. that’s fewer than Dwight Eisenhower, for example, while Liz Taylor holds the record with fourteen appearances on the cover of the premier photographic magazine of the age.
Also it might surprise some people to learn how seldom she actually appeared in the magazine itself.
2. April 7, 1952 - Marilyn’s debut cover, photographed by Philippe Halsman. According to Life, it became one of the most famous and collectible covers in the magazine’s history.
3. May 25, 1953 - Marilyn and Jane Russell, promoting their film, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
4. April 20, 1959 - Marilyn was photographed for the cover by the legendary Richard Avedon. Inside the story promoted her recently released film, Some Like It Hot.
5. November 9, 1959 - Philippe Halsman photographed this iconic cover. The photo was part of a photo gallery on jumping actresses.
6. August 15, 1960 - Marilyn and her co-star, French actor Yves Montand, were photographed for the cover as part of a story to promote their upcoming film, Let’s Make Love.
Marilyn and Yves reportedly had on-set affair. To complicate matters, Marilyn’s then-husband, Arthur Miller, been responsible for script revisions - those revisions forced Gregory Peck (who had originally been cast) to dropout and Yves to be cast in the role instead.
7. June 22, 1962 - Marilyn invited photographers, William Woodfield and Lawrence Schiller to come on-set while she shoot her infamous skinny dipping scene for her film, Something’s Got To Give.
Marilyn was fired from the film shortly after the photo shoot. The film was never completed. Life published the issue with the headline “A skinny-dip you’ll never see on the screen.”
8. August 17, 1962 - Marilyn’s (first of several) posthumous Life cover – published a week after her death.
Marilyn had given an interview to Life after she was fired from Something’s Got to Give. The interview was published in the August 3, 1962 issue — just two days before her death.
In the interview Marilyn opened up about the ups and downs of fame, saying:
“Fame is fickle… I now live in my work and in a few relationships with the few people I can really count on. Fame will go by, and so long, I’ve had you, fame. If it goes by, I’ve always known it was fickle. So, at least it’s something I experienced, but that’s not where I live.”