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Why We Should Remember Marilyn Monroe

When the news broke that superstar Marilyn Monroe had died, the world was stunned. However, she has remained an icon like no other, constantly in the forefront of pop culture and in the hearts of her legions of fans. Now, 53 years after her untimely death, Marilyn is still misunderstood and her many accomplishments and attributes get shortchanged in favor of tabloid lies. Today, we remember why Marilyn remains and should continue to remain in the stratosphere of immortality. By Marijane Gray for Immortal Marilyn.

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She starred in the #1 rated comedy of all time.

Via ourmarilynmonroe.co.uk

Billy Wilder's Some Like It Hot (1959) is a comedy classic, telling the story of two musicians who dress in drag so they can hide in an all-girl band while on the run from the mob. It received numerous awards, including Oscars and Golden Globes.

In 1989, when the Library of Congress began its National Film Registry, Some Like It Hot was in the first batch of movies to be selected for preservation. In 2000, the American Film Institute released it's list of the 100 Funniest Movies of All Time....and Some Like It Hot was number one.

She was in one of the most iconic film scenes of all time.

Via giphy.com

When someone hears the name 'Marilyn Monroe', it's this image that immediately springs to mind. In 1954's The Seven Year Itch, Marilyn plays The Girl, the wide eyed naive ingenue that haunts men's fantasies. That is no more evident than in the famous scene where The Girl uses the breeze from the subway to cool her off on a sweltering August night, cooing 'Isn't it delicious?' The moment is set so indelibly in our collective memories that the dress she wore in the scene was sold at a 2011 auction for more than $5.6 million, setting a new record.

She was highly intelligent and a voracious reader.

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Marilyn Monroe loved books and had an insatiable hunger for knowledge and intellectual improvement. Her first charge account was to a book store. She was said to haul her collection of books with her to her many apartments and residences and was frequently seen reading heavy tomes in between scenes on her movie sets. At the time of her death she had a library consisting of over 400 volumes, on such myriad subjects as art, politics, biographies, philosophy, psychiatry, religion and poetry. Her favorite author? Fyodor Dostoevsky- she dreamed of playing Grushenka in The Brothers Karamazov.

She devoted herself to charity

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Marilyn participated in many charities, and as early as 1952 she was

regularly visiting orphanages and children's hospitals. She famously performed for soldiers in Korea, but Marilyn did a lot of charitable works that to this day remain largely unrecognized. She performed at many benefits: St. Jude's Hospital, the March of Dimes, the Arthritis and Rheumatism Foundation.. She donated her earnings from the world premiere of The Prince And The Showgirl to the Milk Fund For Babies in 1957. While visiting a Mexican orphanage in 1962 she initially wrote a check for $1.000, then tore it up and wrote a new one for $10,000. Her last public appearance, on her birthday June 1, 1962 was for a benefit for muscular dystrophy. Despite being ill and having a fever, Marilyn insisted on making her appearance. Marilyn even provided for charity after her death- she left 25% of her estate 'for the furtherance of the work of such psychiatric institutions or groups'' as should be decided by her former analyst Dr. Marianne Kris, who elected to donate it to the Anna Freud Children's Clinic because of Marilyn's love for children.

She was kind to animals.

Via ourmarilynmonroe.co.uk

Marilyn loved animals and had a number of pets she doted on. Her first husband wrote about how he came home to find his young bride trying to lead a cow into the kitchen because she felt sorry for it being out in the rain. She would scoop up fish she found on the beach and toss them back into the ocean. When she came across young boys trapping pigeons to sell to a butcher, she met them every week and gave them the same amount of money they would have sold them for to set them free. She called friends at all hours of the night to give them updates on her pregnant cat, and was intensely worried that her basset hound would injure his low slung male parts running over rocks.

She was surprisingly unmaterialistic.

Via ourmarilynmonroe.co.uk

Despite 'Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend' being her signature song, Marilyn was astoundingly unmaterialistic for a star of her caliber. She lived in a very modest home, and she owned exactly two pieces of real jewelry- her wedding ring from Joe DiMaggio and a pair of emerald earrings gifted to her by Frank Sinatra. Everything else was costume jewelry or borrowed. When her belongings were auctioned off in 1999, there were more books and kitchenwares than there were the trappings of a glamorous movie star. She was said to be so kind and generous that if you complimented something she was wearing, you'd find it delivered to your home the next day.

She loved her fans.

Via ourmarilynmonroe.co.uk

Marilyn famously said "If I am a star, the people made me a star," and she never took her fans for granted. She not only would take the time to pose for photos and sign autographs, she invited some of her most devoted fans to participate in her life. They would share cab rides with her, be invited to her apartment, accompany her to costume test for films. She got to know their names and gave them the kind of access to her that no celebrity would allow today. She spoke often about how grateful she was to them: "It was always very important to me not to let my public down. I have an obligation to them. They are the ones who gave me the opportunity, and they are still the people that can make an actress a star."

One of the highlights of her day? When the garbage men would whistle and say hello to her in the morning. She said in her final interview "To me, it's an honour, and I love them for it. "

She could hold her own with Hollywood heavyweights.

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Marilyn's acting talent is often vastly underrated, but considering that so many people mistake her on screen roles for who she was in real life is a testament to just how skilled she was. She was able to share scenes with some of the biggest names in Hollywood, including Clark Gable, Cary Grant, Bette Davis, Groucho Marx, Jane Russell, Betty Grable, Montgomery Clift,Ethel Merman and Laurence Olivier. Someone who could not only hold her own but actually steal scenes from such cinematic greats is someone with incredible talent.

She was an early advocate for civil rights.

Via tinypic.com

""What I really want to say is: that what the world really needs is a feeling of kinship.

Everybody: stars, workers, laborers, Negroes, Jews, Arabs. We are all brothers."

In the 1950s, overt racism and segregation were rampant. Marilyn was intensely supportive of civil rights, questioning politicians about it, openly socializing with her black friends in public, and in the above image from 1952, gleefully throwing her arms around some young boys. It's been said that when she made her many trips to visit children in orphanages, she spent extra time with black children because she knew they got less attention from visitors. For a white movie star to do this during the Jim Crow era is monumental and incredibly ahead of her time.

She revolutionized the way sex was viewed.

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In the uptight and repressive 1950's sex was viewed as something dirty and shameful. Marilyn embraced sexuality in an era that wished to stifle it, but she did it in a way that was playful and never vulgar. Marilyn made it fun and funny- she could be sexy while still being proper enough to bring home to mother and it altered society in such a way to make the sexual revolution of the 1960's possible.

She started her own production company.

Via immortal-marilyn.tumblr.com

Tired of being forced to perform in films that portrayed her as a dumb blonde and only get paid about a tenth of what other stars of her caliber received, Marilyn rebelled against the studios. Not only did she walk out on her contract after receiving yet another script that would have put her in a demeaning role, she formed her own company, Marilyn Monroe Productions, and purchased the film rights to Bus Stop and The Prince and the Showgirl. After over a year in exile, Fox realized that Monroe's charm,beauty, and box office success were irreplaceable and capitulated. She received a new contract reflecting her status and power, giving her a hike in salary; director, cinematographer and costar approval,(among other perks) and most of all, some of the respect that a woman of her talent and abilities deserved.

She was the very first celebrity to speak openly about sexual abuse.

Via ourmarilynmonroe.co.uk

In the repressed, prim and proper 1950s speaking about sexual abuse was unheard of. Marilyn bravely recounted the story to one of her first Fox studio biographers in 1950 (who ultimately decided not to print it). As early as 1954 it appeared in the popular movie fan magazines and she repeated the tale in the ghost written My Story . In the 1950's, being abused was seen to bring shame on the victim, rather than the perpetrator, and it not only wasn't discussed, the victim would often be ostracized for telling. The mentality of the times dictated that a girl protect her virginity and chasteness, or at least appear to, and any violation of that was seen as her fault. Abused girls weren't counseled, weren't sent to therapy; they became the objects of gossip and public shaming. Marilyn faced what had happened to her and spoke about it openly in a time where doing so would have caused her to be shamed and ostracized. For her to freely discuss it not just among her friends but with the press showed a formidable amount of courage in a woman who is often viewed as a perpetual victim. Marilyn, by telling her story, brought child abuse out from the dark corners and thrust it into the light and her bravery should be recognized, commended....

and remembered.

She won numerous awards

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While Marilyn was never nominated for an Academy Award, she did receive numerous accolades:

Henrietta Awards: The Best Young Box Office Personality

Look Magazine Achievement Awards: Most Promising Female Newcomer

Photoplay Magazine Awards: Fastest Rising Star of 1952

Redbook Magazine: Best Young Box Office Personality

Golden Globe Award: Female World Film Favorite

Photoplay Magazine Awards: Best Actress

Recognition in Commemoration of Her Unselfish Service Rendered to the Armed Forces in Korea

David di Donatello Prize (Italian equivalent of the Oscar): Best Foreign Actress

Crystal Star Award (French equivalent of the Oscar): Best Foreign Actress

Golden Globe Award: Best Actress in a Comedy

Golden Globe Award: Female World Film Favorite

She adored children

Via ourmarilynmonroe.co.uk

Marilyn loved children. She said that during her first marriage she'd prefer to be playing in the street with the neighborhood kids than keeping house. Later, she would pay special attention and spend time with the children of her friends, especially Norman Rosten's daughter Patricia, Sam Shaw's daughters Meta and Edie, and Lee Strasberg's daughter Susan. She was especially devoted to her stepchildren: Joe DiMaggio Junior and Jane and Bobby Miller, staying in close touch with them even after she had divorced their fathers. Arthur Miller once said about her ""To understand Marilyn best, you have to see her around children. They love her; her whole approach to life has their kind of simplicity and directness."

She wasn't afraid to be vulnerable.

Via ourmarilynmonroe.co.uk

Marilyn resonates with people because she was never afraid to show her own vulnerabilities. She was okay with people knowing that she was insecure, or self doubting, or lacked confidence because she reassured them (and herself) that she was striving to do better. She didn't hold back from letting people know that she had stage fright or was nervous about performing. She wasn't afraid to let who she really was shine through, and it's that candor and fragility that draws people to her.

She was unpretentious.

Via ourmarilynmonroe.co.uk

For being the world's biggest movie star, Marilyn Monroe preferred an evening home with a few close friends to going to a premiere. She'd rather curl up with a good book than go to a Hollywood nightclub. She enjoyed restoring a farmhouse when she was married to Arthur Miller and remodeling her home when she lived alone. She loved to cook and collected recipes, even exchanging them with the editor of the Ladies Home Journal. She loved gardening, subscribing to gardening magazines and spending quiet days at home with plants and dirt. Those who were close with her spoke of her being utterly without guile or pretense, of her being very down to earth, and that she was always the first to volunteer to help do the dishes.

She set the bar for beauty and glamour.

Via ourmarilynmonroe.co.uk

At least once a month, a celebrity is said to be 'channeling Marilyn Monroe' and without seeing the image we all immediately know what it looks like-- a sultry blonde, with red lips, bombshell curves and an Old Hollywood elegance. Marilyn's style has been emulated for nearly sixty years, as she gave rise to a fashion trend that is utterly timeless. Designers from Betsey Johnson to Dolce & Gabbana continue to use her look for inspiration, and a survey of nearly any red carpet event will reveal modern incarnations of Marilyn's trademark look.

Her fans all feel connected to her in different ways.

Via ourmarilynmonroe.co.uk

Marilyn once said that she felt like a mirror that reflected people's own thoughts back to them when they looked at her. Every Marilyn fan sees something of themselves reflected by her that makes them feel a deep kinship with a woman they've never met. When asked, this is what some of her most ardent admirers had to say about what they love about her:

Her struggles with her self-doubt and confidence, but willingness and mental strength to strive to be the best version of herself that she possibly could be.- Claire

In her eyes I can see she was searching for a place to belong and she was so pure ( I can relate to this for having been given away after ( actually before) I was born... I wished for Norma Jeane she would have been adopted by this kind of parents that adopted me.-Nathalie

Her vulnerability. She knew her darkest parts of herself and and loved deeply and passionately no matter the obstacles or hurt she faced. She invested her heart in many people despite being burned in the past, and that..that is something worth noting.-Sloane

I feel connected to Marilyn because she inspires me to be passionate and never give up on myself or my goals, no matter what circumstances I may be faced with. She gives me hope.-Allie

I relate strongly with her dual nature - she could be strong, yet deeply sensitive; she could be confident, but filled with self-doubt; she could love so completely, but intense suspicion still lurked nearby - her complexity is something I understand and yet it also fascinates me.- Betsy

Most of the people who reach that level of fame are so far out of our grasp as fans but she's so real to me. She was insecure and vulnerable. She could be needy and demanding but she was also generous, loving & supportive. I love that she wasn't afraid to be who she was.--Jackie

She radiates such warmth and light which reaches out to me whenever I see her, I think it is that feeling of warmth I get that connects me to her.- Joel

The fact that, despite all she's been through, she kept loving almost everything and everybody that was around her.....She has that particular smile that brings so much happiness in my heart. Whenever I feel sad or mad or a more negative feeling, her smile, her voice and most of all her spirit are right there to cheer me up.-Andree

She was a woman ahead of her time. And at the same time fragile.-Myrisa

My childhood was not the best, so when I saw someone as beautiful, talented, and just down right amazing and she was and still is. It gave me so much hope. -Tanna

I feel connected to her because of her kind heart. She was a beautiful woman, but seemed so down to earth, like she could be your best friend. She seemed so relatable.-Kristen

Something about her just gives me self confidence, she helped cure my body dysmorphia.-Natalie

When I really think about it, I guess it's her duality: glowing and even serene on the outside, a whirlwind of emotions on the inside.-Sacha

What attracted me was her beauty, what fascinated me was her talent and what continues to keep me interested is her depth of character.-Jill

From an early age,I connected with the sadness in her eyes, the desire to be accepted.-Scot

Her dedication to becoming a serious actress, no matter how much people seemed to think that she couldn't do it.-Brianna

Her charm, beauty. How kind, caring, and empathetic she was. The strength and determination she had to continue to believe and better herself.-Gregory

There's an intelligence, a compassionate and empathetic manner about her, a strong will and determination to beat the odds, and a subtle acknowledgment of the power of femininity.-Kitten

The longing and fighting for a carefree childhood, the longing and fighting for motherhood, the longing and fighting to be the best and genuine she could be.-Claudia

Once I got past the image, her constant need for self improvement, her love for every living thing, overcoming struggles that the average person can't dream of, her humility, her timeless style, and her luminescence that transcends time.-April

She was the epitome of glamour and beauty, but on the inside she was a simple sometimes frail girl with lots of determination and gumption.-Debra

Her ability to be strong and yet admit vulnerability, to allow her humanity and her search for love and hope to always be her guiding force.-Leslie

I connect with Marilyn's insecurities as I'm pretty much the same....The shyness and putting on a smile when inside I'm broken. I admire how marilyn never gave up on her dreams. No matter what anyone said.-Christina

I had an eerily similar childhood to Marilyn.....even down to the schizophrenic mother, foster homes and half sister I met later on in life..I looked at her when I was a girl as someone who had come through traumatic times identical to me, and yet had risen above it all......She was proof I could do it. 'If Marilyn can I can'!- Claire-Victoria

She inspired others by simply existing. She was able to create a persona that brilliantly made her loved by the world. In spite of her personal demons, she never forgot her fans and how much they meant to her. She showed me that no matter what your past may have done to you, your future is what you make of it.-Lea

Remember Her

Via ourmarilynmonroe.co.uk

Today, as we mark the 53rd year since the world lost her incandescence, remember Marilyn's plaintive request to her last interviewer: "Please don't make me a joke." Remember her plea for encouragement: "Hold a good thought for me." Remember her for who she really was, not who the tabloids want to pretend she was. Remember her impact on the world and the longevity of her stardom were earned through hard work, ambition, and talent. Remember that she was a real, feeling, sensitive human being and not just a caricature on a poster or a t-shirt. Remember not to believe every salacious thing you read about her: "Don't believe all the things people say about me. Just take it with a grain of salt., whatever they say about me. " Remember to take her advice: "Always be yourself. Retain individuality; listen to the truest part of yourself. Study if you can. Get a good teacher. Believe in yourself. Have confidence too."

Remember her. Remember Marilyn Monroe.

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