Miss Monroe and Her Acetates

Marilyn MonroeOn this day in 1926, Marilyn Monroe was born. She is such a mystery to me. She is remembered as a sex symbol, yet that’s not how I think of her. I admit, she was pretty. But if I’m thinking sex symbols, I’m thinking Dorothy Malone, not Marilyn Monroe. Monroe was one of the great comedic actors. The truth is that Some Like It Hot has always been a bit of a problem because Tony Curtis is so terrible next to her.

I don’t actually buy the suicide narrative. If a doctor had prescribed barbiturate to me, I would be dead now too. When I’m depressed, what I most want to do is go to sleep and just make it all go away. And often I can’t sleep. Pills can make that easy. And you up the dose over time and before you know it, you are dead. Barbiturates are extremely dangerous and we have a long line of stars—most notably Judy Garland—who died by them. But we don’t hear about that anymore, because barbiturates are almost never prescribed. And that is because of the great invention of Leo Sternbach: benzodiazepines. The first was Librium and the second was Valium. They do pretty much the same work that the barbiturates did but it is almost impossible to overdose on them.

Some people like the idea that Monroe died young while she was still pretty and sexy. But I imagine her growing old and being more like Bette Davis. I imagine her on the talk shows being wry, playing with her past “sex symbol” status. But as you can see, I romanticize her in my own way as much as anyone. She had just turned 36 years old. Now I see that as just a kid. I know she would have aged well—both for her and for us. It is tragic.

I love this scene from Monkey Business. She’s so great with Cary Grant. “Miss Laurel was just showing me her acetates”!

Happy birthday Marilyn Monroe!

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

0 thoughts on “Miss Monroe and Her Acetates

  1. Marilyn Monroe was a great actress. In "The Prince and the Showgirl," she acted Lawrence Olivier right out of the room. She should have lived.

  2. @andrew markoff – Absolutely! She is the ultimate example of people being discriminated against because they are beautiful. Although I do think it is well accepted among movie lovers that she was great. It was a terrible loss.

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