13 Actresses Who Have Played Marilyn Monroe
In a new adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates’s historical novel Blonde, out this year on September 23, Ana de Armas plays Marilyn Monroe throughout a fictionalized version of the famed actress’s life. But this film is hardly the first time the Hollywood icon has been immortalized on screen. While some projects explore Monroe’s status as a sex symbol, more focus in on the struggles she endured before and during her stardom. Here are 13 actresses who have helped preserve Monroe’s legacy and story.
Goodbye, Norma Jean is a 1976 biopic that chronicles Monroe’s path to stardom. Misty Rowe depicts the actress during Monroe’s transition from “Norma Jean” —Monroe’s birth name that she went by during her teenage years—to Marilyn Monroe, the star that the public came to know and love.
Insignificance attempts to imagine what would happen if a physics professor, a Hollywood starlet, her baseball-star husband, and a senator were all stuck in a New York City hotel room together. These characters are a clear depiction of Albert Einstein, Marilyn Monroe, Joe DiMaggio, and Joseph McCarthy, but the film never explicitly states that these characters are their real life counterparts. The film is made to parody 1950’s celebrity and political culture as well as give a quirky perspective on the era’s famous personas. Theresa Russell plays the familiar looking soft-spoken Hollywood actress dressed in a halter neck white dress.
Having depicted the Some Like It Hot actress on screen 12 times, Susan Griffiths might be the actress with the most Marilyn Monore credits. She not only played Monroe in the 1991 TV movie Marilyn and Me, but also in three separate TV shows: Quantum Leap, Dark Skies, and Timecop.
In 1984, the music video for “Material Girl” was a pop culture sensation and went on to be nominated for two MTV Video Music Awards. Notably, in the clip, Madonna recreates Marilyn Monroe’s pink dress moment from her Gentlemen Prefer Blondes number “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friends.”
The critically acclaimed made-for-TV biopic Norma Jean & Marilyn explores the duality of the actress’s past as Norma Jean and her present as Marilyn Monroe. Mira Sorvino plays the icon at the peak of her career.
Ashley Judd is Sorvino’s counterpart in Norma Jean & Marilyn, portraying Monroe’s younger self, Norma Jean. Both she and Sorvino were Golden Globe nominees for Best Actress in a Miniseries or Television Motion Picture for the film.
The upcoming 2022 film isn’t the first time a version of Oates’s Blonde has headed to the screen. The 2001 two-episode miniseries Blonde, based on the book of the same name, starred Poppy Montgomery as Marilyn.
Michelle Williams’s Monroe in My Week with Marilyn is probably the most critically acclaimed depiction on this list. Williams received Academy Award and BAFTA nominations for her performance as the actress.
Following in Madonna’s footsteps, Blake Lively channeled Monroe in a gown similar to what the Gentlemen Prefer Blondes actress wore in the 1953 movie. This dream sequence from the CW hit Gossip Girl has Lively's character, Serena van der Woodson, imagine herself as the actress while the show’s male leads dance beside her.
Catherine Hicks plays Monroe in this ‘80s television film that centers around Monroe’s path to stardom as well as her relationship with her agent, Johnny Hyde, and her three husbands: James Dougherty, Joe DiMaggio, and Arthur Miller.
In this 2011 political miniseries chronicling the Kennedy family, Charlotte Sullivan plays Monroe during her affair with President John F. Kennedy.
Kelli Garner portrays Monroe in the miniseries The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe, which chronicles Monroe’s family life—specifically her relationship with her mother Gladys Pearl Baker (Susan Sarandon). Garner admitted to Vanity Fair that she wasn’t the biggest enthusiast of the late actress, but she felt that “every young actress has a little Marilyn in her.”
In the 1998 television movie The Rat Pack, Barbra Niven depicted Monroe in a small supporting role that hinted at the actress's affair with Kennedy—as well as her relationship with Hollywood's high society.
From: Town & Country US