Marilyn Monroe is still to this day, one of the biggest movie stars of all time. She was bigger than any of her movies, one of the rare actors to ever achieve that status. Nearly 60 years after her death, the real Marilyn still eludes her fans. Here are 10 surprising facts you may not know about Marilyn Monroe.
- Monroe was originally Truman Capote’s first choice for Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Writer Truman Capote thought Marilyn would be the perfect choice for the character Holly Golightly in the movie adaptation of his book Breakfast at Tiffany’s She had even performed two scenes for him. He was later quoted as saying “There was something exceptional about Marilyn Monroe.” In the end, Marilyn decided against the part and Paramount Studios cast Audrey Hepburn which Capote wasn’t all too thrilled about “Paramount double-crossed me in every way and cast Audrey
2. Monroe was her mother’s maiden name.
When it came time for Marilyn to choose her stage name, she chose Monroe because it was her mother’s maiden name. The name ‘Marilyn’ came from a movie studio executive who thought she resembled actress Marilyn Miller, who died when she was 37 (coincidentally Monroe passed away when she was 36).
3. She loved to read.
Marilyn may have played the part of being a ‘dumb blonde’ but in reality, she was anything but. Highly intelligent and extremely sensitive, Marilyn was known to be a bookworm. At the time of her death, she owned more than 400 books over a variety of subjects that included Philosophy, History, Politics, Poetry, Psychology, Drama, Literature and Theology.
4. She was married at only 16 years old.
Marilyn married her first husband, 21-year-old factory worker James Dougherty on June 19, 1942. The marriage lasted for four years. She was later quoted as saying “My marriage didn’t make me sad, but it didn’t make me happy either,” Monroe said. “My husband and I hardly spoke to each other. This wasn’t because we were angry. We had nothing to say. I was dying of boredom.”
5. Hollywood didn’t value her worth.
Considering her star power, Marilyn was fairly poorly paid. For her last film, Something’s Gotta Give, her salary was $100,000. Her contemporary, Elizabeth Taylor was receiving $1 million for Cleopatra around the same time.
6. She was the first cover star of Playboy.
The actress was the first cover star and centerfold of Playboy magazine in 1953.
7. She was nervous in front of the camera.
Despite making a career out of acting, Monroe often forgot her lines when she stepped in front of the lens. According to people that she worked with, the camera made her nervous. Her Bus Stop co-star Don Murray later said “She was a very experienced film actress, but she could forget so many of the mechanical techniques. She would constantly miss her marks so she would be out of focus or out of the light or in a shadow. I think it was a lack of confidence. For somebody who the camera loved, she was still terrified of going before the camera and broke out in a rash all over her body.”
8. She owned her own production company.
Monroe owned her own production company, Marilyn Monroe Productions. It only released one movie, The Prince and the Showgirl (1957) which was directed by and co-starred Sir Laurence Olivier.
9. She helped to change Ella Fitzgerald’s career.
Marilyn personally rang the owner of famous Hollywood nightclub, Mocambo, and helped Fitzgerald get booked. The club would initially not book Fitzgerald because she was black.
10. She is still making money.
Nearly 60 years after her death, Monroe is still a money earner. Her estate reportedly earned an estimated $17 million dollars in 2015.