Marilyn Monroe. Marilyn was an icon of the 1940’s through her death in 1962. The legend of her life was bigger than life itself. Although she didn’t live anywhere near long enough, her image still dominates when it comes to a certain type and style of actress, model and woman. She is “possibly” my 9th cousin, according to “We’re Related”
Her image appears on so many diverse applications that it has become a generic symbol of the American Sex Kitten, extolled in movies and television, mimicked by many but never matched.
When I discovered that she may be my 9th cousin my first instinct was similar to my first reaction to seeing her image as a young boy. She is a spitting image of my mom as a young woman. I remember thinking that she had to “be” my mom when I was a kid, nearly getting into a fist fight with some local kids who made “suggestive” comments about her.
It felt like they were insulting my mom. Later on I realized that she didn’t actually look that much like mom, but they were both blond beauties, whose looks belied their actual intelligence and characters.
Now that I know that Marilyn Monroe really was related to my mom, through her mother’s family, the Babcocks, maybe I can see a little more of my mom in her than my mom would have been happy to see. My mom was never a “sex kitten”, not in a million years, nor was she an emotional creature buffeted on the waves of depression that Marilyn faced, and which led to her death by suicide in her thirties.
What did have in common with my mom was her intelligence, and her ability to maximize her assets to her best advantage. My mom was “smart” and “intellectual” which she parlayed into a lifetime career as an educator, which was a reliable source of income and professional respect. Coming from an impoverished background, Marilyn didn’t really have the advantage of a good university education. Instead she learned early on how to earn a living with her physical beauty, emotionally appealing character to men, and how to use her intelligence to master her craft as an actor, musician and personality.
She invented the idea of a personal “brand” which resonates in the world of media and arts today. Managing her career she kept herself in the media spotlight and completely controlled the use of her iconic style and images.
Contrary to many opinions about her, she was never a “dumb” anything. And she wasn’t actually a blond, at all. She discovered that being a blond was to her advantage, so she become one. A totally self made woman in an era when that was nearly impossible.