Marilyn Monroe by Cecil Beaton, 1956.
'The real marvel lies in the paradox-somehow we know that this extraordinary performance is pure charade… Miss Monroe is a make-believe siren… an urchin pretending to be grown up… sipping ginger ale as though it were champagne. This then is the wonder of the age- like Giradoux's Ondine ,she is only fifteen years old; and she will never die.’
-Cecil Beaton, designer and MM photographer
“I know people who say ‘Hollywood broke her heart,’ and all that, but I don’t believe it. She was very observant and tough minded and appealing, but she adored and trusted the wrong people. She was very courageous-you know the book Twelve Against the Gods? Marilyn was like that, she had to challenge the gods at every turn.”
—George Cukor, director
In her presence, you are startled, then disarmed, by her lack of inhibition. What might at first seem like exhibitionism is yet counterbalanced by a wistful incertitude beneath the surface. If this star is an abandoned sprite, she touchingly looks to her audience for approval. She is strikingly like an overexcited child asked downstairs after tea. The initial shyness over, excitement has now gotten the better of her. She romps, she squeals with delight, she leaps onto the sofa. She puts a flower stem in her mouth, puffing on a daisy as though it were a cigarette. It is an artless, impromptu, high-spirited, infectiously gay performance. It may end in tears.
Photographed by Cecil Beaton
Photographed by Cecil Beaton, 1956.