Happy Birthday to Hollywood’s Forever Bombshell: Marilyn Monroe

“There must be thousands of girls sitting alone like me, dreaming of becoming a movie star. But I’m not going to worry about them. I’m dreaming the hardest.”

Before her death at 36, Marilyn Monroe was Hollywood’s superlative seductive presence, the top of the A-List before there was an A-List, and its blondest bombshell, starring in classic movies like Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, How to Marry a Millionaire, and Some Like It Hot. As an international presence and screen luminary, Marilyn loved and laughed with mid-century America’s biggest names, like playwright Arthur Miller, baseball legend Joe DiMaggio, and even a United States president. As a scene-stealing actress, kittenish interviewee, and ultra-glamorous icon from humble beginnings, Marilyn Monroe created a template of stardom that contemporary actresses strive to emulate. She is undoubtedly the biggest celebrity of all time (Marilyn-themed Vanity Fair covers rank in the dozens) and a byword for sex appeal, peroxide-and-pearls elegance, and onscreen charisma. Today, Marilyn Monroe would have turned 89—Happy brthday to a legend. 

Photos by Ed Feingersh/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images