15 Facts About Marilyn Monroe’s Most Famous Movies

The Prince and the Showgirl

Warner Bros. Pictures

With Blonde being released on Netflix and everyone presumably catching the ‘Marilyn Fever,’ we reckoned why not delve into the iconic actress’ filmography and learn about that time she took pity on a co-worker and that time a co-star took pity on her. 

Some Like It Hot: A Little Too Hot For Some

Upon its release in 1959, the subversive movie was condemned by the Catholic League of Decency due to it being “seriously offensive to Christian and traditional standards of morality and decency.” The film was banned in Kansas because cross-dressing and playing around with gender identity was apparently  “too disturbing for Kansans.”

The Seven Year Itch: That Famous Scene Had To Be Filmed Many Times (In Two Different Locations)

20th Century Fox

The scene above for the 1955 rom-com was originally shot on the corner of New York’s Lexington Ave and 52nd Street. Even though it was one in the morning, there were somewhere between 2,000 and 5,000 people who came to gawk at Monroe standing on top of that grate. All in all, it took 14 takes over the span of three hours to get it done. Still not happy with the footage — especially with the noise from the crowd — the scene was later re-shot at the Fox lot in California.

Don’t Bother To Knock: Marilyn Monroe’s Stage Fright

20th Century Fox

During the production of this 1952 noir thriller, Monroe’s anxieties were clearly showing. She would vomit before going on set and often hide away in her dressing room. This pattern of behavior would become common in some of her other projects, with not many taking pity on the deeply insecure actress.

The Misfits: A Rough Shoot

United Artists

The 1961 Western drama — that would end up being both Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable’s last movies before they both passed away — was hellish to shoot, especially given the Nevada climate hitting up to a hundred and eight degrees at times. Monroe was also really struggling at that point — her marriage with writer Arthur Miller was falling apart — and her fraught state of mind made it difficult for her to go on set and do her scenes, choosing rather to spend most of her time with her drama coach, Paula Strasberg. Miller, however, said that most everyone was showing a lot of patience and understanding toward Monroe — even Gable, who sometimes had to wait around for hours.

River Of No Return: When Marilyn Monroe Stood Up For A Coworker

According to Robert Mitchum (her co-star in this 1954 Western movie), Monroe once refused to continue working until a crew member who was clearly freezing on set could take a break to warm up.

Niagara: The Longest Walk In Film History

The 1953 movie — that saw Monroe play a more devious, femme fatale-type character — still holds the record for the longest walk filmed in a feature. At the end of the movie, Monroe walks 116 feet towards the U.S. border, making it the longest walk ever filmed.

The Seven Year Itch: Billy Wilder Was Quite Annoyed With Marilyn Monroe During The Production

20th Century Fox

Apparently, Monroe’s tardiness got under director Billy Wilder’s skin. “I would get very angry at her," Wilder said in his biography. “For The Seven Year Itch, she was perfectly un-punctual. She never came on time once. Instead of studying with Lee Strasberg, she should have studied in Switzerland at Patek Philippe." 

The Prince and the Showgirl: When Laurence Olivier Clashed With Marilyn Monroe

Warner Bros. Pictures

Olivier, who produced, directed, and starred in the 1957 rom-com alongside Monroe, had no time nor tact when it came to the actress’s lack of punctuality and her total dependence on her acting coach, Paula Strasberg. He famously told her on set: “Try and be sexy.”

Co-star Jean Kent — who described Monroe as “a surprisingly grubby, disheveled little thing” — said of the experience: “She never arrived on time, never said a line the same way twice, seemed completely unable to hit her marks on the set, and couldn’t and wouldn’t do anything at all without consulting her acting coach, Paula Strasberg, whose presence was clearly resented by Olivier … He ordered Strasberg off the set at one point, but Marilyn refused to work until she was brought back again.”

Some Like It Hot: The Marilyn Monroe Line That Took 47 Takes

United Artist

Monroe was notorious for trying out different things with her lines — instead of just performing them like a parrot every time — and the scene in which she says, “It’s me, Sugar!” took a whopping 47 takes to get right.

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes: Marilyn Monroe Was Underpaid

20th Century Fox

It’s been reported that, while her co-star Jane Russell received somewhere between $100,000 and $200,000 for the 1953 film, Monroe’s contract had her bank $1,500 per week, which amounted to around $18,000 for the entire shoot. She apparently told the Fox executives that the least they could do was give her her own dressing room, arguing: “I am the blonde, and it's Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

Ladies of the Chorus: She Can Sing!

Columbia Pictures

While everyone eventually came to know Monroe as an all-singing Method actress, it was her second-billing casting in the 1948 low-budget musical romance that first revealed her singing talents on screen.

Love Happy: Marilyn Monroe And The Marx Brothers

United Artists

Monroe got an audition for a walk-on bit in the Marx Brothers’ 1949 film, Love Happy. According to the actress herself, she practiced walking in front of the mirror for an entire week since the part required her to catch Groucho’s eye as she sauntered past him. 

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes: Jane Russell Was Marilyn Monroe’s Rock

While the media wanted to get a Diva vs. Diva story out of the production starring the two powerhouse women, Russell and Monroe grew close during filming, becoming real friends. Russell, it seems, had observed and understood Monroe’s shyness and insecurities to perform on screen — not to mention the hardship of dealing with a cruel industry — and she would go to Monroe’s dressing room and walk her to the set every morning.

The Asphalt Jungle: Marilyn Monroe Did Her Audition Twice


Johnny Hyde, executive vice president at the William Morris Agency, saw a star in Norma Jeane when he first met her, and it was Hyde who got her an audition for John Huston’s 1950 heist noir. Monroe prepared well for her audition and requested to do it twice — even though Huston had already decided to cast her after the first attempt. Huston later commented: “Marilyn didn't get the part because of Johnny. She got it because she was damned good.”

Bus Stop: Marilyn Monroe Compared To Charlie Chaplin

20th Century Fox

The 1956 romantic comedy-drama saw Monroe learn an Ozark accent and take more charge in the production as the head of her own production company (Marilyn Monroe Productions). Director Joshua Logan was hesitant to work with the actress at first but later lauded her ability to blend comedy and tragedy, comparing her to the best of the best — Charlie Chaplin.

Thumbnail: Warner Bros. Pictures


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