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Marilyn Monroe

(1926-1962), Actress

Sitter in 49 portraits
One of the most iconic figures of the 20th century, Monroe was discovered while modeling and signed contracts with Twentieth Century-Fox and later Columbia Pictures. She had a difficult relationship with the studios and the stereotypical ‘dumb blonde’ roles which came to define her career and life. Frustrated, she founded Marilyn Monroe Productions in 1954, became devoted to method acting, marrying Arthur Miller in 1956. Marilyn died from a drug overdose and suspected suicide on August 5, 1962. In her short film career she appeared in some of the most popular films of all time including Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and The Seven Year Itch, creating and managing a public persona which endures today.

Watch a film clip on the sitter from the BBC Archive in the Media section below

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Marilyn Monroe, by Antony Beauchamp - NPG x126696

Marilyn Monroe

by Antony Beauchamp
glossy bromide print, 1951
NPG x126696

Edith Sitwell; Marilyn Monroe, by George Silk - NPG x137375

Edith Sitwell; Marilyn Monroe

by George Silk
modern bromide print, January 1953
NPG x137375

Marilyn Monroe, by Baron (Sterling Henry Nahum) - NPG x137338

Marilyn Monroe

by Baron (Sterling Henry Nahum)
modern C-type colour print, 1954
NPG x137338

Marilyn Monroe; Baron (Sterling Henry Nahum), by Baron (Sterling Henry Nahum) - NPG x137374

Marilyn Monroe; Baron (Sterling Henry Nahum)

by Baron (Sterling Henry Nahum)
modern bromide print, 1954
NPG x137374

Marilyn Monroe, by Cecil Beaton - NPG x40267

Marilyn Monroe

by Cecil Beaton
vintage bromide print, 22 February 1956
NPG x40267

Vivien Leigh; Laurence Olivier; Marilyn Monroe; Arthur Asher Miller, by Unknown photographer, for  Associated Press - NPG x135981

Vivien Leigh; Laurence Olivier; Marilyn Monroe; Arthur Asher Miller

by Unknown photographer, for Associated Press
bromide press print, 11 October 1956
NPG x135981

Beatrice Dawson; Marilyn Monroe, by Unknown photographer - NPG x136480

Beatrice Dawson; Marilyn Monroe

by Unknown photographer
modern publicity photograph, 1956
NPG x136480

Jeremy Spenser; Marilyn Monroe on the set of 'The Prince and The Showgirl', probably by James Swarbrick, or by  Betty Swarbrick - NPG x136481

Jeremy Spenser; Marilyn Monroe on the set of 'The Prince and The Showgirl'

probably by James Swarbrick, or by Betty Swarbrick
vintage film still, 1956
NPG x136481

Queen Elizabeth II; Marilyn Monroe; Victor John Mature; Anthony Quayle, by Unknown photographer, for  Daily Mirror - NPG x136606

Queen Elizabeth II; Marilyn Monroe; Victor John Mature; Anthony Quayle

by Unknown photographer, for Daily Mirror
modern bromide print, 29 October 1956
NPG x136606

'The Prince and The Showgirl', possibly by James and Betty Swarbrick - NPG x137343

'The Prince and The Showgirl'

possibly by James and Betty Swarbrick
modern digital print, 1956
NPG x137343

The cast and crew of 'The Prince and The Showgirl', possibly by James and Betty Swarbrick - NPG x137344

The cast and crew of 'The Prince and The Showgirl'

possibly by James and Betty Swarbrick
modern digital print, 1956
NPG x137344

Marilyn Monroe, by Cecil Beaton - NPG x40266

Marilyn Monroe

by Cecil Beaton
bromide print, 22 February 1956
NPG x40266

Marilyn Monroe, by Cecil Beaton - NPG x40274

Marilyn Monroe

by Cecil Beaton
bromide print, 22 February 1956
NPG x40274

Marilyn Monroe, by Cecil Beaton - NPG x40268

Marilyn Monroe

by Cecil Beaton
bromide print, 22 February 1956
NPG x40268

Marilyn Monroe, by Cecil Beaton - NPG x40273

Marilyn Monroe

by Cecil Beaton
bromide print, 22 February 1956
NPG x40273

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