pencil on 11” x 14” illustration board
Then and Now portrait of Marilyn Monroe. Drawn in pencil on illustration board. Then, she was Norma Jean Baker, young, pretty and naive with an image of her as the silly seductress many have grown to love.
Famous for playing comedic “blonde bombshell” characters, Marilyn became one of the most popular sex symbols of the 1950s and early 1960s and was emblematic of the era’s sexual revolution. Just prior to her death in 1962, she had suffered several miscarriages and blamed herself for her substance abuse. She also struggled with creative differences with husband and playwright Arthur Miller, while they worked on the 1961 film The Misfits.
Marilyn Monroe would have been 95 today, had she survived.
I was once judgmental about lauding famous people who didn’t behave, until I had a little life experience and started to learn about the struggles of others. Marilyn Monroe is a good example of this. She may appear like a perfectly privileged white woman, but she was raised primarily in foster care. Her mother was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic. She herself had addiction and possible mental health issues in an era when these things were not discussed.
Miss was incredibly generous. She was especially generous with children and offered assistance to child-focused charities like the Milk Fund for Babies and the March of Dimes. That same generosity continues even after Monroe’s death. A portion of Monroe’s estate was left to Dr. Kris, who bequeathed her part of Monroe’s estate to England’s Anna Freud Centre, which serves children with mental health issues — “given her life experiences, it’s a cause Monroe would likely be proud to support.”