By Sammi Turano

This past weekend marked the 55th anniversary of Marilyn Monroe's death. She was an icon like no other and is still remembered for her work and sex appeal to this day. To commemorate her life, I interviewed Boze Hadleigh, who wrote Hollywood Lesbians and Marilyn Forever. He revealed some interesting secrets about the original blonde bombshell.

What was the reaction to Marilyn coming out?
 Marilyn never formally came out as bi. In that era she would not have dared. She publicly referred to her sexuality and her own questions about i a few times, but in those days the entire topic would have been omitted from most published interviews or articles. 

How do you think people would react today?
 People are much more used to celebrities coming out as bi, gay or lesbian today, especially female celebs, and more especially blonde sex symbols. I don't think there'd be an uproar at all, unlike then (in the '50s and early '60s celebs, particularly actresses, were warned not to discuss politics, religion or sex).

Why do you think people were so interested in her love life?
The love lives of extremely attractive people and sex symbols are of interest because the public wants to know who and what they like--as it were, how the other half loves. Interestingly, often a very beautiful woman goes with a homely man; by contrast, successful men, whatever they look like, rarely if ever go with homely women.

Which relationship was her most legendary in your opinion?     
Marilyn's most famous or of-interest relationship would be that with baseball star Joe DiMaggio (the marriage lasted only part of 1954). Both were stars, and as an athlete he was more accessible to middle America than third/final husband, playwright Arthur Miller, even though everyone had heard of "Death of a Salesman" and "The Crucible."

Why do you think people remember her as a sex icon rather than her acting?
Millions of people have seen Marilyn Monroe's movies, but billions have seen photos of her. Her beauty and sexual allure are immediate and powerful in visual images (although note that in her lifetime the images were usually full-body or torso-and-head, now it's usually just That Face, the most famous female face of the 20th century and still the epitome of feminine beauty). Movies take time to "process;" a photo is here and now and impactful.

Which roles to you think are her most legendary? 
Perhaps her most famous roles are Sugar Kane in "Some Like It Hot" (due to box office), Lorelei the golddigger in "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," Paula the man-trap in "How to Marry a Millionaire" (where she keeps hiding the fact that she wears glasses and so bumps into walls); her last completed film, "The Misfits" (where she tries to save the wild horses in the Nevada desert), and her role opposite Laurence Olivier in "The Prince and the Showgirl" (simply because that film was featured in the far more recent film "My Week with Marilyn," for which the actress playing MM was Oscar-nominated). Also, MM's small role, a starlet playing a starlet, in the major classic "All About Eve." 

How do you think people would react to her if she were to debut today?
If MM were to debut today she'd still have an impact due to her beauty. The difference is, she might not have to play "dumb blondes" or showgirls almost all the time, and the impact of her posing for that nude calendar would be very muted, compared to then. Plus, if she didn't marry DiMaggio and Miller, whom would she be paired with? Regardless, she'd be a star. Only, today she'd at least have a chance at dramatic roles and have greater control over her own image and career.

What impact has she had on today's celebrities?
Marilyn's impact on today's celebrities is basically the same as her impact on people, period--she is liked, her talent has been re-evaluated, she is pitied (her struggles and early death), but above all, she is beautiful and is a cautionary example of how tough one has to be to survive in Hollywood (my next book--same format as "Marilyn Forever"--is on Elizabeth Taylor; notice that in photos, MM is almost always smiling; Liz is almost never smiling). Among stars, Marilyn Monroe is a star, one of very, very few other stars are willing to discuss...which of course helped for my book "Marilyn Forever," which comprises hundreds (and hundreds!) of celeb quotes about MM (many, possibly half, from celebs not yet born when she died in 1962 at 36, on August 5th, 55 years ago this Saturday).

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