a monthly look at the faces that have made history

Marilyn Monroe

She wooed a president; appeared on the sleeve of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band; got itchy with Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon in Billy Wilder's classic romp, Some Like It Hot; and was featured on the cover of Hugh Hefner's very first issue of Playboy. (The magazine potentate has since secured the crypt next to hers.) Now, 80 years after her birth, and 44 after her mysterious death, the potency of Marilyn Monroe's sex-goddess image—the platinum locks, the beauty mark, the ripe figure—continues, unabated. For proof that she's never really died in the popular imagination, you need only look to current superstars Madonna and Gwen Stefani. What's more, this month marks the release of Vogue contributor Bert Stern's new book, Marilyn Monroe: The Complete Last Sitting, along with related exhibitions at the Musée Maillol in Paris and the Staley-Wise Gallery in New York, plus an American Masters documentary about her life in photographs on PBS, all of which prove that not only gentlemen prefer this blonde.

—Laird Borrelli

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