Marilyn Monroe is recognised as one of the era’s most renowned actors. While her work and beauty drew fans’ attention, her struggles remain a common topic when discussing her legacy.
Her life story has been fictionalized in various media over the years. From her troubled childhood to her shocking death at 36 in 1962, audiences have seen Monroe’s life unfold through the interpretations of various actors and directors.
Several actresses have portrayed Monroe also known as Norma Jeane Baker. Catherine Hicks portrayed Marilyn Monroe in the 1980 television miniseries “Marilyn: The Untold Story,” while Ana de Armas will play Monroe in the 2022 film “Blonde,” based on Joyce Carol Oates’ biographical novel of the same name.
Before you watch that interpretation of the icon’s life, which wase released in limited theatres and on Netflix in September 2022, take a look back at some of the other actors who have given their own takes on the incomparable woman.
Misty Rowe, Goodbye, Norma Jean (1976)
Misty Rowe is not the first name that comes to mind when thinking of actresses who have played Marilyn Monroe, but she was one of the first. Misty may be best known for her 19-year stint on the country variety show “Hee Haw,” but she also managed to work in 1976’s “Goodbye, Norma Jean.” In the film, she plays Norma Jean Baker, a young Marilyn Monroe on her way to stardom. Rowe would later reprise the role in “Goodnight, Sweet Marilyn,” released in 1989.
Catherine Hicks, Marilyn: The Untold Story (1980)
Hicks portrayed the blonde bombshell in the 1980 television film Marilyn: The Untold Story. The film chronicles Norma Jeane from her youth as an orphan through her maturity as Marilyn Monroe, based on Norman Mailer’s biography Marilyn: A Biography. Jack Arnold, John Flynn, and Lawrence Schiller directed the picture. Extras include Richard Basehart, Frank Converse, and Jason Miller.
Madonna, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1984)
Madonna took the iconic design for the song “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” from 1953 and made it her own for “Material Girl,” which deals with a similar topic: Materialism.
Ashley Judd, Norma Jean & Marilyn (1996)
In HBO’s 1996 film Norma Jean & Marilyn, Ashley Judd played Norma Jean Dougherty, while Mira Sorvino played Monroe after she assumed the Hollywood persona. Throughout the TV movie, Judd’s version of the young Baker transitions from a simple woman to Sorvino’s interpretation of Monroe’s rise to fame.
Both Judd and Sorvino received Golden Globe and Primetime Emmy nominations for their roles, and the film was nominated for Emmys in the categories of outstanding cinematography for a miniseries or special, outstanding hairstyling for a miniseries or special, and outstanding music composition for a miniseries or special.