Wednesday, September 05, 2012

beauty queen on the cover of a magazine

Marilyn Monroe started her career as a model, and she was quickly in much demand, finding herself on numerous magazine covers. Marilyn Monroe: Cover to Cover is a collection of many of those covers, in brilliant and at times, lurid color. Marilyn memoribilia collector and author  Clark Kidder has a genuine affection for his subject, and assembles the images in mostly chronological order, so that fans can get a sense of Marilyn's print evolution.

It's an interesting volume to flip through, and includes a nice foreword by fellow pin-up Mamie Van Doren, who can certainly understand what it was like to start a career in cheesecake. Kidder quotes liberally from Marilyn's posthumous autobiography, My Story and other sources to create captions for many of the images. Although his intentions are good, there are a few quibbles. He gets more than a few facts wrong, citing John Huston as the director of All About Eve (it was Joseph L. Mankiewicz), states that Marilyn began dating Joe DiMaggio during the filming of River of No Return (they had already been a couple for quite a while), and spells Actors Studio Coach Lee Strasberg's name Strassberg.

What is nice about Marilyn Monroe: Cover to Cover is the large amount of foreign magazine covers that are included, many which may have never been seen by American audiences before, from countries like Italy, France, England, Sweden, and Japan. Marilyn made global impact early on. Unfortunately the author either doesn't know or hasn't been able to determine how early shots of model Norma Jeane made their way to foreign publications. A little history of her modeling career and how magazine covers and modeling agencies worked in the late '40s and early '50s would have been appreciated. Some of Marilyn's most famous covers seem to be missing, too, and there must have been many more gossip magazines devoted to her and Joe DiMaggio than are on display here.

What is quite interesting in the multiple covers from a single year is how often a specific costume from one of her films or personal wardrobe would show up again and again across a number of magazine covers.

So not a complete look at Marilyn's impact in photos, but at least a glimpse into her other career, the one that helped to create her worldwide exposure and both bolster and support her movie career.


Marilyn Monre's classic magazine covers, Entertainment Weekly
Marilyn Monroe magazine covers
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