Today we wish a warm "Happy Birthday" to a woman who has surpassed "icon" status to become the stuff of Hollywood myth — Marilyn Monroe

While she was possibly the most photographed person on the planet in the 1950s, we're often shown the same images over and over. Now, we're not complaining when we see the classic pictures of her in a white dress over the subway grate, or smoking in a black turtleneck, or laughing happily with bright red lipstick — too often accompanied by the quote: "Well behaved women seldom make history" (something Ms. Monroe never once actually said). We just want to see more of the woman behind the beauty mark.

So today, on the birthday of this Hollywood legend, here are a few photos — some candid, some just forgotten — that give a better glimpse into Norma Jean Baker, Marilyn Monroe, and the actress who still captivates the world.     

Already on the road to greatness. Baby Norma Jean Baker in the 1920s with some nice wheels.

Did you know Marilyn Monroe was a "babysitter turned actress"? No? That's because it's not exactly true - but it was the angle for this publicity shot.  According to the story she answered the call of a casting director at 20th Century Fox for a job as sitter and was given a screen test instead. And if you believe that... notice the book she's reading was later adapted for the movie "Toys" (1992) with Robin Williams. 

Well, hello there, handsome.   1948, Lazlo Willinger

Jump for your love. No chihuahuas were harmed.   1950, Michael Ochs Archives

If you stare at this picture too long, her left arm begins to look like it doesn't belong on her body.   1951.

Can't resist a girl with a blunderbuss, though the Pilgrims mentioned that they had qualms about the outfit. And the reason for MM being hung by the chimney with care?  She had been recently voted "the Present all GIs [in Korea] would like to find in their Christmas stocking." Christmas morning is a special time.   1950 and 1951-Hollywood, California.

It's Ladies Night... dress for combat.   1952, With female members of the armed forces.

Usually I do this for all the troops — but this one goes out to the oddball in the blue plaid suit in the front row.   1954, Troops in Korea.

Terminally gorgeous. Or, wait I should have said una-train-able... Let's go with the first one. P.S. the guy on the right looks like he just grabbed the third rail.   1955, Michael Ochs.

Jets or Sharks?    1955, Dave Cicero.

...Penny for your thoughts?   Unclear Origin, 1950s.

And it never forgets. Lucky elephant.  1955, Marilyn Monroe rides a pink elephant at the Barnum and Bailey Circus Gala For Arthritis and Rheumatism Foundation at Madison Square Garden.


Strong winds that day out of the east. Marilyn, grabbing sand is useless! Useless I tell you!   Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS.

Hey judge fella, can you make change? This pic was taken of Marilyn paying a two year-old traffic ticket (driving with out a license). Even she can't talk her way out of this one... but just in case, she brought her lawyer. The fine was $56.   1956, Municipal Court in Beverly Hills.

No makeup. No problem.   Unclear origin.

Feel the thread count.   1961, Douglass Kirkland

A rare moment of peace.   1962, Bert Stern.  

And in conclusion, we'd be remiss if we didn't include Marilyn and the Bear!  

More:  11 of the Sassiest Things Mae West Ever Said

The Top 20 Cinema Sex Symbols of All Time 

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