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Marilyn Monroe on TV: How Her Star Power Went Beyond the Big Screen

By    |   Friday, 08 May 2015 05:02 PM

Best known for her feature film turns in classics like “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” and “Some Like it Hot,” Marilyn Monroe’s iconic presence has transcended her big screen work, sometimes to TV, more than 50 years after her death in 1962 at the age of 36.
Monroe herself rarely made television appearances, most likely due to the pre-performance anxiety she suffered from which reportedly made her physically ill. However, whether actually on the screen or not, her spirit and star power have provided inspiration for TV in ways unlike any other celebrity.

Here are five ways Monroe has provided television fodder:

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1. “The Jack Benny Show,” 1953

In her very first TV appearance, Monroe performed a sketch with Jack Benny during which the comedian dreams he is on a cruise ship with the actress, who happens to be absolutely smitten with him. According to Turner Classic Movies, Monroe played the role with her trademark breathy voice and even bursts into song, singing “Bye Bye Baby” from “Gentleman Prefer Blondes.” At the time, Monroe was promoting her upcoming film “How to Marry a Millionaire.”

2. Royal Triton Oil Commercial (1950)

In what is believed to be her only television commercial, Monroe pulls up to a gas station in a convertible. Seductively referring to the car as “Cynthia,” she asks a gas station attendant to put Royal Triton in the car’s “little tummy.”

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3. “I Love Lucy” (1954)

In one of many nods to Monroe over the years, Lucille Ball does her best impression of the bombshell in episode six of her show’s fourth season entitled “Ricky’s Movie Offer.” The comedienne does her best to impress a Tinseltown talent scout by sashaying into the living room dressed as Monroe.

4. “Material Girl” Music Video (1984)

Madonna put her own spin on Monroe’s performance of “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” from “Gentleman Prefer Blondes” for the MTV generation in her music video for the song “Material Girl.” Dressed in a pink satin ball gown with her blonde locks coiffed just as Monroe’s was, the singer is surrounded by suitors trying to win her heart with all of the jewels and furs money can buy, Turner Classic Movies says.

5. “Smash” (2012)

NBC’s musical drama revolved around the production of a Broadway musical based on Monroe’s life titled “Bombshell,” with actresses Katharine McPhee and Megan Hilty portraying characters vying for the coveted lead role. The series lasted for two seasons.

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Best known for her feature film turns in classics like "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" and "Some Like it Hot," Marilyn Monroe's iconic presence has transcended her big screen work, sometimes to TV, more than 50 years after her death in 1962 at the age of 36.
marilyn monroe, tv, actress, movies, films
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2015-02-08
Friday, 08 May 2015 05:02 PM
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