Marilyn Monroe knew what she was doing when she agreed to do a nude scene in a film she was starring in, but the reason she planned to appear naked has never been revealed until now. At the time, the Blonde Bombshell was earning far less than her Hollywood rivals to appear in 1962's "Something's Got to Give," so she hatched a plan to steal the limelight and make more money.
Photojournalist Lawrence Schiller, who was on set during filming, spoke to Fox News about Monroe's plan. He recalled being in her home one day, chatting about the remodeling of Monroe's kitchen, when the conversation turned to the film.
"And she said, 'Oh, you know about that scene in the movie where I’m supposed to be in a swimming pool and I have a bathing suit on, but it looks like I’m nude?' And I said, ‘Yeah, that’s going to really make some good pictures.' She said, 'Larry, what would happen if I jumped in the swimming pool with the bathing suit on, but I came [out] with nothing on?'"
Monroe was earning $125,000 for the film. Meanwhile, Elizabeth Taylor, who was filming "Cleopatra," was initially meant to be paid a million-dollar salary but received twice the amount for putting in extra hours. Schiller said Monroe felt she deserved the same amount.
"I should be getting that kind of money!" she said to Schiller, adding: "That’s why I want to come out of the swimming pool with no clothes on. Because the pictures will then be on the cover of all the magazines and they won’t have Liz Taylor to look at. If you shoot the pictures, I want to make sure that when you release them, everybody’s got to put me on the cover and Liz Taylor can’t be in the same issue of the magazine."
Schiller said Monroe knew exactly what she was doing, however, she never got to enact her savvy business plan. The Hollywood icon was often late to arrive at work and would frequently forget her lines and hide in her trailer. She was battling her personal demons, which began to creep into her professional life, but the studio decided it was best to fire her.
Not long after, Monroe was found dead from apparent suicide after overdosing on barbiturates at age 36. Looking back, Schiller remembered the last time he saw the film star.
"I was going to Palm Springs with my first wife and daughter," he said. "I went to her house because we were talking about doing the cover of Playboy magazine. She kind of liked the idea and [Hugh] Hefner had written a personal note."
Schiller recalled having a private conversation with Monroe about the shoot when she said to him, 'Oh, they’re just interested in my body — nothing else but my body!'" The photojournalist said he needed to "get the hell out of there." He would never see Monroe again.
"I blew her a kiss and drove off," Schiller said. "The next morning I got a phone call. Marilyn was dead."
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