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Marilyn Monroe Nude-Again!

The men stood around gaping quietly as Marilyn Monroe began to slip out of the flesh-colored net panty-bra. As the thin, silky material slid down around her soft, white shoulders she paused for a moment. She closed her eyes as though she were reluctant to do what she was about to do—strip to the stark naked. She knew’ some of the men would look at her the wrong way. But she also knew she couldn’t help it. They were men and she, better than most women, knew there were all kinds. Men who would, in a few seconds, look on her body in lust. Men who would look on her body with professional disinterest. But there were a few, she hoped, who would look on her nudity with eyes that were concerned only for the true beauty of a woman’s body. She opened her eyes and shivered slightly in the chill and silence of the great sound stage. Then, in movements that seemed a mixture of defiance and resolution, she moved her shoulders back and forth until the top of the suit dropped down further, within an inch of baring her bosom. She stopped, raised her head and stared back at the transfixed gazes of the men of the crew. She smiled through half-closed eyes, and then she waggled a forefinger at them.

“Gentlemen,” she said, “I think it’s time you turned the other way—except the cameramen, of course. There really wouldn’t be much sense to all this if you didn’t get the picture.”

Most of the crew turned their backs. There were a few who didn’t. There always are.

Then, with perfect composure, Marilyn Monroe, the conceded sex symbol for millions of men, shimmied out of the netting and stood in complete nakedness. She walked toward the swimming pool around which the scene was to be shot. She poised on its edge for a moment, turned to the cameramen and smiled, “All right. I’m ready.”

The scene, for the now scrapped “Something’s Got To Give,” took the rest of the day to shoot.

When it was over, Marilyn, wet and shivering, though the pool water had been warmed, slipped into a robe and returned to her dressing room.

Before the day had died the whole world knew that Marilyn Monroe had, for the second time in her tumultuous career, undressed to the skin and exposed her body to a camera.

The furor was instantaneous. Clergymen denounced her daring. “Brazen, wicked and wanton” were words most used. “It isn’t photography” sizzled one woman to her friends, “It’s pornography.”

“Lewd and lascivious behavior,” said another actress. “A fine inspiring message for young girls,” she added bitterly. “I’ve been in many movies that alluded to my being nude, and I assure you the scenes were just as real without my having to take off all my clothes. Besides, her body isn’t that perfect, you know.”

At thirty-six, however, those of us who saw Marilyn naked can’t help but point out that she has a body which would be called beautiful at any age.

Of course, it is not at all a question of whether Marilyn has a beautiful figure. Almost anyone, except a certain actress quoted above, will concede that she does have a remarkably voluptuous shape. It is the Monroe willingness to undress, to stand before the world in nudity, that has caused the tremendous commotion.

It’s no secret that, more than a decade ago, Marilyn posed nude for a now-famous calendar picture. Her reasons at the time, though not necessarily uplifting, were at least sound. She was hungry. She needed the money to buy food. These are motives even the self-righteous can understand.

But Marilyn’s nakedness of a few weeks ago is an entirely different matter. She was not hungry. As a matter of fact she had to take off a full fifteen pounds to “get in shape for the new movie.”

She could have done the scene with a flesh-colored net panty-bra as hundreds of actresses have done before her. I failed to discover one actress who didn’t agree on that.

But to get Marilyn’s own answer I went to the star herself.

“Why did you do it this time, Marilyn?” I asked her bluntly.

Marilyn didn’t reply to the question immediately. Contrary to what others imagine, the blond goddess does consider answers to important questions very carefully.

“I honestly don’t understand why so much is being made of it,” she said finally. “Yes, they’re right, it could have been done in the net suit. But I’ve seen such scenes before and I knew it would just look wrong on the screen. You can smile if you want to, but I don’t believe it would have been artistic if I hadn’t taken off everything for that scene.

“You shouldn’t forget that I’ve had plenty of chances to do nude scenes in other pictures. I turned them down because in those instances I didn’t think they were really necessary to the picture. In this case I believed nudity was necessary. There was no other reason. And it was my decision.”

The motive for Marilyn’s naked gambol is not shared by others, however. And, unfortunately, much of the criticism directed at Marilyn’s latest escapade in nudity is supported by fact.

The first and most widely given cause for the beauty’s new twist on the old skin game is “publicity.”

“Let’s face it,” said one Monroe co-worker. “No one can ever accuse Marilyn of getting ahead on her acting ability. She’s what we call a player. That is slightly different from being pure actress. She’s a charming and exciting woman. She’s glamorous. She oozes sex. She’s almost always in the midst of controversial situations in her private life. Ninety-nine percent of the men in this world find her desirable as a woman. They go to see her on the screen. So do most women—they’re seething with curiosity. That is Marilyn’s chief worth.

“But that worth dies without publicity. If every moment in her life is not covered, or uncovered, Marilyn no longer attracts.

“Marilyn took off her clothes for publicity. And that’s that.”

It is difficult to deny this criticism after learning that two of Hollywood’s top photographers were alerted that Marilyn would do a scene in the nude. (The pictures they took appear on the opening pages of this story.)

But deep inside the tight little ring of Monroe associates there is talk of an even more serious reason for Marilyn’s “strip.”

Marilyn’s figure may not have sagged in the wrong places, but her box-office appeal has slumped alarmingly during the last two years. Although it is not chattered about too noisily, it is no secret in Hollywood that the last two Monroe pictures were “bombs,” movies that did not attract movie-goers. Regardless of the sentiment studio executives may have for their stars, they cannot afford to support and glamorize players whose appearances do not guarantee a reasonable return in profit. It’s a simple economic fact that a movie must do more than just break even.

So profit, say some, was as powerful a motive for Marilyn’s disrobing as any sense of artistry.

But those intimate with Marilyn are not only concerned over her lagging box-office returns, they are also worried about what public rejection may do to Marilyn the woman.

“I guess we all know what a terrible childhood Marilyn had,” says one Monroe intimate. “She nearly went crazy from the ordeal of knowing that she was an illegitimate and unwanted child. That would be enough to ruin anyone’s life. And as if that weren’t bad enough, she’s had to live with the horrible memory of being raped by a sex fiend. That’s some accumulation of mental liabilities. Her memories are so steeped in anguish and torment, it’s a wonder Marilyn has remained rational, let alone found success in such a competitive field as the motion picture industry.

To be loved . . . to be needed

“So the most important thing in Marilyn’s life now, as it always had been, is to be understood, to be loved, to be needed.

“And you know what the terrible irony of her life is? The very thing she got that she never really expected, success, is the one thing that has practically isolated her from finding the simple joys of a normal life—which in the end are the only things she really wanted.

“My prediction is, and I think Marilyn knows it, is that if she is rejected by the public now, it will damn near kill her.”

There are many who agree with this. Marilyn’s frightening sense of insecurity is generally regarded to be the cause of her chronic tardiness for appointments, dinner engagements and work.

The most shocking symptoms of this insecurity is best illustrated by an incident once revealed in private by a producer. “You probably won’t believe it,” he said, “but on the day Marilyn came to read for the part in ‘The Asphalt Jungle,’ she was wearing falsies!”

Here’s another example. Some time ago I had a date for an interview with Marilyn. I arrived on time, 2 P.M.

“I’ll be with you as soon as I make up,” Marilyn yelled from the bedroom.

Four hours later she came out. She offered no explanation. I asked for none. But people still wait for her.

However, there is a growing belief that they are not going to wait much longer. And, say the insiders, Marilyn herself is beginning to get the message. This, they believe, is what made her decide that she ought to give the public something special to wait for—her nude body in a movie.

Is Marilyn that desperate for publicity, for attention, for love? That desperate for understanding, for acceptance?

Everyone I’ve talked to, people who know her and, strangely enough, like her, say she is indeed desperate.

She is desperate because she could never again live in obscurity. She wants people to care for her, for she knows it is a peculiar weakness in human nature that very few people pay attention to a nobody.

When I asked Marilyn herself, she shook her head slowly.

“No, I’m not desperate,” she said. “I mean desperation had nothing whatsoever to do with my doing the scene nude. I did it because I felt I should. There was no other reason.”

I asked Marilyn if she didn’t fear the effect her nudity would have on young and impressionable girls. Wouldn’t mothers have to assume automatically that Marilyn Monroe the actress and the woman was a bad influence on teenage girls and even teen boys?

“I think it’s the publicity that made the shooting sound as though it were done for pure sensationalism,” she said. “But I saw the rushes. George Cukor is a director of great taste. The scenes were shot in good taste. There was nothing pornographic about them.

“They are realistic, but not so revealing as to be lewd. Honestly, if I had done those scenes in a flesh netting they really would have looked phony, and I am convinced that false nudity is much more obscene than the real thing could ever be.

I had to feel nude”

“I think I am an actress and, as such, to act nude I had to feel nude. For me there was no other way. I say that young girls and their mothers, if they see the scenes, will agree with me. The scenes are not dirty. They are art, and I defy anyone to view them otherwise.”

Did Marilyn feel that someday, as the mother she so much wants to be, she could explain her nude scenes to her own growing daughters?

“Of course,” she answered. “I can’t imagine any child of mine growing up without admiration and respect for the sight of the human body. We were born that way, you know. I only wish I had children to explain it to. But I’m afraid the questions will have to wait for the real answer—and a husband.”

Marilyn was quiet for a moment. Then she said something which may, after all the talk and speculation, be closer to the truth than she dreamed.

“You don’t know what it’s like to have all that I have and not be loved and know happiness,” she said softly. “All I ever wanted out of life is to be nice to people and have them be nice to me. It’s a fair exchange. And I’m a woman. I want to be loved by a man, from his heart, as I would love him from mine. I’ve tried. It hasn’t happened.

“You can’t bargain with life. You can’t say it’s all right if people like only some of you. You hope and pray they will like you as a whole person, for what you are entirely. In a way you want to be liked all over. I’m thirty-six years old. I don’t mind the age. I like the view from here. The future is clean for me and I have to make the most of it as every woman must. So when you hear all the talk of how tardy I am, of how often it seems that I make people wait, remember, I’m waiting too. I’ve been waiting all my life.”

Despite her warm points of view, the studio lost patience with her a few days later. She had appeared on the set only five times in thirty-seven working days. It was announced that Marilyn’s movie. “Something’s Got To Give,” nude scenes and all, was to stop production.

Marilyn thinks the executives will change their minds.

But even for Monroe there ought to be some sense of philosophical significance in the fact that the movie was a re-do of an old picture with the startling title of—“The Awful Truth.”


Now that you’ve read this story about Marilyn and the nude photos, what do you think of her? Let us know, won’t you, by filling in the ballot on this page and mailing it—today!



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