"If I'd observed all the rules, I'd never have got anywhere." – Marilyn Monroe
"Marilyn Monroe was late for everything – but much too early for death." – Army Archerd
"If it hadn't been for her friends, she might still be alive." – Joe DiMaggio
Her life was as if she were living in a fishbowl and we were watching. Marilyn Monroe (born Norma Jeane Mortenson and baptized Norma Jeane Baker) was an enigma, a riddle, if you will, for many of us that thought we knew her.
Actress and sex symbol, she lived in a world that many of us dream of. She would be forever typecast as the "dumb blonde" that needed to be rescued like a cat from a tree. Her most famous marriage, to New York Yankees legend Joe DiMaggio failed, as well as her marriage to playwright Arthur Miller.
The critics loved her, giving her the 1959 Golden Globe award for her performance in Billy Wilder's "Some Like It Hot."
Monroe also posed for a magazine that dared to break ground. That magazine was founded by a man who works in his pajamas. That man's name is Hugh Hefner. The magazine? Playboy.
Her now-famous pose of her dress going up on that air grate from the movie "The Seven Year Itch' and her rendition of "Happy Birthday" to then-president Kennedy are the last images that many of us that are old enough to remember have seen or heard. She has become more valuable dead than alive.
Her reputation and status have grown since her death, and today Marilyn Monroe is considered to be an iconic performer and one of the most significant cultural figures of her time. She is frequently imitated and referenced in pop culture, including the Madonna video, "Material Girl."
Anna Nicole Smith's life almost parallels Monroe's. She too took a stage name from her given name of Vickie Lynn Marshall. Unlike Monroe, Smith was a high school dropout and married young. It was her marriage to oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall (who was 63 years older than Smith) that brought her attention. Her legal battles reached all the way to the United States Supreme Court. Like Monroe, Smith died alone from drug over dosage. Also like Monroe, Smith posed for Playboy and at 168 pounds, she was the heaviest Playmate in the history of the magazine.
Do their lives match each other? Yes, they do to an extent. The only differences are that Monroe has been parodied by Madonna (Material Girl) and "Ginger" on "Gilligan's Island" was based on her. Tinkerbell, Peter Pan's fairy sidekick, was based on Monroe's figure.
Smith was out of control for years and that in of itself could have been her undoing.
Both had people that loved them and tried to save them. History forbids us to listen to those conversations. If we could be flies on the wall, we would be privy to what was said and how it was said.
Both could have been saved. It would have taken a great intervention but it could have been done. Both women had demons that they wanted to conquer so badly. Both failed in life to do such an endeavor.
Both have now become bigger in death than in life.