The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Portrayals of Marilyn Monroe in Pop Culture


Earlier this week, we gave you a sneak peek at the gorgeous photos Annie Leibovitz shot of Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe for the October issue of Vogue, in support of her upcoming role as the sex symbol in My Week with Marilyn. We think Williams is pretty convincing as Monroe, and without having seen the film yet, we’re betting on her as one of the best. But the photographs got us to thinking about the other faux-Marilyns who have graced the big and small screen, to varying success. Click through to see some of the most prominent examples, and let us know who played her best in the comments.

Connie Stevens in The Sex Symbol (1974)

Verdict: A little too wooden for bouncy, bubbly Monroe

Catherine Hicks in Marilyn: The Untold Story (1980)

Verdict: Good by us. That huge smile does it right.

Mira Sorvino in Norma Jean & Marilyn (1996)

Verdict: We can hear the “Happy birthday, Mr. President” spill off Sorvino’s tongue.

Poppy Montgomery in Blonde (2001)

Verdict: Much too tortured. It looks like the dress is hurting her.

Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge (2001). She’s not explicitly portraying Marilyn here, but, well, come on.

Verdict: A perfect tribute, super sexified.

Lindsay Lohan shot by Bert Stern, recreating Marilyn’s famous ‘Last Sitting’ (2008)

Verdict: There were mixed feelings about this photoshoot, but we think Lohan captures something — if not everything — of Monroe in the series.

Charlotte Sullivan in The Kennedys (2011)

Verdict: There’s a reason this series got booted from the History channel.

Michelle Williams shot by Annie Leibovitz for Vogue in support of My Week with Marilyn (2011)

Verdict: We’re sold.

Naomi Watts is set to portray Monroe in another film called Blonde (2012)

Verdict: We’ll believe it when we see it.