15 Rare Photos of Marilyn Monroe on Her 90th Birthday

Perrie Samotin
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15 Rare Photos of Marilyn Monroe on Her 90th Birthday
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Even if you haven’t seen any of her movies, odds are you know something about Marilyn Monroe thanks to her standing in the pop-culture canon. Born Norma Jean Mortenson in 1926, the actress—who would have been 90 years old today—quickly rose to become the world’s biggest sex symbol, thanks to her trademark platinum-blonde hair, breathy voice, and killer curves.

Monroe is also often name-checked as a style icon, but perhaps it would be fairer to say that the Girl—her character in “The Seven Year Itch”—is truly the icon that should be referenced. A quick Google search reiterates that idea, as the first images that surface of Monroe are varied portrayals of the actress in that iconic white halter dress standing above a subway grate. Second to those images are photos in the other outfit we all reference: The hot-pink dress and gloves accentuated by giant diamonds from 1953’s “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.”

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Both outfits are, by all accounts, iconic, though they’re costumes. Monroe—despite having made 29 movies—has become synonymous with one very specific look—the blonde bombshell—even to people who haven’t ever seen her work. In the interest of expanding your view on the actress, we’ve compiled rare photos taken during her short life that don’t include her signature costumes. Click through the gallery above and check ’em out!

 

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Marilyn—born Norma Jean Mortenson—at one year old in 1927.

Photo: Getty Images

Here's 15-year-old Marilyn in 1941—with her natural dark hair.

Photo: Getty Images

MM working some serious (and seriously on-trend in 2016!) ruffles during a screen test in 1946.

Photo: Getty Images

Marilyn clearly discovered bleach by 1947.

Photo: Getty Images

1947:  Newly signed 20th Century Fox girl Marilyn Monroe poses for a portrait in Los Angeles, California.

Photo: Getty Images

Marilyn on a train from New York City to Warrensburg, New York, in June 1949. She was in New York to promote her new film "Love Happy."

Photo: Getty Images

1949: Monroe stands at a WWSC microphone in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Photo: Getty Images

Monroe on a sofa bed, circa 1951.

Photo: Getty Images

Monroe poses for a portrait next to a 1950 Pontiac Chieftain on the back lot of 20th Century Fox in 1951 in Los Angeles, California.

Photo: Getty Images

With fans in 1953 at the premiere of director Jean Negulesco's film "How to Marry a Millionaire," in Hollywood, California.

Photo: Getty Images

Monroe with actor Don Murray on the set of director Joshua Logan's film "Bus Stop" in 1954.

Photo: Getty Images

Monrow with actor Jacques Sernas, Sammy Davis Jr., photographer Milton H Greene, and jazz musician Mel Torme at the Crescendo Club, Los Angeles, California, 1954.

Photo: Getty Images

Monroe in an evening gown in 1955.

Photo: Getty Images

Monroe at Jackie Gleason's birthday party at Toots Shor's Restaurant in 1955.

Photo: Getty Images

Monroe and her date, writer Jose Bolanos, at the Golden Globes in 1962.

Photo: Getty Images

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