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Atomic blonde: the enduring appeal of Marilyn Monroe's magic and mystery

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Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe in the upcoming Netflix biopic, Blonde. 
(PHOTO: Netflix)
Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe in the upcoming Netflix biopic, Blonde. (PHOTO: Netflix)

Her hourglass curves, those blonde tresses and the mole copied by women the world over make her instantly recognisable. Even people born half a century after her death know who she is without quite knowing exactly what she actually did. Marilyn Monroe is an enduring symbol of Hollywood, pop culture and frenzied fame.

The fact that she died at the tender age of 36 means she’ll forever be remembered as the blonde bombshell with a slightly sad air about her, a character surrounded by rumours and myth. It’s been 60 years since Marilyn, real name Norma Jeane Baker, was found dead in her locked bedroom after overdosing on sleeping pills. At the time speculation was intense about whether it was an accident, suicide – or something more sinister thanks to her rumoured relationship with then-US president John F Kennedy.

A new Netflix film, Blonde, is the latest in a long line of films trying to understand the woman behind the headlines. Ana de Armas plays Marilyn in the movie, which is based on a novel by Joyce Carol Oates. “It’s a version of Marilyn Monroe’s life through her lens,” Ana (34) says.

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