EXCEPT FOR MAYBE ELVIS, NO OTHER POP icon has exercised such sway over the American imagination as Marilyn Monroe, both for how she lived and how she died. ‘ Monroe Marilyn ‘ such a simple phrase, yet she was the Last Star; she flamed out at the height of her incandescence. Marilyn epitomized both sides of the American Dream: her dumb-blond persona embodied the last bloom of prefeminist “innocence”; her suicide, all that’s rotten about the culture of celebrity – and possibly worse. A footnote to the assassination of J.F.K.? (Could she have been a Kennedy) Thirty years after her death, the suspicions surrounding it are stronger than ever. Still, there is Marilyn, caught here by Cecil Beaton in a never-before-published photo at the Waldorf Astoria in 1956.
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