Marilyn immortal myth

The only icons of American pop culture that can compete with Marilyn are, according to The Guide to United States Popular Culture, Elvis Presley and Mickey Mouse. Because, quoting the guide, “no other star has ever inspired such a wide range of emotions—from lust to pity, from envy to remorse“.

It is not surprising. Today the myth of the diva is celebrated and embodied by Ana De Armas in Andrew Dominik’s Blonde. But we also have to remember the sufferings of the woman who, in her short and unfortunate existence, not only starred in films that made history but was and still is capable of inspiring filmmakers from all over the world, as well as painters, musicians, writers, and cartoonists. All equally gripped by her unsurpassed magnetism.

It is impossible to mention all the extra-cinematic tributes dedicated to her: among the many are the Twenty-five Colored Marilyns and the Marilyn Diptych made by Andy Warhol, Christo’s Wrapped Magazine Marilyn and Salvador Dalí’s Mao Monroe.

Demonstrating Marilyn’s universality, the tributes she received transcend genres and boundaries. There are many curious references to the myth. Episode 23, season 4 of The Muppet Show: Miss Piggy and Carol Channing sing Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend, reprising the scene from 1953’s Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (also revisited by Madonna in one of her video clips). In the 2013 comic book Dead Presidents by Brian Posehn, Gerry Duggan and Tony Moore, Deadpool must kill zombie versions of U.S. presidents Washington, Lincoln, F. D. Roosevelt. When it is JFK’s turn, Deadpool inevitably transforms himself into Marilyn before eliminating him, winking at a counterpoise related to the vulgate that wants poor Marilyn “committed suicide” because of her relationship with Kennedy.

In music, we cannot fail to mention David Bowie’s The Jean Genie and Candle in the Wind, which Elton John later repurposed for Lady D’s funeral. But also Lady Gaga’s Applause, Who Killed Marilyn? by the Misfits, Celluloid Heroes by the Kinks, and a metal band called Norma Jean, celebrating Marilyn’s real name.

Her most joyous reincarnation, however, is in the sixth expansion of The Sims video game, in the Studios neighbourhood where, if you have the superstar expansion, Marilyn will appear at the wildest parties, riding in a pink limousine, chasing the digital dream of eternal life.

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