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June 1, 2021

20 Candid Photographs of Marilyn Monroe Signing Autographs for Her Fans

“I like people. The ‘public’ scares me, but people I trust.” –– Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn was almost always happy to sign autographs, pose for photographs, or do a twirl for an 8mm movie camera. Wherever she went, the fans were there. Within hours of her arrival at a hotel, the press got wind of the fact, and soon enough there were hundreds of fans outside. They were waiting for her to appear, hoping to catch a glimpse, snap a photo, or get an autograph. She was known to be pursued into restrooms, with fans passing autograph books under the cubicle. In New York, Marilyn even had a group of hardened fans known as the “Marilyn Six,” who kept up a vigil for Marilyn whenever she was in town.

Even before she began landing leading roles, her small but perfectly formed appearance in The Asphalt Jungle (1950) and All About Eve (1950) had led to an avalanche of fan mail at Fox studios. Bulging with up to three thousand letters a week, Marilyn’s mailbag was already heavier than all but the studio’s most established stars.

In 1952, the year Marilyn made top billing, she was receiving five thousand fan letters a week. By the summer of 1953, after How To Marry A Millionaire, this had swollen to over twenty-five thousand fan letters a week.

In his autobiography Timebends, Arthur Miller described how Marilyn worked her fans: she could handle a crown “as easily and joyfully as a minister moving among his congregation. Sometimes it was as though the crowd had given her birth; I never saw her unhappy in a crown, even some that ripped pieces of her clothes off as souvenirs.”

Marilyn was genuinely aware of her fans’ adulation, which at time was a definite antidote to her lifelong feelings of low self-esteem: “I love them for it. Somehow they know that I mean what I do, both when I’m acting on the screen and when I meet them in person.”

Miller explains, “She relied on the most ordinary layer of the audience, the working people, the guys in the bars, the housewives in the trailer bedeviled by unpaid bills, the high school kids mystified by explanations they could not understand, the ignorant and - as she saw them - tricked and manipulated masses. She wanted them to feel they’d gotten their money’s worth when they saw a picture of hers.”


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