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Clara Bow the original model for Betty Boop said that if she could have passed on her crown, her successor would have been Marilyn Monroe.

Marilyn Monroe

Norma Jeane Mortenson

Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe

Name

Norma Jeane Mortenson

Betty_Boop_(Marilyn_Monroe)

Name

 (Betty Boop imitating Marilyn Monroe in Betty Boop S & Betty Boop CR.)

Marilyn Monroe (June 1, 1926 – August 5, 1962) was an American model, actress, and singer. She became one of the most popular sex symbols of the 1950s. 

Marilyn Monroe was born Norma Jeane Mortenson, later baptized as Norma Jeane Baker.

During her all-too-brief life, she overcame a difficult childhood to become one of the world's biggest and most enduring sex symbols. By 1953, Monroe was one of the most marketable Hollywood stars; she had leading roles in the noir film Niagara, which focused on her sex appeal, and the comedies Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and How to Marry a Millionaire, which established her star image as a "dumb blonde". Although she played a significant role in the creation and management of her public image throughout her career, she was disappointed when she was typecast and underpaid by the studio.

She was briefly suspended in early 1954 for refusing a film project but returned to star in one of the biggest box office successes of her career, The Seven Year Itch (1955). When the studio was still reluctant to change Monroe's contract, she founded a film production company in late 1954; she named it Marilyn Monroe Productions (MMP).

She dedicated 1955 to building her company and began studying method acting at the Actors Studio. In late 1955, Fox awarded her a new contract, which gave her more control and a larger salary. Her subsequent roles included a critically acclaimed performance in Bus Stop (1956) and the first independent production of MMP, The Prince and the Showgirl (1957).

Monroe won a Golden Globe for Best Actress for her work in Some Like It Hot (1959), a critical and commercial success. Her last completed film was the drama The Misfits (1961). Monroe's troubled private life received much attention.

She struggled with substance abuse, depression, and anxiety. Her second and third marriages, to retired baseball star Joe DiMaggio and playwright Arthur Miller, respectively, were highly publicized and both ended in divorce.

Monroe starred with Betty Grable in the the 1953 movie How to Marry a Millionaire. According to Paramount Pictures, Grable was the model for the Fleischer Studios' character Sally Swing.

On August 5, 1962, she died at age 36 from an overdose of barbiturates at her home in Los Angeles. Although Monroe's death was ruled a probable suicide, several conspiracy theories have been proposed in the decades following her death. Academy Award winner Celeste Holm who met Monroe said: "I confess I saw nothing special about her Betty Boop quality. I thought she was quite sweet and terribly dumb and my natural reaction was, ‘Whose girl is that?’"[1]

In 1958, Monroe's drama coach Paula Strasberg[2] reacted to Monroe's take on Helen Kane in the film Some Like It Hot.[3]

In 1994, legendary animator Shamus Culhane debuted his "Limited Edition" cel of Betty Boop titled "Betty Likes It Hot,"[4] featuring Betty Boop in a Marilyn Monroe pose.

King Features Syndicate has used Marilyn Monroe's image to market Betty Boop for the majority of contemporary Betty Boop ventures since the 1980s, however they do not acknowledge Monroe as the source or inspiration. This is owing to Betty being the first sex symbol, predating Monroe in that category, and possessing the attraction of Clara Bow, the original sex symbol.

Madonna Ciccone the Queen of Pop "often paid homage to Marilyn Monroe," and is greatly inspired by Monroe. Monroe's rival and friend Dorothy Dandridge was one of the many inspirations behind Jasmine Amy Rogers' image for Betty Boop the Musical.

Quotes

  • Marilyn Monroe: "It helps to have a bad gallbladder, I lost mine last June." (1962)
  • Marilyn Monroe: "The rest is low cholesterol, avoid animal fats. Who needs them? Eskimos, maybe. Not us." (1962)
  • Marilyn Monroe: "I guess the censors are willing to recognize that everybody has a navel." (1962)
  • Marilyn Monroe: "I was fired by Fox at 22, and fired by Columbia at 22." (1962)
  • Marilyn Monroe: "They told me I should go home. I told them I WAS home. I lived here, always have." (1962)
  • Marilyn Monroe: "Darryl Zanuck signed me to a contract." (1962)
  • Marilyn Monroe: "Zanuck decided I had a third dimension, and this was before 3D." (1962)
  • Marilyn Monroe: "Zanuck said I had something, but he didn't know what 'IT' was." (1962)
  • Marilyn Monroe: "I like celebrating birthdays. I enjoy knowing that I'm alive. And you can underline ALIVE." (1962)

Sugar Kane Kowalczyk

Broadway Sugar Kane in Her Prime 1930 Before Betty Boop Took Over as Queen

In the 1959 motion picture "Some Like It Hot," Monroe played Sugar Kowalczyk. In the movie, Sugar, a jazz vocalist and ukulele player, seems to go by Helen Kane's Broadway stage name "Sugar Kane" and performs the song "I Wanna Be Loved By You". Kane was also a jazz singer in the 1920s; according to movie reviewers, the character for the all-girl jazz band was inspired by the "Boop-Boop-a-Doop" girls.

The role that Monroe plays appears to be an allusion in a roundabout way because, in the 1929 film "Pointed Heels," Helen Kane ridiculed a "stereotypical blonde" by dressing like a blonde and performing a classical version of "I Have To Have You" on stage. In contrast, Monroe portrays a gorgeous, slender, blonde, ditzy character with pin curls.

Kane was more a plump, cute and casual bronxite with jet black hair and spit curls. Today, Marilyn Monroe's most well-known songs are "I Wanna Be Loved By You" and "Happy Birthday Mr. President".

Marilyn performs the song "I Wanna Be Loved By You" as "Poop-Poop-Pe-Doop" rather than the traditional "Boop-Boop-a-Doop" approach. It was this same movie that originally led many in Japan to believe that Marilyn Monroe and Betty Boop were one and the same.

Marilyn Monroe as Clara Bow

Marilyn Monroe as Clara Bow 1958

In 1958 sex-symbol Marilyn Monroe paid homage to "original" sex-symbol the "It Girl" Clara Bow. Bow was a fan of Monroe but never met her, and in common they both had family members that were sectioned under the mental health act for mental illnesses. Bow did not permit anyone to make a biopic about her life, but said that if she would pass on her crown it would have been to Monroe. After Monroe's death, Bow wrote that Monroe was too young to have died. Bow wrote, "I never met Marilyn Monroe, but if I had, I would have tried very hard to help her."

Mini Marilyn

Mini Marilyn

A animated series based on Marilyn Monroe was announced in 2015, by China's DMG Entertainment. The series has been compared to Betty Boop. Mini Marilyn has an official Facebook page, and Instagram.

The Mini Marilyn brand ceased operations as of 2021. Reviews of the animated series were negative. As opposed to Marilyn being an obvious copy of Betty Boop, the majority of users' complaints focused on the voice acting in the cartoons. Rather than hiring an impersonator to play Marilyn Monroe, they made Marilyn sound like a cross between Paris Hilton and a chipmunk.

People who followed the series were not happy. DMA Entertainment later removed all episodes featuring Mini Marilyn and the character's pages are now no longer in use. Authentic Brands Group and NESA currently own the intellectual property of Marilyn Monroe.

Adrianna Hicks as Sugar (2022)

Adrianna Hicks Marilyn Monroe Sugar Kane

In the 2022 revival of the beloved 1970s Broadway production Some Like It Hot, revisionist writer Amber Ruffin altered the character of "Sugar Kane," also dropping the "Kane" from her name, so that it differed from the original Broadway production and movie. Elaine Joyce played Sugar Kane, and subsequently Leland Palmer.

The new Monroe spin-off character was renamed Gertrude "Sugar" Mudd, indirectly giving it a more Gertrude Saunders-like tone.

Despite being referred to be "Sugar" in the "original" Broadway productions, the character's second name remains Kane. Additionally, the musical does not include the song "I Wanna Be Loved By You".

Ruffin, who advocated for a Black Marilyn Monroe-type character and sought a Black version of Monroe, stated in early social media posts that her "Black Marilyn Monroe" may sing the famous song; however, the character did not sing it in the final performance.

The changes were something of an affront to Marilyn and her creation of the "Boop-Boop-a-Doop" persona, Sugar Kane Kowalczyk, with a jazz flavor. Adrianna Hicks, a black actress and singer, was cast as Sugar's lead. She informed reporters that she was "stepping in the shoes" of Marilyn Monroe, but she also made it clear that this was "her" interpretation of the Sugar part. Regardless matter who impersonates her or puts herself in her shoes, the genuine Sugar Kane Kowalczyk was and always will be the actual Marilyn Monroe, even if she passed away.

Betty Boop's Broadway show Boop! will counteract this show, as in that Broadway show, Betty Boop like Marilyn Monroe will also be reworked and reimagined. Many recent reviews assert that Adrianna Hicks is the ideal Betty Boop. In actuality, though, Adrienne Warren best known for her roles as Gertrude Saunders and Florence Mills and has more experience playing that kind of role and could be the ideal Betty Boop.

However for the early Pre-Broadway show auditions and workshop sessions they went with Jessica Vosk and Kim Exum. Ultimately, Jasmine Amy Rogers, a Black woman won the part.

The makers of Boop! drew inspiration from the revival of the musical Some Like It Hot. Another person who worked on the Shuffle Along revival was Daryl Waters, who not only worked on the music for the reboot of Shuffle Along but also did the musical arrangements for Boop! the Betty Boop Musical.

Betty Boop A La Marilyn Monroe Betty Boop Zanuck 1993

In the scrapped Betty Boop Movie, Monroe is cited as a inspiration for one of Betty Boop's scenes. It states that Betty walks through the door and a breeze catches her skirt, blowing it up a la Marilyn Monroe.

Betty Boop 

Betty Boop Marilyn Monroe


Betty Boop the "Boop-Oop-a-Doop" girl has often been compared to Monroe over the years. Betty can be seen doing Marilyn's iconic pose on millions of merchandise, and some even include Betty wearing Monroe's apparel. Hundreds of books have been written about Monroe.

Monroe has been the subject of films, plays, operas, and songs, and has influenced artists and entertainers such as Andy Warhol and Madonna. Betty Boop's signature song "I Wanna Be Loved By You" was inspired by Marilyn's interpolation of the song.

The song had originated with Helen Kane the "Boop-Boop-a-Doop" girl, but Betty never once uttered the jingle until the 1984 animated film short The Romance of Betty Boop. Since then the song has become Betty's catchphrase, including Marilyn's iconic pose. According to information, Betty did the whole skirt blowing in the air before Marilyn was even on the scene. Proof to this can be seen in Betty Boop's Ups and Downs and a majority of the Betty Boop cartoons from the early 30s. 

Universal Studios

Betty boop marilyn monroe i wanna be loved by you 03

Both Marilyn and Betty are featured characters at Universal Studios. On Christmas they often perform in a show called Under the Mistletoe, which features the songs "I Want You For Christmas," and "Santa Baby".

Scrapped Betty Boop Film Concept

MGM BETTY BOOP SCAPPED FILM

Scrapped concept for the abandoned 1993 Betty Boop film set for a 1994 release feature Betty wearing Marilyn Monroe's dress, and also doing Marilyn's iconic pose. The film would have featured Betty Boop as an alluring Hollywood sex symbol and would have featured cameo appearances from other Hollywood stars. Sadly the film was scrapped, never to see the light of day. 

Death

  • On August 5, 1962, movie actress Marilyn Monroe was found dead in her home in Los Angeles. She was discovered lying nude on her bed, face down, with a telephone in one hand. Empty bottles of pills, prescribed to treat her depression, were littered around the room. After a brief investigation, Los Angeles police concluded that her death was "caused by a self-administered overdose of sedative drugs and that the mode of death is probable suicide."

Gallery

Trivia

  • Monroe's not only donned a red wig and paid homage to Clara Bow the original "It" girl but also Lillian Russell, Theda Bara, Jean Harlow and Marlene Dietrich.
  • Monroe is one of the biggest icons in Hollywood and has inspired many women. Though she was once a real living woman, today she is best known for being parodied or impersonated. There have been many cartoon female characters inspired by Monroe, including the official spin-off "Mini Marilyn".
  • Monroe's famous song "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" was originally a Carol Channing song. The song was introduced by the biracial "quarter Black" actress Channing on Broadway.
  • At Universal Studios Marilyn Monroe is considered to be Betty Boop's best friend. In some occasions they can be seen together. If Marilyn is not with Lucille Ball's "I Love Lucy" character Lucy Ricardo and Betty is not with Popeye or Olive Oyl, they are sometimes paired together. They are both portrayed by character impersonators, and have performed duet musicals at Universal Studios especially "Under the Mistletoe".
  • Gloria Wood (an impressive mimic) and the voice of Betty Boopie Doop "partially" dubbed the famous Monroe's voice for the higher notes. The other Monroe voice-dub included soprano Marni Nixon.
  • Edie Adams was a fan of Monroe often impersonated or gave tribute to her.
  • Suzanne LaRusch, a character impersonator who portrayed Betty Boop at Universal Studios Hollywood in 1991, also portrayed Marilyn Monroe.
  • Dena Drotar became a well-known Marilyn Monroe impersonator at Universal Studios during the 1990s. However during the mid-90s she became ill. Today she's still one of the foremost Monroe impersonators, and is also a fan of Monroe. She was also one of the many Betty Boops at the theme parks during the 1990s, but she does not associate herself with the role.
  • Mariko Mukai provided Japanese dubbed vocals for both Marilyn and Betty Boop. In Japan "Mukai's" personality and her mannerisms were merged into the "Japanese" version of Monroe. So the dubbed Marilyn Monroe in Japan is more or less Mariko Mukai. Mukai was also the Japanese voice of Betty Boop.
  • In Japan they once considered Marilyn and Betty one and the same.
  • Monroe also remains a valuable brand, her image and name have been licensed for hundreds of products.
  • Monroe's few rivals in popularity include Elvis Presley, Mickey Mouse and Betty Boop.
  • Jessica Rabbit's design and attitude was partially based on Tinker Bell and Monroe.
  • Charlotte La Bouff's design in Disney's Princess and the Frog was inspired by Betty Boop and Marilyn Monroe.

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