Marilyn Monroe Quotes

Marilyn Monroe.

Marilyn Monroe quotes. Monroe (née Norma Jean Mortenson, 1926-1962) was an iconic American actress, singer and model. Her peroxide blonde hair, classic makeup, innocent beauty and devilish figure captivated the nation and the world.

From the 1940s until the early 1960s, Monroe often played "blonde bombshell" characters, though her later career saw her broaden her range and improve her acting. She is best remembered for her roles in films like Some Like It Hot, Bus Stop and The Misfits. She is also known for singing a "sweet and wholesome" rendition of "Happy Birthday" to then-U.S. President John F. Kennedy.

Marilyn Monroe was married three times, to Jimmy Dougherty, Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miler. Many believe that Monroe and JFK had an affair, but no clear-cut evidence supports this. She had no children.


My illusions didn't have anything to do with being a fine actress. I knew how third rate I was. I could actually feel my lack of talent, as if it were cheap clothes I was wearing inside. But, my God, how I wanted to learn, to change, to improve!

My great ambition is to have people comment on my fine dramatic performances.

Dreaming about being an actress is more exciting then being one.

I want to be an artist...not an erotic freak. I don't want to be sold to the public as a celluloid aphrodisiacal.

I love a natural look in pictures. I like people with a feeling one way or another––it shows an inner life. I like to see that there`s something going on inside them.

An actor is supposed to be a sensitive intrument. Isaac Stern takes good care of his violin. What if everyone jumped on his violin?

An actress is not a machine, but they treat you like a machine. A money machine.

First, I'm trying to prove to myself that I'm a person. Then maybe I'll convince myself that I'm an actress.


Everybody says I can't act. They said the same thing about Elizabeth Taylor. And they were wrong. She was great in A Place in the Sun. I'll never get the right part, anything I really want. My looks are against me. They're too specific.

No one ever told me I was pretty when I was a little girl. All little girls should be told they're pretty, even if they aren't.

If you're gonna be two-faced at least make one of them pretty.

I don't mind being burdened with being glamorous and sexual. Beauty and femininity are ageless and can't be contrived, and glamour, although the manufacturers won't like this, cannot be manufactured. Not real glamour; it's based on femininity.


Marilyn Monroe at USO show in Korea.

I knew I belonged to the public and to the world, not because I was talented or even beautiful, but because I had never belonged to anything or anyone else.

Everyone's a star and deserves the right to twinkle.

I kept driving past the theatre with my name on the marquee. Was I excited. I wished they were using 'Norma Jeane' so that all the kids at the home and schools who never noticed me could see it.

Fame will go by and, so long, I've had you, fame. If it goes by, I've always known it was fickle. So at least it's something I experience, but that's not where I live.

When you're famous you kind of run into human nature in a raw kind of way. It stirs up envy, fame does. People you run into feel that, well, who does she think she is, Marilyn Monroe? They feel fame gives them some kind of privilege to walk up to you and say anything to you, of any kind of nature — and it won't hurt your feelings––like it's happening to your clothes not you.

It scares me. All those people I don't know, sometimes they're so emotional. I mean, if they love you that much without knowing you, they can also hate you the same way.

No matter where I've gone or why I've gone there it ends up that I never see anything. Becoming a movie star is living on a merry-go-round. When you travel you take the merry-go-round with you. You don't see natives or new scenery. You see chiefly the same press agents, the same sort of interviewers, and the same picture layouts of yourself.


I don't know who invented high heels, but all women owe him a lot.


It's all make believe, isn't it?

Hollywood's a place where they'll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss, and fifty cents for your soul. I know, because I turned down the first offer often enough and held out for the fifty cents.

When you're a failure in Hollywood, that's like starving to death outside a banquet hall, with smells of filet mignon driving you crazy.

Some of those bastards in Hollywood wanted me to drop Arthur [Miller]. Said it would ruin my career. They're born cowards and want you to be like them. One reason I want to see Kennedy win is that Nixon's associated with that whole scene.

I've often stood silent at a party for hours listening to my movie idols turn into dull and little people.

Only the public can make a star. It's the studios who try to make a system out of it.

I don't know if high society is different in other cities, but in Hollywood important people can't stand to be invited someplace that isn't full of other important people. They don't mind a few unfamous people being present because they make good listeners. But if a star or studio chief or any other great movie personages find themselves sitting among a lot of nobodies, they get frightened––as if somebody was trying to demote them.

I used to think as I looked out on the Hollywood night, 'There must be thousands of girls sitting alone like me, dreaming of becoming a movie star. But I'm not going to worry about them. I'm dreaming the hardest.


A career is wonderful, but you can't curl up with it on a cold night.

Ever notice how "What the hell" is always the right answer?

You never know what life is like, until you have lived it.

A career is born in public, talent in privacy.

A career is wonderful, but you can't curl up with it on a cold night.

Success makes so many people hate you. I wish it wasn't that way. It would be wonderful to enjoy success without seeing envy in the eyes of those around you.

Suicide is a person's privilege. I don't believe it's a sin or a crime. It's your right if you want to, though it doesn't get you anywhere.

They way it is the individual is the underdog, and with all the things a corporation has going for them the individual comes out banged on her head. The artist is nothing. It's really tragic.

There was my name up in lights. I said, "God, somebody's made a mistake." But there it was, in lights. And I sat there and said, "Remember, you're not a star." Yet there it was up in lights.

Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.

Los Angeles

Even though I was born there, I still can't think of one good thing to say about it. If I close my eyes, and picture L.A., all I see is one big varicose vein.


A wise girl kisses but doesn't love, listens but doesnt believe, and leaves before she is left.

It's better to be unhappy alone than unhappy with someone.

Love and work are the only two real things in our lives. They belong together, otherwise it is off. Work is in itself a form of love.

Marilyn Monroe on Marilyn Monroe

I don't mind making jokes, but I don't want to look like one. I want to be an artist, an actress with integrity.

I have too many fantasies to be a housewife. I guess I am a fantasy.

I am good, but not an angel. I do sin, but I am not the devil. I am just a small girl in a big world trying to find someone to love.

I'm not interested in money, I just want to be wonderful.

If I'd observed all the rules, I'd never have got anywhere.

To put it bluntly, I seem to have a whole superstructure with no foundation. But I'm working on the foundation.

I know I will never be happy but I know I can be gay!

I feel as though it's all happening to someone right next to me. I'm close, I can feel it, I can hear it, but it isn't really me.

The truth is I've never fooled anyone. I've let people fool themselves. They didn't bother to find out who and what I was. Instead they would invent a character for me. I wouldn't argue with them. They were obviously loving somebody I wasn't.

They've said I want to direct pictures. I couldn't direct traffic.

I want to grow old without facelifts...I want to have the courage to be loyal to the face I've made. Sometimes I think it would be easier to avoid old age, to die young, but then you'd never complete your life, would you? You'd never wholly know you.

I didn't pay much attention to the whistles and whoops, in fact, I didn't quite hear them. I was full of a strange feeling, as if I were two people. One of them was Norma Jeane from the orphanage who belonged to nobody; the other was someone whose name I didn't know. But I knew where she belonged; she belonged to the ocean and the sky and the whole world.

Gee, I never thought I had an effect on people until I was in Korea.
––referring to a USO show performed for the troops during the Korean war

Blond hair and breasts, that's how I got started. I couldn't act. All I had was blond hair and a body men liked. The reason I got ahead is that I was lucky and met the right men.

I always felt I was nobody and the only way for me to be somebody was to be...well, somebody else.

Sometimes I've been to a party where no one spoke to me for a whole evening. The men, frightened by their wives or sweeites...the ladies would gang up in a corner and discuss my dangerous character.

First, I'm trying to prove to myself that I'm a person. Then maybe I'll convince myself that I'm an actress.

I used to say to myself, "What the devil have you got to be proud about, Marilyn Monroe?" And I'd answer, "Everything, everything," and I'd walk slowly and turn my head slowly as if I were a queen.

I don't want to make money, I just want to be wonderful.

The thing I want more than anything else? I want to have children. I used to feel for every child I had, I would adopt another.

I've been on a calendar, but never on time.

Other People

He's the only person I know that is in worse shape than I am.
––on Montgomery Clift

Jean Harlow was my idol.

Joe hates crowds and glamour.
––on why then-husband, Joe DiMaggio, avoided the Korea USO show

I was surprised to be so crazy about Joe [DiMaggio]. I expected a flashy New York sports type, and instead I met this reserved guy who didn't make a pass at me right away! He treated me like something special. Joe is a very decent man, and he makes other people feel decent too.

Sex and Sex Symbols

People had a habit of looking at me as if I were some kind of mirror instead of a person. They didn't see me, they saw their own lewd thoughts, then they white-masked themselves by calling me the lewd one.

I'm a failure as a woman. My men expect so much of me, because of the image they've made of me and that I've made of myself, as a sex symbol. They expect bells to ring and whistles to whistle, but my anatomy is the same as any other woman's and I can't live up to it.

A photographer once told me that my two best points are between my waist and my neck.

Husbands are chiefly good as lovers when they are betraying their wives.

Before marriage, a girl has to make love to a man to hold him. After marriage, she has to hold him to make love to him.

Some people have been unkind. If I say I want to grow as an actress, they look at my figure. If I say I want to develop, to learn my craft, they laugh. Somehow they don't expect me to be serious about my work.

I'm trying to find myself as a person, sometimes that's not easy to do. Millions of people live their entire lives without finding themselves. But it is something I must do. The best way for me to find myself as a person is to prove to myself that I am an actress.

A sex symbol becomes a thing. I just hate to be a thing.

The body is meant to be seen, not all covered up.

You can't sleep your way into being a star. It takes much, much more. But it helps a lot of actresses get their first chance that way.

It's woman's spirit and mood a man has to stimulate in order to make sex interesting. The real lover is the man who can thrill you by touching your head or smiling into your eyes or just staring into space.

That's the trouble, a sex symbol becomes a thing. But if I'm going to be a symbol of something, I'd rather have it sex than some other things we've got symbols of.

I don't mind being burdened with being glamorous and sexual. But what goes with it can be a burden. We are all born sexual creatures, thank God, but it's a pity so many people despise and crush this natural gift.

Sex is a part of nature. I go along with nature.

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