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I'm very definitely a woman and I enjoy it

With her iconic looks, Marilyn Monroe became a legend long before her untimely death. Famed for her hourglass figure and breathy voice, the actress had a touching vulnerability that gave her universal appeal.

Virtually every photo of Marilyn is iconic, but pictured in The Seven Year Itch, her white dress billowing upwards, is one of the most famous Hollywood posters of all time.

Born with the given name Norma Jean, Marilyn had a poor, unsettled childhood and first wed in her teens, before becoming an alluring pin-up girl and then a Hollywood starlet. Famed for her sex-appeal, as Marilyn’s film career developed, she worked hard to hone her acting skills. Her undeniable gifts were often overshadowed by the focus on her looks, which troubled her.

Fans around the world were intrigued by her blonde bombshell beauty and beguiling wit. Once asked by a reporter what she wore in bed, the Gentlemen Prefer Blondes star famously responded she wore nothing but five drops of Chanel No. 5.

Marilyn’s love-life made headlines around the world, from her marriages to baseball star Joe DiMaggio and playwright Arthur Miller, to her whispered– about liaisons with other very famous men. Rumours – still unfounded– were rife that she had an affair with John F Kennedy. Sewn into a stunning glittering gown at a gala marking the President’s birthday in 1962, she took the stage and famously sang Happy Birthday to him. All eyes were on Marilyn.

Throughout her life, the Some Like It Hot actress struggled with self-doubt and depression. Her death was due to an overdose of prescription drugs – although conspiracy theories continue to this day. Elton John was inspired to pen Candle in the Wind about Marilyn as and his song lyrics reflect, her candle burned out long before her legend ever did.