The New Yorker described Netflix's Marilyn Monroe movie Blonde as "a grave disservice to the woman whom it purports to honor." GQ also said that it is "a movie unrelenting in its brutality." But whether you agree with their opinions or not, these passionate rebukes are nothing new when it comes to the media and Marilyn Monroe. Take the obituaries published right after Monroe's death in 1962. While some of America’s biggest publications wrote heartbreaking eulogies that celebrated the icon, others released statements that were, shall we say, less than flattering. Some were just downright rude — and the Los Angeles Times took it further than most.
A shocking demise
Monroe died on August 4, 1962. She was found in her Los Angeles home by her housekeeper, and the screen star was later ruled to have died by suicide. Understandably, her sudden and unexpected passing at the age of just 36 sent shockwaves throughout the world. And the salacious details surrounding her demise only fueled the media storm that followed.
The media get their knives out
Four days after Monroe’s death, she was interred at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery’s Corridor of Memories. And while the funeral was private, hundreds of fans packed the surrounding streets to say goodbye to the star. But the press wasn’t done with Monroe. Through their obituaries, they had one last opportunity to tell the world how they really felt about her.
Many well-respected publications ran obituaries for Monroe — but a number of them weren’t the kind that served as glowing reports of her achievements. Some — such as the piece that ran in Time magazine — chose to focus on the negatives. More specifically, the publication commented on the star’s perceived lack of professionalism. “She was always late for everything,” the obituary read. “Her tardiness was measured in weeks instead of hours.” But Time magazine’s strong opinions didn’t end there.
For instance, despite Monroe’s obvious success in the entertainment industry, the obituary condemned her for offering “a photographer exclusive rights to nearly nude shots of her.” Then, just to reiterate the point, it said, “Last week, she negotiated still another sale of a nude photograph to a picture magazine.” And Time was far from the only news outlet to criticize the late star.