This Was Marilyn … in Hollywood

Carla Valderrama’s new book, This Was Hollywood, focuses on forgotten stories from the golden age of movies. Marilyn makes a brief appearance in this spread about stars’ fitness regimes, and another feature about ‘ghost singer’ Marni Nixon (who voiced the operatic introduction to ‘Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend’ and a few high notes near the end, though I’m glad to say the rest was all Marilyn.) Vera-Ellen, the dancing star who had a role in the early Monroe movie, Love Happy (1949), is also profiled.

This photo was taken by Edward Cronenwerth in 1948, during Marilyn’s brief stint at Columbia, as part of a promotional shoot for Ladies of the Chorus in which she demonstrated various yoga and pilates positions. Fame was still a few years away, but the young Marilyn worked hard to stay in shape. Perhaps the most famous image of this kind was captured by another photographer – Philippe Halsman – in 1952, as the athletic starlet lifted weights.