70 Years Ago: Marilyn in ‘As Young As You Feel’

The latest issue of French e-zine Crazy For You looks at As Young As You Feel, which commenced filming in January 1951. Monty Woolley stars as a man who, after being forcibly retired at 65, disguises himself as the company president and goes back to work. Marilyn received sixth billing, and had a few short scenes as Harriet, secretary to a bad-tempered manager (Albert Dekker.) She gives a spirited performance despite her limited screen time, and looks gorgeous in her costumes by Renié.

Although perhaps not a highlight of her career, As Young As You Feel was portentous for Marilyn in other ways. It was the first film in her seven-year contract with Twentieth Century Fox, signed in December 1950. Personally it was a sad time for her, as her agent and boyfriend Johnny Hyde had just passed away. She was weeping when Elia Kazan visited her on the set, accompanied by Arthur Miller. Over the next few weeks, this unlikely trio would become close friends. Marilyn even joined them in a meeting with Columbia boss Harry Cohn, who was furious (having fired her from the studio three years earlier, when she refused his advances.)

Marilyn’s co-stars in As Young As You Feel would also work with her directly later on. For David Wayne, it was the first of four films with Marilyn (most notably We’re Not Married and How to Marry a Millionaire – making him the only actor to play her leading man twice.) Thelma Ritter, who had appeared in All About Eve (1950), would work with Marilyn again in The Misfits (1961.) And finally, Jean Peters – who had known Marilyn since her first stint at Fox, would co-star in Niagara (1953), wearing the same white dress sported by Marilyn in As Young As You Feel.

UPDATE: A further issue of Crazy for You has been published, looking at the black cocktail dress from As Young As You Feel, which Marilyn also wore during several public appearances in 1951.

And finally, a closer look at Renié’s designs for Marilyn in the context of early fifties fashion, over here.