Marilyn Takes Her ‘Diamond Dress’ to Tiffany’s

The pink sheath gown designed by Travilla for Marilyn’s ‘Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend’ number in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is the subject of a new feature, ‘Screen Chic,’ in the latest issue (#36) of UK nostalgia mag Yours Retro. Marilyn is also mentioned in the cover story on Breakfast at Tiffany’s. She was one of several women used by author Truman Capote as a model for Holly Golightly, heroine of his classic novella, and his own first choice for the role.

“For him Holly had toughness and fragility and Audrey seemed too wholesome, too perfect,” the article explains, adding that Marilyn’s Actors Studio mentor, Lee Strasberg, vetoed the part, saying, “Marilyn Monroe will not play a call girl, a lady of the evening!” Actually, that quote is usually attributed to Paula Strasberg, and the truth is more complex. In 1960, Marilyn was already committed to The Misfits, and Edward Parone, who worked for her production company, had already advised her that George Axelrod’s screenplay was unworthy of her talents – an opinion that many film critics would later echo (see here.)

However, Breakfast at Tiffany’s would prove to be Audrey’s most iconic role, and had Marilyn accepted the part instead of The Misfits, it might have given her the hit she needed after the misfire of Let’s Make Love. Biographer Charles Casillo considers it a missed opportunity, and “one of the greatest tragedies of Marilyn’s career.” While Marilyn would have conveyed Holly’s free-spirited sexuality, writes Amanda Konkle, Audrey’s portrayal creates a “princess narrative” in line with her star persona.

Thanks to A Passion for Marilyn