Marilyn and the Curse of the Golden Globes

In recent months, the Golden Globes have been mired in controversy, with even the likes of Tom Cruise handing back their awards. In an article for the Telegraph, Tim Robey looks back at the Golden Globes’ storied history. While the current furore is long overdue, I can’t help feeling that he is being a little unfair in singling them out for derision, at a time when other entertainment awards like the Grammys are facing similar criticisms.

Although the Golden Globes have never enjoyed the same prestige as the Oscars, they did honour stars like Marilyn whom the Academy ignored, as detailed below. Oddly, the section on MM features a video of the 1961 ceremony, which she didn’t attend. Perhaps the editors have mistaken her for rival blonde bombshell Jayne Mansfield, who did – and as Jayne walked to the podium to present an award that night, the orchestra played ‘My Heart Belongs to Daddy,’ which Marilyn had performed in Let’s Make Love.

“What is the literal worth of a Golden Globe? The controversy surrounding the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which is now building to an industry-wide boycott after NBC cancelled next year’s broadcast, has put the question into relief. Elsewhere, you can read all about the corruption, the scandals, the epic diversity failings, the ratings plummets, and the studios and stars who want the whole organisation off their lawn.

But what is a Globe, in itself, worth to anyone? This is at the bottom of the problem. And it’s relative. If you are Marilyn Monroe, the answer is: not much, these days. Monroe was actually gifted three Golden Globes, but only one of these was for a specific performance: Best Actress (Comedy or Musical) for Some Like it Hot in 1960.

The other two were so called ‘Henrietta’ awards for ‘World Favourite Female’, in 1954 and 1962. If these sound like fairly gratuitous honours which might have encouraged Monroe simply to show up for those ceremonies, that’s exactly what they were – bonus prizes, determined annually from a Reuters survey of the general public until 1980, when they were dropped.

The latter of these made history in 2018 when it became the highest-selling Golden Globe at auction, netting $250,000. This is very much top-end, in terms of Globe value. The main point being: it has Marilyn Monroe’s name on it. And it rather proves the thesis that the Globes, to cling on to any sense of cachet, needed the likes of Monroe much more than she ever needed them.

Over her brief career, she put up with a lot of photoshoots at such events as the price of stardom, and we all know exactly how much those took their toll. The value of a Globe as an award given to Monroe is almost infinitely greater than that of an unengraved trophy – you could almost say the recipient did these awards a huge favour in bothering to accept them.”