70 Years Ago: Marilyn Salutes the Swimsuit

In the summer of 1952, Marilyn leveraged her pin-up fame into movie stardom. The latest issue of French e-zine Crazy For You looks at her swimwear photo shoots from this period, and how they coalesced with her film roles.

Marilyn repurposed the yellow string bikini she’d been wearing since her modelling days for a layout with photographer David Preston.

In We’re Not Married, Marilyn sported first a light swimsuit, then a darker shade as beauty queen Roberta, who wins the Mrs Mississippi title, only to claim the Miss Mississippi title after learning her marriage isn’t legal – with ‘husband’ David Wayne and their baby son cheering her on. The film’s costumer was Elois Jenssen.

This bikini with mesh overlay resembles one of the film’s rejected costumes (perhaps too revealing for the screen), and if so, it’s possible that Marilyn removed the straps and wore it for a Gene Korman photo shoot instead.

A pool scene from Monkey Business gave viewers another eyeful of Marilyn in a Travilla bathing suit.

And finally, Marilyn wore a towelling bikini top for her famous ‘weightlifter’ portrait by Philippe Halsman (published in her first LIFE cover story), and again in one of her final sessions with Andre de Dienes.