Every couple of weeks Mom sends me the “Arts & Leisure” section from The New York Times. Yesterday, the day before Marilyn Monroe’s 85th birthday, the usual package arrived sporting the usual glamorous row of Katharine Hepburn stamps. This time Mom slipped in the above picture she cut out from The San Diego Union-Tribune, and under it she wrote “Are there people in her glasses?” I couldn’t quite see from the small clip, but when it comes to Marilyn, it seems there always was a crowd . . . both in and around her.
Fortunately the artist’s name was below Mom’s caption, and immediately I began researching one Alexis Smith. From what I’ve been able to find, Smith created the above painting/collage in 1985 and appropriately named it “Men Seldom Make Passes at Girls Who Wear Glasses.” While most minds go first to Dorothy Parker when they hear that quote, mine went to Uncle Howie’s portrait of Marilyn, and then of course to her visually impaired character in How to Marry a Millionaire (1953). Almost 50 years after her death, the faces and phases of Marilyn Monroe continue to mesmerize not only those who grew up with her but also those meeting her for the first time.
Happy birthday, Marilyn . . . you still make us goose-pimply all over.