20 actresses that have played Marilyn Monroe

20 actresses that have played Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe is one of the most famous figures in the history of the United States. She has been portrayed by numerous actors over the years.

Marilyn Monroe.

Monroe, born Norma Jeane Mortenson, rose to prominence in the 1950s as a result of her work in films such as “The Seven Year Itch,” “Some Like It Hot,” “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” and “Niagara.”

Between her films, her role as a sex icon, her marriages, her relationship with John F. Kennedy, and the tragic (if somewhat unexplained) circumstances of her death, Marilyn Monroe has remained one of the most well-known and closely examined figures of the previous century.

Here are several filmic depictions of Marilyn Monroe.

The first biopic on Marilyn Monroe was “Goodbye, Norma Jean,” featuring Misty Rowe in 1976, fourteen years after her death.

“Farewell, Norma Jean.”

Image Source: Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

This film purports to tell the “true” narrative of how young Norma Jean Baker became Marilyn Monroe, one of the most legendary (and tragic) figures in history. It instead focuses on her early life and modeling career, excluding her cinematic career entirely.

The Biopic Story states that the film begins with a disclaimer “Not even the legend or the manner she related it. This was the situation.” The website, however, classifies the video as “sleazy” and states that “any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, is totally coincidental.”

Rowe told The Irish World in 2020, “It was a lot of pressure, but I gained so much notoriety since I was the first actor to ever play Marilyn Monroe in a major film, and I travelled all over the world with it.”

Catherine Hicks portrayed Marilyn Monroe in the 1980 made-for-television film Marilyn: The Untold Story.

The untold story of Marilyn Monroe.


The TV movie is based on the 1973 biography Marilyn by Norman Mailer. The adaptation garnered favorable reviews and four Emmy nominations, including one for Hicks’ portrayal of Monroe.

“When I consider her, I never feel admiration for a wonderful actress, but rather for my deceased older sister. I felt then, and continue to feel now, that I must act as a sort of defense attorney for her so that her story may be presented and the facts are not distorted “In 2021, Hicks told TV Store Online.

Also in 1980, Constance Forslund portrayed Marilyn Monroe on NBC’s “This Year’s Blonde.”

This Season’s Blonde.

Brownie Harris / Corbis / Getty

This television film was based on the novel “Moviola” by Garson Kanin. It centered mostly on Monroe’s connection with her first talent agent, Johnny Hyde, who was in love with her and frequently attempted to pursue a romantic relationship with her.

In reality, Hyde died of a heart attack days after securing Monroe’s contract with 20th Century Fox.

During the 1985 alternative history film “Insignificance,” Theresa Russell portrayed “The Actress,” who was obviously meant to represent Marilyn Monroe.


Silver Screen Collection/Pixabay

Russell plays The Actress, Gary Busey plays The Ballplayer (Joe DiMaggio), Michael Emil plays The Scientist (Albert Einstein), and Tony Curtis plays The Senator in “Insignificance” (Joseph McCarthy).

The video imagines a meeting between these four cultural icons of the 1950s, who may or may not have met in a New York City hotel during the height of their cultural significance.

The creative team reunited thirteen years after “Goodbye, Norma Jean” to pursue Monroe’s acting career in the 1989 film “Goodnight, Sweet Marilyn,” starring Paula Lane.

“Goodnight, Sweet Marilyn.”

Off Hollywood Video

“Goodnight, Sweet Marilyn” resumed up where “Goodnight, Norma Jean” left off, focusing on Monroe’s acting career and final demise. Lane portrayed the adult Monroe, while Rowe reprised her role as the younger Monroe.

After “Goodnight,” Lane performed in only one more film in 1992 before permanently retiring from acting. She passed away in 2015.

Susan Griffiths earned a profession impersonating Marilyn Monroe, most notably in the 1991 television film “Marilyn and Me.”

“Marilyn and Me.”


Griffiths has portrayed Marilyn Monroe (or a Monroe impersonator) in the following films: “The American Snitch,” “Growing Pains,” “Marilyn and Me,” “Quantum Leap,” “Pulp Fiction,” “Dark Skies,” “Cybill,” “Timecop,” “Operation Splitsville,” “The Strip,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Nip/Tuck,” and “The Defenders.”

The film “Marilyn and Me” is based on the story of author Robert Slatzer, who claims he secretly married Marilyn Monroe in Mexico in 1952 (despite the lack of evidence). In 1974, he published “The Life and Strange Death of Marilyn Monroe.”

Slatzer died in 2005.

Melody Anderson portrayed her in the 1993 television film Marilyn & Bobby: Her Final Affair.

“Marilyn & Bobby: Her Final Affair.”

United States Network

While Monroe’s relationship with President John F. Kennedy is well-known and frequently published, fewer people are aware that Monroe supposedly also dated Bobby Kennedy, the president’s younger brother.

This television film depicts what a possible relationship between the senator and Monroe would have been like.

Norma Jean and Marilyn were portrayed by Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino, respectively, in the 1996 HBO film Norma Jean & Marilyn.

The title is “Norma Jean and Marilyn.”


Judd’s Norma Jean haunts Sorvino’s Monroe throughout “Norma Jean & Marilyn.”

For their performances, both Judd and Sorvino were nominated for Golden Globes and Emmys.

Monroe was portrayed by Barbara Niven in a tiny role in the 1998 HBO film “The Rat Pack.”

“The Wild Bunch.”


The focus of “The Rat Pack” was on the members of the Rat Pack: Frank Sinatra (Ray Liotta), Dean Martin (Joe Mantegna), Sammy Davis Jr. (Don Cheadle), Peter Lawford (Angus Macfadyen), and Joey Bishop (Bobby Slayton). The film also chronicled Sinatra and John F. Kennedy’s friendship (William Petersen).

During the events of the film, Sinatra introduces Monroe, portrayed by Niven, to Kennedy.

The novel “Blonde” by Joyce Carol Oates was adapted for the first time in 2001, with Poppy Montgomery in the lead role.


CBS/Getty Photos

The made-for-television version of Oates’ novel “Blonde” provides a more plain look at Monroe’s life than the Netflix adaption.

Montgomery told Yahoo News in 2014 that the first time she donned the blonde wig was “stressful.” She went on, “Oh my God, I thought, it doesn’t look right. Then everything took on a life of its own, and it was really stunning.”

Michelle Williams was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance as Marilyn Monroe in the 2011 film “My Week with Marilyn.”

“My Seven Days with Marilyn.”

The Weinstein Firm

“My Week with Marilyn” focuses on the week Marilyn Monroe arrived in London to film “The Prince and the Showgirl” with Laurence Olivier, portrayed by Kenneth Branagh.

While facing mental health issues and marital difficulties with playwright Arthur Miller (Dougray Scott), Monroe formed a bond with production assistant Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne).

Williams and Branagh were both nominated for an Oscar.

Charlotte Sullivan portrayed Monroe in the Reelz miniseries “The Kennedys” that same year.

The Kennedy family

Histories Channel

From the 1930s until Joe Kennedy’s death in 1969, “The Kennedys” chronicles the Kennedy dynasty.

Monroe, as portrayed by Sullivan, appears primarily in “Lancer and Lace,” the sixth episode. She is observed developing an obsession with President Kennedy, and his brother, Bobby, must inform her that the relationship is finished.

Blake Lively lip-synced to “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” for the landmark 100th episode of “Gossip Girl” in 2012.

“Gossip Girl.”

The CW

The dream sequence featured Lively’s character, Serena, as Marilyn Monroe, with the male cast members playing her dancers, until she was violently interrupted by Leighton Meester’s character, Blair, dressed as Audrey Hepburn from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”

Observe the sight here.

The 2012-2013 NBC series “Smash” was about the process of bringing a Marilyn Monroe musical to Broadway. Uma Thurman, Megan Hilty, and Katharine McPhee all had opportunities to portray Marilyn Monroe.


Mark Seliger/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal/Getty Images; Will Hart/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal/Getty Images

In “Smash,” Hilty and McPhee play Broadway stars Ivy Lynn and Karen Cartwright, who are competing for the role of Marilyn Monroe in the fictional musical “Bombshell” based on her life.

However, both are overlooked in favor of Rebecca Duvall, portrayed by Thurman.

Over the course of the show’s two seasons, each of the three women has the opportunity to portray Marilyn Monroe in “Bombshell.”

In the 2015 Lifetime miniseries “The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe,” Kelli Garnrer portrayed Monroe.

The hidden existence of Marilyn Monroe.


The film “The Secret Life” was based on the same-titled book by J. Randy Taraborrelli. This miniseries focuses heavily on Monroe’s connection with her mother Gladys, portrayed by Susan Sarandon, in contrast to the majority of prior depictions of her on screen.

Eva Amurri, daughter of Susan Sarandon, portrays the younger version of Gladys.

Ana de Armas is the most recent actress to portray Marilyn Monroe, appearing in the Netflix film “Blonde” in 2022.



On September 28, 2022, the second adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates’s novel was released on Netflix. The film’s NC-17 designation has been at the focus of several controversies.

De Armas completely slips into the role of Marilyn Monroe, despite the fact that “Blonde” is not so much a biography as it is an impressionistic painting of Monroe’s life, moving from scene to scene while changing aspect ratios and from color to black and white and back to color.

In one of the musical moments on her sitcom “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” Rachel Bloom is unmistakably channeling the celebrity.

“Insane Ex-Partner.”

The CW

From 2015 through 2019, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” was a musical comedy on The CW. Every musical number in the play either satirized, parodied, or paid tribute to another musical genre, performer, or era.

In this instance, Bloom’s character Rebecca Bunch performed “The Math of Love Triangles,” an almost note-perfect reproduction of “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend,” with a breathy Monroe voice, a blue strapless dress, and a crowd of men to dance with.

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