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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Patrick Daly

Is the Marilyn Monroe Netflix epic Blonde based on true events?

Marilyn Monroe continues to transfix Hollywood even 60 years after the blonde bombshell’s death.

Only 36 years old when she died, the actress — whose real name was Norma Jean — was part of a series of iconic moments that continue to be imitated even today.

Just ask reality TV star Kim Kardashian, who showed up to the Met Gala this year in the nude-coloured crystal-covered silk gown that Monroe notoriously wore to serenade President J F Kennedy on his birthday in 1962.

From Andy Warhol to Elton John, the attempts to capture her tragic story have been told by artists both while she was still alive and in the six decades since.

Kim Kardashian at the Met Gala 2022 wearing Marilyn Monroe's dress (Doug Peters/EMPICS Entertainment)

The same goes for film-makers, with actresses such as Michelle Williams (featuring in the 2011 movie, My Week With Marilyn) and Melody Anderson, who starred as the lead character in Marilyn & Bobby: Her Final Affair, playing the model.

Netflix has now given it a go, having released the almost three-hour epic Blonde, featuring Ana de Armas as Monroe, onto its streaming service on Wednesday September 28.

Is Blonde based on true events?

Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe in Blonde (2022 © Netflix)

This is a yes and no answer.

While the film is inspired by Marilyn Monroe’s life, it's based on the best-selling Joyce Carol Oates novel of the same name from 2000.

Oates’ book is a fictional piece of work emphasising the ways in which the Some Like It Hot star was victimised across her life.

That means there are details — some of them harrowing — that aren’t known to be fact or have never been reported on.

According to reviews, it can be a brutal watch, with the action featuring more on the alleged abuse the pin-up faced during her short life, rather than the moments of Hollywood glamour.

What is true and what isn’t true in Blonde?

American actress, singer, model and sex symbol Marilyn Monroe (Corbis via Getty Images)

Marilyn did have a difficult childhood, spending time in an orphanage when she was 10 while her mother was committed to a mental hospital for schizophrenia.

Director Andrew Dominik’s Blonde film sees Monroe's mother drive them both into a Los Angeles wildfire, while she also attempts to drown young Marilyn in the bathtub in a later scene.

Historians cannot find any record of Monroe speaking about such events from her childhood, however.

Blonde also features a scene where Monroe is raped on a casting couch. Another has the singer being forced by an unnamed American president to perform oral sex.

According to The Independent, neither scene appears to have its foundations in reporting.

The publication states that the scenes are there to “dramatise Marilyn’s relative powerlessness to the men that surrounded her in real life”, such as studio executives and her most famous rumoured lover, John F Kennedy.

Other scenes do accurately depict events from her life, however.

The film covers her miscarriages during her marriage to playwright Arthur Miller and an abortion that several of her biographers have written about.

In Blonde, Marilyn dies alone at home of a barbiturate overdose, which keeps close to the accepted facts.

Following her passing in 1962, an LA coroner ruled her death a suicide.

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