Monday, September 28, 2009

Marilyn Monroe and Groucho

A great feature of Google is the Life Magazine photo archive, which has been the source of many pictures on this blog. Now Google and Life have teamed up to offer every issue of Life magazine online. While browsing through issues with Marx Brothers content, I found the April 7, 1952 issue, which featured Marilyn Monroe on the cover. This paragraph about the photo appeared inside the magazine:
Marilyn Monroe had her first brush with fame at the beginning of World War II when she was 16 and working at an aircraft plant. An Army public relations photographer spotted her and, to boost wartime morale, shot her alongside every machine in the factory. These pictures got her work as a model and eventually led to a Marx brothers' film in which her role consisted of walking into a room and out of it. "That's a fine walk," said Groucho. "Now do it again more so." She took the advice and is now among the Hollywood great.
Here is one of the pictures taken by David Conover at the Radioplane factory in Van Nuys, California on June 26, 1945. Nineteen-year-old Norma Jeane Dougherty was then in her first marriage.

The Marx Brothers' film referenced in Life was "Love Happy," released in 1949.

Marilyn and Groucho in publicity still for "Love Happy"


  1. Groucho sure knew how to spot beautiful women! If his character had been more sophisticated he might have put it as Addison DeWitt in All About Eve 1950: "I can see your career rising in the East like the sun."

  2. I never really thought of the Marx Brothers as anything but a comedy team. Funny how seeing that they had a life' outside of acting seems strange.

  3. I didn't know Google had this archive, I think I'll spend some trawling the old photos. There is something evocative about photos in the 30s-60s

  4. This is terribly sweet, actually. And good to know about the archive. I love stuff like this--and to have the Marx bros. involved, well, that just tops it off.