Learn About Marilyn Monroe’s Influence on Pop Culture

Marilyn Monroe was born Norma Jeane Mortenson on June 1, 1926. She was an American actress, model, and singer who was famous for her gorgeous looks and overflowing talent. Monroe became one of the most popular and well-known sex symbols of the 1950s and 60s. 

Due to her insane popularity, Marilyn was a huge part of the pop culture of the 1950s and remains relevant to this day. At the peak of her career, she was a top-billed actress and reminded so for an entire decade. Her films were top-grossing, and in today’s time, they grossed $2 billion. 

However, Monroe met an untimely death when she passed away in 1962, but her legacy lives on to this day. She remains a significant pop culture icon and inspires people in all sectors. Her sense of fashion, acting, modeling, etc., are used as an inspiration even in modern times. 

Monroe won many awards during her life. Even after her death, the American Film Institute ranked her as the sixth greatest female screen legend from the Golden Age of Hollywood. Her movies and her acting act as inspiration to the most famous actors and actresses of modern times.

Therefore, Monroe is perhaps one of the most famous icons of the 1950s and 60s and continues to affect pop culture to this day.

Her Influence on Pop Culture

Marilyn Monroe’s influence does not stop at films and fashion but extends beyond other art forms. She has been used as inspiration for art, cosmetics, clothing brands, custom dresses, etc. Furthermore, her films and her life have also inspired many books and movies.

Monroe was an extraordinary human who lived an extraordinary life. Therefore, it is not surprising that her personality, life, and appearance were used as inspiration. Often you can see Marilyn’s image in shops, used by brands, in magazines, etc.


Marilyn Monroe has long been idolized for her looks and the way her body looks. Thus, many artists have used her as a model for their art. Many famous paintings are made of her, and one of the most popular is the Diptych and the Monroe. 

Marilyn Diptych 

The Marilyn Diptych is a silkscreen painting painted by the American pop artist Andy Warhol. In this painting, he depicted Marilyn Monroe’s head around 50 times. This piece of art is one of the monumental pieces by the artist and is heavily recognized worldwide.

The painting is done using acrylic paint on canvas and was revealed in 1962. The dimensions of this painting are 80.88 inches by 114 inches.

The painting depicts 50 images, each of which is of the actress, taken from one photo. This photo was a publicity photograph that was taken for her film Niagra released in 1953.

The photograph used was one that Warhol commonly used for all his paintings of Monroe. It was distributed by her movie studio and was easy to obtain in those times. The Marilyn Diptych was completed mere weeks after the actress’s death in August 1962.

The design of the Diptych was also quite unique. Instead of there being one painting of Monroe’s face, there were 50 of them. Furthermore, the painting is divided into two halves. On the left, the artwork is colored, and on the right, it is back and white.

Many suggest that the contrast between the two sides suggests the relation between Monroe’s glamorous life and death. The Diptych has received a lot of praise for its deep meaning behind it.

Furthermore, it was also named the third most influential piece of modern art by The Guardian in 2004. You can find copies of this painting all around the world because it is a gorgeous piece of art with a pop icon on it.

Monroe, 1954 Oil on canvas

Monroe has been the inspiration behind many art pieces, and Monroe by Willen de Kooning is another one of them. This artist was Duch born, but he was residing in the US when he became fascinated with Monroe and her image.

This fascination motivated him to create a piece in which he could capture her essence on canvas. His art style and technique could be classified as Abstract Expressionism. This piece focuses on the critical aspects of Monroe that make her stand out among other people and makes her memorable.

In the painting, one can make out her defining features, such as her blonde hair, full red lips, and wide blue eyes. These features were highlights, and her red dress was also made a bit more recognizable.

The brushstrokes are fluid, which many claims represent how Monroe moved on the screen. She danced and walked in a flowy manner, which the artist captured expertly on canvas with color.


Marilyn Monroe was one of the most popular actresses during the 50s and 60s. Before that, she had some minor roles in films, and although she appeared for mere minutes, her acting was greatly praised, and many claimed that she had successfully turned herself from a model to a serious actress.

Monroe’s movies are pretty popular and are considered essential pieces of pop culture to this day. Furthermore, many have also dramatized Monroe’s life in an attempt to portray her larger-than-life character on film.


Niagara was released in 1953 and was a thriller movie directed by Henry Hathaway and produced by Charles Brackett. Alongside Monroe, Joseph Cotten, Jean Peters, and Max Showalter. It was filmed using three-strip Technicolor and was one of the biggest box-office hits of the year.

Monroe was given top billing for her role in Niagara, and she became a star. Critics praised the film heavily, and it garnered a wholly positive view. A central theme of the film was sex and its destructiveness as the main character is dressed in tight and revealing clothes and exudes sexual charms.

Apart from being a box office success, one of the publicity photos from Niagara has become insanely popular as it was used by Andy Warhol, an artist, to create the Marilyn Diptych. Therefore, the movie gained even more popularity in the later years and became a defining part of the pop culture of the 1950s.

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

The next film that Monroe starred in was an even more considerable success. This movie was Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

It was a musical comedy film based on a 1949 stage musical of the same name. The film was directed by Howard Hawks and included stars such as Elliot Reid, Tommy Noonan, Marilyn Monroe, Taylor Holmes, Norma Varden, and George Winslow.

Jack Cole did the choreography for this film, and the music was written by Hoagy Carmichael, Jule Styne, Leo Robin, and Harold Adamson. Monroe was only paid a contractual salary for this film, while the other actress earned a lot more.

The film is highly iconic, and many scenes and songs from the film are used as inspiration to this day. Some examples are Monroe’s pink dress, and her rendition of the song Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend.

Monroe’s performance in the film has inspired homages by many modern celebrities such as Madonna, Nicole Kidman, Ariana Grande, Rachel Bloom, Margot Robbie, Kylie Minogue, and Miss Piggy.

The film was a box office success and earned $5.3 million. Thus, it became the seventh highest-grossing film in 1953. Critically, the film received a lot of positive reviews. Even those who claimed to not enjoy the movie could not deny that the performances were outstanding.

How to Marry a Millionaire 

Marilyn Monroe also starred in How to Marry a Millionaire, a romantic comedy released in 1953. Jean Negulesco directed the film, and Nunnally Johnson wrote and produced it. It is based on a play called The Greeks Had a Word for It and Loco. The former was by Zoe Atkins and the latter by Katherine Albery and Dale Eunson.

The stars of the film included Lauren Bacall, Betty Grable, and Marilyn Monroe, who played three Manhattan models. Other cast members included David Wayne, William Powell, Cameron Mitchell, and Rory Calhoun.

The film was instantly successful when it was released on November 4, 1953, as it earned $8 million worldwide. Thus, it was the fourth highest-grossing film of 1953, and these figures made How to Marry a Millionaire Monroe’s most famous film to date. 


Blonde is an upcoming biographical, psychological drama that will aim to take a peek at the life of the actress Marilyn Monroe. The film is written and directed by Andrew Dominik and is adapted from a historical fiction novel by Joyce Carol Oates.

The film is expected to be a fictionalized take on the actress’ life and how she navigated her stardom. The cast includes Ana de Armas, Adrien Brody, Bobby Cannavale, etc.


Marilyn Monroe has remained an influential figure even after her death, which has become apparent with the number of movies, literature, and art surrounding her. Her movies and life remain an object of speculation and inspiration as films and books are being written about her.

Furthermore, her fashion and sense of style are also used by many designers all around the world. Therefore, Monroe remains integral to pop culture decades after her death.