Yesterday would have been Marilyn Monroe’s 90th birthday. Despite her tragic passing nearly 54 years ago in 1962, her status as a Hollywood icon endures. Her look, her voice, and her work continues to be recreated in pop culture.
Most known for her numerous silver screen films like The Seven Year Itch, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and Some Like it Hot, she was less known for her television work. She starred in a very few TV commercials and fewer TV shows. In 1953, she made a guest appearance on the “Jack Benny Show.” She supposedly did not like unpredictability of live television, preferring studio work instead.
However, back in 1950, she appeared in a TV commercial for Royal Triton Oil. In the black and white spot, Marilyn runs out of gas in her car and with help of some strong (and adoring) men, she rolls into a gas station. She asks the gas attendant in her signature breathy voice to fill her car, named “Cynthia” with Royal Triton.
The Royal Triton spot may have been one of the few TV commercials Marilyn starred in during her lifetime, but she’s certainly made an impact in television and advertising.
In the last few years, she’s seen a resurgence in popularity. In the 2001 musical film Moulin Rouge, Nicole Kidman recreated the famous “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” scene from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. A number of brands have also released products inspired by Marilyn. In 2012, MAC cosmetics debuted a range of Marilyn-inspired makeup, and in 2013, Macy’s debuted a range of junior’s clothing inspired by the blond bombshell.
In the ‘60s, Marilyn famously declared “What do I wear to bed? Why, Chanel No. 5, of course.” The quote rocketed the Chanel perfume to the top, as one of the most coveted perfumes of the age. Recently in 2013, Chanel seized on the opportunity to feature the classic icon for their equally classic perfume brand. The French brand released a Chanel No. 5 campaign featuring Marilyn using archived footage and newly-discovered recordings.
Even more recently, for the 2016 Super Bowl, William Dafoe plays a grumpy, hangry Marilyn in a hilarious Snickers spot. In the spot, Marilyn (Dafoe) is very unhappy while shooting the famous flying skirt scene in The Seven Year Itch. After given a Snickers bar, Dafoe transforms back to the sweet and beautiful Marilyn.
This week, the world may remember the famous icon on her 90th birthday, but it’s clear that Marilyn Monroe is still as relevant as ever.