June 1st, 2009
07:20 PM ET

Unpublished photos of Marilyn Monroe surface

A 24-year-old Marilyn Monroe poses for Life magazine in August 1950.

A 24-year-old Marilyn Monroe poses for Life magazine in August 1950.

Stephanie Chen

They were taken before Marilyn Monroe became branded as the voluptuous blonde who oozed sex appeal in dozens of Hollywood films.

They were taken before rumors of an affair with President John F. Kennedy swirled and her mental breakdowns became public.

They were taken before the beautiful actress's mysterious overdose that resulted in her death at the age of 36.

In a collection discovered by Life.com last month, unpublished photographs of Monroe reveal a softer, more innocent 24-year-old budding starlet in a more peaceful time, before her fame peaked.

Her flawless face bears a natural look with minimal makeup, unusual for the star, who was often glamorized in photo shoots with lipstick, designer dresses and expensive jewelry.

Monday would have been Monroe's 83rd birthday.

In one photo, the young Monroe lies in bliss, reading on a park bench, which editors at Life.com believe was shot at Griffith Park in Los Angeles, California. In another, her face is serene as she is perched over a bridge barefoot. The shoot, which dates to 1950, was conducted by Life photographer Ed Clark.

It's a side of Monroe that the American public has rarely seen.

"She hasn't really exploded as a star, yet she was on the brink of something big," says Dawnie Walton, deputy editor at Life.com, a Web site harboring more than 7 million Life magazine photographs. The site was launched in March.


Filed under: 360° Radar
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Martina Ilstad Germany

    This pictures shows how beautiful she was.Here natural look and here open living eyes.Here you can see what Hollywood can destruct.

    June 2, 2009 at 8:28 am |
  2. Caroline K

    These are beautiful photos of Marilyn! Thank you Time for sharing. She was so photogenic and they are so tastefully done. Her legacy lives on....

    June 1, 2009 at 11:37 pm |
  3. elisha

    she looks like a beautiful barbie doll. its sad that she died early in life.

    June 1, 2009 at 10:48 pm |
  4. Roger S

    Pretty amazing that pics still surface considering how long ago it was since she was murd...ehm took an overdose. L (Just kidding. I am pretty sure she was taking an overdose by mistake and nothing else... )
    One might wonder what her life would have been like if she hadn't died. How long would she have lasted before becoming a hasbeen or a Lauren Bacall type actress ( bunch of several small parts in various movies..) Anyways enough rambling...
    I tip my hat to you Ms Monroe wherever you are...

    June 1, 2009 at 10:23 pm |
  5. Isabel, Brazil

    The most mysterious, beautiful and legendary woman of the history of cinema

    June 1, 2009 at 9:11 pm |
  6. Joanne Osinkowski Ontario Canada

    She will remain the most popular bomb shell the world has ever been previ to.

    June 1, 2009 at 9:00 pm |
  7. Annie Kate

    Amazing pictures. She looks so innocent in these pictures without all the makeup and stress that came afterwards when she "made it". She looks happier in these pictures – too bad it didn't last for her. Thanks for posting about the pictures.

    June 1, 2009 at 8:44 pm |
  8. niall higgins


    June 1, 2009 at 8:44 pm |
  9. DaniSu

    she is, was and always will be an angel.
    Melbourne, Australia

    June 1, 2009 at 8:44 pm |
  10. Boo Boo Romero

    She was so beautiful and famous it ruined her. She will always be remembered at that age...Did anyone try age enhancing her to see what she would have looked like?

    June 1, 2009 at 8:11 pm |
  11. Lucretia Pitre

    Awwweee.... Priceless! She is and will alwyas be such a beautiful woman. She is truly missed... I have tons of her pictures all over my house by not this one... How can i get a copy of this picture?

    June 1, 2009 at 7:52 pm |