(June 1, 1926 – August 4, 1962) was an American actress who appeared in 29 films between 1946 and 1961. After a brief career in modeling she signed short-term film contracts, first with 20th Century Fox
, then Columbia Pictures
, and appeared in minor roles for the first few years of her career. In 1950, she made minor appearances in two critically acclaimed films, The Asphalt Jungle
and All About Eve
. The parts in the two films were against many of the roles into which she was typecast, that of the dumb blonde
. Margot A. Henriksen, her biographer with the American National Biography
, considers the typecast "an unfair stereotype that bothered her throughout her career".
Her major breakthrough came in 1953, when she starred in three pictures: the film noir Niagara
, and the comedies Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
and How to Marry a Millionaire
. Sarah Churchwell, Monroe's biographer, notes that "unconscious, rather than conscious, sexuality would become the Marilyn hallmark after 1953", and the actress became one of the most popular and recognizable people in America. In 1955 Monroe appeared in the Billy Wilder
–directed comedy The Seven Year Itch
, in which she becomes the object of her married neighbor's sexual fantasies. In it, Monroe stands on a subway grate with the air blowing up the skirt of her white dress
; it became the most famous scene of her career. (Full article...