Marilyn Monroe Quotes: Beneath the Stereotype

Marilyn Monroe was one of the most famous movie icons and sex symbols that the world has ever seen. She was also just a girl in pursuit of love and happiness. This is a collection of the most inspirational Marilyn Monroe quotes.

With her legendary hourglass figure, signature beauty mark on her cheek and blonde bombshell hairstyle, Marilyn Monroe successfully carried off a heady mix of pure platinum Hollywood glamor with an almost childlike vulnerability. These were the qualities which made her loved and adored by millions across the globe.

But Marilyn was no fool and although her life was relatively short and tragic, she remains an inspiration to this day.

Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.”

Marilyn had her fair share of all of the above in her relatively short but remarkable life and to say that Marilyn’s upbringing was troublesome would be an understatement. According to her birth certificate, Marilyn Monroe was born Norma Jeane Mortenson to Gladys Pearl Baker and Martin Edward Mortenson on June 1, 1926. Marilyn always denied that Mortensen (who had left before she was born) was her biological father and stated that she never knew her real father.

Sadly, due to her mother’s unstable mental and financial condition Marilyn was to be brought up by a plethora of foster parents and guardians.

In her formative years Marilyn was moved from pillar to post and later subject to abuse. Some believe that her personal troubles in later life stemmed from unresolved issues from her childhood, and her vulnerability and insecurities were no doubt buoyed on from a lack of stability and love from an early age.

Even her first marriage to local boy James Dougherty at the age of 16 was arranged. Her guardians at the time were relocating and decided they did not want to take Marilyn with them, to save her having to go back into an orphanage Marilyn was wed to Dougherty, her High School sweetheart.

I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.”


This is Marilyn wearing her heart on her sleeve. She is not making excuses for her behavior, but she is acknowledging who she is, warts n all. She is admitting that she is vulnerable and makes mistakes just like everyone else, and if you cannot handle her bad points, then you don’t deserve her good points either. I think this is a good rule of thumb for every woman. We don’t have to strive to be an image of someone else’s perfection, and in fact it is our imperfections and vulnerability which make us beautiful.

I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they’re right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”

Many things fell apart for Marilyn, despite being an enormous success and an iconic sex symbol and famous movie star, her personal life was far from perfect. She was married three times in her life firstly to James Dougherty, then to baseball star Joe DiMaggio and finally to playwright Arthur Miller.

Unfortunately none of her marriages were to last and with Miller she suffered two miscarriages and one ectopic pregnancy. This statement is a sign of Marilyn trusting in the universe that at the end of the day, things would fall together and be okay. Marilyn was a great optimist and loved life, and no matter what happened, she got back up and carried on.

I am good, but not an angel. I do sin, but I am not the devil. I am just a small girl in a big world trying to find someone to love.”

Wise words from the little girl named Norma who nobody wanted who was transformed into the movie icon called Marilyn who everyone wanted a piece of.

Marilyn knew far too well her own shortcomings, and was probably quite hard on herself; however she was just a small girl looking for love in a tinsel town make-believe world where nothing was as it first appeared. Marilyn recognized and learned from an early age that no man (or woman) is an island, we all need love.

We should all start to live before we get too old. Fear is stupid. So are regrets.”

Many of us don’t do the things we want to do because we don’t think we are worthy or we live in fear of what may or may not happen. That ’one day in the future’ where we plan to do something comes and goes and before we know it we missed the opportunity. Marilyn knew only too well that life is too short for regrets or being afraid.

If I’d observed all the rules I’d never have got anywhere.”


Marilyn was certainly a rule breaker and at one time or another we all need to break some rules or ‘break the mold’ to enable us to be who we truly are rather than being tied down by convention or societal norms. Marilyn knew she had to break some rules and conventions to get where she wanted to be in life.

I don’t mind living in a man’s world, as long as I can be a woman in it.”

During her film career Marilyn made 29 films and although her early film appearances were minor, it was her performances in films such as The Asphalt Jungle, All About Eve and then a lead in the 1953 film Niagara which drew attention.

In later films such as Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), How to Marry a Millionaire (1953) and The Seven Year Itch (1955) Marilyn’s roles were typecast as a ditzy blonde and Marilyn was keen to break out of this stereotype. It would appear that the ideal of who Marilyn was in her public life, also bled into her private life and she was often found lamenting about the fact that men often saw her as something she was not.

She also did not like the way she was treated by Hollywood who she believed treated her like a piece of property rather than a human being.

Her later performances in films such as The Prince and the Showgirl (1957), won her some critical acclaim and she received a Golden Globe Award for her performance in Some Like It Hot (1959).

But Monroe was not to achieve the critical acclaim she sought until her last completed film The Misfits. And much of this would be posthumously.

The Misfits co-starred Clark Gable and the screenplay was written by her then-husband, Arthur Miller. Unfortunately the film took its toll on almost everyone involved, with Marilyn frequently too ill to perform. It was also to be Clark Gable’s last film as he suffered a heart attack shortly thereafter.

Many people feel that the character Monroe played in this film was as close as you got to the real Marilyn.

Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition.”

In addition to her stunning beauty Monroe had an impressive IQ and scored 33 points higher than the national average at the time. She also loved to read and learn new things. However the stereotype of being a dumb blonde that she portrayed in some of her movies never really left her during her lifetime.

Fortunately Marilyn had learned to adapt from a young age and used her femininity and sex appeal as her tools to get ahead in life at a time when it was still very much a man’s world.

This quote is not a statement of misandry, but a call for women to stand up for themselves and shoot for the stars.

To all the girls that think you’re fat because you’re not a size zero, you’re the beautiful one, its society who’s ugly.”


Much has been made of Marilyn’s hourglass figure and there has been plenty of speculation about her true dress size with many variants from a size 12 to a size 16. Since the 1950’s dress sizes have changed and there is no doubt that Marilyn’s figure was anything but average, now or then.

The fact of the matter is that Marilyn had oodles of sex appeal that she could literally turn on and off at the flick of a switch. She would often say that people didn’t recognize her in public unless she switched ‘Marilyn’ on. With this quote she is saying anyone can be beautiful, don’t let society tell you who you should be or what size, it’s all about being healthy and happy. It’s about being you.

I want to grow old without facelifts… I want to have the courage to be loyal to the face I’ve made. Sometimes I think it would be easier to avoid old age, to die young, but then you’d never complete your life, would you? You’d never wholly know you.”

It is a tragedy that Marilyn never got to know her older self. But I think in a way, she was one of the few people who really did understand herself. Marilyn was a warrior with a beautiful spirit on a seemingly endless search for love. She will always be cherished and remembered as one of the most beautiful women who ever graced the silver screen. She was a star the likes of which will never be seen again.

Unfortunately her final years had been dogged by illness and personal problems which she dulled by abusing alcohol and sleeping pills.

On August 5 1962, 36 year old Marilyn Monroe was found dead at her home in Brentwood, California from an overdose of barbiturates. Monroe’s death was marked “probable suicide” and the case closed but even to this day has been the subject of much conjecture.

The irony is that Marilyn was consumed by the world which adored her. You could say that love killed Marilyn Monroe.

Whatever was the true cause of her death, one thing is for sure, a shining light went out in the world on the day she passed away.

I leave you with the words of the blonde bombshell herself.

Keep smiling, because life is a beautiful thing and there’s so much to smile about.”

Tell us your favorite Marilyn Monroe quotes!


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About the author

Eleanor Goold

As well as being an avid reader, Eleanor is also a big time animal lover; especially of dogs. If you have a tail, four legs and you bark…. you’re in! In her spare time she enjoys swimming, and vegetable gardening… but not at the same time (it can get a bit messy).

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