5 most memorable Marilyn Monroe performances
FILE - In this 1959 file photo provided by United Artists, Tony Curtis, left, and Marilyn Monroe are shown in the hilarious, milestone comedy, "Some Like It Hot," produced, directed, and co-scripted by Billy Wilder. (AP Photo, File)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — There is the well-honed Marilyn Monroe screen persona — the breathy, girlish voice, the glamorous curves and the flirty sex appeal — and then there are the films that allowed her to stretch, or at least allowed her to try. A devout Method actress, Monroe took her craft seriously, dug deep in search of motivation and worked harder than her effortless screen presence would suggest. For a while, that is, until her demons took over.
FILE - In this 1953 publicity file photo provided by Running Press, Marilyn Monroe is shown on set in the film, "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes." Monroe is probably best remembered for her comic turns in this film. The picture is included in a new 2012 book, "Marilyn in Fashion," published by Running Press. (AP Photo/Courtesy Running Press)
On the 50th anniversary of her death, here's a look at five of her most memorable film performances, the ones that stand out over her prolific but sadly short career:
— "Some Like It Hot" (1959): This was the first title that came to mind when I began pondering this list. Maybe because it's the best film she was ever in — the Billy Wilder classic is listed as the greatest comedy ever by the American Film Institute — but also, the role of Sugar Kane Kowalczyk is just so quintessentially "her." Monroe is totally magnetic, with innocence and sexuality in equal measure. As the lead singer of an all-girl orchestra, she gets to sing, dance, play the ukulele and show off her comic timing. Monroe finds a tricky balance between her otherworldly looks and a down-to earth charm, and plays beautifully off Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis.