Andy Warhol, who knew and helped immortalize Marilyn Monroe, famously quipped that in the future everyone will be famous for 15 minutes. Today, it seems like everyone famous gets to be Marilyn for about the same amount of time.
That’s Michelle Williams above, in a terrific new lingerie photoshoot for GQ that will surely add some momentum to the Oscar buzz surrounding her standout performance in My Week With Marilyn.
In the shoot, which you can see here, Michelle models pieces from Eres, Myla, La Perla, Agent Provocateur and Stella McCartney. But this spread is not about the lingerie; like all things related to Marilyn, the details are dwarfed by the overwhelming power of the illusion and our all-too-willing suspension of disbelief.
Many, many actresses, models and other wannabes have pursued the same risky path as Williams by mimicking Marilyn in print ads, magazine editorials and sometimes just for fun. In fact, Marilyn’s well-documented life produced so many enduring iconic poses that recreating them has become an odd rite of passage for young starlets who grew up in her long shadow and who can’t help but want to feel the golden glow of her adoring spotlight.
Obviously, the lure of doing a Marilyn cover is just as irresistible as the woman herself.
Below we’ve assembled a gallery of some Marilyn-inspired photoshoots featuring celebrities who are all quite accomplished in their day jobs and probably didn’t need the work.
It’s a curious assortment and the results are mixed, ranging from the note-perfect interpretations from stars such as ScarJo and Nicole Kidman to the ominous portrait of Anna Nicole Smith, who was probably the contemporary celebrity who came closest to aping Marilyn in both life and death.
Who does the best Marilyn? That’s a subject for a long debate, but here’s something to look for: the best actresses in this gallery also seem to do the most convincing impersonations. Which is also another reason to put your money on Michelle Williams come Oscar time.