Ben Lyon is the Fox exec who is most responsible for choosing the name Marilyn Monroe. It was not the only one on the table. Other names like Meredith were being mulled, but Lyon liked Marilyn, a name of a Broadway star who happened to be his love interest. The two blondes also resembled each other.
“Monroe” was suggested by the starlet. An autographed photo of Marilyn Monroe and Ben Lyon together serves as proof that he was the architect of her stage name. It reads, “Dear Ben, You found me, named me, and believed in me when no one else did.”
‘Jim Was a Good Husband’
Jim Daugherty talked about Norma Jeane as his wife in an interview clip in “The Legend of Marilyn Monroe.” He said she was a good housekeeper and that their place was always neat and tidy. He recalled that she liked to serve peas and carrots together, not for the flavor so much, but for how they looked on a plate.
They got along well, yet according to Norma Jeane, they had little in common. In one interview she said they didn’t speak much because they had nothing to say. But looking back, she said, “Jim was a good husband. He never hurt me.”
A New Life and a New Name
Soon Norma Jeane soon said goodbye to both Mortenson and Baker and left both of those names behind. Darryl F. Zanuck, head exec at Twentieth Century Fox requested, as a contract condition, to change her name. She chose a new moniker and sealed the deal in 1946.
She chose the surname Monroe from her maternal grandmother and Marilyn from Broadway actress Marilyn Miller. It became her permanent name in 1956. She would later complain that Hollywood took her name and repackaged her identity.
Norma Jeane Lightened Her Hair Reluctantly, at First
Emmeline Snively, head of Blue Book Modeling Agency, wanted to tweak Norma Jeane’s appearance. Snively noted the 19-year-old’s blue eyes and perfect teeth but called her a California blonde. The expression meant that she was light in the summer and darker in the winter. She called her curls frizzy and unmanageable. Snively said the girl would never do as a fashion model.
In her opinion, fashion models were tall, sophisticated-looking, and slim-chested. Marilyn was none of these. She requested the young model to lighten and change her hair, but Marilyn refused. Finally, she agreed when a shampoo company said they would only shoot her as a blonde.
The Origin of the Trademark Platinum
It’s no secret that Marline was naturally brunette. Her spellbinding beauty included a stunning pile of thick, beautiful tresses that any modern-day girl would envy. However, at the suggestion of Emmeline Snively, Monroe was convinced and changed her looks. Ms. Snively recommended she lighten it to reddish-brown for a better photography result and to pull out the unruly curls. She added that she must do it if she wanted to make it in Hollywood, which was Marilyn's dream.
And so, Snively sent her to celebrity stylist Sylvia Barnhart at the renowned Frank & Joseph’s Beauty Salon. This turned into a never-ending hair-lightening relationship.