One of Marilyn's own favorite
stars was Jean Harlow. Fox had planned to feature her in a Harlow biopic
following "The Prince And The Showgirl." In June, 1956, Variety
magazine announced: "Upon his return from Paris, 20th Century Fox
producer Buddy Adler took the wraps off the studio's long projected plan
to biopic Jean Harlow with Marilyn Monroe playing the late screen
Arthur Miller persuaded Marilyn
to reject the role and Fox shelved it. Ten years later Paramount was to
star Carroll Baker in "Harlow", which received a critical
bashing. Ironically, Marilyn sought a role which Baker succeeded in
getting, that of the sensuous southerner in "Baby Doll", a
film based on the play by Tennessee Williams.
Another film which Fox announced
that Marilyn would make immediately after "The Seven Year
Itch" was "The Girl On the Red Velvet Swing." Marilyn was
about to form her own company, Marilyn Monroe Productions Inc., at the
time and refused to do the picture until her old contract was
renegotiated. Fox suspended her and cast Joan Collins in the role
This was not the first time the
company had denied her such a role. Fox also had a starlet under
contract named Sheree North who they were grooming to be a rival to
Marilyn. Following the success of "How To Marry A
Millionaire", Marilyn wanted the role of Nefer-Nefer in the
big-budget epic "The Egyptian". Marlon Brando also wanted her
to star alongside him in the film (when she didn't get the part he opted
out and Edmond Purdom starred). Fox refused to give in to her and
demanded she appear in "The Girl In Pink Tights". When she
refused they announced that Sheree North would be appearing in the film.
Marilyn married Joe DeMaggio and
received such support from the public that Fox backed down and dropped
Scriptwriter Nunnally Johnson,
who'd written "How to Marry A Millionaire", wrote "How to
Be Very, Very Popular" specifically with Marilyn in mind. She
didn't like it and refused to make the film. Fox suspended her again and
put Sheree North in her place. The movie flopped.
Another Marilyn project which Fox cooked up was a remake of the Marlene
Dietrich classic "The Blue Angel", which they scheduled to
follow "The Prince and The Showgirl". By that time Marilyn had
full script approval rights and rejected it. The film was eventually
made in 1959 with Swedish actress May Britt in the leading role.
"Goodbye Charlie" had
been a popular Broadway production starring Lauren Bacall in the story
of a gangster who is killed and then reincarnated as a glamorous blonde.
Marilyn rejected the film role and it was later made with Debbie
Reynolds in the starring role.
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