Remembering Marilyn Monroe's Stunning Pictures: 7 Photos That Capture America's Favorite Blonde

Marilyn Monroe Statue
A 26-foot tall statue of Marilyn Monroe is seen against the Chicago skyline, July 15, 2011. Reuters Pictures

Newsweek published this story under the headline “Keeping the Monroe Memories Aglow” on August 2, 1982. In light of the 55th anniversary of Marilyn Monroe's death, Newsweek is republishing the story.

She was more than The Blonde. Her allure was part erotic and part comic, quickened by an air of sad vulnerability, a combination that enraptured millions of moviegoers. Next week marks the twentieth anniversary of Marilyn Monroe's death from a drug overdose, and the devotion of her fans remains vibrant.

In a backyard garage in Long Beach, Calif., Ernie Garcia, 35, helps keep the flame alive as president of the 2,000-member Marilyn Monroe International Fan Club. A hospital clerk by day, Garcia spends his evenings answering the dozens of letters he receives every week from fans who have paid a $20 annual fee to join the club. He has assembled a collection of memorabilia that fills fourteen file-cabinet drawers and fifteen boxes, as well as an entire wall of his office. "She was like a combination of Daisy Mae and Cinderella," Garcia reflects. "And she was always nice enough and fragile enough that you thought she would feel honored if you approached her."

Flowers: The legion of Marilyn's admirers hungers for tangible reminders of her life. At a Sotheby's auction last year in London, a Texan bid $1,040 for a beaded evening bag, a pair of long white gloves and a pink mesh bra that had belonged to the actress. A strapless evening gown went for $1,900, a costume from "Bus Stop" for $836. Fans hope that a brand-new item will soon become available: the U.S. Postal Service is considering their request for a commemorative stamp. On Aug. 5, dozens of Marilyn devotees will attend a memorial service at the Westwood, Calif., cemetery that houses her crypt. But Monroe's biggest fan may be ex-husband Joe DiMaggio: the former Yankee slugger, who was divorced from Marilyn in 1954 and never remarried, still sends flowers to her grave every week.

RTXUS0O A visitor looks at the picture 'Marilyn Monroe, Actress, New York City, May 6, 1957' by photographer Richard Avedon (1923-2004) displayed at Christie's auction house in Paris November 18, 2010. Reuters

RTXVI4M A photograph of former U.S. President John F. Kennedy (3rd L) turning away from the camera as his picture is taken next to actress Marilyn Monroe (2nd L) and his brother Robert Kennedy (L) at a Democratic Fundraiser in New York City is on display before an upcoming Bonhams auction in New York, December 7, 2010. Reuters

RTRF2DY An employee of Butterfields auction house displays March 1, 2001 a copy of Tom Kelley Studios' model release signed by Marilyn Monroe in front of a photograph of Monroe taken by Tom Kelley during a Hollywood photo shoot in 1949, which will be sold at auction March 22 in Los Angeles and via the Internet. Reuters