The Movies Made Her a Star. Television Made Her a Legend.

Today, most of us are familiar with Marilyn Monroe because we have seen her movies on television. The irony is that Marilyn virtually snubbed TV. In total, she appeared a scant three times.

In her lifetime she was regarded as too big, too important for television; a medium then in its technical and commercial infancy. Audiences in the 1950s were accustomed to seeing their Marilyn over 20 feet tall and in colour on the Big Silver Screen. A crude, foot square, B &W picture tube seemed to dwarf the bigger than life sex appeal of this movie goddess.

The constant showing of her films on television, and video, have added a finely-hued patina to the myth known as Marilyn. It should be remembered that the very first TV broadcast of a “recent” Hollywood movie came in 1961. That movie was Marilyn’s “How to Marry a Millionaire”. It scored such high ratings that the landscape of TV changed forever. From then on, the networks would vie for newer films from Tinseltown as opposed to the B&W films of the 30s and 40s that had been their standard fare to that point.

Following her untimely and mysterious death in 1962, there have been countless television documentaries that continue to perpetuate Marilyn’s Monroe’s undying legend.


Magnavox MV116J

1957, USA

Marilyn Monroe’s personal TV set was purchased by the MZTV Museum of Television at Christie’s (N.Y.) auction entitled “The Personal Property of Marilyn Monroe”, October 28, 1999. The stylish copper-finished cabinet, black and white picture tube and dusty chassis remain in original working condition.


Marilyn Monroe’s Second Television Appearance 

After the film “All About Eve” brought her fame, Marilyn appeared on the highly rated “The Jack Benny Show” on CBS. This would mark her only real acting appearance on TV. Marilyn turned what could have been a pale parody into a deft comic invention by playing the stereotypical “dumb blonde”.


MZTV Museum of Television (at The ZoomerPlex) 64 Jefferson Avenue Toronto, Ontario, Canada M6K 1Y4

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