We've frequently examined Carole Lombard as a feminist before her time, a quality she almost certainly inherited from her mother (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/332743.html, http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/157005.html). But Lombard wasn't the only actress or celebrity to embrace feminism -- one can look back to the earliest silent stars such as Florence Lawrence and Mary Pickford for examples.
The same can be said of another actress who these days is remembered more as an icon (or posthumous commercial commodity) than as a feminist pioneer...Marilyn Monroe.
Above is a publicity still from 1955's "The Seven Year Itch," where Monroe played a character simply known as "The Girl." That's also the title of an upcoming book (set to be published next spring) from Marilyn expert Michelle Morgan. Last year, she released the long-awaited Lombard bio "Carole Lombard: Twentieth-Century Star," a book I not only aided in research for, but was one of two people it was dedicated to (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/856129.html). Here's the cover of the Monroe book:
Too often Marilyn is categorized as a "dumb blonde," and given the circumstances of her upbringing, it's easy to jump to such simplistic conclusions. But her tumultuous life in the mid-1950s is an ideal topic for Morgan, the rare Monroe biographer who emphasizes her subject's humanity. In announcing the project, the author added:
"The Girl," titled after her character in "The Seven Year Itch," tells the story of how that film transformed Marilyn Monroe from another Hollywood star into "The Girl" of modern times -- a true icon -- and sent her on an unparalleled adventure of self-discovery and reflection.
Lombard is rarely seen as an influence on Marilyn, though I'm certain she appreciated Carole's work. Jean Harlow, certainly regularly cited in that vein, was indeed a feminist (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/456775.html). So I'll be intrigued to learn how icons of Monroe's youth helped shape her. (There's a lot to admire about Marilyn, among them that she pressured the Mocambo nightclub in what is now known as West Hollywood to sign her longtime friend Ella Fitzgerald to a contract in 1955, breaking the club's color bar.)
You can pre-order "The Girl" via Amazon, https://www.amazon.com/Girl-Marilyn-Monroe-Unlikely-Feminist/dp/0762490594/ref=redir_mobile_desktop?_encoding=UTF8&keywords=michelle%20morgan%20marilyn%20monroe&pi=CB192198896_AA75_QL70&qid=1504788082&ref_=mp_s_a_1_7&sr=8-7.