Marilyn Monroe, the iconic blonde bombshell of the 20th century, remains an enigma wrapped in glitz and glamour. Her beauty, talent, and tragic life have been the subject of countless articles, books, and films. Yet, beyond the camera flashes and red carpet appearances, whispers and rumors have swirled about the more intimate aspects of her life, including her personal hygiene.
Many may be disillusioned by the answer. But the answer is yes, she had poor personal hygiene.
In Clark Gable: Tormented Star , David Bret writes about Marilyn Monroe’s non-hygienic personal habits that not many people knew about. According to Bret, she was “flatulent, dirty, and ate in bed…Like Jean Harlow, she bleached all her pubic hair and never wore panties.
Allegedly, Monroe would frequently go about her house in soiled clothes, and had huge piles of dirty dishes in her bedroom.
Her personal hygiene was allegedly so bad that it drove several of her maids to quit working for her.
In addition, she suffered from what today would be described as irritable bowel syndrome which may explain the flatulence. She rarely bathed, slept in the nude, and ate a lot in bed — shoving what was left on her plate under the sheets before going to sleep.
Baseball legend and second husband Joe DiMaggio complained that Marilyn stunk to high heavens because she would avoid bathing for days on end.
Movie star Clark Gable was revolted by the way she would lie in bed naked, gobble food and scrape the messy leftovers under her sheets for the maids to clean in the morning!
British actor Peter Lawford refused to sleep with Marilyn Monroe, because he was repulsed by her personal hygiene
For every claim about Monroe’s supposed lack of cleanliness, there are counterarguments. Close friends and confidants of the star have often come forward to defend her. Jane Russell, who co-starred with Monroe in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” described her as “very clean.”
Additionally, Monroe’s personal maid and housekeeper, Lena Pepitone, never mentioned any hygiene issues in her memoir about her time with the star.
The Bigger Picture
It’s essential to approach such claims with a critical mind. Monroe, like many celebrities, was the subject of numerous rumors throughout her life.
The nature of fame, especially during the golden age of Hollywood, meant that stars were often built up only to be torn down by the media.
Monroe’s tragic life and untimely death only intensified the public’s fascination with her, leading to a mix of fact and fiction that has become challenging to separate.