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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Specht

Marilyn Monroe Graces Playboy's Centerfold on this Day in 1953

In 1953 Hugh Hefner published the first edition of Playboy featuring Marilyn Monroe as the magazine's first centerfold. Although Monroe had already appeared in minor roles in a few prestigious films such as The Asphalt Jungle and All About Eve, and had featured parts in other notable films like Clash by Night and Don't Bother to Knock, she had yet to truly make her break through into cinema stardom until 1953. The same year the vivacious blonde appeared in the inaugural issue of Playboy Magazine she also made a splash in Niagara, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and How to Marry a Millionaire. The stage was set for a mega-star to be born in an era that longed for sex, but in the most innocent way/package as possible.

In 1953 Monroe appeared as a co-star in three films including Niagara, How to Marry a Millionaire and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, which launched her as a sex symbol superstar. She was now a genuine box-office drawing card. Although her co-stars often got the rave reviews, it was the sight of Marilyn that really excited the audiences, especially the male members.

The famous nude photo of Monroe was taken by Tom Kelley. It originally appeared as an anonymous picture on a calendar entitled "Miss Golden Dreams." In 1952, a blackmailer threatened to identify the model as Monroe, but Marilyn shrewdly thwarted the scheme by announcing the fact herself. Hugh Hefner then bought the rights to use the photo for $500. Monroe then became "The Sweetheart of the Month" in the first issue of Hefner's magazine, Playboy. Neither Kelley nor Monroe ever saw a dime of the millions the calendar eventually made.

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