Marilyn Monroe was disgusted when she read the script for the comedy Some Like It Hot in 1959. The thirty-three-year-old Connecticut resident had left Hollywood partly because she had grown tired of stereotypical dumb blonde roles. Now they wanted her to appear as someone too dense to realize that Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis were disguised as women. Even she had never pretended to be that stupid. Still, Marilyn needed the money. Her acting coach, Lee Strasberg, reminded Monroe that she usually hadn’t been close with other ladies. Marilyn should play her character as someone who yearned for female companionship so much that she did not notice her new friends’ more masculine attributes. Armed with her teacher’s advice, the bombshell unhappily returned to Los Angeles. Though she was resented by her co-workers for constantly being late and blowing her lines, movie audiences totally fell for Marilyn’s sweet and sincere comic performance.
Extra: Thirty-four-year-old actors Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon (1925-2001) sometimes suffered in silent agony on the set of Some Like It Hot. Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962) often took multiple takes to get her lines right, while her dressed-in-drag male co-stars were forced to stand for hours in their uncomfortable high-heeled shoes.
Extra: In one Some Like It Hot sequence, Marilyn’s only line was, “It’s me, Sugar.” It took her sixty-five takes. In between camera setups, the frustrated director, Billy Wilder (1906-2002), tried to calm his leading lady down. “Don’t worry, Marilyn.” “Worry about what?” she replied. Later, the blonde, who was very shrewd about her comic abilities, told friends that she functioned as her own director. Once Monroe thought all the elements in a scene were correct, she delivered her dialogue perfectly.