Playboy magazine has a great holiday present for Marilyn fans: The Nude Marilyn, a special package (including the cover) with a portfolio of photographs snapped at both the beginning and end of her career, showcasing classic nude photos from her first days as a pin up girl and with editorials by Roger Ebert and Kim Morgan, recollections from Hugh Hefner and a John Updike excerpt.
The very first issue of Playboy featured Marilyn as the cover girl, so it’s fitting that this package begins with the shot that started it all: the famous photograph by Tom Kelley, with Marilyn on red velvet cloth, which was purchased by Hugh Hefner and went a long way to the successful start of Hefner’s new magazine. The portfolio ends with Marilyn ditching her swimming suit on the set of the ill-fated “Something’s Got to Give.”
“By exuding that sense of control, she gave us permission to be invulnerable too,” Ebert writes in the issue. “We could admire her and not be made to feel complicit in something shameful or sinful. Nudity was natural and beautiful.” It legitimized nudity by embodying it in arguably the most famous woman in America.
“She was most in control when she was in the nude,” Hefner writes. “What would be a position of vulnerability for others was a position of power for her.”
The issue hits newsstands and i.Playboy.com Tuesday, November 20; you can get a sneak peek at www.playboy.com/marilynmonroe.