The story behind this 1951 photoshoot appears to be contested. Some say it was a response to a journalist who criticized Monroe’s less-than-modest clothing, calling her “cheap” and “vulgar,” and saying she’d be better suited to a potato sack. Another, more complimentary version says the pictures were inspired by a comment that Monroe could make even a potato sack look good. Either way, it’s an endearingly defiant move on her part—eschewing her obvious bombshell typecasting to do something funny and kind of trashy. I can’t help but think John Waters would approve.
The pictures inspired an Idaho potato farmer to send her a whole sack of precious spuds, but Monroe never got to enjoy them, saying “There was a potato shortage on then, and the boys in publicity stole them all. I never saw one. It just goes to show why I always ask, ‘Can you trust a publicity man or can’t you?’ ”
Lines like that remind me of Monroe’s underappreciated wit and natural comedic talent, so I threw in an art-imitates-life clip from her role in the 1950 Bette Davis classic, All About Eve. It was a brief but memorable part very early in her career. She plays an aspiring actress—a wily girl with an ingenue’s disarming mannerisms—and she gets in some perfect one-liners on the self-importance of actors and boorishness of the industry.
H/T: Messy Nessy Chic