When Marilyn Monroe died on Aug. 5, 1962, she left behind a series of contradictions. The actress panicked easily, but basked in public attention. She was sometimes troubled by her status as a sex symbol, yet she was willing to profit from it. It was a see-saw life, as TIME’s obituary for the Hollywood icon made clear:
She had always been late for everything, but her truancy was never heedlessness. Beset by self-doubt and hints of illness, she would stay alone, missing appointments, keeping whole casts waiting in vain. In the past year, her tardiness was measured in weeks instead of hours. In 32 days on the set of Something’s Got to Give, she showed up only 12 times, made only 7 ½ usable minutes of film. When fired from the picture, she sent telegrams of regrets to all the grips on the lot.
…She seemed euphonic and cheerful…
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