Stars Who Have Played Marilyn Monroe Through the Years

From Michelle Williams to Ana de Armas, look back at all the actresses who have played the late Marilyn Monroe on TV and in film over the years 

01 of 16

Misty Rowe

GOODBYE, NORMA JEAN
Mary Evans/Ronald Grant/Everett Collection

In 1976, Rowe played a young Marilyn Monroe in Goodbye, Norma Jean.

02 of 16

Paula Lane

Goodnight, Sweet Marilyn
Off Hollywood Video/Photofest

Lane starred as Monroe in the 1989 movie Goodnight, Sweet Marilyn. The film was a follow-up to the 1976 film Goodbye, Norma Jean.

03 of 16

Catherine Hicks

MARILYN: THE UNTOLD STORY, Catherine Hicks
Courtesy Everett Collection

Hicks played Monroe at various stages of her life in the TV movie, Marilyn: The Untold Story, in 1980.

04 of 16

Theresa Russell

'Insignificance' Films Marilyn Monroe played by Theresa Russell
ITV/Shutterstock

Russell stepping into Monroe's shoes — well, heels — when she played her in the 1985 British film, Insignificance.

05 of 16

Susan Griffiths

MARILYN AND ME, Susan Griffiths
Courtesy Everett Collection

In 1991, Griffiths — who has been impersonating Monroe in movies, advertisements and TV shows for decades — got the chance to play the actress in the TV movie Marilyn and Me.

06 of 16

Barbara Niven

The Rat Pack - Barbara Niven
Hbo/Original Film/Kobal/Shutterstock

Niven starred as the screen siren in The Rat Pack in 1998.

07 of 16

Melody Anderson

Melody Anderson Marilyn & Bobby - Her Final Affair
Barry Weitz/The Auerbach Company/Kobal/Shutterstock

Anderson played the blonde bombshell in the 1993 TV movie, Marilyn & Bobby: Her Final Affair, which was a fictional account of the alleged affair between Monroe and Robert F. Kennedy.

08 of 16

Ashley Judd

Norma Jean and Marilyn - Ashley Judd
HBO/Kobal/Shutterstock

Judd starred as Monroe before she found fame, when she was Norma Jean Baker, in the 1996 HBO original movie Norma Jean and Marilyn.

09 of 16

Mira Sorvino

Norma Jean and Marilyn
HBO/Kobal/Shutterstock

Opposite Judd, Sorvino also starred as Monroe in Norma Jean and Marilyn, channeling the famous actress after she turned herself into a superstar.

10 of 16

Poppy Montgomery

BLONDE, Poppy Montgomery
Joe Pugliese/TV Guide/courtesy Everett Collection

The Australian actress took her turn as Monroe in the 2001 miniseries Blonde.

She told Entertainment Weekly, "When I told my mother I got the part of Marilyn Monroe, she didn't even bat an eyelash. She said, 'Well, you've been rehearsing for it your whole life.' "

11 of 16

Charlotte Sullivan

The Kennedys - 2011Charlotte Sullivan

In 2011, Sullivan appeared in one episode of the eight-episode miniseries The Kennedys as the blonde bombshell and performed Monroe's infamous "Happy Birthday" to President Kennedy at his 45th birthday.

12 of 16

Michelle Williams

My Week With Marilyn - Michelle Williams
BBC Films/Kobal/Shutterstock

Williams transformed into Monroe for the 2011 film My Week with Marilyn. Williams won a Golden Globe Award for her portrayal of Monroe and was nominated for an Academy Award.

Williams told The Hollywood Reporter of portraying Monroe authentically, "For me, the most crucial discovery — the flash — was that the widely accepted image of Marilyn Monroe was a character that Norma Jean played."

She added, "Unless you study her and understand her a bit better than the commonly accepted view, one could miss who she was underneath that. Marilyn was a part she played."

13 of 16

Uma Thurman, Katharine McPhee and Megan Hilty

Uma Thurman; Katharine McPhee; Megan Hilty
Will Hart/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images; Mark Seliger/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images (2)

In 2012, the three actresses each took their turn as Monroe in Smash, a series about the staging of a fictional Marilyn Monroe musical, appropriately named Bombshell.

14 of 16

Blake Lively

Blake Lively Marilyn Monroe
Giovanni Rufino/The CW

Lively briefly channeled Monroe for a dream sequence in the 100th episode of Gossip Girl in 2012, donning Monroe's iconic hot pink outfit and lip-syncing "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend."

15 of 16

Kelli Garner

The Secret Life Of Marilyn Monroe
Moviestore/Shutterstock

Garner played Monroe in the 2015 miniseries, The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe. Garner told Today that she was "extremely apprehensive" to take on the role. "It's Marilyn Monroe, you know? Those are really, really big shoes. And I wasn't sure if I could pull it off."

16 of 16

Ana de Armas

Blonde. Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe.
Ana de Armas in Blonde (2022). Netflix

de Armas is the latest actress to step into Monroe's shoes; she stars as the late actress in the upcoming film Blonde.

The Knives Out actress told The Sunday Times that it was hard work perfecting Monroe's signature breathy voice.

"I tried!" de Armas said. "It only took me nine months of dialect coaching, and practicing, and some ADR sessions."

"It was a big torture, so exhausting. My brain was fried," she added.

Related Articles