Michelle Williams is creating plenty of buzz with her monumental effort to become Marilyn Monroe in the upcoming movie "My Week with Marilyn," which takes a look at a tumultuous time in the blonde bombshell's life while she worked on the movie "The Prince and the Showgirl."
Marilyn was taken from the world much too soon, and Michelle witnessed a similar tragedy firsthand when the famous father of her child died of a drug overdose. And interestingly enough, she's not Heath Ledger's only ex that's playing Marilyn Monroe in an upcoming movie -- Naomi Watts, who dated him from 2002 until 2004, will star as the actress in the fictionalized film "Blonde."
Of course every actress would be thrilled to be cast as a legend like Marilyn, but there are plenty of other celebrated stars of old Hollywood that modern-day celebs have had the honor of playing. Here's a look back at a few actresses who have transformed into Hollywood icons in biopics:
Before Christina Hendricks was playing the sexiest office worker on the small screen, this buxom blonde was making men mad as the receptionist on "WKRP in Cincinnati." After the show ended, Loni put her sex appeal (and unreal body proportions) to good use playing legendary pin-up Jayne Mansfield in "The Jayne Mansfield Story," a TV biopic that followed the also-tragic life of the Marilyn Monroe imitator. Arnold Schwarzenegger was also perfectly cast as her husband, "Mr. Universe" Mickey Hargitay. Jayne could never reach the level of success that Marilyn did during her career, but before dying in a car crash at age 34, she did leave a legacy behind with movies like "Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?," and she also gave birth to future TV star Mariska Hargitay.
This brunette beauty probably doesn't seem like the best choice to play Audrey Hepburn, but it's unlikely that Natalie Portman would have agreed to play her in the USA Network biopic "The Audrey Hepburn Story." Unsurprisingly, critics weren't impressed with Jennifer's take on the chic, waifish star of beloved movies like "Breakfast at Tiffany's," and her movie career hasn't exactly mirrored Audrey's. However, starring in TV movies has recently paid off for Jennifer -- her Lifetime movie "The Client List" was so successful that it's being turned into a TV series (the TV movie was no "Breakfast at Tiffany's," but both films do involve forms of prostitution).
This Cate transformed into The Great Kate in Martin Scorsese's Howard Hughes biopic "The Aviator." She did an excellent job capturing Katharine Hepburn's tomboyish personality and imitating her one-of-a-kind voice, and her role as one Hughes' more serious actress lovers won her the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. The movie also featured some of Hollywood's greatest glamour goddesses with Gwen Stefani playing original blonde bombshell Jean Harlow and Kate Beckinsale capturing the beauty of "The Barefoot Contessa" actress Ava Gardner.
Sultry songstress Dorothy Dandridge was the first black woman to receive a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her role as a seductress in "Carmen Jones," so who better to play her in the 1999 HBO movie "Introducing Dorothy Dandridge" than Halle? It almost seems like destiny that Halle was cast in the role that showcased the rampant racism in 1950's Hollywood -- just two years later she became the first black actress to win Best Actress at the Academy Awards.
This "Charlie's Angel" actress played American royalty in the 1983 ABC movie "Grace Kelly," and Cheryl definitely had the looks to play the part of one of the most graceful silver screen icons. The TV movie focused on the life of Princess Grace up until her fairytale wedding to Prince Rainier, but after a troubled marriage, her life ultimately did not have a happy ending -- just like fellow blonde beauty Jayne Mansfield, she perished in a tragic car accident.
Being cast as a screen legend in a big screen biopic might seem like a dream job for most actresses, but playing legendary star Joan Crawford almost killed Faye's career. However, her portrayal of Joan as a wire hanger-hating, horrible mother did help make the movie "Mommie Dearest" a campy cult classic that was almost as strange and creepy as Joan's "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?".
So do you think these actresses were excellent choices to play the Hollywood icons that they were cast as? And will Michelle or Naomi make the better Marilyn? Sound off in the comments!
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- Marilyn Monroe