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The Story Behind Marilyn Monroe’s Nude Photos

These photos provoked a scandal.

Sex, back in the 40s, used to be considered quite a taboo subject in Los Angeles. Nudity wasn’t glorified and sought to fill the headlines, it wasn’t accessible and as close-at-hand as it is today.

During the 1940s and ‘50s, LA actors used to sign morality agreements, and nude imagery could majorly harm their career. Young Marilyn feared the risk of such backlash, so she decided to sign the model release form with “Mona Monroe” in order to conceal her identity.



When Monroe met the photographer responsible for the iconic pictures, Tom Kelley, she was reportedly late with her rent payments and had her car in repossession. According to the story, the actress didn’t agree to do the photos instantly, she mulled over the idea of posing nude for two days before she finally agreed to go through with it. May 27, 1949, two hours session with the photographer Tom Kelley and one of the most important images of modern culture were made.

The stunning Marilyn Monroe nudes would also be featured on the premier issue of Playboy, which launched the franchise to worldwide success. The stellar career of the beautiful actress was born, and the rest is history.

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