She was the OG blonde bombshell and the ultimate sex symbol of the 1950s, but as it turns out, Marilyn Monroe’s most risque film scene was never actually shown to the public. Before her tragic and unforeseen death in 1962 at just 36, Monroe had been working on what would prove to be her final film, Something’s Got To Give.
Join us as we discuss this lost nude scene while speculating about what may have become of it.
Facts Verse Presents: Marilyn Monroe Filmed a Nude Scene That Has Never Been Seen
It Was All Her Idea
Accordingly to photojournalist Lawrence Schiller, who was actually working on the set of Something’s Got To Give at the time, it was none other that Marilyn herself who came up with the idea of filming the nude scene!
Schiller told Fox News in June 2020 that Monroe was very excited about doing the swimming pool scene – so much so that she insisted that it would be a good idea for her to emerge from the water with nothing on!
Schiller was astonished by what Marilyn had told him. Reportedly he replied to her by reminding her that she was ‘already famous’, but if she allowed him to shoot the seen the way that she suggested, she’d wind up making him famous as well.
Schiller added that after his reply, she merely looked at him, giggled, and shot back by saying that she could fire him in two seconds if she wanted to.
Monroe may have been joking when she quipped about firing him, but she was dead serious about the nude scene and her desire to go for it without holding back. In fact, according to Schiller, the ‘Seven Year Itch’ actress let him shoot a series of photos during the filming of said scene.
As we’ve already mentioned, because of Marilyn’s untimely death, Something’s Got To Give never was finished, nor has that nude scene ever been made public, but Schiller’s photos from the film set have survived and can be found with a quick Google search. For obvious reasons, we’re not able to show you the ones that show off Marilyn’s, how should we put this, most valuable assets? But here are a few of the more YouTube-friendly ones that we can share. Your imagination likely can fill in the rest, right?
Several shots from that scene were released prior to the star’s passing, effectively drumming up a massive wave of publicity for the film. To put it lightly, the public couldn’t wait to lay their eyes on what Monroe was working with. Sure, some were claiming that film was more or less yet another example of a Hollywood feature that was contributing to the moral decline of America, but you can bet your sweet buns that those same individuals weren’t looking away when Schiller’s photos came to light.
She Was Fired
20th Century Fox knew that they were about to be sitting on a gold mine after casting Marilyn Monroe to appear in their upcoming feature. Perhaps they even thought that the film would be able to help offset the $44 million that they had just spent producing and aggresively promoting Cleopatra. That film was the most expensive one ever made at the time and while it received generally favorable responses from critics and was the highest-grossing film of the year, it initially lost money due to it’s enormous budget, forcing the studio to shut down all their other productions.
Strapped for cash and desperate for another box office hit, 20th Century Fox was banking on the belief that Monroe would be their secret money-making sauce. The studio knew that Marilyn had a reputation for being a bit difficult to work with on set, but then again, so was Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra. So, despite the anticipated risks, they figured that it was worth it to work with Monroe anyway. After all, she previously had always shone brightly in her films despite being notorious for tardiness and struggling with performance anxiety.
Just a month into Something’s Got To Give’s filming, however, Marilyn was fired from the flick. Two months later, she was found dead of a barbiturate overdose at her Helena Drive home in Los Angeles. As such, the film never got a chance to be completed – much less screened.
The Plot Thickens
The story behind Marilyn’s sudden firing deserves mentioning as it somewhat relates to her passing.
Monroe hadn’t appeared in a film in more than a year before she was hired to appear in Something’s Got To Give. At the time of her casting, she had just recently undergone surgery to treat her endometriosis and have her gall bladder removed.
She was also fresh out of the hospital for drug addiction and depression and obviously not in the best state, both physically and mentally, to work. Because of illness, she had lost a great deal of weight. Reportedly she hadn’t been that skinny in her entire life, but that didn’t seem to bother the studio in the least bit.
According to a quote featured in the 1990 documentary Marilyn: Somethings Got To Give, the movie’s producer Henry Weinstein said that it didn’t matter how well she performed as all she had to do was ‘look good, and she did”.
The very first week of shooting, Marilyn called in sick with sinusitis. Evidently, the studio wasn’t quite sure that her sickness was legit. They even assumed that she was just having pre-performance anxiety.
Monroe had been offered $100,000 to appear in the film. That sum was only a tenth of what they had paid Elizabeth Taylor to appear in Cleopatra. They later claimed that it was actually a ‘bargain’ for the few days that she actually was on set. Apparently, she wasn’t even around when the Shah of Iran paid the studio a visit and toured the lot, hoping to see her.
Marilyn had phoned in sick, but the Shah insisted on meeting her. Weinstein ended up picking Monroe up at her house, but she reportedly refused to go. The reason that she gave for refusing was that she didn’t even know what Iran’s current relationship was with Israel.
Weinstein then called up his buddy Max Nussbaum who served as the ‘rabbi to the stars’ and he assured her that everything was fine and that it would actually be a good thing if she showed up to meet the Shah.
Eventually, Weinstein was able to convince Monroe to come with him to the set. He likely felt like some kind of hero for achieving that small victory, but two weeks later when Monroe started working, she had more absences that prevented her from coming in regularly. The rest of the production team did their best to do as much work on the film that they could without her, shooting scenes that didn’t include her as much as they could, but it was obvious that tensions were beginning to flare.
Even when Marilyn was on set, working with her was like pulling teeth. For the first time in her career she was portraying a mother, something that was quite challenging for her given her prior history of having miscarriages. Because of this, she struggled to deliver her lines even for just a single scene. She kept flubbing and couldn’t give a solid delivery to save her life – no pun intended.
In the little bit of raw footage that we’ve seen of the film, Monroe wasn’t looking very put together. But then again there was so much pressure being laid on her. Director George Cukor pushed her as far as he could hoping to pump as much out of the ‘Some Like It Hot’ actress as was possible.
Dean Martin, her co-star, was a gentleman and afforded her a great deal of patience, but the rest of the crew was growing increasingly tired working with her.
According to that previously referenced 1990 documentary, Monroe drifted through her scenes ‘in a depressed and drug-induced haze’.
The Last Straw
Four days after she had returned to the set, Peter Lawford fetched Monroe from the Fox lot in a helicopter and proceeded to fly her to New York, where she performed her infamous ‘happy birthday Mr. President’ bit in front of JFK.
Monroe had obtained permission already to attend said party, but Fox’s chief production executive Peter Levathes had reportedly ordered her not to go. George Cukor had also urged her to not attend the shindig, but Monroe wasn’t going to let anyone tell her what she could or couldn’t do.
After her ‘performance’ in front of the President, which mind you intensified the scandal regarding her and Kennedy’s relationship, Cukor was enraged! So just a few days after celebrating her 36th birthday, Marilyn was fired for, and we quote, “spectacular absenteeism”. Fox even went as far as to hit her with a $750,000 lawsuit for her willful contract violation.
Monroe reacted quickly by sending Cukor a telegram begging him to forgive her. In response, the studio made the decision to re-hire her after Dean Martin insisted that he was unwilling to work with any other actress. A new contract was quickly drawn up and Monroe was officially brought back on board to appear in the film. Sadly, before she had the chance to step back on the film’s set, Monroe’s life was cut short.
While that 1990 documentary Marilyn: Something’s Got To Give showed us a little bit of the nine or so hours of raw footage that had been sitting in the 20th Century Fox vault for decades, we’ve yet to see anything resembling a theatrical cut of the film. And as far as that nude scene is concerned, it’s safe to say that the closest we’ll ever get to seeing that is those photos taken by Schiller.
Now it’s time to hear from you! Did you know that Marilyn was the one that suggested appearing nude in Something’s Got To Give’s swimming pool scene and that during the film’s production, she was frequently absent and struggled to deliver her lines? Let us know, and as always, thanks for watching!