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Did Marilyn Monroe Have Breast Implants?

Posted on Oct 28, 2011 Breast Implants

Marilyn Monroe’s place in our cultural history is secured. Though she only starred in a few films, many of them not especially notable, the imprint she left on the retina of the public eye persists. In the last year, Chicago dedicated a 26-foot tall statue depicting Monroe’s iconic pose in The Seven Year Itch (towering over the inflappable Jack Brickhouse who only has eyes for baseball) and two new movies have been released based on Monroe’s life. Modern celebrities like Lindsay Lohan and Lady Gaga have tried to stand on her shoulders to be seen from farther, but when they climb down they diminish again. Plastic surgeons are also not above trying to get a leg up from Monroe’s fame, and two recent autobiographies have claimed that, in addition to her famous rhinoplasty, Marilyn Monroe’s career was helped along by breast augmentation. This claim was made by two people connected to plastic surgeons, Richard Grossman, who claimed that John Pangman, who is known to have performed Monroe’s rhinoplasty, also gave her breast implants. The other claim was made by Rosemary Eckersley, widow of Hollywood surgeon Frank Ashley, who claims Monroe came to her husband after her breasts became infected. People who make these claims generally refer to the difference between Monroe’s appearance in her early nude shoot and her more bosomy look in some of her most famous roles (such as Some Like it Hot). If she did have breast augmentation, it’s hard to know whether it would have been performed with breast implantsmade of Ivolan sponges, or the primitive fat grafting technique in use at the time. Most scholars of Monroe and her work disagree with these claims, saying that a breast augmentation for Monroe is highly unlikely. Not only was the technology for performing the procedure very primitive, but when you look at Monroe at several points during her career, there does not seem to be a consistent pattern of small breasts that suddenly became large. Two good examples are the off-camera pictures of Monroe on the set of River of No Return compared and the famous “last sitting” with Bert Stern Instead, the enlargement of her breasts at different times during her career was likely due to weight gain associated with two failed pregnancies. And if you look at her figure in Some Like it Hot, you can see that she is overall heavier than in her calendar shoot. So, despite claims that she may have had breast implants, it is likely that her breasts (which Billy Wilder compared to “granite”), were indeed natural. However, if you do not have assets that can be taken for granite and would like to consider breast augmentation, please contact Philadelphia plastic surgeon Dr. David A. Bottger for a consultation.