20 Actresses Who've Played Marilyn Monroe on Film and on TV

The pop culture icon’s life has been documented from childhood to death and many memorable moments in between

Rosemary Rossi


Misty Rowe  •  (1976)  “Goodbye, Norma Jean”  Young actress Misty Rowe played Monroe (née Norma Jean Baker) in this 1976 biopic.

Tracey Gold  •  (1980)  “Marilyn: The Untold Story”   Yes, the “Growing Pains” star played a young Marilyn in this TV movie.

Catherine Hicks  •  (1980)  “Marilyn: The Untold Story” And Catherine Hicks, best known as the mom in “Seventh Heaven,” played an older Marilyn. 

Madonna  •  (1984)  “Material Girl”  The pop star channeled Marilyn in the classic music video for her 1984 hit, which was an homage to the actress’ “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” routine in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.”

Theresa Russell  •  (1985)  “Insignificance” Russell played Monroe in a film that imagined the actress meeting up with Albert Einstein, Joe DiMaggio and Senator Joseph MacCarthy. 

Paula Lane  •  (1989)  “Good Night, Sweet Marilyn”This biopic features Paula Lane as Marilyn — but also flashbacks to a young Norma Jean that are clips from “Goodbye, Norma Jean.”

Susan Griffiths  •  (1991) “Marilyn and Me”; (1993) “Quantum Leap”; (1994) “Pulp Fiction”; (1997) “Dark Skies”; (1997) “Timecop” and many more  In the 1990s, Susan Griffiths made a career as a serial Monroe impersonator. 

Melody Anderson  •  (1993)  “Marilyn & Bobby: Her Final Affair”  This TV movie imagines the actress’ romantic fling with Bobby Kennedy 

Mira Sorvino  •  (1996)  “Norma Jean & Marilyn” Oscar winner Mira Sorvino played the legend in this 1996 movie.

Ashley Judd  •  (1996)  “Norma Jean & Marilyn”  Ashley Judd played the pre-fame Norma Jean in the same film.

Barbara Niven  •  (1998)  “Rat Pack”  Niven plays opposite Ray Liotta as Frank Sinatra, Joe Montegna as Dean Martin and Don Cheadle as Sammy Davis Jr. in this HBO film.

Poppy Montgomery  •  (2001)  “Blonde”  Poppy Montgomery starred in this fictionalized biopic based on Joyce Carol Oates’ novel

Charlotte Sullivan  •  (2011)  “The Kennedys”   

Michelle Williams  •  (2011)  “My Week With Marilyn”  Williams earned an Oscar nomination for her role — as did Kenneth Branagh as Laurence Olivier trying to wrangle the star in a film he’s directing.

Blake Lively  •  (2012)  “Gossip Girl”  Naturally, “Gossip Girl”‘s resident blonde decked herself out as Marilyn.

Uma Thurman  •  (2012)  “Smash”  The short-lived NBC series about the making of a Broadway musical about Monroe featured multiple iterations of the star, including Uma Thurman.

Megan Hilty  •  (2012)  “Smash”  Broadway veteran Megan Hilty also angled for the plum role in the show-within-a-show.

Katharine McPhee  •  (2012)  “Smash”  The “American Idol” alum played a Broadway newbie whose raw talent made her a contender for the lead role.

Kelli Garner  •  (2015)  “The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe”  Garner starred opposite Susan Sarandon in this Lifetime miniseries. 

Ana de Armas  •  (2021)  “Blonde”  The “Knives Out” star is the latest to play Monroe, in an updated version of Oates’ fictionalized biography “Blonde.”
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