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Misty Rowe, Goodbye, Norma Jean (1976)
The world hadn't yet been exposed to a million interpretations of the pre-Marilyn girl who really, really wanted to be a movie star when this film came out. Rowe portrays her as a naive victim, making every minute of her rise to fame painful to watch.
"Goodbye, Norma Jean is a terrible, witless, schlocky movie that Norma Jean Baker might have made in her desperation to be somebody," the New York Times review reads. While the Times credits Rowe with doing a pretty good impression, the character presented here isn't the figure who inspired so much idolatry.
Lindsay Lohan, InAPPropriate Comedy (2013)
Like Madonna before her, LiLo tends put on Monroe's persona when she needs to make an impact with few or no words. Lohan re-created many of the poses from Monroe's last (and nude) photo shoot for a New York magazine spread in 2008, and channeled the icon again for Playboy in 2011. Both shoots are vastly better than the Seven Year Itch subway grate/paparazzi revenge fantasy scene she does at the beginning and end of the 2013 movie InAPPropriate Comedy.
Catherine Hicks, Marilyn: The Untold Story (ABC, 1980)
In case you can't place the name and face, Hicks is the actress best known as the mom on 7th Heaven. But decades earlier, she actually made a convincing bombshell in this movie that earned her an Emmy nod, thanks to a charismatic, expressive face that doesn't exactly look like Monroe's, but compels us to watch her nonetheless.
Madonna, "Material Girl" (1984)
The early-to-mid '80s were a time of peak nostalgia for the '50s (we even had a '50s movie star for a president), so it wasn't all too shocking that a pop star on the rise was constantly paying homage to Marilyn. Madonna's 1984 video for "Material Girl" re-creates Monroe's "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" number from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, both in costume and in spirit. Madonna was best at commandeering the actress' look and attitude for her own sex-symbol purposes — when she played Monroe on SNL in a 1985 skit about the Kennedys, her straight impersonation left a bit to be desired.
Charlotte Sullivan, The Kennedys (Reelz Channel, 2011)
Sullivan's Monroe isn't the breathy sweetheart we're used to seeing in biopics; perhaps because this is the story of the threat she allegedly posed to Jack and Bobby Kennedy. Looking a lot like Madonna-as-Marilyn, Sullivan's interpretation is seductive and aggressive at times, which is kind of refreshing.