Madonna Regularly Ripped Off Marilyn Monroe

Madonna Regularly Ripped Off Marilyn Monroe

Madonna’s thefts from Marilyn Monroe went beyond the 1985 Material Girl music video, the 1991 Vanity Fair magazine spread, and the 1985 and 1992 Saturday Night Live television show appearances.

Madonna stole from Monroe from around 1983 up to 1993, and sporadically there-after. Marilyn Monroe was born in 1926, and she died in 1962.


When asked about her copying off Marilyn Monroe, Madonna likes to say that “if it wasn’t for the blond hair, I don’t know what people would do for comparisons.” (source: appearance on Johnny Carson Show and Cosmopolitan magazine interview)

Madonna has had to admit, when confronted by journalists (as she would not usually willingly admit to later in her career) that she has stolen from Marilyn Monroe.

Very early in her career though, it apparently did not bother her to reveal her fondness for Monroe, since she would state in some interviews that she grew up ‘idolizing’ Marilyn.

Madonna stole a lot more than the blond hair from Marilyn, or the dress, hair, and dance number from Monroe’s “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” sequence in the 1950s movie “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” in her “Material Girl” music video.

Very little can be chalked up to a coincidence in Madonna’s world since she is a control freak who is reportedly very much in charge of her public image, so I find it very hard to accept the argument that what follows were ‘accidents.’

Marilyn Monroe’s 1940s photo shoot with Andres Di Dienes

Madonna Copying Marilyn Monroe
Madonna Copying Marilyn Monroe in her “Burning Up” video

Madonna Copying Marilyn Monroe

Jewelry as Prop

Marilyn Monroe had a very famous photo shoot with photographer Bert Stern in 1962 (“The Last Sitting”), where she posed with jewelry. Marilyn also posed with jewelry for photographer Richard Avedon. You can see some of these photos here:

Marilyn Monroe with jewelry, 1962; right: Madonna, 1983, from her self titled debut album
Marilyn Monroe with jewelry, 1962; right: Madonna, 1983, from her self titled debut album
Left: Marilyn Monroe, 1962; Right top: Madonna, 1983
Left: Marilyn Monroe, 1962; Right top: Madonna, 1983
Left: Marilyn Monroe, 1962; Right: Madonna, early 1980s
Left: Marilyn Monroe, 1962; Right: Madonna, early 1980s
Left column: Marilyn Monroe, 1962; Right: Madonna, 1983
Left column: Marilyn Monroe, 1962; Right: Madonna, 1983

Left: Marilyn Monroe; Right: Madonna circa 1984, publicity still for "Desperately Seeking Susan" movie
Left: Marilyn Monroe; Right: Madonna circa 1984, publicity still for “Desperately Seeking Susan” movie

Typical Marilyn Monroe pose: in this particular case, from a 1953 publicity shot for the movie How To Marry A Millionaire.

Ripped off by Madonna for a photo shoot around 1984

Madonna Ripping Off Marilyn Monroe
Left: Marilyn Monroe, 1950s; Right: Madonna, 1980s

Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend dance number from the 1953 movie Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Ripped off by Madonna for the 1985 music video Material Girl

Left: Marilyn Monroe, 1953; Right: Madonna, 1985
Left: Marilyn Monroe, 1953; Right: Madonna, 1985
Left: Marilyn Monroe, 1953; Right: Madonna, 1985
Left: Marilyn Monroe, 1953; Right: Madonna, 1985
Left: Marilyn Monroe, 1953; Right: Madonna, 1985
Left: Marilyn Monroe, 1953; Right: Madonna, 1985
Left: Marilyn Monroe, 1953; Right: Madonna, 1985
Left: Marilyn Monroe, 1953; Right: Madonna, 1985

Marilyn Monroe photographed by George Barris on the beach, early 1960s.

Ripped off by Herb Ritts for Madonna’s Like A Virgin promotional photos, 1985

Madonna (right) Stealing Marilyn Monroe's Image
Madonna ripping off Marilyn Monroe’s 1960s beach photoshoot with George Barris for a 1984/85 “Like A Virgin” album or tour publicity photo

The Seven Year Itch, 1955

Ripped off by Madonna in 1985 on Saturday Night Live television show appearance

The video of Madonna emulating Marilyn Monroe for a 1985 “Saturday Night Live” skit used to be located here but was removed

Marilyn Monroe's Seven Year Itch Role Ripped off by Madonna in 1985 on Saturday Night Live television show appearance
Marilyn Monroe’s Seven Year Itch Role Ripped off by Madonna in 1985 on Saturday Night Live television show appearance

White Fur Coats

Madonna Ripping Off Marilyn Monroe
Madonna (1980s) Ripping Off Marilyn Monroe (1950s)

Marilyn Monroe photographed at a party

Styling ripped off by Madonna for the cover of 1986 Life magazine

Styling ripped off by Madonna for the cover of 1986 Life magazine
Styling ripped off by Madonna for the cover of 1986 Life magazine

Marilyn Monroe promotional photo, 1950s

Being ripped off by Madonna and Herb Ritts in 1986 for an album single cover

Madonna Stealing Marilyn Monroe's Look
Madonna Stealing Marilyn Monroe’s Look

From Philippe Halsman’s photo shoot with Marilyn for Life magazine.

One of his images of Monroe from this session was to appear on a cover of Life magazine in 1952

Ripped off by Madonna in the 1986 Who’s That Girl movie (which totally tanked at the box office, ha ha!) and the 1987 American Music Awards, where she wore a dress very similar to the first one

Madonna Ripping Off Marilyn Monroe
Madonna Ripping Off Marilyn Monroe
Madonna (right hand side) ripping off Marilyn Monroe
Madonna (right hand side) ripping off Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe posing in bubble bath from photo shoot by Andre Di Dienes

Madonna ripping this off, too, in 1990…

Marilyn Monroe being ripped off by Madonna
Marilyn Monroe being ripped off by Madonna
Marilyn Monroe being ripped off by Madonna
Marilyn Monroe being ripped off by Madonna

The Marilyn Monroe Look / Poses / Mannerisms, 1950s

Ripped Off by Madonna over the 1980s and into the 1990s for various appearances, videos, shows, and tours

Madonna Ripping Off Marilyn Monroe
Madonna Ripping Off Marilyn Monroe
Madonna Ripping Off Marilyn Monroe
Madonna Ripping Off Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe (left side) being Copied by the Unoriginal Madonna (right hand side)
Marilyn Monroe (left side) being Copied by the Unoriginal Madonna (right hand side)
Marilyn Monroe (left side); Madonna (right side)
Marilyn Monroe (left side); Madonna (right side)
Madonna Ripping Off Marilyn Monroe
Madonna Ripping Off Marilyn Monroe
Madonna Stealing Marilyn Monroe's Style and Look
Madonna Stealing Marilyn Monroe’s Style and Look
Madonna Ripping Off Marilyn Monroe
Madonna Ripping Off Marilyn Monroe
Madonna Ripping Off Marilyn Monroe
Madonna Ripping Off Marilyn Monroe
Madonna Ripping Off Marilyn Monroe
Madonna Ripping Off Marilyn Monroe

Madonna ripping off Marilyn MonroeMadonna Ripping Off Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn At Make-Up Table, series by Sam Shaw

Ripped off by Madonna, 1984, Like A Virgin album publicity photos

Madonna Ripping Off Marilyn Monroe - applying makeup
Madonna Ripping Off Marilyn Monroe – applying makeup

Madonna (right hand side) Ripping Off Marilyn Monroe
Madonna (right hand side) Ripping Off Marilyn Monroe

Madonna (right hand side) Ripping Off Marilyn Monroe
Madonna (right hand side) Ripping Off Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe Look, including The Seven Year Itch, 1955

Ripped off by Madonna for the 1990 music video Vogue

Madonna 9right hand side) ripping off Marilyn Monroe for her early 1990s video "Vogue"
Madonna (right hand side) ripping off Marilyn Monroe for her early 1990s video “Vogue”
Madonna Ripping off Marilyn Monroe for her Vogue Music Video
Madonna (right hand side) ripping off Marilyn Monroe for her early 1990s video “Vogue”

Marilyn Monroe Look

Ripped off by Madonna and Warren Beatty for the Breathless Mahoney character in the 1990 movie Dick Tracy

Below: Let’s Make Love movie, 1960; other well known Monroe films and public appearances

Ripped off by Madonna for the 1991 Oscars

March 1955 Elephant Ride, Charity Benefit, Madison Square Garden

Ripped off by Madonna for 1991 Japanese television commercial for Nippon Boutique

Madonna Ripping Off Marilyn Monroe's 1955 Elephant Ride, Charity Benefit, Madison Square Garden
March 1955 Elephant Ride, Charity Benefit, Madison Square Garden – Ripped off by Madonna for 1991 Japanese television commercial for Nippon Boutique

Bus Stop movie, 1956

Ripped off by Madonna for 1991 Truth or Dare movie promotional photos (the Madonna documentary was known in Europe as In Bed With Madonna)

Famous Marilyn Monore photos and poses

Ripped off by Madonna and Vanity Fair magazine, 1991

With the encouragement and blessing of the folks at Vanity Fair magazine, Madonna recreated some of Marilyn Monroe’s poses, or else wore the same hair style and make-up as Monroe did, in this spread for Vanity Fair.

I don’t know why Vanity Fair went through with this, since Madonna herself had been forcing and cramming the Monroe-Madonna comparisons down the public’s throats since the 1980s.

Happy Birthday Mr. President, May 1962, Madison Square Garden

RIPPED OFF BY MADONNA, 1992, SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE TELEVISION SHOW APPEARANCE

Marilyn Monroe Look

Ripped Off By Madonna for the Sex Book, 1992

In the 1992 Sex book, Madonna once again wore the Marilyn Monroe look: the blonde hair with loose curls, red lip stick, as well as 1950s, Marilyn-esque type outfits (including a white, shiny dress), but because she wore this look while engaged in sex acts, I cannot provide more examples in this category – I’m trying to keep this site fairly clean

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, 1953

Ripped Off By Madonna for the Sticky and Sweet Tour, 2008

Madonna had one of her back-up dancers dress in a blonde, Marilyn Monroe style wig and a copy of the pink dress Monroe wore in the film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Rip Off or Coincidence?

Whether these similarities are intentional or not, after seeing the following images, you cannot argue that Madonna was the first to pose a certain way or dress a certain way

» View More Images From This Monroe Series: Click Here



Someone took my Marilyn vs. Madonna photo collection and made a video of it, (here):


CREDITS. Most of the images on this page come from general google image searches, while some come from my own collection, others from Marilyn Fan, Marilyn-Monroe.us, Galleries of Marilyn Monroe, Madonna-Star, and Madonna Shots
(as of April 2017, most of these sites are no longer in operation)


More material, this site:

Madonna is Unoriginal Index Page
(more examples of Madonna ripping off other people)