Marilyn Monroe’s Measurements


There has been a lot of controversy about Marilyn Monroe’s size and measurements. No one really knows the true origin of the myths surrounding Marilyn Monroe’s size.

In Hollywood, new rumors and drama sparks up every single day. Marilyn is no exception to this. Even today, if you ask someone what they think Marilyn Monroe’s measurements were back when she was a model and actress, they will probably speculate or tell you she was a size 12-16.

Fortunately, some research has been done on Marilyn’s body type and her dress size. In this article we’ll take a look at some of the things that influenced her clothing as well as the actual measurements of one of her dresses to answer once and for all - did Marilyn Monroe’s measurements really equate to size 12 - 16?

Extreme Hourglass Shape

Marilyn Monroe’s body was very unique, representing an extreme hour glass. There have been a number of arguments as to what Marilyn’s size really was; a majority of people saying that she was a size 12 and some other stars recently claiming that she was a size 16.

Women’s sizes today are nowhere near comparable to sizes back in the 1950s. The number sizing system has changed significantly over the years. The United States Department of Commerce stepped in during the 1980s to completely change the sizing system used throughout stores. A size 8 today would be about a size 16 in the 1950s.

Dressmaker Measurements

Marilyn Monroe’s size was measured by one of her dress makers and released as 5'5" tall, 35" bust, 22" waist, and 35" hips. Her bra size was 36D. During Marilyn’s time, her waist was about 2-3 inches smaller than the average woman in America and by today’s average she was 12 inches smaller.

Marilyn Monroe’s measurements are unique and her star-status gave her the ability to spoil herself with custom fitted clothing. Any woman with the spectacular hourglass shape similar to Marilyn’s would have a hard time finding clothes that fit in a regular department store.

Throughout Marilyn’s career, she had a lot of weight fluctuations due to depression, illness, and other personal problems that she fought with during the final years of her life

The Myth of Marilyn’s Size

People often talk about how Marilyn Monroe was about the same size as the average woman today, but it’s not true! Taking into consideration the fact that the sizing system was changed in the 80s, Marilyn’s size would be very small by today’s standards.

The average woman’s waist size today is about 34 inches whereas Marilyn’s waist size was only 22 inches. Models in her time had an average waist size of about 25 inches.

The Bottom Line

So with all this talk of the changed sizing system and Marilyn’s unique shape and size… what does all of this mean? It means that Marilyn Monroe’s size wasn’t anywhere close to the average woman’s size (12-16) nowadays.

Marilyn had a unique style, personality, and appearance. Today’s models may have tiny waists and wear sizes smaller than Marilyn, but Marilyn would still be considered beautiful.

Interesting Tidbits about Marilyn Monroe

  • On their deathbed, two men claimed paternity of Marilyn Monroe: C. Stanley Gifford and Edward Mortensen. Gifford is the man whom Marilyn and her mother both believed was her real father, yet would refuse to ever meet Marilyn while she was alive. Mortensen was married to Marilyn’s mother when she was born and it is also the name that is on her birth certificate (despite being misspelled).
  • Marilyn’s salary was nothing special in comparison to other actors and actresses who played roles in the same films as her. She made just $100,000 for her final unfinished film “Something’s Got to Give.”
  • She had trouble learning and remembering the lines to play her part properly.
  • Monroe had an impressive IQ in addition to her good looks. She tested at 33 points higher than the national average at the time. As she got older, though, acting took over and became more important than her academic pursuit because she wanted to follow her dreams.
  • Marilyn’s father disappeared before she was born and her mother was dealing with severe mental issues. She eventually was placed in a mental institution. At 16, Marilyn’s foster parents couldn’t even continue supporting her; they sent her back to the orphanage. She married a man named Jimmy Dougherty in 1942, who soon left to fight in World War II.
  • Dougherty and Monroe fought a lot about how scandalous she was in her photos and after, they never really talked to each other.
  • Hugh Hefner owns the burial site right next to Marilyn’s at the Westwood Memorial Park in LA, California. Hefner only paid $78,000 for the site in 1992. Several burial sites nearby Monroe’s and Hefner’s have gone for sale. The vault above Marilyn’s received a bid for nearly $4.4 million when it was up for sale.
  • Marilyn Monroe’s funeral had an open casket viewing. She was dressed in a green Pucci sheath dress and a platinum blonde wig.
  • Mariah Carey bought the white baby grand piano in an auction in 1999 for over $600,000.
  • Lee Strasberg’s third wife, Anna Strasberg, eventually took control of 75 percent of Monroe’s estate after Lee died.

How did Marilyn Monroe Die?

Marilyn Monroe died on August 5, 1962 in Los Angeles, California. The official cause of death was ruled as a “probable suicide” by barbiturate overdose. However, many conspiracy theories have circulated over the years, with some saying that she was actually murdered.

Who were Marilyn Monroe’s spouses?

Marilyn Monroe was married three times. Her first husband was James Dougherty, whom she married in June 1942. The couple divorced in 1946.

Her second husband was Joe DiMaggio, whom she married in January 1954. The couple divorced less than a year later, in October 1954.

Her third and final husband was Arthur Miller, whom she married in June 1956. The couple divorced in January 1961.

What is the famous Marilyn Monroe Dress?

The famous Marilyn Monroe dress is the white halter dress that she wore in “The Seven Year Itch.” The dress was designed by William Travilla and was made from 2,500 yards of silk.

Did Marilyn Monroe wear a black cocktail dress?

Marilyn Monroe did wear a black cocktail dress in the film “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.” The dress was designed by Travilla and was made from 4,000 yards of black silk.

Did Marilyn Monroe have any siblings?

Marilyn Monroe’s mother, Gladys Monroe Baker, had two other children: Berniece Miracle and Robert Monroe Baker. Marilyn was Gladys' third child, and she was adopted by her mother’s second husband, Stanley Gifford.

When did Marilyn Monroe Appear in Playboy?

Marilyn Monroe appeared in the first issue of Playboy, which was published in December 1953. She was featured on the cover and in a nude photo spread.

What happened to the Marilyn Monroe Happy Birthday Dress?

The Marilyn Monroe Happy Birthday dress was sold at auction in 2016 for $4.8 million. The dress was designed by Jean Louis and was made from 2,500 yards of pink silk.

How old was Marilyn Monroe when she died?

Marilyn Monroe was 36 years old when she died.

What was Marilyn Monroe’s net worth?

Marilyn Monroe’s net worth was $5 million at the time of her death.

Where is Marilyn Monroe’s grave?

Marilyn Monroe is buried at the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles, California.

What was Marilyn Monroe Weight?

Normally Marilyn Monroe’s weight was about ~115 pounds (53 kilograms). As with most people, this could fluctuate up or down.

Was Marilyn Monroe’s Mother Crazy?

Her mother was officially diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. This is a severe psychiatric condition, and many people at that time would have used that label for her. Mental health stigma was very high during those times, and has improved in later years though.