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10 Facts About Marilyn Monroe, the Hotel del Coronado and Her ‘Some Like It Hot’ Shoot

The iconic star flubbed lines, but loved the hotel pudding.

Many remember Marilyn Monroe’s performance in Some Like It Hot, the 1959 film that ranks No. 1 on the American Film Institute’s list of 100 best comedies.

But locals know part of the magic was due to the , which is visible in several scenes in the classic, about two musicians who flee the mob by cross-dressing and joining an all-girl band. The musicians were played by Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon.

This year marks the 85th anniversary of Monroe’s birth (she died at 36 in 1962). Here are 10 facts about Marilyn’s time spent at the world- class resort.

  1. Marilyn’s playwright husband Arthur Miller and acting coach Paula Strasberg accompanied her to the hotel for filming in 1958. Coronado police guarded her throughout her stay.
  2. Coronado fans watched Monroe with great enthusiasm, screaming and cheering for her. Monroe occasionally engaged the locals, reminding them to be quiet.
  3. According to a hotel chef, Marilyn craved the cold soufflé vanilla pudding with egg-white decoration. She requested it each day.
  4. Some Like it Hot was Monroe’s most lucrative film. She earned between $100,000 and $300,000 for her performance in the movie, as well as 10 percent of the film’s gross.
  5. Monroe asserted her opinions. Initially, she insisted the film be shot in color. Writer/director Billy Wilder convinced her otherwise. She also felt her entrance in the film was flat, so her introduction was modified to include steam blasts from the train.
  6. Marilyn was 32 when the movie was made. She played the part of Sugar Kane, a 25-year-old character.
  7. While she won a Golden Globe for her role, the actress reportedly remained disappointed in her performance.
  8. Two scenes proved challenging for the actress. The “It’s me, Sugar” scene required 47 takes. The scene in which Monroe rummages through a drawer for a bottle of bourbon required a whopping 59 takes. Marilyn reportedly had difficulty reciting her lines even after Wilder placed a cue card inside the drawer.
  9. Body double Sandra Warren replaced Monroe for publicity shots. Warren also appeared in the film as one of Sweet Sue’s Society Syncopaters.
  10. Noted writer/director Cameron Crowe once spoke about the film. “I grew up in San Diego,” the San Diegan said, (and) “the legend is that the hotel was the most magical part of the filming … that Marilyn felt relaxed there.”

 

Monroe’s time at the resort is certainly memorable. Laurence Maslon, who released Some Like it Hot: The Official 50th Anniversary Companion (Collins Design, an imprint of HarperCollins) may have said it best: “There have been a lot of movies shot on a lot of locations, but only a few … can be considered truly legendary. Chief among those magical moments is the sight of Marilyn Monroe cavorting on the beautiful beach at the footsteps of the Hotel del Coronado.”

george July 11, 2011 at 11:53 PM
I don't remember her actually telling us to be quiet, but as she would walk away there was a reverent silence. (for a while anyway) Jack lemmon also spent some time with the fans, but Tony Curtis was more restrained. It was truly an event to remember. A few years later I became a bartender in Coronado, while going to college, and had seen many celebrities, but none ever left an impression on the city, and me, like Marilyn Monroe. Thanks for jogging my memories.
Kathleen Flynn Potter July 12, 2011 at 03:28 PM
I was about 12 yrs. old and remember being there watching the filming. I remember the request to be quiet! You are correct, George. When Marilyn walked away there was silence and muffled gasps. She was wearing a beautiful sequined gown. There was a transparent heart on her rear end and I believe she was missing her undergarments which was very racy in those days! I returned and watched for several days. It was fun watching Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon and Joey Brown. I received Marilyn's autograph and some photos. No idea what happened to those moments! Kathleen Flynn Potter
Carrie Keyes July 12, 2011 at 09:10 PM
I love the personal stories! Keep it coming, Coronado!
Marissa July 21, 2011 at 06:25 PM
Speaking of Hotel Del Coronado... Quikbook.com is running a sweepstakes to give away free 2-night stay there. To enter, just submit this form: http://www.quikbook.com/san_diego_contest.asp

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