Marilyn Monroe and the Potato Sack Dress

Marilyn Monroe has many iconic photos and looks – standing over a grate with her dress blowing up, blowing out a candle, and many others. Some photos many don’t remember except for the most hardcore fans are a series of her wearing the hell out of a fitted burlap sack. There is fascinating speculation behind this exciting photo shoot.

One story claims that Marilyn Monroe received criticism for the provocative red dress she wore to the Beverley Hills Hotel. The dress was supposedly low cut and scandalized a female journalist in attendance, who, according to Monroe, referred to her as ‘ cheap and vulgar.’ She went as far as to say that a potato sack would have looked better than the red dress. Always one to capitalize on publicity like this, Twentieth Century Fox made the best of the situation, putting together the infamous photo shoot of Marilyn Monroe posing in a burlap potato sack tailor-made for her notorious figure. Newspapers around the country picked up the photos proving that Monroe could indeed look fantastic in a potato sack.

The alternative story is that it wasn’t a female journalist who made a negative comment. It was a positive comment made by an unknown person that Monroe looked good enough to make burlap sacks sexy. This comment supposedly inspired Twentieth Century Fox to schedule the photo shoot. Whatever happened, these photos are a real treasure, showing a lighter side to Monroe.

(Photos by Earl Theisen/Getty Images)

Alan Behrens

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