AP PHOTOS: Marilyn Monroe lives on as a style icon

July 31, 2012 - 7:37 PM
Marilyn Monroe-Photo Gallery

FILE - In this Sept. 9, 1954 file photo, Marilyn Monroe poses over the updraft of New York subway grating while in character for the filming of "The Seven Year Itch" in Manhattan. The former Norma Jean Baker modeled and starred in 28 movies grossing $200 million. Sensual and seductive, but with an air of innocence, Monroe became one of the world's most adored sex symbols. She died alone by suicide, at age 36 in her Hollywood bungalow. (AP Photo/Matty Zimmerman, File)

Marilyn Monroe has been gone 50 years, but her iconic image lives on: The platinum blonde hair, the ruby red lips, the beauty mark, those curves, and the shimmering, body-clinging garments she covered them with.

She starred in more than 30 movies, but what resonates today is her style, which appeals to a whole new generation of younger women unfamiliar with her films. Her look is replicated by celebrities from Madonna to Lady Gaga, from Christina Aguilera to Gwen Stefani to Nicole Kidman to Rihanna to Lindsay Lohan.

Take a look at her in "The Seven Year Itch," the 1955 film in which she played a sexy neighbor who tempts a married man. Everything in the film looks fairly dated, except for Monroe. Especially in her white halter dress — the famous "subway dress," in which she stood over a grate and let the breeze lift her skirts.

Another iconic look: In May 1962, just a few months before her death, Monroe famously sang "Happy Birthday" to President John F. Kennedy at Madison Square Garden. She wore a floor-length sheath of thin fabric — with nothing underneath — covered with rhinestones and fitting like a glove.

The so-called "JFK Dress" sold for over $1.2 million at auction, and the "subway dress" sold for $5.6 million — proof, if it was needed, of Marilyn's enduring appeal.