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Did Marilyn Monroe have a higher IQ than Albert Einstein?

The artist, who died at the age of 36, had an unusual intelligence, but she was always perceived superficially and ended up succumbing to her character.

The tragic demise of Marilyn Monroe
Murray Garrett/Getty Images

With the premiere this Wednesday of Blonde, the film about Marilyn Monroe based on the novel by Joyce Carol Oates and starring actress Ana de Armas, the character of the ‘bombshell’, who died at the age of 36 at her home in Brentwood (California), once again arouses everyone’s interest.

Marilyn: intelligence behind beauty

Elevated to the category of myth and legend, perhaps less well known is the fact that various sources attribute an IQ of 165 to Monroe, five points higher than that of Albert Einstein himself, however, the perception of both characters was diametrically opposed due to the image projected by each one and their achievements.

While Einstein was a physics genius and could perfectly be considered the epitome of intelligence, Monroe was a successful actress and singer turned sex symbol, who couldn’t escape from certain stereotypes that carry labels and therefore imply a certain character.

Throughout her short life, Marilyn had to suffer a certain typecasting in a society that was inherently macho. Her other abilities and intelligence were never part of the debate and in the end trying to get rid of what has been imprinted in the collective memory can be very complicated.

Her relationships, personal problems and addictions probably don’t help to promote the idea that she was supposedly a person with high intellectual capacities either, and Andrew Dominik’s new film also reflects the fragility of one of the great icons of popular culture in the 20th century, instead of even considering for a moment to what extent the myth determined the person. There are those who have verbalized it in a very graphic way.

“The biggest myth is that she was dumb. The second is that she was fragile. And the third is that she didn’t know how to act. She was far from dumb, although she had no formal education, and she was very sensitive about it. But in truth she was very smart — and very tough,” said Sarah Churchwell, a professor at the University of London and the author of The Many Lives of Marilyn Monroe, another book about her. “She had to be both to beat the Hollywood establishment in the 1950s.

“The dumb blonde was a role—she was an actress, for God’s sake! Such a good actress that now nobody believes that she was anything other than what she portrayed on the screen.”

Maybe Churchwell was not wrong, but unfortunately that is not the image that has survived of her.


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