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What color eyes did Marilyn have?

What color eyes did Marilyn have?

Marilyn Monroe remains one of the most iconic stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age. With her platinum blonde hair, beauty mark, and entrancing eyes, her image is instantly recognizable around the world. One of Marilyn’s most striking features was her blue eyes. But exactly what shade of blue were they? Let’s take a closer look at the color of Marilyn Monroe’s famous eyes.

Marilyn’s Natural Eye Color

Marilyn was born Norma Jeane Mortenson in 1926. As a child and teenager, she had light blue eyes. Her early modeling photos from the 1940s show Norma Jeane with pale icy blue eyes and natural brown hair. However, as she transitioned to a blonde bombshell and became Marilyn Monroe, her eyes grew darker as well.

Marilyn’s eyes were not a pure light blue, but more of a medium blue with some grayness to them. When staring straight into the camera, her eyes could photograph as a cool steely gray. But under certain lighting, they appeared more blue. The color likely fluctuated based on lighting, makeup, and her outfit colors. But in general, they were not a vivid sky blue.

Describing Marilyn’s Eye Color

So how do you accurately describe the shifting hues of Marilyn Monroe’s eyes? Here are some adjectives commonly used:

– Steel blue
– Ice blue
– Cool blue
– Blue-gray
– Medium blue

Her eyes reflect different shades in various photos. But most experts agree they were a muted blue rather than a bright cerulean. Describing them as steel blue perhaps best captures their grayish-blue tone.

Enhancing Her Eyes with Makeup

Marilyn Monroe was a master of using makeup to accentuate her features. When it came to her eyes, she employed a few simple techniques:

– **Liner** – Marilyn used black liquid liner on both her top and lower lash lines to make her eyes stand out. The liner emphasized their almond shape.

– **Mascara** – Lots of mascara on her top and lower lashes added volume and an intense doe-eyed look.

– **Eyeshadow** – Sweeping light eyeshadow across her lids helped them pop more. She often chose shimmery shades that played up the blue.

– **Brows** – Marilyn kept her brows thin and highly arched as was the style. Well-defined brows framed her eyes.

With these cosmetic tricks, Marilyn intensified her blue eyes to mesmerizing effect. The makeup enhanced her eyes’ hue and impact. It remained soft, yet noticeable. A light touch of blue eyeshadow was all it took to activate her eye color.

Doe Eyes, Bedroom Eyes

Why did Marilyn Monroe’s eyes have such an enchanting effect on people? Besides their cool blue color, two factors came into play:

– **Large eyes** – Marilyn was gifted with large, wide eyes. The whites of her eyes were prominent, making them look even bigger. This gave her an innocent, doe-eyed appearance.

– **Bedroom eyes** – Marilyn could lower her lids and give a sultry, inviting “bedroom eyes” gaze. A slight smile, lowered chin, and hooded lids perfected her sexy look.

While she could play the part of an alluring femme fatale, in repose Marilyn’s eyes were often wide, luminous, and youthful – accentuated by her flawless skin. This interplay of ingénue and temptress in her eyes transfixed audiences.

Are Blue Eyes Less Common?

One reason Marilyn Monroe’s blue eyes captivated so many was their comparative rarity. What percentage of the population has blue eyes? Let’s examine the numbers:

Eye Color Percentage of Population
Brown 79%
Blue 8-10%
Hazel 5%
Green 2%
Gray 1%

As these statistics show, only around 8-10% of people worldwide have blue eyes. Brown eyes are by far the most common at 79%. So Marilyn Monroe’s rare blue eyes were part of her exceptional beauty.

The Origin of Blue Eyes

Now you may be wondering, where do blue eyes originate from? Traditionally they are most associated with people of Northern European ancestry. Here is a breakdown of some key facts about the evolution of blue eyes:

– Caused by low melanin pigment in the iris
– A genetic mutation of the OCA2 gene around 10,000 years ago
– Spread through Northern Europe as humans migrated
– Remain most common among people of European descent
– Found in high percentages in places like Iceland and Finland

So Marilyn Monroe’s pale skin, blonde hair, and blue eyes pointed to her Northwest European lineage. Her eye color was a natural indicator of her ancestry. It also symbolized the classic and rare traits of conventional beauty in Old Hollywood.

Marilyn as a Blue-Eyed Blonde Icon

Why has Marilyn Monroe’s blue-eyed blonde appearance left such an imprint on pop culture? Here are some reasons this look defined her:

– **Timeless beauty ideals** – Marilyn embodied timeless Western beauty standards valuing fair skin, blonde hair, blue eyes. Her classic features appealed to traditional tastes.

– **Sex symbol status** – As the ultimate blonde bombshell, Marilyn’s sensual yet innocent blue-eyed gaze established her as a powerful sex symbol.

– **Hollywood glamour** – Her platinum blonde waves, bold red lips, and blue eyes encapsulated the heightened glamour of Hollywood’s Golden Age.

– **All-American look** – Marilyn’s girl-next-door styling with a touch of exoticism reflected ideals of white American beauty.

So Marilyn Monroe’s blue eyes were part of a larger package representing feminine beauty and sensuality in the cultural imagination. Their cool, steely blue color only added to her status as a blue-eyed blonde icon.

Doane Eyes vs. Coe Eyes

There are two minor controversies around Marilyn Monroe’s eyes that are worth addressing:

**Doane Eyes**

In her modeling days, photographer Andre de Dienes called Norma Jeane’s eyes “Doane eyes” in tribute to a previous girlfriend Doane. Some use this term to describe Marilyn’s eyes as well. But it’s not accurate, since her eyes were not the same blue-green mix as the woman Doane. Marilyn’s eyes were distinctly more blue.

**Coe Eyes**

Actress Joan Coe was known for her pronounced strabismus or lazy eye. After Marilyn became famous, people compared her eyes to Joan Coe’s, inaccurately suggesting Marilyn’s eyes were crossed or non-aligned. In reality, Marilyn did not have a lazy eye – her eyes were perfectly straight with no strabismus.

So while these terms may turn up in discussion, they do not correctly portray Marilyn’s medium blue eye color and lack of crossed eyes.

Contact Lenses to Enhance Color?

Rumors abound that Marilyn Monroe wore tinted contact lenses to make her eyes an even brighter blue. However, this is likely untrue since colored contact lenses were not widely available until the late 1950s. Some conjecture she may have worn them in her final 1962 filming of Something’s Got to Give. But earlier color images show her eyes were already a noticeable blue-gray. Tinting may have enhanced them marginally, but they were not brown eyes turned blue through contacts.

Could Her Eyes Change Color?

Some interesting theories speculate that Marilyn Monroe’s eyes could change color temporarily. The reasons given include:

– Mood – emotion bringing more blood flow to the eyes
– Lighting – different colors reflecting off the iris
– Clothing – colors next to the eyes impacting their tone
– Medications – drugs like barbiturates dilating her pupils

However, there is no definitive evidence her eye color actually shifted. Any variations in shade were subtle and within the normal spectrum of blue. But lighting and wardrobe colors likely impacted how they photographed. Overall though, they remained a cooler steel blue whenever Marilyn was out in public.

Monroe’s Eyes vs. Other Stars

How did Marilyn Monroe’s blue eyes compare to those of her fellow celebrities? Let’s stack them up:

– **Elizabeth Taylor** – violet eyes
– **Paul Newman** – baby blue eyes
– **Frank Sinatra** – azure blue eyes
– **Raquel Welch** – emerald green eyes
– **Elvis Presley** – blue eyes naturally, brown eyes with contacts

While other stars had bright blue eyes, Marilyn’s were a dimmer icy blue with gray tones. Her muted eye color set her apart and added to her allure. It avoided an artificial looking brilliant blue.

Marilyn’s Eyes Off-Camera

Much of the discussion around Marilyn Monroe’s eye color focuses on how they looked in photographs, film, and publicity appearances. But how did she wear her eyes in her everyday life out of the spotlight?

Accounts suggest that off-camera, Marilyn favored a much more natural eye look:

– **Less makeup** – When not working, she toned down the heavy eyeliner, shadow, and mascara.

– **No false lashes** – Marilyn skipped wearing falsies for a more low-key look.

– **Tortoise glasses** – She often wore large round tortoiseshell glasses in her free time.

– **Softer lighting** – No harsh studio lighting to wash her out when in casual settings.

Without the Hollywood lighting and makeup enhancements, Marilyn’s eyes likely appeared a touch darker and less striking. Still a recognizable blue, but not the piercing icy blue seen in her publicity photos and films. More subdued and human.

Marilyn’s Eyes: A Summary

To summarize Marilyn Monroe’s most dazzling facial feature:

– **Color** – Her eyes were a medium blue with gray tones, best described as steel blue. Not a bright vivid blue.

– **Impact** – Heavy liner, mascara, and shadow accentuated her eyes’ size, shape, and color. Gave her a doe-eyed and sultry-eyed effect.

– **Rarity** – With only 8-10% of people having blue eyes, their cool hue stood out.

– **Heritage** – Typical of her Northwest European ancestry and blonde, fair-skinned beauty.

– **Range** – Could photograph differently depending on lighting, makeup, and other factors. But generally maintained their distinctive blue-gray appearance.

Marilyn Monroe’s eyes were an integral part of her bombshell perfection. Their steely blue color, framed by dark lashes and brows, completed her beauty. So next time you gaze at Marilyn, take a closer look at those mesmerizing blue eyes. They helped make her the iconic blonde Hollywood superstar she remains today.


Marilyn Monroe’s distinctive eyes were a vital part of her signature blonde bombshell look. While they could photograph as various hues from gray to blue, generally they were a muted yet vivid blue-gray that gave her an entrancing, doe-eyed appearance. Her dark, defined eye makeup accentuated their shape and color. Marilyn’s medium blue eyes were not extremely light or dark. But their cool steel blue tone made them stand out as an alluring and memorable feature of the iconic actress.