Plastic surgery and Marilyn Monroe: What is the real truth?

Plastic surgery and Marilyn Monroe: What is the real truth?

"Diamonds are a girl's best friend," next to her plastic surgeon. Many have wondered if Monroe relied on plastic surgery to fill in nature's gaps and lately that speculation has increased.

X-rays of the Monroe's skull and medical records, alluding to cosmetic surgery on her chin and nose, will be auctioned in Beverly Hills on Nov. 10. Of note is that the right to medical privacy ends 50 years after a person's death and Monroe died 51 years ago.

So, did she or didn't she? The X-rays and accompanying medical records include notes by Michael Gurdin, a deceased UCLA plastic surgeon who treated Monroe during the heyday of the studio system. The records were safeguarded until now by Gurdin's partner who treated them like memorabilia, showing them to a select few. Among the few was Allure beauty reporter, Joan Kron. According to Kron, Monroe underwent chin augmentation and maybe had some nose reshaping and breast augmentation with silicone injections.

In about 1949 or 1950 Monroe overheard herself referred to as a "chinless wonder." She went to a plastic surgeon who performed a cartilage graft, which made her chin more pronounced.

In 1958—years after the original procedure— Monroe sought help again for her chin. Apparently, Monroe's graft, which was bovine or cow cartilage had absorbed or dissolved over time, leaving nothing but a scar. There is no record indicating whether Gurdin or Pangman, another plastic surgeon she used, replaced it and no mention of work on Monroe's nose—although another surgeon claimed that Gurdin told him in private conversation that he and his partner also refined Monroe's nasal tip.

Monroe's only other visit to Gurdin recorded in the chart was an emergency consultation on June 7, 1962, less than two months before her death. Monroe arrived with her psychiatrist, complaining about an accidental fall, which she feared had broken her nose. There was "swelling and tenderness," Gurdin wrote. Some believed the fall was the result of abuse by the psychiatrist and Gurdin shared this suspicion.

Kron learned about Monroe's breast issues when she interviewed Rosemary Eckersley, a friend of Monroe's and the widow of Franklin Ashley, another legendary Hollywood surgeon. Shortly before Monroe's death "her breasts were infected," Eckersley said, probably from liquid silicone injections. "Marilyn wanted Frank to do something about them, but he wouldn't." More accurately he couldn't, because it's almost impossible to remove free silicone after it's injected.

The bottom line is that it appears Monroe did have a chin implant, but the nasal tip reshaping and breast augmentation are "maybes." Whatever plastic surgery Monroe underwent was a whopping success. The best plastic surgery always does leave you guessing.