It has been 50 years to the day (August 5th) since the ultimate screen siren Marilyn Monroe passed away of an apparent overdose at the tender age of 36. In that time she has become something of a myth, an enigma whose beauty and on screen presence has eclipsed the fact that Marilyn Monroe was an actress and a human being who fell victim to her own success.

To those who knew her best, Marilyn was a person nothing like her on-screen typecast, the dumb blonde with a heart of gold that made her famous in films such as 1953's Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, 1955's The Seven Year Itch and perhaps her most famous role, in Billy Wilder's 1959 comedy Some Like It Hot.

She was also something of a tragic case, born into poverty to a mother who struggled with mental health problems, and a father whose identity Monroe never knew. Norma Jeane Mortenson, her birth name, spent her early life being ferried from one foster home to another before pursuing a modelling career and then, one rhinoplasty later, an acting career.

In fact, to those who knew her throughout her career, Martin Landau, Don Murray and Mitzi Gaynor, she was always on the quest to perfect her acting talents, right up until her death. As her friends and co-workers have said, it was her modesty and shyness that hindered her from bringing critics to their feet in applause if anything.

So, 50 years on, let us not hold a moment for Marilyn Monroe the actress and sex symbol, let us instead bow our heads in respect for Marilyn the human being who will long be remembered.