If you’re a devoted fan of Marilyn Monroe, you may already know that she had a noticeable scar on her stomach. Marilyn Monroe’s stomach scar could be seen in the last photoshoot she ever did and in her never-finished film, Something’s Got To Give. Since scars tell stories, people are often fascinated with how they got there—and since she is Marilyn Monroe, people are doubly intrigued. Yet the story behind Monroe’s scar on her stomach is far from glamorous, since she got it from gallbladder surgery.
Although Monroe’s scar and how she obtained it isn’t new information, Marie Claire reported on it recently. Plus, with so much mystery surrounding Monroe, you may have missed this tidbit about her body during her final days. But a 2001 Salon article with photographer Bert Stern, who took Monroe’s “The Last Sitting” photos in 1962 before her death, referenced the scar. “The Last Sitting” photos are notable not only for being the last professional photoshoot that Monroe posed for before her death, but also because she posed nude—something she hadn’t done for photos since 1949.
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"He then looked at his subject and was surprised. Monroe had a scar. She'd had a gall bladder operation six weeks before," the Salon article noted about Stern's response to the scar."
The New York Times also referenced the scar on her stomach at a showing of “The Last Sitting” photos in Paris in 2006, with the writer noting, “Still more striking is a fresh scar on her stomach, the legacy of a gallbladder operation a few weeks earlier.”
The scar can also be seen in some photos from Monroe’s last film Something’s Got to Give. She was fired from production and the film was inevitably scrapped, but footage remains. But the below photo from the film was retouched to remove the scar.
But other images exist that show Monroe in all of her natural glory.
You can also see the scar in photos from her infamous skinny dipping scene in the film.
So while Monroe will always have a certain allure that makes her enigmatic, the scar on her stomach, and her death by overdose, serve as reminders that she was just a person—vulnerable like the rest of us.