“I’ve been in this business a long time, and I know what’s good for you.”
That’s a Fox executive talking down to Marilyn Monroe after she balked at being assigned a film called The Girl in Pink Tights. She wanted to see the script first. The studio refused. To make matters worse, she was only being paid 30 percent what her costar, Frank Sinatra, was earning.
So Monroe did what few women in Hollywood felt empowered do it: She spoke up.
“I’ve been in this business a very short time,” Monroe replied, “but I know better what’s good for me more than you.” And with that, she went on strike.
MH Greene © 2018 J Greene
A little over a year later, on January 7th, 1955, the actress invited a group of journalists to her lawyer’s home in New York. No one really knew what to expect, but it certainly wasn’t this: Monroe announced the formation of Marilyn Monroe Productions — making her the second woman ever to head her own production company, after Mary Pickford. She had turned the tables on the dumb blonde stereotype, proving she was far savvier and more resourceful than people realized.
Monroe took on the studio system — and won. Through MMP she renegotiated her contract, giving her full control of her career. She would now be paid $100,000 per film plus a share of the profits (instead of the mere $1,500 per week she previously received) and have approval over all her productions, including her pick of script, director and cinematographer. The Girl in Pink Tights, obviously, was out.
"I feel wonderful,” Monroe said at the time. “I’m incorporated."