Marilyn Monroe’s curtains indeed matched the drapes.
That’s according to celebrity hairstylist Kenneth Battelle, who revealed the buxom blonde’s bleach routine on her nether regions in a recently released book, as reported by the Daily Mail.
Battelle — whose A-list clientele included Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Judy Garland, Audrey Hepburn and many more — was working on a biography with writer Giuseppe Longo before Battelle died in 2013 at age 86, and his notes have been turned into a book, “Kenneth: Shear Elegance.”
In the book, which details his rise to fame from beauty school to the famed Helena Rubinstein salon and eventually to the White House with Kennedy, the legendary hairdresser recalled meeting Monroe for the first time in 1958 — in her apartment while she was wearing nothing but a bathrobe. He was called in to help fix her hair, which was falling out due to all the bleaching and perming while she was filming “Some Like It Hot.”
“She became my favorite steady client,” he said, according to the Daily Mail. “She had wonderful hair; she had wonderful everything. She was one of the greatest people I’ve ever known.”
The two really seemed to get to know each other quickly because, in 1959, before the premiere of the film co-starring Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis, they shared an intimate styling moment together after a film exec spilled Champagne on her beige silk dress, rendering it transparent.
“You could see everything, like she was in a wet T-shirt,” he said. “She was going to throw the mink coat over the stains for the press conference, but I told her that if she wasn’t changing her dress, she should at least put on some underwear.”
But Monroe didn’t want to wear panties, since they would show through her dress, so Battelle thought up another solution.
“I said, ‘I hear Jean Harlow didn’t wear underwear, either — but she used to bleach her [pubic] hair so it wouldn’t show through,’ ” he said. “So I went downstairs to the hotel drugstore and bought her powdered milk of magnesia, 20% peroxide and spirits of ammonia. It’s a very old formula for decolorizing hair. I told her, ‘Now go in the bathroom and bleach.’ Nothing showed through when they switched on those bright lights.”
Battelle, who also styled Monroe’s ‘do for her infamous 1962 performance of “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” for President John F. Kennedy, also saved locks of her hair in a box which went up for auction last year.
Turns out Monroe might have made dying her pubic hair part of her regular beauty routine, too. The “Seven Year Itch” actress’ longtime maid, Lena Pepitone, recalled walking in on her bleaching her bits, as detailed in the book “Marilyn Monroe Confidential.”
“For someone who didn’t like the tub, Marilyn spent an unusual amount of time in the bathroom,” Pepitone wrote, according to the Village Voice. “I often wondered what she could be doing in there for so long, especially since the mirrors in the bedroom were so much better for admiring herself, which she liked to do.”
She continued: “One day, I found her perched on the toilet, legs up, performing an elaborate ceremony with a bottle of some chemical and two toothbrushes. She was bleaching her pubic hairs blonde.”
Perhaps gentlemen do prefer blondes?