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Rare Marilyn Monroe Photos Released
Take a look at some of Marilyn Monroe's most beautiful moments captured on film.
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Marilyn Monroe at age 22, Hollywood, 1949. 

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Marilyn Monroe, 22, takes dance lessons, Hollywood, 1949

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Marilyn Monroe, 22, takes singing lessons with bandleader Phil Moore at the famous West Hollywood nightclub, the Mocambo, in 1949.

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The starlet lies in L.A.'s Griffith Park, reading a script and wearing a shirt with her monogrammed initials. This set of photos, never before published, was recently uncovered by LIFE, with little clues as to why they never saw the light of day

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Two months after a small but important role in "The Asphalt Jungle," Monroe is bright-eyed and beautiful at a shoot by LIFE photographer Ed Clark.

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"Marilyn strains, back against the mirror, bosom to all the world, in an attempt to get a mood of elation." After more practice, McKinney writes, "Marilyn plays the scene and her elation nearly pops her sweater if not her eyes."

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What does it take to become a star? 

In the fall of 1948, Marilyn Monroe had just a few roles in box office flops on her résumé -- but LIFE photographer J. R. Eyerman apparently saw enough of a glimmer in the 22-year-old starlet to follow her through the showbiz training that promised to make her big. The incredible -- and seldom seen -- images in this gallery are the first a LIFE photographer ever took of Monroe, though the magazine did not publish them at the time.

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Of this photograph McKinney wrote, "She assumes the classic, much-painted posture of ballet girls adjusting their shoes." Around the time of Eyerman's shoot, Monroe was signed with Columbia Pictures, after a brief and unsuccessful six months at 20th Century Fox, and could be seen on screen as a dancer in Ladies of the Chorus. Ultimately, that movie tanked, and Monroe was once again dumped by a major studio -- but she would continue undeterred in her quest for fame.

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Clad in a show-stopping red velvet dress and fur stole, 25-year-old starlet Marilyn Monroe glides across the floor of the Club Del Mar in Santa Monica, Calif., in January 1952. At this party, the actress — who'd just enjoyed another tiny but scene-stealing part in the comedy As Young as You Feel — would receive one of her very first career awards: the "Henrietta" for Best Young Box Office Personality, given by the Foreign Press Association of Hollywood.

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Marilyn gives a sultry pose at her home.

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Marilyn is photographed laughing at her home.

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Monroe performs "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend," which would become a signature song for her, in the 1953 smash "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes."

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Jan. 14, 1954: Monroe and DiMaggio are all smiles after their San Francisco City Hall ceremony.

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Two days after they were wed in a secret civil ceremony, Monroe and acclaimed playwright Miller held a formal Jewish wedding on July 1, 1956, at a rented house in Katonah, New York. (At the time, Monroe was studying to convert to her husband's Jewish faith.) Later that day, they're spotted in a convertible on a New York City street as they prepare to drive to Miller's farm in Connecticut.

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Rare Marilyn Monroe Photos Released

Take a look at some of Marilyn Monroe's most beautiful moments captured on film.

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