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LOS ANGELES – Since her death in 1962 at the age of 36, Marilyn Monroe has been held up as the epitome of natural beauty and unadulterated sex appeal. But last week, some of her au natural charms were instead revealed to be the result of cosmetic surgery.
Southern California-based plastic surgeon Norman Leaf came forward as the seller of six X-rays and a file of doctor’s notes that suggest the “Some Like it Hot” star underwent an array of procedures between 1950 and 1962, including a chin implant made of carved bovine cartilage and some work on the tip of her nose.
Many Hollywood types weren’t surprised.
“There is no such thing as natural beauty when it comes to Hollywood,” body image expert Sarah Maria, author of ‘Love Your Body, Love Your Life,’ told FOX411. “(The industry) is interested in glamour and instant appeal – this means that anything natural will be ‘perfected’ to fit in with a Hollywood ideal.”
Dr. Gabriel Chiu of Beverly Hills Plastic Surgery, Inc. said the fact that Monroe hid her surgeries was a sign of the times, times that have since changed.
“If this information came out 30 years ago, it would be a much bigger, more shocking issue than it is now,” he said.
But publicist and image expert Ronn Torossian, CEO of 5WPR, says Monroe’s surgeries should no impact on her legacy.
“Marilyn’s status as the quintessential symbol of American beauty will never be changed. So many years after her death she is still written about, spoken about and fantasized about,” he explained. “From her picture at the entrance to the city of Cannes to the timeless video of her singing Happy Birthday to John F. Kennedy, there is really nothing which can change the legend of Marilyn Monroe.”
The medical notes were written by surgeon Michael Gurdin, who began a practice in Beverly Hills with Leaf in 1975.
The files will be sold to the highest bidder by prominent auction house Julien’s Auctions in November, and are expected to go for up to $30,000 dollars. Leaf said all proceeds will go to the nonprofit organization Rebuilding America’s Warriors, which assists veterans in receiving free-of-charge reconstructive surgery on injuries not accounted for by government benefits.
“It’s a perfect link because Marilyn entertained the troops in Korea,” Leaf told Reuters. “So this is a chance for her to help the troops out again.”
Dr, Chiu is still less than impressed. “Not only is it disrespectful to disclose medical records, but illegal to do so even if that person is deceased,” he said. “But Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) privacy rules have recently been amended to limit the applicability of its privacy rule to 50 years after a person’s death. Marilyn died 51 years ago.”
Leaf and Julien’s Auctions did not respond to a request for further comment.
Danielle Jones-Wesley contributed to this report.