Marilyn's Oscar Blow; ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS

Daily Mail (London), March 10, 2010 | Go to article overview

Marilyn's Oscar Blow; ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS


Byline: Complied by CharlessLegge

QUESTION Did Marilyn Monroe ever win an Oscar?

MARILYN Monroe is arguably the most iconic actress who ever lived, but despite transfixing the world with her sex appeal she never managed to get her hands on an Oscar.

The closest she got to critical acclaim from her peers was the Golden Globe she received in 1960 for her portrayal of Sugar Kane in the Billy Wilder classic Some Like It Hot, opposite Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis. She had earlier been nominated for, but did not win, a Globe in 1957 for best actress for Bus Stop.

Monroe's celebrity has overshadowed her achievements as an actress, particularly her comic talents. Her erratic behaviour, disastrous marriages to Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller and her affairs with John F Kennedy and his brother Bobby created a soap opera around her which was lapped up around the world.

She became heavily dependent on drugs to cope with depression and died after taking an overdose at the age of 36, although conspiracy theorists have suggested her death was merely made to look like suicide.

The former model, who was born Norma Jeane Baker and spent her early years in a number of foster homes, is fixed in the public imagination as the most famous Hollywood sex symbol of them all.

Some Like It Hot merely confirmed her as the most beautiful and sensual woman in the world at that time, but her sex appeal should not detract from what was a stunning performance.

She brings to the picture a unique sense of fun, blind naivety and sexual energy which many believe was just a natural extension of her true character, particularly when her character, the singer in a girl's band, falls for Curtis's alter ego in the film, a faux rich American businessman.

Jack Lemmon and Wilder were nominated for Oscars in 1959 for Some Like It Hot, but both missed out. Monroe was snubbed even for a nomination, the best actress award going to Simone Signoret for Room At The Top.

And who remembers that now?

Jackie O'Leary, Dublin.

QUESTION What is the origin of the term 'Hibernia' as a name for Ireland?

THE term 'Hibernia' for Ireland is very old, dating back almost 2,000 years to Roman times.

A Greek traveller was the first to 'discover' Ireland. Around 320BC, Pytheas of Massilia was on an expedition to explore north-west Europe when he came upon Ireland, which he called 'Ierne'.

Then some 400 years later, along came a Roman of either Greek or Egyptian origin, Claudius Ptolemaeus - or Ptolemy in English - who was considered the greatest astron-omer and geographer of his time.

Ptolemy made the first map of the island of Ireland, which was surprisingly accurate. He referred to the island as 'Iouernia', an adaptation of a much older Celtic word, from which were eventually derived the Irish names Eriu and Eire.

The Romans may have seen some kind of connection between these two Greek names for Ireland and the Latin word hibernus, which means 'wintry', and so coined the name Hibernia. They actually knew little about Ireland and believed that it was a cold, bleak island between Spain and Britain.

The Romans never colonised Ireland as they did Britain, although archaeological remains found in Co. Dublin suggest there may have been some trading links between Roman Britain and Ireland. However, the new Latin word for the country stuck and came into common usage, helped by the fact that for centuries afterwards, Latin was the lingua franca of the educated classes.

Later on, the word acquired poetic connotations. In the 18th century, Hibernia was widely used in a patriotic sense. The name was popular with the gentry, who were widely taught Latin at school. They made the connection between Hibernia and the images of classical style and civilisation conjured up by the Roman Empire.

Hibernia has also cropped up as a name for businesses over the years. …

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