When Norma Jean decided to throw caution to the wind and make herself over to become the iconic movie star/sex symbol Marilyn Monroe she began the transformation by becoming a pin-up model.
The photographers who shot Marilyn had the eye and Marilyn had the everything else, and together they created the Marilyn Monroe image that made her the Hollywood It Girl every director wanted in their films.
But before the fame came those "who the hell is this girl?" moments, like the time in 1950 when LIFE photographer Ed Clark photographed Marilyn "at the suggestion of a friend of 20th Century Fox telling of the new hiring of the studios":
“I sent several rolls to LIFE in New York, but they wired back, ‘Who the hell is Marilyn Monroe?” – Ed Clark.