The first man to impersonate Marilyn Monroe may well have been her dance coach, Jack Cole. Anticipating the iconic Marilyn, he brought out her exceptional femininity through dance. Monroe copied him in return. A star was born.
Monroe’s six-movie collaboration with Cole began with 1953’s “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” the breakthrough film that made her a superstar. Yet the man behind the icon has been forgotten – an odd missing puzzle piece in view of Monroe’s staying power.
Revelations about the pioneering jazz-dance choreographer’s influence on his talented pupil continue to surface in interviews, biographies, archival material and an upcoming Cole documentary. It all leads to a critical reassessment of an overlooked dance artist who lived and worked in Los Angeles for 33 years. Coming 47 years after her death on Aug. 5, 1962, it also sheds new light on Monroe’s capacity to improve her craft. With other authority figures, Monroe could be vague and even rebellious. With Cole, a stern taskmaster who did not suffer fools, she buckled down.
Read more in my Sunday Calendar article in the Los Angeles Times.