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Claim: The visual appearance of Tinker Bell in Disney's 1953 animated version of Peter Pan was modeled after Marilyn Monroe.
Origins: The film rights to Sir James Barrie's tremendously popular stage play (1904) and book (1911) Peter Pan were acquired by Disney in 1939 for
Depicting the character of Tinker Bell in an animated film posed something of a challenge for Disney
Since Peter Pan was released in 1953, just as another curvaceous blonde, Marilyn Monroe, was becoming America's most popular screen actress and sex symbol, it's easy to make the assumption that Tinker Bell was intended to be a Monroesque minx. However, at the time Peter Pan went into production, Marilyn Monroe was not the world famous epitome of the sexy, glamorous 1950s starlet she is now. Although far from unknown, back then Marilyn was still working her way up the Hollywood ladder of stardom in a series supporting roles and bit parts
Kerry easily recognizes her own body language in the 1953 film. So did her second husband, Jack Willcox, whom she once took to a "Peter Pan" screening. "I was so excited and nudging him," she recalls. "'There I am!' I said. 'Jack! Jack! Jack, that's me!' He just leaned over and said, 'Margaret, I'd recognize those thighs anywhere.'"
Kerry's legs had in fact been christened the "Most Beautiful Legs in Hollywood" shortly before "Peter Pan" went into production, a fact she now begrudgingly acknowledges. "Terrible thing! It was a real throwback from the early '30s. But my girlfriend wanted to do it if I'd go, so I did, and I won. She never spoke to me again."
During her audition, Kerry says, it was her pantomime of Tinker Bell standing on a hand mirror sizing up her hips that got her the part. Other scenes such as that of the pixie stuck in a keyhole, hips gratuitously wriggling in a rear-angle shot lent an uncharacteristically saucy element to this Disney classic based on the James M. Barrie
Last updated: 21 August 2007
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