I was in the local card and gift store one evening in December 1999 looking at their Christmas ornaments for the year when a man walked up and stood next to me. He reached down and picked up an ornament. The ornament was the third and final in the Marilyn Monroe series and was of Marilyn wearing a red bathing suit, open toed sandal type shoes and holding what appeared to be a wrap leaning against some type of stand. Just then a sales associate approached us and asked if we were finding everything okay. That is when it all started. The man said to the sales associate that if they were going to make an ornament that they had better get their facts straight before doing so. He claimed to be a huge Marilyn Monroe fan and that he has the previous two ornaments, which were perfect, but this one misrepresented Marilyn.
I have to admit that I am not a Marilyn Monroe buff. To be very honest I really do not know much about her. I do know what she looked like and that even though she is no longer with us she has an extremely large fan base. Despite the above I found myself intrigued by what this man had to say about what looked to me like a good replica of Marilyn Monroe.
The associate looked puzzled and asked the man what he meant by his statement. He was very agitated and said that Marilyn had six toes on her left foot and the ornament clearly shows her having only five toes. In an attempt to support his claim he stated that Marilyn was very self-conscious of her additional toe and she generally only wore shoes where very little of her toes were exposed. He was extremely upset about the ornament and felt that if an ornament was going to be made of her it should be a true carbon copy of Marilyn Monroe.
The man had fallen victim to the Urban Legend about Marilyn and it appears that he needed to get his facts straight because there is no proof that she had a sixth toe. The rumors were brought on by some photographs were taken of her when she was around the age of 20 and due to shadowing and poor angles they did create the illusion that she had an extra toe. Other photographs taken at the same time and earlier in her life show a normal five-toed foot. Some have said that she had surgery to remove the toe but there is no documented proof that such an operation took place.
I have to give kudos to the artist who sculpted the Marilyn Monroe ornament in 1999 for doing their homework. I am sure that the true Marilyn Monroe fans appreciated it.