Marilyn Monroe had to learn to smoke for film shot in Niagara Falls

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Published April 3, 2023 at 12:27 pm

When Marilyn Monroe came to Niagara Falls in 1952 to film the movie "Niagara," she was not a smoker. However, her character Rose Loomis was so she had to learn how to smoke for the first time at age of 26.

When starlet Marilyn Monroe came to Niagara Falls for two weeks in June 1952 to film the movie Niagara, she had to develop a new habit – smoking.

While Monroe did not smoke at the time, unfortunately her character Rose Loomis did in the film that gave her top billing for the first time, launching the blonde bombshell into super stardom.

That actually lead to Monroe having to practise to smoke as the filming loomed so that she would look like a long-time puffer rather than a 26-year-old – her age at the time – picking up the habit for the first time.

She often practised the less-than-desirable habit in her Room 801 at the General Brock Hotel in Niagara Falls, a hotel now called the Crowne Plaza. For the record, you can still book the room she stayed in for the two weeks of filming.

Below, Toronto photographer Jock Carroll captured her attempts at smoking the first few times. In one, you can clearly see her coughing a little.

However, did she continue to smoke in real life after the filming ended. There seems to be ample evidence that, yes, she continued to smoke for the rest of her life.

For starters, there are dozens of photos available that show her smoking, whether real-life captures or posed photographs. You have to remember in the 1950s, smoking was not yet determined to be potentially hazardous to your health.

In fact, many saw smoking as glamourous for women or rugged for men. Some believe Marilyn was a social smoker, others that she smoked only for photographs or roles, and others believe she became regular smoker after this movie throughout much of her adult life. It would appear the latter was accurate.

As well as Niagara, Monroe also sparked it up for the movies Right Cross and The Seven Year Itch. But she was also shown smoking on the sets of her movies when the camera wasn’t rolling, right up until her final completed film, The Misfits.

However, while the habit she picked up in Niagara Falls during the June 1952 filming would then become a life-long one, her actual life would only extend another 10 years until her death on August 4, 1962.

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