After beginning her career as a model, Monroe set her sights on the world of acting, and signed a short-term contract with 20th Century Fox in 1946. After a few inconsequential appearances in films, she was dropped from the contract, and returned to modeling. She accepted $50 to pose nude in order to make ends meet, but the photo gained enough attention to earn her another chance in Hollywood.
Monroe accepted bit parts in films for the next two years before landing a part in John Houston’s “The Asphalt Jungle.” Although her role was still minor, the upcoming actress was proud of the film, and delighted that audiences finally began to notice her. In her autobiography, My Story, Monroe recalled audiences’ positive reactions to her:
“It was a fine picture. I was thrilled by it. The biggest thrill, though, was myself. The audience whistled at me. They made ‘wolf noises.’ They laughed happily when I spoke. They liked me very much.”
Monroe and her friend and talent agent Johnny Hyde thought the film would be her big break. According to Monroe, when Hyde approached Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, they refused to give her a contract because she wasn’t “star material” and didn’t have “the sort of looks that make a movie star.”
Despite the exec’s opinion, Monroe continued to act, and finally won another Fox contract after her breakout performance in “All About Eve.” The Metro exec must have felt pretty silly after Fox signed Monroe and downright gutted when she exploded into superstardom.