Jane Russell, Charles Coburn, Marilyn Monroe
Here's what I know about "Gentlemen.Prefer Blondes." It was a Howard Hawks film. Hawks took a break from his regular style and featured women in the lead roles instead of men. His favorite starring actor was John Wayne although he also worked with Humphrey Bogart, Clark Gable, Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart and the like. Lot of heavyweights. Hawks did not get along with Monroe because he was fastidious about time and Marilyn always showed up late causing delay after delay in his shooting schedule. The reason Monroe was always late was because she was camera shy. It took her a good portion of the morning to work up the nerve to perform.
During the filming of GPB the press was anticipating cat fights between Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe. Two top stars trying to outshine each other. This never occurred. When Russell found out the reason for Monroe's tardiness, she took it upon herself to help Marilyn. Jane would spend her mornings encouraging Marilyn and they began walking to the set together. They became the best of friends.
It was this movie that skyrocketed Marilyn's celebrity. She was paid $18,000 in total, $1,500 a week for 12 weeks work. Jane Russell was paid around $150,000 for her performance. It would still be a couple years before Marilyn's contract would be renegotiated and her salary would enter the hundred thousand dollar range.
The one line of dialogue Marilyn hated but proved her acting ability by reciting to perfection was "I can be smart when it's important, but most men don't like it." The line made her cringe when she first read it and it took her days of rehearsal to say it in the manner it was intended. Monroe portrayed the "dumb blonde" stereotype so convincingly, it was hard for her to be taken seriously. The truth was that Marilyn Monroe was a lot smarter than the average person. She would have to be in order to consort with her future husband Arthur Miller. No slouch he.