When Marilyn Monroe posed for Earl Moran in the first of their sessions that took place between 1946 and 1950, she was just 19 and an aspiring actress, while Moran had established himself as a leading illustrator of beautiful women; his work for magazines and calendars placed him in the company of Alberto Vargas and George Petty.
Earl Moran hired a young model named Norma Jean Dougherty through the Blue Book Agency in Los Angeles, in 1946. This was one of Marilyn’s earliest regular modeling assignments, to help pay the rent while she fought for an entree into the movie business. She posed for him off and on for the next four years. He usually took photos of her, which he used as reference for his pinup illustrations. He paid Marilyn ten dollars an hour to photograph her in various costumes and states of toplessness from 1946 to 1949.
Moran’s Marilyn work was used, among others, by major calendar company Brown & Bigelow. Forty years later, in January 1987, Playboy magazine published some of Moran’s 1946 nude photos of Marilyn.