Jayne Mansfield - Image - Rivalry

Rivalry

Throughout her career, Mansfield was compared by the media to the reigning sex symbol of the period, Marilyn Monroe. 20th Century Fox groomed her, as well as Sheree North, to substitute Monroe, their resident "blonde bombshell", while Universal Pictures launched Van Doren as their substitute. The studio launched Mansfield, their new bombshell, with a grand 40-day tour of England and Europe from September 25 to November 6, 1957. She adopted Monroe's vocal mannerisms instead of her original husky voice and Texan speech, performed in two plays that were based on Marilyn Monroe vehicles – Bus Stop and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and her role in The Wayward Bus was strongly influenced by Monroe's character in Bus Stop.

Other studios also tried to find their own version of Monroe. Columbia Pictures tried it with Cleo Moore, Warner Bros. with Carroll Baker, Paramount Pictures with Anita Ekberg, and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer with Barbara Lang, while Diana Dors was dubbed as England's answer to Mansfield. Jacqueline Susann wrote, "When one studio has a Marilyn Monroe, every other studio is hiring Jayne Mansfield and Mamie Van Doren." The crowd of contenders also included Diana Dors, Sheree North, Kim Novak, Cleo Moore, Joi Lansing, Beverly Michaels, Barbara Nichols and Greta Thyssen, and even two brunettes – Elizabeth Taylor and Jane Russell. Mamie Van Doren, Diana Dors and Kim Novak also acted in various productions of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. But, even when Mansfield's film roles were drying up, she was widely considered to be Monroe's primary rival, and she considered Mamie Van Doren as her professional nemesis. At one point, Monroe, Mansfield and Mamie came to be known as "The Three M's".

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