Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Kay Kent -- Marilyn Redux

As a teenager, the aspiring British model became obsessed with film star Marilyn Monroe, who overdosed on pills in her Brentwood, California, house on August 5, 1962.  Kent repeatedly bleached her naturally brown hair until it became the same shade as Monroe's.  Spare time was spent in her room practicing the dead star's pout and perfecting her makeup.  Finally, Kent spent $4,000 to have her breasts augmented to match Monroe's 38-inch bust.  As a Monroe look-alike, she became a well-known face in British tabloids and television knocking down $90,000 annually impersonating the sex goddess in media advertising.

In early 1989, Kent's mother died of cancer and soon afterward the model broke up with her childhood sweetheart, 28-year-old rock singer Dean Hammond.  On June 12, 1989, a tenant found the nude body of the 24-year-old Monroe impersonator dead on her bed in a row house in Chatham, England, some 34 miles southeast of London.  Like her idol, Kent was found with an empty pill bottle beside her.  Authorities reported that a half-empty vodka bottle and photos of Monroe were strewn across Kent's bed.  Movie stills of the actress, books about her, and Monroe recordings littered the room.  A note addressed to her former boyfriend read:  "Dear Dean, I love you so very much."  Kent's older brother told a reporter:  "She was so involved in her Marilyn image that she couldn't help herself from dying just like her idol.  I don't know why she killed herself.  She had hundreds of people around her.  Maybe she died of loneliness."

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