Vaduz, Liechtenstein: 3 January 2016
Ute (my wife) and I visit the Liechtenstein National Museum to see a special exhibit on the life and times of American movie star, model and singer Marilyn Monroe, entitled “The stength behind the legend”.
“Famous for playing “dumb blonde” characters, she became one of the most popular sex symbols of the 1950s, emblematic of the era’s attitudes towards sexuality.
Although she was a top-billed actress for only a decade, her films grossed $200 million by the time of her unexpected death in 1962.
She continues to be considered a major pop culture icon.”(Wikipedia)
“I am very definitely a woman and I enjoy it.” (Marilyn Monroe)
“Marilyn Monroe is without doubt one of Hollywood´s greatest film icons.
Though she died more than 50 years ago, she is still well known around the world today.
In America, Europe, Australia, Africa and Asia, she remains ominpresent.
Her face features on one of Andy Warhol´s most famous portraits and has been depicted on postage stamps issued by the Republic of Chad.
The photo of her standing above a subway grating with her white dress blowing into the air is one of the most famous images of the 20th century.
This and other photos and films as well as her looks and outfits made her a beauty icon and idealised her as one of the most beautiful women to have ever lived.
However, this was only one side of Marilyn Monroe – a side she deliberately used to pursue her career.
“The truth is I´ve never fooled anyone. I´ve let men sometimes fool themselves.” (Marilyn Monroe)
There was also a different side to her that few people knew.
Throughout her life she tried to assert herself and be accepted in a male-dominated world.
She wore trousers at a time when this was regarded as unladylike.
Marilyn liked jogging, which was also considered inappropriate for women at that time.
She founded her own movie production company.
Time magazine described her as a “shrewd businesswoman.”
She wanted to be a woman, but on equal terms with men.
“If I had observed all the rules, I´d never have gotten anywhere.” (Marilyn Monroe)
“One of the best things that ever happened to me is that I´m a woman. That is the way all females should feel….All we demanded was our right to twinkle.”(Marilyn Monroe)
Now…fast forward to today.
“When was the last time you saw packs of photographers door-stepping the Swiss home of a star or politician?
The answer is probably never.
Welcome to Switzerland – the land where the rich and famous can walk down a busy street without anyone so much as batting an eyelid.
Here, even the very notion of celebrity seems foreign.
It’s no surprise, then, that increasing numbers of global celebrities are choosing the Swiss mountains over the Hollywood hills.
Shania Twain, the Canadian queen of country pop currently lives in the town of Corseaux, overlooking Lake Geneva, near Vevey in the canton of Vaud.
According to media reports, she shares her home with her husband Frédéric Thiébaud, a Nestlé business executive, who happens to be her ex-husband’s mistress’s ex-husband.
(Yes, you read that correctly).
Phil Collins, a resident of the canton of Vaud, the British pop star moved to Switzerland in 1997, where he married his third wife Orianne Cevey, who is mother to his two sons.
The couple announced their separation in 1999 and last year Collins announced the sale of his wife’s mansion in the village of Begnins, the former residence of motor racing star Jackie Stewart.
Collins has since moved to the nearby municipality of Féchy.
Tina Turner, the rock star, has given up her US citizenship to become a citizen of Switzerland, having lived here for almost two decades.
Now 73, she has spent most of her time since the mid-1990s in Küsnacht in a mansion overlooking Lake Zurich.
Her latest project is learning German — which she claims to be doing ‘diligently’ — and she’s told the Swiss-German newspaper Blick that she’d never consider living anywhere else now.
James Blunt, the pop star, while admitting to being a “horrible cook”, it was his desire to start a restaurant business, coupled with a love of skiing, that brought the British pop star to Verbier, in the canton of Valais, in 2007.
In December last year, the 38-year-old’s dream finally came true when he opened a restaurant, which he’s named La Vache (The Cow).
Michael Schumacher, an unabashed lover of Switzerland’s tax breaks for millionaires, the Formula One racing champion even said last year that he would consider leaving his home in Gland in the canton of Vaud if the privileges were abolished.
A 20-year resident of Switzerland, the sportsman was listed last year as the second wealthiest sportsman in the world by The Sunday Times with an estimated fortune of $824 million US.
Frida Lyngstad, Swedish pop group Abba’s famous “Dancing Queen” turned into a princess following her marriage to a German prince who later died.
She moved to Switzerland in 1986.
She currently lives in Zermatt, the mountain resort near the Matterhorn in the canton of Valais, with her British boyfriend Henry Smith, the fifth Viscount Hambleden.
Petula Clark, the British singer, best known for her 1960s hit ‘Downtown’, settled in Geneva with her publicist husband Claude Wolff in 2007.
Now 80, the star shows no signs of retiring and in January this year released her latest album, ‘Lost In You’.”(Source: http://www.thelocal.ch)
As ex-pat celebrities go, Switzerland has been home to 37 writers, 26 music stars, 13 movie stars, 5 painters, 2 philosophers and 2 dancers.
It has also attracted the ex-pat mega-wealthy: 29 businessmen, 5 heirs and 5 shipping tycoons.
Ex-pat political types have lived here: 14 politicians, 10 kings, 3 religious leaders, 3 revolutionaries, 2 despots and 2 presidents.
As well, ex-pat sports stars and scientists have been drawn to this landlocked tax haven island in the centre of the European continent.
So Paris Hilton, American socialite, TV personality, model, actress, singer, DJ, businesswoman, and author, now living in Switzerland, is nothing new under the Swiss sun.
According to the free Swiss papers 20 Minutes and Blick, as well as the December issue of Schweizer Illustrierte (Swiss Illustrated), the “IT girl” has a Swiss lover (multimillionaire Hans Thomas Gross) in Schindellegi, Canton Schwyz.
And the Swiss media eagerly informs us that Paris likes to regularly shop at the Co-op store in Richterswil, Canton Zürich.
“A fixture in entertainment news for her lifestyle, Hilton attracted notoriety for her participation in a sex tape leaked before the first episode of the reality show The Simple Life.
Some entertainment writers felt that Hilton’s overnight success was due to the tape.
According to Entertainment Weekly:
“I dare say the Paris Hilton-Rick Salomon tape received more print and television coverage in a week than the run-up to The Simple Life received in the months since its premiere was announced. We in the media have become Paris-ites”.
Hilton’s profile was higher, paparazzi began following her and her relationships, lifestyle and legal issues were targets of gossip sites and tabloid media worldwide.
Critics suggest that Hilton epitomizes being famous for being famous – someone who attains celebrity status for no particular identifiable reason (as opposed to fame based on achievements, skill, and/or talent) and just appears to generate their own fame and she is an example of the celebutante.”
I wonder, can Marilyn and Paris be comparable?
In both centuries, both have been criticized and dismissed for discernable lack of talent.
Yet isn´t the ability to generate your own fame a talent in itself?
Both have had imperfect private lives that seldom remained private.
Perhaps Marilyn might have lived longer and happier had she exiled herself to Switzerland or Liechtenstein?
Though I have never felt great admiration for Paris Hilton´s achievements – musical, acting or modelling – I can´t help but respect her ability to understand what Oscar Wilde meant when he wrote:
“The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.”
(Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray)