Some Like It Hot Was A Stressful Experience For Marilyn Monroe

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Marilyn Monroe is absolutely unforgettable as Sugar Cane in the 1959 comedy "Some Like it Hot," but her time on set wasn't quite so sweet. The deeply troubled starlet frequently butt heads with director Billy Wilder and co-star Tony Curtis. Her antics were a headache for the cast and crew, but everyone agreed that her performance made it all worth it in the end.

"Some Like it Hot" stars Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon as two musicians saddled with debt and in desperate need of work. They're sure they've struck gold when they hear about two openings in a traveling band, but there's just one catch — the band is all women. Strapped for cash and out of options, the men disguise themselves in drag and join the band. Their perfect plan hits its first road bump when they meet Sugar, an irresistible ukulele player with a drinking problem and a thing for saxophone players.

Curtis and Monroe had a romantic history years before joining the cast of "Some Like it Hot." The two briefly dated in 1949, the actor told Entertainment Weekly. "We ended up going out for about four or five weeks," he recalled, but the affair ended almost as quickly as it began. "We knew it was never going to work out between us," Curtis explained. "Rubbing and kissing and all that good stuff — it doesn't always mean you're going to fall madly in love."

Her past with Curtis didn't exactly put Marilyn at ease on set, but an old flame was the least of her troubles. Monroe's battle with addiction and mental illness led her to lash out at everyone, including Curtis, Wilder, and even Lemmon.

Monroe had problems with Monroe

Monroe gave both of her co-stars a hard time on the set of "Some Like it Hot." The actress got in the habit of "showing up late," "spending all morning on one or two lines of dialogue," and "drinking a lot on set," Curtis recalled.

"She drove Billy [Wilder] and Tony crazy," Lemmon told Dan Aulier (via Billy Wilder's Some Like it Hot.) "She drove me a little crazy too ... and it was almost always the same thing: the lateness," the actor explained. Lemmon "got along great" with Monroe — in part because he had fewer scenes with her than Curtis did — and he had a lot of sympathy for her. "She had a lot of problems, she was basically an unhappy girl," he said.

Wilder may have taken issue with Monroe's lateness, but he was not her biggest adversary. "I had no problems with Monroe, Monroe had problems with Monroe," the director explained in "Portrait of a 60% Perfect Man: Billy Wilder" (via Filmagicians). "Something was always eating at her. It was like pulling teeth," he recalled.

The actress' erratic behavior would eventually lead to "something absolutely unique" that would cause Wilder to "forget after the picture's finished that [he] had a rough time before." "Not that she was mean or anything like that," the director clarified. She was simply "discombobulated" and in need of "the greatest of the analysts — or, a slew of analysts, not just one — to unravel what was happening within her."

As the old saying goes, beauty is pain, and Monroe was a perfect embodiment of this rule. She brought her irreplicable charm to "Some Like it Hot" and worked with some of Hollywood's greatest names to make a true cinematic masterpiece. The actress may have been troubled, but her performance as Sugar was flawless.