Marilyn Monroe and Tinkerbell

There is some controversy regarding the issue of whether Marilyn was a model for the Tinkerbell character in Peter Pan.

First of all, in The Unabridged Marilyn: Her Life From A to Z, by Riese & Hitchens, it says that Marilyn was the model for Tinkerbell.

Secondly, in various “trivia” books, and in some Documentary videos about Disney, it also says that she was.

However, there is NO EVIDENCE of this at all. No record of her modeling for Disney, no pictures of her modeling as Tinkerbell.

What there IS, instead, is a great deal of evidence that the model for the character of Tinkerbell was in fact actress Margaret Kerry.

To assist in the production of animations, the studios made special props from scenes in the movies, got models to pose with the props, and then drew the animations using the still photos as a reference.

There are Disney Studios photos of Margaret Kerry posing with the props from Peter Pan scenes. Here (see above) is an example… a scene where Tinkerbell is looking through a keyhole. In this photo Margaret Kerry is posing with the prop for the keyhole scene, and next to the photo is part of the scene from Peter Pan which was produced by the animator, Marc Davis, based on that photo.

Since there are no such photos in existence of Marilyn posing at Disney with props such as this, and there are this and other photos of Margaret Kerry posing as Tinkerbell, it seems quite conclusive to me that Margaret Kerry, and not Marilyn, was the model for Tinkerbell.

It is not impossible to speculate that Marilyn, a bit-part actress at the time Peter Pan was being produced (1949) may have been another model which Disney also used for the film, but if so, again, there is no evidence which supports this, except for unsubstantiated claims in various books, etc.

One thought on “Marilyn Monroe and Tinkerbell”

  1. Perhaps one should check the book “The Dark Prince of Hollywood” which is a factual and revealing outline of the private life of Walt Disney. Marilyn most probably did not model for Disney or the studio, but she may well have been a gal Disney had been impressed by, prior to the actual production of Peter Pan.
    Disney did not want her identified as the inspiration for the definitely sexy little pixie, probably due to the fact Marilyn actually did have some earlier “modeling” and “movie” experience that Hollywood and especially Post WWII American families might not have approved of.

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