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Marilyn Monroe’s Sensational USO Tour in South Korea

In February 1954 Marilyn Monroe travelled to South Korea to entertain the troops. She performed a quickly thrown-together show titled ‘Anything Goes’ to audiences which totalled over 100,000 troops over 4 days.

Marilyn Monroe's USO Tour in South Korea

She flew to Korea during her honeymoon in Japan with husband Joe DiMaggio. The baseball star was said to be annoyed by the fact that more fans turned out to see Marilyn in Japan than to see him and he refused to join her in Korea.  Even at this early stage in their marriage the cracks were starting to show and they divorced later that year.

Despite any friction that her visit to entertain the troops caused Marilyn remarked that the USO tour “was the best thing that ever happened to me. I never felt like a star before in my heart. It was so wonderful to look down and see a fellow smiling at me.”

In one show where the start was delayed the troops got frustrated and threatened to riot so the opening acts had to be cancelled to get her onto the stage sooner. If you take a look at the videos below you can see the reaction she gets from the crowd. They adored her, and with good reason. She looks as amazing in a baggy army uniform as she did in her fabulous wiggle dresses!

You can see her military ID card for this tour here with the name Norma-Jeane Di Maggio

Marilyn Monroe's USO Tour in South Korea

Marilyn Monroe's USO Tour in South Korea

Marilyn Monroe appearing with the USO Camp Show, “Anything Goes,” poses for the shutterbugs after a performance at the 3d U.S. Infantry Division area. Feb. 17, 1954

Marilyn Monroe's USO Tour in South Korea

Marilyn Monroe greets the troops during her Korea USO tour.

Marilyn Monroe's USO Tour in South Korea

Marilyn Monroe appears onstage entertaining troops on her USO tour through Korea in 1954.

Marilyn Monroe's USO Tour in South Korea

Image source 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and copyright: This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work prepared by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person’s official duties under the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of the US Code.

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