Loomis Dean/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
Erin Strecker
August 09, 2013 AT 07:22 PM EDT

The public fascination with Marilyn Monroe will likely never die.

At the height of her fame she was impossibly larger than life, but before Some Like It Hot and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes she was just another 21-year-old hopeful ingenue looking to make it big in Hollywood. In honor of the anniversary  of her death this week, Life.com has published a slideshow of never-before-published outtake images from the Life digital archives that show the woman before she was an icon.

The photos, from the 1948 set of Sitting Pretty, which Monroe did not appear in, show a happy Monroe next to then-aspiring actress Laurette Luez and Hollywood veteran Clifton Webb, and highlight the point in the actress’ life that was “the calm before the storm,” Life.com editor Ben Cosgrove told EW.

“She looks happy and relaxed, excited about the future; there’s this sort of optimism that one feels about the whole scenario,” Cosgrove explained. “Picturing Marilyn Monroe, it’s sort of difficult to see her after all these years sort of afresh, to not see a photo of Marilyn Monroe and bring to it all of the baggage that we know she carried around with her and all the pop culture baggage that has been put on her over the years. Everybody has their own image of Marilyn Monroe and why she was alluring or appealing. So to see her as this young eager actress on the brink of what she obviously hoped would be fame, it’s refreshing. It’s a very cool quick glimpse into the beginning of her career.”

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