Marilyn Monroe versionMarilyn Monroe in the 1953 film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Monroe's character, Lorelei Lee, has been followed on a Transatlantic ocean liner by a detective hired by her fiance's father, who wants assurance that she is not marrying purely for money. He is informed of compromising pictures taken with a British diamond mine owner and cancels her letter of credit before she arrives in France, requiring her to work in a nightclub to survive. Her fiance arrives at the cabaret to see her perform this song, about exploiting men for riches. Diamonds are an element in another story line in the movie, in which Lorelei is given a diamond tiara by the mine owner, in gratitude for her recovering the photographs. In a later scene, Jane Russell, who played opposite Monroe, sang "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" in court, while pretending to be Lorelei.
Most of the song in the film is Monroe's own voice but she needed help in two phrases – "These rocks don't lose their shape, diamonds are a girl's best friend", and at the beginning with a series of high-pitched "no's", all of which were dubbed in by the soprano Marni Nixon.
The song was listed as the 12th most important movie song of all time by the American Film Institute.
Monroe's rendition of the song has been considered an iconic performance and has since been copied by other entertainers ranging from Madonna, Geri Halliwell and Kylie Minogue to Anna Nicole Smith. Madonna's video "Material Girl" uses a similar set and costumes for the singer and her male dancers.