Editors at Playboy magazine are marking 50 years since Marilyn Monroe's death by publishing a series of long-lost photographs of the Hollywood icon.

The actress, who died aged 36 in 1962 in a suspected suicide, was the publication's first ever cover star in 1952 and she makes a return to the front page from beyond the grave in the December (12) edition.

Playboy staff spent six months trawling through an archive of more than 10 million photos to select the images of Monroe which feature in the tribute gallery, according to the New York Daily News.

The pictures chart the actress' career and include one of her most famous photos, when she posed naked on a red velvet cloth for snapper Tom Kelly.

Playboy founder Hugh Hefner says, "She was most in control when she was in the nude. What would be a position of vulnerability for others was a position of power for her".