(Life.com) -- Saturday, June 1, marks Marilyn Monroe's 87th birthday. Or rather, it marks the 87th anniversary of her birth. It's difficult, after all, to envision what an 87th birthday might look and feel like for someone who died more than a half-century ago, when she was just 36 years old.
Here, in a quiet tribute to Marilyn Monroe, LIFE.com presents a series of color pictures by Alfred Eisenstaedt, made at the movie star's Hollywood home almost exactly 60 years ago in the spring of 1953, when she was just 26. What's perhaps most striking about these photos, especially in light of all we now know about Marilyn's fraught and deeply sad life, is how relaxed, self-possessed and (dare we say it?) happy she looks.