The Life of Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe is considered to be one of the most famous actresses of all time. An iconic beauty, her life was a mix of glamour, romance, and tragedy. Marilyn's life was filled with whirlwind romances, glamour, scandal, and ultimately an untimely death that is still today surrounded by many opposing theories as to what happened.

She might have been destined for great things, but Marilyn Monroe had a very humble beginning. She was born Norma Jeane Mortensen on June 1, 1926 at the Los Angeles General Hospital. Her mother, Gladys, listed her father as “unknown” and Marilyn would never find out who he was. Monroe was placed into foster care with Albert and Ida Bolender for the first seven years of her life because her mother was both mentally unstable and unmarried. Although Monroe was reunited with Gladys briefly, she eventually went back into foster care again until her mother’s friend, Grace McKee, took her in.

In 1941, at fifteen, Monroe met the first of her many lovers, James “Jim” Dougherty, who was 21. The couple married on June 19, 1942. Shortly afterwards, Dougherty joined the marines and was sent overseas in 1944. During this time, Monroe was photographed as part of a promotion showing women on an assembly line and by 1945, her modeling career took off when she appeared on 33 national magazine covers. In 1946, she was granted a divorce.

  • Movies – a list of all the movies that the iconic actress appeared in

The years after that were filled with disappointment. Monroe was signed to both 20th Century Fox Studios and Columbia Pictures but after a string of unsuccessful films – Dangerous Years, Scudda Hoo! Scudda Hey! and Ladies of the Chorus – she was forced to return to modeling and she even had to pose in nude photos to pay her bills.

  • Monroe in Playboy – an article about Marilyn's photo appearing in Playboy magazine

It wasn’t until 1949’s Love Happy that she came to the attention of an agent named Johnny Hyde. She was cast in The Asphalt Jungle, a drama which earned her rave reviews, and then All About Eve, a small comedic role. She was then signed to a 7-year contract with 20 th Century Fox.

In 1952, one of her nude photos surfaced and Monroe admitted that it was her, explaining that she had been desperate when she had taken the picture, earning much public sympathy. Afterwards she landed a string of magazine covers where she gave interviews discussing her hard personal life. She also appeared in more films, many of them musicals where her voice talent was showcased.

It was also this year that her rumored romance with Joe DiMaggio began. They were introduced by friends and had their first date in a New York City restaurant. The American public was instantly captivated by the two – the famous, retired older baseball legend and the up-and-coming gorgeous movie star. They eloped on January 14, 1954, but Marilyn was then asked to perform in Korea for the USO on their honeymoon. By September, the pair was having major problems, including yelling matches in theaters lobbies. She filed for divorce on October 5, 1954.

In 1951, Marilyn met Arthur Miller, a playwright, and the pair had a brief affair. Although they then separated, they kept in contact, and in June of 1956, Miller left his wife for her. They married on June 29, 1956. Marilyn then became pregnant in 1958 (although she miscarried in December) and Miller wrote The Misfits specifically for her.

  • Arthur Miller – the life of Arthur Miller and including his marriage to Monroe

In 1959, Monroe won a Golden Globe Award for the successful Some Like It Hot. However, her health began to deteriorate and she began seeing a psychiatrist who noticed that she was taking a large variety of drugs and alcohol, although she would often not use them for long periods of time. Unfortunately, her personal relationships were suffering as much as her health. On January 24, 1961 Monroe and Miller got a Mexican divorce. Her addictions got worse as well and she entered rehab in February. She later phoned DiMaggio to have her checked out.

  • Marilyn Monroe Facts – numerous facts on the iconic actress including love life, career, pets, cars, residences, and much more

On May 16, 1962, Marilyn sang “Happy Birthday Mr. President” at a televised party for President John F. Kennedy. The appearance immediately sparked a firestorm of rumors which centered on allegations that Marilyn was having affairs with both John and Bobby Kennedy. When she became pregnant, people speculated that the child was a Kennedy. JFK’s mistress even confirmed that they had an affair in her book.

Monroe’s life got worse afterwards as she was dropped by 20 th Century Fox and began posing for magazines again, including a set of nudes known as “The Last Sitting.” She also lined up several new projects and was excited about them.

  • The Last Sitting – samples of the Last Sitting photographs from photographer Bert Stern

However, on August 5, 1962, a LAPD police sergeant received a call from her psychiatrist, who told him that Monroe was dead in her Brentwood home. The official cause of death was ruled “acute barbiturate poisoning” or accidental overdose after the coroner found chloral hydrate and Nembutal in her system. Some say that it was in fact a suicide but it was never classified as such, and conspiracy rumors spread almost immediately. Some suggested that the mafia was involved or that the CIA was. There were even conspiracy theories suggesting that her supposed affairs with the Kennedy brothers led to her mysterious death.

The quintessential sex symbol and pin-up girl, Marilyn Monroe was the dream dating fantasy of many men. Through her movies, pictures, and life, Monroe left a lasting legacy and even today, her legend lives on.

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