Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe was known for her alluring beauty with voluptuous curves and her generous pout; she brought glamour to Hollywood and was American, an actress, singer, model and film producer.

In 1948 Columbia gave Monroe a six month contract where she featured in Ladies of the Chorus, the Asphalt Jungle and All about Eve, this then resulted in 20th Century Fox re signing her to a seven year contract. Niagara and Gentlemen prefer Blondes launched Marilyn Monroe as a sex symbol superstar. During her career Marilyn Monroe had 30 films and left “Something Got to Give” unfinished. She was so popular it extended beyond star status. She was Hollywood glamour!.

Marilyn Monroe Biography

She was born Norma Jeane Mortenson on 1st June 1926 in the L.A County Hospital, Los Angeles, California. She was the third child to Gladys Baker. The identity of her father is undetermined and she was later baptised Norma Jeane Baker. Her mother Gladys had psychological problems which prevented her from working and she was eventually committed to a mental institution.

Until 1937 Norma Jeane spent most of her childhood years in foster homes and orphanages until she moved in with a family friend Grace McKee Goddard. It was Grace McKee that had told Norma Jeane that “someday she would become an important woman…. A movie star” In 1942 Grace and her husband decided to move to the East Coast but they had no money to take 16 year old Norma Jeane with them leaving her the choice of returning to the orphanage or getting married!

Married she became, to James/Jimmy Dougherty. Although she would say “she didn’t feel like a wife” she enjoyed playing with the neighbourhood children until her husband would call her home. In 1944 Jimmy was sent to the South Pacific when he joined the Merchant Marines. After this Norma Jeane took a job at a factory on an assembly line and this is where a photographer, David Conover, saw her while taking pictures of women contributing to the war effort for Yank Magazine. He could not believe his luck, she was a dream to photograph. He used her for the shoot and then soon began sending modelling jobs her way. When Jimmy returned in 1946 Norma Jeane had to make a decision between her career and her marriage. Her decision was made and Jimmy and Norma Jeane divorced in June 1946.

This was when she signed her first studio contract with 20th Century Fox, soon after she dyed her hair blonde and changed her name to Marilyn Monroe (her grandmother’s surname). Marilyn Monroe then appeared in Scudda hoo!, Scuddy hay! and Dangerous Years but when her contract was not renewed she returned briefly to modelling. Whilst continuing to look for film work, Monroe posed for some nude photographs to help make ends meet. In 1948 Columbia gave Monroe a six month contract where she featured in Ladies of the Chorus, the Asphalt Jungle and All about Eve, this then resulted in 20th Century Fox re signing her to a seven year contract. Niagara and Gentlemen prefer Blondes launched Marilyn Monroe as a sex symbol superstar.

In March 1952, Monroe faced a possible scandal when one of her nude photographs from 1949 was featured in a calendar.

Just after this time she began dating baseball player Joe Di Maggio and this generated even more interest in Monroe. In 1954 Marilyn Monroe and Joe Di Maggio married at San Francisco’s city hall and they spent their honeymoon in Tokyo. Unfortunately Monroe’s fame and sexual image became something to haunt their marriage and in October 1954 they divorced. They attributed the split to a “conflict of careers” however they remained close friends.

By 1955 Monroe was ready to shed her “blonde” image and was interested in taking on some serious acting. She began studying under Lee Strasberg at his Actors Studio. In 1956 she started her own motion picture company, Marilyn Monroe productions. The films produced showed her talent and versatility as an actress.

In June 1956 Monroe married playwright Arthur Miller, they had met through Lee Strasberg. During her marriage to Miller she suffered a miscarriage but with Millers encouragement she returned to Hollywood in 1958 and filmed “Some Like it Hot”. The film was a resounding success and Monroe received the Golden Globe award for best actress. While Monroe and Miller were married Miller wrote the part of Roslyn Taber in 1961 in The Misfits, the movie co starred Clark Gable. Sadly the marriage between Miller and Monroe ended in January 1961 and this was to be Marilyn’s and (Gables) last completed film.

In 1962 sadly Marilyn Monroe died in her sleep at her California home. Many questions remain unanswered about the circumstances surrounding her death and the timeline from when Marilyn’s body was found. The official cause of death was “acute barbiturate poisoning” which is recorded as probable suicide. The world was in shock and on 8th August 1962, Marilyn Monroe’s body was laid to rest in the corridor of memories at Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles, California.

by Peter Walker

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