Marilyn Monroe
American actress
Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe was an American actress, singer, model and showgirl who became a major sex symbol, starring in a number of commercially successful motion pictures during the 1950s. After spending much of her childhood in foster homes, Monroe began a career as a model, which led to a film contract in 1946. Her early film appearances were minor, but her performances in The Asphalt Jungle and All About Eve drew attention to her—by now her hair was dyed blonde.
Biography
Marilyn Monroe's personal information overview.
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Photo Albums
Popular photos of Marilyn Monroe
News
News abour Marilyn Monroe from around the web
Paper Dolls are for Grown-ups in Hilarious Show - Patch.com
Google News - over 5 years
Step one: Create couture fashions out of paper, inspired by Marilyn Monroe, Cher and even Justin Bieber. Step two: Add a couple of operatic songs, wiggly eyebrows, and animated Italian gestures. Stir together feverishly until combined
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People: Lindsay again channels her inner Marilyn Monroe - Denver Post
Google News - over 5 years
Two years after her Vogue photo shoot re-creating the images of Marilyn Monroe, Lindsay Lohan is again drawing comparisons of herself to the late screen icon — this time in a new book. In a foreword to Susan Bernard's new book Marilyn:
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Vandal gives Marilyn Monroe statue makeshift tattoo - Chicago Tribune
Google News - over 5 years
The 26-foot-tall statue of the screen legend continued to draw gawkers to North Michigan Avenue Saturday, some of whom posed smiling for pictures next to an ink message, apparently scrawled with a marker of some kind on ... - -
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My Week With Marilyn Poster: Michelle Williams Stands Out In Full Color - Cinema Blend
Google News - over 5 years
As if Michelle Williams done up in full Marilyn Monroe regalia wasn't attention-grabbing enough, the actress and her co-star Eddie Redmayne are splashes of color in a black and white world in the first poster for their new movie My Week With Marilyn. ... - -
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Megan Fox: Why I'm Removing My Marilyn Monroe Tattoo - Us Magazine
Google News - over 5 years
Gentlemen may prefer blondes -- but Megan Fox would now prefer to have her giant Marilyn Monroe tattoo erased from her right forearm. The 25-year-old star confirmed to Italian fashion magazine Amica that she is in the process of removing (via laser ... - -
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Purported Marilyn Monroe Sex Tape Auction Draws No Bidders - ABC News
Google News - over 5 years
Spanish memorabilia collector Mikel Barsa plans to auction off a film which he says shows Marilyn Monroe having sex while she was still a young actress. (Courtesy Richard C. Miller) A film purportedly showing a young ... - -
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Channeling a Bombshell, One Jazzy Note at a Time
NYTimes - over 5 years
AS a teenager watching old movies on television, Harry Allen heard Marilyn Monroe speak to him. ''I have this thing about saxophone players,'' she said in her famously girlish and breathy style. ''Especially tenor sax.'' She added: ''All they have to do is play eight bars of 'Come To Me, My Melancholy Baby,' and my spine turns to custard. I get
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Red-faced Kate Garraway has a Marilyn moment as she's caught out by London's ... - Daily Mail
Google News - over 5 years
Kate Garraway was left red-faced after having a Marilyn Monroe moment in London yesterday when a particularly strong gust of wind blew up her skirt. The 44-year-old presenter was leaving the ITV studios after presenting Daybreak when she
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The ball that Marilyn Monroe kissed - Hindustan Times
Google News - over 5 years
PTI A baseball signed by the baseball legend Joe DiMaggio and kissed screen legend Marilyn Monroe is up for auction. It has been locked in a box and stored in a closet since 1952. But this baseball is expected to fetch at least $20000 when it is sold
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Was Marilyn Monroe a Porn Actress? - AMOG
Google News - over 5 years
by Adalbert There's no denying that Marilyn Monroe is one of the most iconic sex symbols ever in pop culture. In fact, we'd go as far to say that she was one of the biggest trendsetters in modern history. We're talking about the first woman to grace ... -
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Monroe statue attracts smiles, scorn - Nashua Telegraph
Google News - over 5 years
Marilyn Monroe is finally revealed in Pioneer Court on North Michigan Avenue Friday morning, July 15, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. (E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune/MCT) Kids ham it up under the Marilyn Monroe statue in Pioneer Court
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Beatles never-before-published photos and Marilyn Monroe porn film hit the ... - Washington Post (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
Meanwhile in Buenos Aires, one of the only two known copies of an alleged porn short film starring a yet-unknown Marilyn Monroe is going up for sale. The starting price: A mere half a million dollars. The controversial black and white six-minute film,
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Marilyn Monroe's giant blowing skirt sculpture brings out the worst - Chicago Sun-Times
Google News - over 5 years
Whatever the case, that beyond-kitschy, 26-foot sculpture recreating the moment when Marilyn Monroe's dress flies up in “The Seven Year Itch” is threatening the Bean as the most photographed attraction in Chicago. So we're going from taking pictures of ... - -
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Marilyn Monroe
    THIRTIES
  • 1962
    Age 35
    Although she was a top-billed actress for only a decade, her films grossed $200 million by the time of her unexpected death in 1962.
    More Details Hide Details She continues to be considered a major popular culture icon.
    Monroe was found dead in the bedroom of her Brentwood home by her psychiatrist, Dr. Ralph Greenson, in the early morning hours of August 5, 1962.
    More Details Hide Details Greenson had been called there by her housekeeper Eunice Murray, who was staying overnight and had awoken at 3:00a.m. "sensing that something was wrong". Murray had seen light from under Monroe's bedroom door, but had not been able to get a response and found the door locked. The death was officially confirmed by Monroe's physician, Dr. Hyman Engelberg, who arrived at the house at around 3:50a.m. At 4:25a.m., they notified the Los Angeles Police Department. The Los Angeles County Coroners Office was assisted in their investigation by experts from the Los Angeles Suicide Prevention Team. It was estimated that Monroe had died between 8:30 and 10:30p.m., and the toxicological analysis concluded that the cause of death was acute barbiturate poisoning, as she had 8 mg% of chloral hydrate and 4.5 mg% of pentobarbital (Nembutal) in her blood, and a further 13 mg% of pentobarbital in her liver. Empty bottles containing these medicines were found next to her bed. The possibility of Monroe having accidentally overdosed was ruled out as the dosages found in her body were several times over the lethal limit. Her doctors and psychiatrists stated that she had been prone to "severe fears and frequent depressions" with "abrupt and unpredictable" mood changes, and had overdosed several times in the past, possibly intentionally. Due to these facts and the lack of any indication of foul play, her death was classified a probable suicide.
    Monroe returned to the public eye in spring 1962: she received a "World Film Favorite" Golden Globe award and began to shoot a new film for 20th Century-Fox, Something's Got to Give, a re-make of My Favorite Wife (1940).
    More Details Hide Details It was to be co-produced by MMP, directed by George Cukor and to co-star Dean Martin and Cyd Charisse. Days before filming began, Monroe caught sinusitis; despite medical advice to postpone the production, Fox began it as planned in late April. Monroe was too ill to work for the majority of the next six weeks, but despite confirmations by multiple doctors, the studio tried to put pressure on her by alleging publicly that she was faking it. On May 19, she took a break to sing "Happy Birthday" on stage at President John F. Kennedy's birthday celebration at Madison Square Garden in New York. She drew attention with her costume: a beige, skintight dress covered in rhinestones, which made her appear nude. Monroe's trip to New York caused even more irritation in Fox executives, who had wanted her to cancel it.
    She dated Frank Sinatra for several months, and in early 1962 purchased a house in Brentwood, Los Angeles.
    More Details Hide Details
    She died at the age of 36 on August 5, 1962 from an overdose of barbiturates at her home in Los Angeles.
    More Details Hide Details Although the death was ruled a probable suicide, several conspiracy theories have been proposed in the decades following her death.
  • 1961
    Age 34
    In spring 1961, Monroe also moved back to California after six years on the East Coast.
    More Details Hide Details
    Instead of working, she spent the first six months of 1961 preoccupied by health problems, undergoing surgery for her endometriosis and a cholecystectomy, and spending four weeks in hospital care – including a brief stint in a mental ward – for depression.
    More Details Hide Details She was helped by her ex-husband Joe DiMaggio, with whom she now rekindled a friendship.
    Monroe and Miller separated after filming wrapped, and she was granted a quick divorce in Mexico in January 1961.
    More Details Hide Details The Misfits was released the following month, failing at the box office. Its reviews were mixed, with Bosley Crowther calling Monroe "completely blank and unfathomable" and stating that "unfortunately for the film's structure, everything turns upon her". Despite the film's initial failure, in 2015 Geoff Andrew of the British Film Institute described it as a classic. Monroe was next to star in a television adaptation of W. Somerset Maugham's short story Rain for NBC, but the project fell through as the network did not want to hire her choice of director, Lee Strasberg.
  • 1960
    Age 33
    Let's Make Love was unsuccessful upon its release in September 1960; Crowther described Monroe as appearing "rather untidy" and "lacking... the old Monroe dynamism", and Hedda Hopper called the film "the most vulgar picture she's ever done".
    More Details Hide Details Truman Capote lobbied for her to play Holly Golightly in a film adaptation of Breakfast at Tiffany's, but the role went to Audrey Hepburn as its producers feared that Monroe would complicate the production. The last film that Monroe completed was John Huston's The Misfits, which Miller had written to provide her with a dramatic role. She played a recently divorced woman who becomes friends with three aging cowboys, played by Clark Gable, Eli Wallach and Montgomery Clift. Its filming in the Nevada desert between July and November 1960 was again difficult. Monroe and Miller's four-year marriage was effectively over, and he began a new relationship. Monroe disliked that he had based her role partly on her life, and thought it inferior to the male roles; she also struggled with Miller's habit of re-writing scenes the night before filming. Her health was also failing: she was in pain from gallstones, and her drug addiction was so severe that her make-up usually had to be applied while she was still asleep under the influence of barbiturates. In August, filming was halted for her to spend a week detoxing in a Los Angeles hospital.
  • 1959
    Age 32
    After Some Like It Hot, Monroe took another hiatus until late 1959, when she returned to Hollywood to star in the musical comedy Let's Make Love, about an actress and a millionaire who fall in love when performing in a satirical play.
    More Details Hide Details She chose George Cukor to direct and Miller re-wrote portions of the script, which she considered weak; she accepted the part solely because she was behind on her contract with Fox, having only made one of four promised films. Its production was delayed by her frequent absences from set. She had an affair with Yves Montand, her co-star, which was widely reported by the press and used in the film's publicity campaign.
    In the end, Wilder was happy with Monroe's performance, stating: "Anyone can remember lines, but it takes a real artist to come on the set and not know her lines and yet give the performance she did!" Despite the difficulties of its production, when Some Like It Hot was released in March 1959, it became a critical and commercial success.
    More Details Hide Details Monroe's performance earned her a Golden Globe for Best Actress, and prompted Variety to call her "a comedienne with that combination of sex appeal and timing that just can't be beat". It has been voted one of the best films ever made in polls by the American Film Institute and Sight & Sound.
  • 1958
    Age 31
    Monroe returned to Hollywood in July 1958 to act opposite Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis in Billy Wilder's comedy on gender roles, Some Like It Hot.
    More Details Hide Details Although she considered the role of Sugar Kane another "dumb blonde", she accepted it due to Miller's encouragement and the offer of receiving ten percent of the film's profits in addition to her standard pay. The difficulties of the film's production have since become "legendary". Monroe would demand dozens of re-takes, and could not remember her lines or act as directed – Curtis famously stated that kissing her was "like kissing Hitler" due to the number of re-takes. Monroe herself privately likened the production to a sinking ship and commented on her co-stars and director saying "but why should I worry, I have no phallic symbol to lose." Many of the problems stemmed from a conflict between her and Wilder, who also had a reputation for being difficult, on how she should play the character. Monroe made Wilder angry by asking him to alter many of her scenes, which in turn made her stage fright worse, and it is suggested that she deliberately ruined several scenes to act them her way.
  • 1957
    Age 30
    She became pregnant in mid-1957, but it was ectopic and had to be terminated.
    More Details Hide Details She suffered a miscarriage a year later. Her gynecological problems were largely caused by endometriosis, a disease from which she suffered throughout her adult life. Monroe was also briefly hospitalized during this time due to a barbiturate overdose. During the hiatus, she dismissed Greene from MMP and bought his share of the company as they could not settle their disagreements and she had begun to suspect that he was embezzling money from the company.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1956
    Age 29
    In August 1956, Monroe began filming MMP's first independent production, The Prince and the Showgirl, at Pinewood Studios in England.
    More Details Hide Details It was based on Terence Rattigan's The Sleeping Prince, a play about an affair between a showgirl and a prince in the 1910s. The main roles had first been played on stage by Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh; he reprised his role and directed and co-produced the film. The production was complicated by conflicts between him and Monroe. He angered her with the patronizing statement "All you have to do is be sexy", and by wanting her to replicate Leigh's interpretation. He also disliked the constant presence of Paula Strasberg, Monroe's acting coach, on set. In retaliation to what she considered Olivier's "condescending" behavior, Monroe started arriving late and became uncooperative, stating later that "if you don't respect your artists, they can't work well." Her drug use increased and, according to Spoto, she became pregnant and miscarried during the production. She also had arguments with Greene over how MMP should be run, including whether Miller should join the company. Despite the difficulties, the film was completed on schedule by the end of the year. It was released in June 1957 to mixed reviews, and proved unpopular with American audiences. It was better received in Europe, where she was awarded the Italian David di Donatello and the French Crystal Star awards, and was nominated for a BAFTA.
    The filming took place in Idaho and Arizona in early 1956, with Monroe "technically in charge" as the head of MMP, occasionally making decisions on cinematography and with Logan adapting to her chronic lateness and perfectionism.
    More Details Hide Details The experience changed Logan's opinion of Monroe, and he later compared her to Charlie Chaplin in her ability to blend comedy and tragedy. Bus Stop became a box office success, grossing $4.25 million, and received mainly favorable reviews. The Saturday Review of Literature wrote that Monroe's performance "effectively dispels once and for all the notion that she is merely a glamour personality" and Crowther proclaimed: "Hold on to your chairs, everybody, and get set for a rattling surprise. Marilyn Monroe has finally proved herself an actress." She received a Golden Globe for Best Actress nomination for her performance.
    The first film that Monroe chose to make under the new contract was the drama Bus Stop, released in August 1956.
    More Details Hide Details She played Chérie, a saloon singer whose dreams of stardom are complicated by a naïve cowboy who falls in love with her. For the role, she learnt an Ozark accent, chose costumes and make-up that lacked the glamour of her earlier films, and provided deliberately mediocre singing and dancing. Broadway director Joshua Logan agreed to direct, despite initially doubting her acting abilities and knowing of her reputation for being difficult.
    Monroe began 1956 by announcing her win over 20th Century-Fox; the press, which had previously derided her, now wrote favorably about her decision to fight the studio.
    More Details Hide Details Time called her a "shrewd businesswoman" and Look predicted that the win would be "an example of the individual against the herd for years to come". She also officially changed her name to Marilyn Monroe in March. Her relationship with Miller prompted some negative comments from the press, including Walter Winchell's statement that "America's best-known blonde moving picture star is now the darling of the left-wing intelligentsia." Monroe and Miller were married at the Westchester County Court in White Plains, New York on June 29, and two days later had a Jewish ceremony at his agent's house at Waccabuc, New York. Monroe converted to Judaism with the marriage, which led Egypt to ban all of her films. The media saw the union as mismatched given her star image as a sex symbol and his position as an intellectual, as demonstrated by Varietys headline "Egghead Weds Hourglass".
  • 1955
    Age 28
    The affair between Monroe and Miller became increasingly serious after October 1955, when her divorce from DiMaggio was finalized, and Miller separated from his wife.
    More Details Hide Details The studio feared that Monroe would be blacklisted and urged her to end the affair, as Miller was being investigated by the FBI for allegations of communism and had been subpoenaed by the House Un-American Activities Committee. The FBI also opened a file on her. Despite the risk to her career, Monroe refused to end the relationship, later calling the studio heads "born cowards". By the end of the year, Monroe and Fox had come to an agreement about a new seven-year contract. It was clear that MMP would not be able to finance films alone, and the studio was eager to have Monroe working again. The contract required her to make four movies for Fox during the seven years. The studio would pay her $100,000 for each movie, and granted her the right to choose her own projects, directors and cinematographers. She would also be free to make one film with MMP per each completed film for Fox.
    Monroe dedicated 1955 to studying her craft.
    More Details Hide Details She moved to New York and began taking acting classes with Constance Collier and attending workshops on method acting at the Actors Studio, run by Lee Strasberg. She grew close to Strasberg and his wife Paula, receiving private lessons at their home due to her shyness, and soon became like a family member. She dismissed her old drama coach, Natasha Lytess, and replaced her with Paula; the Strasbergs remained an important influence for the rest of her career. Monroe also started undergoing psychoanalysis at the recommendation of Strasberg, who believed that an actor must confront their emotional traumas and use them in their performances. In her private life, Monroe continued her relationship with DiMaggio despite the ongoing divorce proceedings while also dating actor Marlon Brando and playwright Arthur Miller. She had first been introduced to Miller by Kazan in the early 1950s.
    Announcing its foundation in a press conference in January 1955, Monroe stated that she was "tired of the same old sex roles.
    More Details Hide Details I want to do better things. People have scope, you know." She asserted that she was no longer under contract to Fox, as the studio had not fulfilled its duties, such as paying her the promised bonus for The Seven Year Itch. This began a year-long legal battle between her and the studio. The press largely ridiculed Monroe for her actions and she was parodied in Itch writer George Axelrod's Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1955), in which her lookalike Jayne Mansfield played a dumb actress who starts her own production company.
  • 1954
    Age 27
    After returning to Hollywood, Monroe hired famous attorney Jerry Giesler and announced that she was filing for divorce in October 1954.
    More Details Hide Details The Seven Year Itch was released the following June, and grossed over $4.5 million at the box office, making it one of the biggest commercial successes that year. After filming for Itch wrapped in November, Monroe began a new battle for control over her career and left Hollywood for the East Coast, where she and photographer Milton Greene founded their own production company, Marilyn Monroe Productions (MMP) – an action that has later been called "instrumental" in the collapse of the studio system.
    In September 1954, Monroe began filming Billy Wilder's comedy The Seven Year Itch, in which she starred opposite Tom Ewell as a woman who becomes the object of her married neighbor's sexual fantasies.
    More Details Hide Details Although the film was shot in Hollywood, the studio decided to generate advance publicity by staging the filming of one scene on Lexington Avenue in New York. In it, Monroe is standing on a subway grate with the air blowing up the skirt of her white dress, which became one of the most famous scenes of her career. The shoot lasted for several hours and attracted a crowd of nearly 2,000 spectators, including professional photographers. While the publicity stunt placed Monroe on front pages all over the world, it also marked the end of her marriage to DiMaggio, who was furious about it. The union had been troubled from the start by his jealousy and controlling attitude; Spoto and Banner have also asserted that he was physically abusive.
    When she refused to begin shooting yet another musical comedy, a film version of The Girl in Pink Tights, which was to co-star Frank Sinatra, the studio suspended her on January 4, 1954.
    More Details Hide Details The suspension was front page news and Monroe immediately began a publicity campaign to counter any negative press and to strengthen her position in the conflict. On January 14, she and Joe DiMaggio, whose relationship had been subject to constant media attention since 1952, were married at the San Francisco City Hall. They then traveled to Japan, combining a honeymoon with his business trip. From there, she traveled alone to Korea, where she performed songs from her films as part of a USO show for over 60,000 U.S. Marines over a four-day period. After returning to Hollywood in February, she was awarded Photoplays "Most Popular Female Star" prize. She reached a settlement with the studio in March: it included a new contract to be made later in the year, and a starring role in the film version of the Broadway play The Seven Year Itch, for which she was to receive a bonus of $100,000.
    She was briefly suspended in early 1954 for refusing a film project, but returned to star in one of the biggest box office successes of her career, The Seven Year Itch (1955).
    More Details Hide Details When the studio was still reluctant to change her contract, Monroe founded a film production company in late 1954, Marilyn Monroe Productions (MMP). She dedicated 1955 to building her company and began studying method acting at the Actors Studio. In late 1955, Fox awarded her a new contract, which gave her more control and a larger salary. After a critically acclaimed performance in Bus Stop (1956) and acting in the first independent production of MMP, The Prince and the Showgirl (1957), she won a Golden Globe for Best Actress for Some Like It Hot (1959). Her last completed film was the drama The Misfits (1961). Monroe's troubled private life received much attention. She struggled with addiction, depression, and anxiety. She had two highly publicized marriages, to baseball player Joe DiMaggio and playwright Arthur Miller, which both ended in divorce.
  • 1953
    Age 26
    Monroe was listed in the annual Top Ten Money Making Stars Poll in both 1953 and 1954, and according to Fox historian Aubrey Solomon became the studio's "greatest asset" alongside CinemaScope.
    More Details Hide Details Monroe's position as a leading sex symbol was confirmed in December, when Hugh Hefner featured her on the cover and as centerfold in the first issue of Playboy. The cover image was a shot of her at the Miss America Pageant parade in 1952, and the centerfold featured one of her 1949 nude photographs. Although Monroe had become one of 20th Century-Fox's biggest stars, her contract had not changed since 1950, meaning that she was paid far less than other stars of her stature and could not choose her projects or co-workers. She was also tired of being typecast, and her attempts to appear in films other than comedies or musicals had been thwarted by Zanuck, who had a strong personal dislike of her and did not think she would earn the studio as much revenue in dramas.
    Monroe continued to attract attention with her revealing outfits in publicity events, most famously at the Photoplay awards in January 1953, where she won the "Fastest Rising Star" award.
    More Details Hide Details She wore a skin-tight gold lamé dress, which prompted veteran star Joan Crawford to describe her behavior as "unbecoming an actress and a lady" to the press. While Niagara made Monroe a sex symbol and established her "look", her second film of the year, the satirical musical comedy Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, established her screen persona as a "dumb blonde". Based on Anita Loos' bestselling novel and its Broadway version, the film focuses on two "gold-digging" showgirls, Lorelei Lee and Dorothy Shaw, played by Monroe and Jane Russell. The role of Lorelei was originally intended for Betty Grable, who had been 20th Century-Fox's most popular "blonde bombshell" in the 1940s; Monroe was fast eclipsing her as a star who could appeal to both male and female audiences. As part of the film's publicity campaign, she and Russell pressed their hand and footprints in wet concrete outside Grauman's Chinese Theatre in June. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes was released shortly after and became one of the biggest box office successes of the year by grossing $5.3 million, more than double its production costs. Crowther of The New York Times and William Brogdon of Variety both commented favorably on Monroe, especially noting her performance of "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend"; according to the latter, she demonstrated the "ability to sex a song as well as point up the eye values of a scene by her presence".
    Monroe starred in three movies released in 1953, emerging as a major sex symbol and one of Hollywood's most bankable performers.
    More Details Hide Details The first of these was the Technicolor film noir Niagara, in which she played a femme fatale scheming to murder her husband, played by Joseph Cotten. By then, Monroe and her make-up artist Allan "Whitey" Snyder had developed the make-up look that became associated with her: dark arched brows, pale skin, "glistening" red lips and a beauty mark. According to Sarah Churchwell, Niagara was one of the most overtly sexual films of Monroe's career, and it included scenes in which her body was covered only by a sheet or a towel, considered shocking by contemporary audiences. Its most famous scene is a 30-second long shot of Monroe shown walking from behind with her hips swaying, which was heavily used in the film's marketing. Upon Niagaras release in January, women's clubs protested against it as immoral, but it proved popular with audiences, grossing $6 million in the box office. While Variety deemed it "clichéd" and "morbid", The New York Times commented that "the falls and Miss Monroe are something to see", as although Monroe may not be "the perfect actress at this point... she can be seductive – even when she walks".
  • 1952
    Age 25
    Monroe's three other films in 1952 continued her typecasting in comic roles which focused on her sex appeal.
    More Details Hide Details In We're Not Married!, her starring role as a beauty pageant contestant was created solely to "present Marilyn in two bathing suits", according to its writer Nunnally Johnson. In Howard Hawks' Monkey Business, in which she was featured opposite Cary Grant, she played a secretary who is a "dumb, childish blonde, innocently unaware of the havoc her sexiness causes around her". In O. Henry's Full House, her final film of the year, she had a minor role as a prostitute. During this period Monroe gained a reputation for being difficult on film sets, which worsened as her career progressed: she was often late or did not show up at all, did not remember her lines, and would demand several re-takes before she was satisfied with her performance. A dependence on her acting coaches, first Natasha Lytess and later Paula Strasberg, also irritated directors. Monroe's problems have been attributed to a combination of perfectionism, low self-esteem, and stage fright; she disliked the lack of control she had on her work on film sets, and never experienced similar problems during photo shoots, in which she had more say over her performance and could be more spontaneous instead of following a script. To alleviate her anxiety and chronic insomnia, she began to use barbiturates, amphetamines and alcohol, which also exacerbated her problems, although she did not become severely addicted until 1956. According to Sarah Churchwell, some of Monroe's behavior especially later in her career was also in response to the condescension and sexism of her male co-stars and directors.
    Regardless of the popularity her sex appeal brought, Monroe wished to present more of her acting range, and in the summer of 1952 appeared in two commercially successful dramas.
    More Details Hide Details The first was Fritz Lang's Clash by Night, for which she was loaned to RKO and played a fish cannery worker; to prepare, she spent time in a real fish cannery in Monterey. She received positive reviews for her performance: The Hollywood Reporter stated that "she deserves starring status with her excellent interpretation", and Variety wrote that she "has an ease of delivery which makes her a cinch for popularity". The second film was the thriller Don't Bother to Knock, in which she starred as a mentally disturbed babysitter and which Zanuck had assigned for her to test her abilities in a heavier dramatic role. It received mixed reviews from critics, with Crowther deeming her too inexperienced for the difficult role, and Variety blaming the script for the film's problems.
  • 1951
    Age 24
    Her popularity with audiences was also growing: she received several thousand letters of fan mail a week, and was declared "Miss Cheesecake of 1951" by the army newspaper Stars and Stripes, reflecting the preferences of soldiers in the Korean War.
    More Details Hide Details
    Despite her grief, 1951 became the year in which she gained more visibility.
    More Details Hide Details In March, she was a presenter at the 23rd Academy Awards, and in September, Collier's became the first national magazine to publish a full-length profile of her. She had supporting roles in four low-budget films: in the MGM drama Home Town Story, and in three moderately successful comedies for Fox, As Young as You Feel, Love Nest, and Let's Make It Legal. According to Spoto all four films featured her "essentially as a sexy ornament", but she received some praise from critics: Bosley Crowther of The New York Times described her as "superb" in As Young As You Feel and Ezra Goodman of the Los Angeles Daily News called her "one of the brightest up-and-coming actresses" for Love Nest. To further develop her acting skills, Monroe began taking classes with Michael Chekhov and mime Lotte Goslar.
  • 1950
    Age 23
    Following Monroe's success in these roles, Hyde negotiated a seven-year contract with 20th Century-Fox in December 1950.
    More Details Hide Details He died of a heart attack only days later, leaving her devastated.
    Monroe appeared in six films released in 1950.
    More Details Hide Details She had bit parts in Love Happy, A Ticket to Tomahawk, Right Cross and The Fireball, but also made minor appearances in two critically acclaimed films: John Huston's crime film The Asphalt Jungle and Joseph Mankiewicz's drama All About Eve. In the former, Monroe played Angela, the young mistress of an aging criminal. Although only on the screen for five minutes, she gained a mention in Photoplay and according to Spoto "moved effectively from movie model to serious actress". In All About Eve, Monroe played Miss Caswell, a naïve young actress.
  • 1949
    Age 22
    The following month, a scandal broke when she revealed in an interview that she had posed for nude pictures in 1949, which were featured in calendars.
    More Details Hide Details The studio had learned of the photographs some weeks earlier, and to contain the potentially disastrous effects on her career, they and Monroe had decided to talk about them openly while stressing that she had only posed for them in a dire financial situation. The strategy succeeded in getting her public sympathy and increased interest in her films: the following month, she was featured on the cover of Life as "The Talk of Hollywood". Monroe added to her reputation as a new sex symbol with other publicity stunts that year, such as wearing a revealing dress when acting as Grand Marshal at the Miss America Pageant parade, and by stating to gossip columnist Earl Wilson that she usually wore no underwear.
    Monroe also continued modeling, and in May 1949 posed for nude photos taken by Tom Kelley.
    More Details Hide Details Although her role in Love Happy was very small, she was chosen to participate in the film's promotional tour in New York that year.
  • 1948
    Age 21
    After leaving Columbia in September 1948, Monroe became a protégée of Johnny Hyde, vice president of the William Morris Agency.
    More Details Hide Details Hyde began representing her and their relationship soon became sexual, although she refused his proposals of marriage. To advance Monroe's career, he paid for a silicone prosthesis to be implanted in her jaw and possibly for a rhinoplasty, and arranged a bit part in the Marx Brothers film Love Happy (1950).
    She also became a friend and occasional sexual partner of Fox executive Joseph M. Schenck, who persuaded his friend Harry Cohn, the head executive of Columbia Pictures, to sign her in March 1948.
    More Details Hide Details While at Fox her roles had been that of a "girl next door", at Columbia she was modeled after Rita Hayworth. Monroe's hairline was raised by electrolysis and her hair was bleached even lighter, to platinum blond. She also began working with the studio's head drama coach, Natasha Lytess, who would remain her mentor until 1955. Her only film at the studio was the low-budget musical Ladies of the Chorus (1948), in which she had her first starring role as a chorus girl who is courted by a wealthy man. During the production, she began an affair with her vocal coach, Fred Karger, who paid to have her slight overbite corrected. Despite the starring role and a subsequent screen test for the lead role in Born Yesterday (1950), Monroe's contract was not renewed. Ladies of the Chorus was released in October and was not a success.
  • 1947
    Age 20
    Monroe's contract was not renewed in August 1947, and she returned to modeling while also doing occasional odd jobs at the studio.
    More Details Hide Details Determined to make it as an actor, Monroe continued studying at the Actors' Lab, and in October appeared as a blonde vamp in the short-lived play Glamour Preferred at the Bliss-Hayden Theater, but the production was not reviewed by any major publication. To promote herself, she frequented producers' offices, befriended gossip columnist Sidney Skolsky, and entertained influential male guests at studio functions, a practice she had begun at Fox.
    Her contract was renewed in February 1947, and she was soon given her first two film roles: nine lines of dialogue as a waitress in the drama Dangerous Years (1947) and a one-line appearance in the comedy Scudda Hoo!
    More Details Hide Details Scudda Hay! (1948). The studio also enrolled her in the Actors' Laboratory Theatre, an acting school teaching the techniques of the Group Theatre; she later stated that it was "my first taste of what real acting in a real drama could be, and I was hooked".
  • TEENAGE
  • 1946
    Age 19
    In September 1946, she was granted a divorce from Dougherty, who was against her having a career.
    More Details Hide Details Monroe had no film roles during the first months of her contract and instead dedicated her days to acting, singing and dancing classes. Eager to learn more about the film industry and to promote herself, she also spent time at the studio lot to observe others working.
    Monroe began her contract in August 1946, and together with Lyon selected the screen name of "Marilyn Monroe".
    More Details Hide Details The first name was picked by Lyon, who was reminded of Broadway star Marilyn Miller; the last was picked by Monroe after her mother's maiden name.
    Impressed by her success, Snively arranged a contract for Monroe with an acting agency in June 1946.
    More Details Hide Details After an unsuccessful interview with producers at Paramount Pictures, she was given a screentest by Ben Lyon, a 20th Century-Fox executive. Head executive Darryl F. Zanuck was unenthusiastic about it, but he was persuaded to give her a standard six-month contract to avoid her being signed by rival studio RKO Pictures.
    According to the agency's owner, Emmeline Snively, Monroe was one of its most ambitious and hard-working models; by early 1946, she had appeared on 33 magazine covers for publications such as Pageant, U.S. Camera, Laff, and Peek.
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  • 1945
    Age 18
    She moved out of her in-laws' home, and defying them and her husband, signed a contract with the Blue Book Model Agency in August 1945.
    More Details Hide Details She began to occasionally use the name Jean Norman when working, and had her curly brunette hair straightened and dyed blond to make her more employable. As her figure was deemed more suitable for pin-up than fashion modeling, she was employed mostly for advertisements and men's magazines.
    Although none of her pictures were used by the FMPU, she quit working at the factory in January 1945 and began modeling for Conover and his friends.
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  • 1944
    Age 17
    In late 1944, Monroe met photographer David Conover, who had been sent by the U.S. Army Air Forces' First Motion Picture Unit (FMPU) to the factory to shoot morale-boosting pictures of female workers.
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    He was initially stationed on Catalina Island, where she lived with him until he was shipped out to the Pacific in April 1944; he would remain there for most of the next two years.
    More Details Hide Details After Dougherty's departure, Monroe moved in with his parents and began working at the Radioplane Munitions Factory to participate in the war effort and to earn her own income.
  • 1942
    Age 15
    As a solution, she married their neighbors' son, 21-year-old factory worker James "Jim" Dougherty, on June 19, 1942, just after her 16th birthday.
    More Details Hide Details Monroe subsequently dropped out of high school and became a housewife; she later stated that the "marriage didn't make me sad, but it didn't make me happy, either. My husband and I hardly spoke to each other. This wasn't because we were angry. We had nothing to say. I was dying of boredom." In 1943, Dougherty enlisted in the Merchant Marine.
  • 1940
    Age 13
    Due to the elderly Lower's health issues, Monroe returned to live with the Goddards in Van Nuys in either late 1940 or early 1941.
    More Details Hide Details After graduating from Emerson, she began attending Van Nuys High School. In early 1942, the company that Doc Goddard worked for required him to relocate to West Virginia. California laws prevented the Goddards from taking Monroe out of state, and she faced the possibility of having to return to the orphanage.
  • 1938
    Age 11
    After staying with various of her and Grace's relatives and friends in Los Angeles and Compton, Monroe found a more permanent home in September 1938, when she began living with Grace's aunt, Ana Atchinson Lower, in the Sawtelle district.
    More Details Hide Details She was enrolled in Emerson Junior High School and was taken to weekly Christian Science services with Lower. While otherwise a mediocre student, Monroe excelled in writing and contributed to the school's newspaper.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1936
    Age 9
    Encouraged by the orphanage staff, who thought that Monroe would be happier living in a family, Grace became her legal guardian in 1936, although she was not able to take her out of the orphanage until the summer of 1937.
    More Details Hide Details Monroe's second stay with the Goddards lasted only a few months, as Doc molested her.
  • 1935
    Age 8
    In the summer of 1935, she briefly stayed with Grace and her husband Erwin "Doc" Goddard and two other families, until Grace placed her in the Los Angeles Orphans Home in Hollywood in September 1935.
    More Details Hide Details While the orphanage was "a model institution", and was described in positive terms by her peers, Monroe found being placed there traumatizing, as to her "it seemed that no one wanted me".
  • 1933
    Age 6
    Although the Bolenders wanted to adopt Monroe, by the summer of 1933, Gladys felt stable enough for Monroe to move in with her and bought a small house in Hollywood.
    More Details Hide Details They shared it with lodgers, actors George and Maude Atkinson and their daughter, Nellie. Some months later, in January 1934, Gladys had a mental breakdown and was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. After several months in a rest home, she was committed to the Metropolitan State Hospital. She spent the rest of her life in and out of hospitals, and was rarely in contact with Monroe. Monroe was declared a ward of the state, and her mother's friend, Grace McKee Goddard, took responsibility over her and her mother's affairs. In the following four years, she lived with several foster families, and often switched schools. For the first sixteen months, she continued living with the Atkinsons; she was sexually abused during this time. Always a shy girl, she now also developed a stutter and became withdrawn.
  • 1928
    Age 1
    Gladys married her second husband Martin Edward Mortensen in 1924, but they separated before she became pregnant with Monroe; they divorced in 1928.
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  • 1927
    Age 0
    At first, Gladys lived with the Bolenders and commuted to work in Los Angeles, until longer work shifts forced her to move back to the city in early 1927.
    More Details Hide Details She then began visiting her daughter on the weekends, often taking her to the cinema and to sightsee in Los Angeles.
  • 1926
    Born
    Monroe was born Norma Jeane Mortenson at the Los Angeles County Hospital on June 1, 1926, as the third child of Gladys Pearl Baker (née Monroe, 1902–84).
    More Details Hide Details Gladys, the daughter of two poor Midwestern migrants to California, was a flapper and worked as a film negative cutter at Consolidated Film Industries. When she was fifteen, Gladys married a man nine years her senior, John Newton Baker, and had two children by him, Robert (1917–33) and Berniece (born 1919). She filed for divorce in 1921, and Baker took the children with him to his native Kentucky. Monroe was not told that she had a sister until she was twelve, and met her for the first time as an adult.
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