Marilyn Monroe was born on the 1st of June, 1926 as Norma Jeane Mortenson in the Los Angeles General Hospital. Her mother’s name was Gladys and father was unknown. Her mother’s mental instability caused her to be placed in the foster home of Albert and Ida Bolender. She spent a troubled childhood in orphanages and at the age of sixteen she entered into a broken marriage with James E. Dougherty who was a defense worker. In the year 1944 Dougherty was sent overseas for marine operations and during that time Norma Jeane worked in a factory.
The Army officials photographed women working in that factory in order to show their war effort. David Conover, the photographer, took her photographs and they proved to be immensely popular and by the year 1945 she emerged as an icon of glamour and her photographs appeared on the cover pages of national magazines (MONROE, MARILYN).
The pictures of Norma Jeane attracted the attention of several modeling agencies and consequently she signed up with a modeling agency. In 1946 she and her husband separated judicially. Soon she became a popular model and obtained the sobriquet of sex goddess. In the same year she was signed up with the 20th Century Fox studio. She played small roles in two movies and later the studio ended their contract with her. It was principally her charm and beauty and not her acting talent that established her as a movie star. She was unable to establish herself as an actress. Moreover, her sex symbol image obfuscated the fact that she was intelligent, hardworking and committed to her work (MONROE, MARILYN).
While working with Twentieth Century Fox studio, she changed her name to Marilyn Monroe. The studio offered her with only minor roles in movies. After ending her contract with that studio she was unemployed and at that time she posed nude for a pin – up calendar. The calendar became a huge success and was treated as a collectors’ item. Her first significant job was in the year 1950 when she acted in the film ‘The Asphalt Jungle’. She was acclaimed by many movie critics for her acting in that movie.
She acted in several other films and another film that she acted in was named ‘All about Eve’. Both these movies brought her fame as a scatterbrained blonde exposing sexuality. Thus she became a star and a celebrity. By 1953 she acted in the films ‘Niagara’, ‘How to Marry a Millionaire’ and ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’. In 1954 she married a former baseball star Joe DiMaggio but the marriage lasted for only nine months after which they were divorced.
The image of sex – symbol followed her everywhere. Her wide eyed charm, physical voluptuousness and natural sex appeal made her an international celebrity. Her mannerisms and looks were imitated widely by people. Eventually she became frustrated with having to play similar roles in movies and accordingly she planned to establish a production company. She went to New York to study at the Actors Studio and acted in ‘Bus Stop’ in 1956 and ‘Some Like It Hot’ in 1959. She showed maturity in her acting in those two movies and was acclaimed by the public and critics alike.
In the year 1956 she married the writer Arthur Miller. Her husband wrote the story of The Misfits in 1961 in which she was starred. After a week of releasing the movie she divorced Miller. She experienced many difficult times throughout her life. During her depression, she was hospitalized for treatment in a mental clinic and she was fired from a movie for her coming late to the studio. Her depression further intensified and she commenced to take drugs to alleviate her psychological trauma. Finally, she ended her life by taking an overdose of barbiturates. She enjoyed the status of a celebrity and she was worshipped as a sex goddess. However, she had been exploited by Hollywood and men (Monroe, Marilyn, (1 Jun 1926 – 5 Aug 1962). In The Crystal Reference Encyclopedia).
On May 19, 1962, Marilyn Monroe attended the birthday celebration of the US President John F. Kennedy in Madison Square Garden. In this function, Monroe sang the birthday song as a tribute to the President. It is reported that her affair with President Kennedy commenced from this occasion. Further, the Attorney General Bobby Kennedy was also reported to have had an affair with Marilyn Monroe (Brandon).
Marilyn Monroe had lost weight and stopped consuming sleeping pills in order to get a new look as she was to star in the movie ‘Something’s Got to Give’ that commenced in the year 1962. This film was being produced at the Twentieth Century Fox studio. At the same time, the studio was also producing another high budget movie, namely, Cleopatra that was starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. With the production of Cleopatra, the studio incurred heavy financial losses and fell into debt.
During the time that Monroe was acting in the film she was suffering from bronchitis and was consequently reporting late for schedules. So the studio wanted to remove her from the movie in order to claim insurance amounts to recoup their losses in ‘Cleopatra’. As such Twentieth Century Fox studio removed Monroe from their film production on the 7th of June, 1962 (Brandon).
During this extremely distressing and turbulent period, Marilyn tried to remarry her ex-husband Joe DiMaggio and was visiting him frequently. They fixed their remarriage date for the 8th of August, 1962. At the same time, Twentieth Century Fox invited her to complete the film ‘Something’s Got to Give’. They offered her a salary that was two and half times more than the previous salary.
Monroe bought her first ever home at 12305 Fifth Helena Drive in Brentwood and indulged herself to her heart’s content in the process of decorating her new home. Subsequently, she invited her friends for dinner. On the 5th of August 5, 1962, Marilyn Monroe was found dead by the house keeper. The reason for her death could not be ascertained and after three hours of her demise the police were informed, giving rise to a number of speculations as to the cause of her death (Brandon).
Two days after her death, Joe DiMaggio made arrangements for her funeral. No person from either Hollywood or the press was invited to attend the funeral of Marilyn Monroe. Close friends and relatives attended to pay tributes to Monroe; however, Arthur Miller did not attend the funeral. Allegations of having caused Monroe’s death were hurled at the Kennedys, the Cosa Nostra and other persons but none of these were proved and her death continues to remain a mystery (Brandon).
An empty bottle of sleeping pills was found by the side of her bed, in addition to fourteen other medicines and tablets. Her death affected not only the United States but also the world. Her fame far outshone her contribution as an actress and her death made two of her films ‘Seven Year Itch’ and ‘Some Like It Hot’ smashing hits all over the world (The New York Times ).
The autopsy report of the Los Angeles coroner attributed her death to drugs, but the Los Angeles police refused to consider her death a suicide. There was no evidence as to how many pills she had consumed before she died and Monroe had been dismissed by Twentieth – Century – Fox on unjustifiable grounds. A few days before being dismissed, she had agitated against attacks on stars (The New York Times ).
Brandon, H. Marilyn Monroe: The Legend. 1996. 5 September 2007 <http://www.ncu.edu.tw/~wenchi/english/articles/monroe/monroe_bio.htm>.
MONROE, MARILYN. 1991. 5 September 2007 <http://www.credoreference.com/entry/5868708 >.
Monroe, Marilyn, (1 Jun 1926 – 5 Aug 1962). In The Crystal Reference Encyclopedia. 2005. 5 September 2007 <http://www.credoreference.com/entry/5745077 >.
The New York Times . Marilyn Monroe Dead, Pills Near . 1998. 5 September 2007 <http://www.nytimes.com/books/98/11/22/specials/monroe-obit1.html>.