About Marilyn Monroe
Born Norma Jean Baker in 1926, her mother had been institutionalized due to mental illness for much of her growing years. As a result, the girl who would become known as Marilyn Monroe was placed in 12 foster homes, and even once in an orphanage.
When she was 16, she married then-20-year-old James Dougherty. While working as part of the World War II factory effort, she realized she photographed well, and later began working part-time as a photographer’s model.
Her modelling led to an acting job. In 1946, she divorced Dougherty and signed a contract with Twentieth Century Fox. She bleached her hair blond, and changed her name to Marilyn Monroe.
In 1950, she posed nude and also appeared in The Asphalt Jungle, which garnered her significant attention. In 1953, her first starring role was in Niagara. That same year she performed alongside Jane Russell in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. And in 1954 Monroe married famous baseball player Joe Dimaggio but the couple divorced less than a year into their marriage. The movie poster for the 1955 movie The Seven Year Itch features the iconic image of Monroe in a white halter dress with her skirt blown up.
Marilyn Monroe Productions
Also in 1955, she founded her own company, Marilyn Monroe Productions, after decided to work more seriously on her acting skills. Her 1956 film Bus Stop, distributed by 20th Century Fox, starred Monroe as the singer of a cafe, a role that earned her a Golden Globe nomination for Best Motion Picture Actress in a Comedy or Musical.
Around that time, Monroe began drinking heavily, and taking sleeping pills for insomnia. She married playwright Arthur Miller in 1956 and converted to Judaism for the marriage. In 1959 she starred in Some Like it Hot, alongside Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon in one of her most famous films. Her final completed film was The Misfits in 1961, which co-starred Clark Gable. She was often under the influence of pills and alcohol during its filming and had developed a reputation of being difficult to work with. She and Miller divorced in 1961, and faced rumors of affairs with President John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert F. Kennedy.
Her next project was Something’s Got to Give, but she was dismissed after a month because of lateness and addictions. Her last day on the set was June 1st of 1962. She was dismissed June 8th. In a Life interview published August 3rd, she’s quoted as saying “Fame is fickle.” Two days later, on August 5th, 1962, she was found dead at her Brentwood home. The LA Coroner’s office recorded cause of death as “acute barbiturate poisoning” from “probable suicide.” Former husband and baseball great Joe DiMaggio planned her funeral, and actor Lee Strasberg delivered the eulogy.