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Marilyn Monroe

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Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe (June 1, 1926 - August 5, 1962) was an American film actress and later, a pop icon. She was born Norma Jeane Mortensen in Los Angeles, California, but was known as Norma Jeane Baker ("Baker" was the last name of her mother's first husband).

Table of contents
1 Biography
2 Marriages
3 Death and legacy
4 Trivia
5 Films
6 External links

Biography

She was born in the charity ward of Los Angeles City (now County-USC) Hospital. While biographers agree the man listed on her birth certificate, Martin Edward Mortensen, was not her biological father, her paternity has never been firmly established. The most likely candidate seems to be Charles Stanley Gifford, a salesman for the studio where her mother Gladys worked as a negative film cutter. The just-divorced Gifford had no desire to be tied down, and left Gladys when she informed him of her pregnancy.

Unable to persuade her mother to take the baby, an overwhelmed Gladys placed Norma Jeane with Wayne and Ida Bolender of Hawthorne, outside of Los Angeles. She lived with them until the age 7. The Bolenders were a religious couple who supplemented their meager income by being foster parents. In her autobiography "My Story," (ghostwritten by Ben Hecht), Marilyn said she thought they were her parents until Ida, rather cruelly, corrected her. After Marilyn's death, Ida claimed they remained in touch and had seriously considered adopting her (which they couldn't have done without Gladys's consent).

Gladys visited every Saturday, but she never hugged or kissed Norma Jeane, or even smiled. One day, Gladys announced that she had bought a house for them. A few months after moving in, she suffered a breakdown. Marilyn recalled her mother "screaming and laughing" as she was forcibly removed to Norwalk State Hospital, where her parents had died.

Norma Jeane was declared a ward of the state. Gladys's best friend, Grace Goddard, became her guardian, but she couldn't care for her. Norma Jeane was put in an orphanage, then in as many as 12 foster homes, in which she was subjected to abuse and neglect, until Grace was finally able to move Norma Jeane in with her. She came to think little of herself, yet also developed a gritty, opportunistic side and a super-human drive. She was very intelligent and more unhappy than her screen image suggested.

In 1945, Norma Jeane worked as a parachute inspector while her husband was in the Merchant Marines. One day, a photographer spotted her and asked if he could take her picture to boost morale for the war effort. Soon afterwards, she moved out of her mother-in-law's house and signed with a modeling agency, which led to her first studio contract with Twentieth Century-Fox.

In "My Story," she recounted how she chose her stage name. When Norma Jeane told Grace that "Marilyn" had been suggested by a Fox employee, Grace replied that it went well with Gladys's maiden name, Monroe, then told her she was keeping documents for Gladys proving she is a direct descendant of James Monroe. Those papers have never surfaced. Marilyn's maternal grandfather was Otis Elmer Monroe (1865-1909); his father was Jacob Monroe (1831-1872), so such a descent is unlikely.

The next few years were lean. Biographers maintain she was working "the party circuit" when she met Johnny Hyde, a partner of the William Morris Agency, on December 31, 1948 at a party thrown by producer Sam Spiegel. Like Grace Goddard, he believed she was destined to become a great star; unlike Grace, Hyde - who discovered Lana Turner and counted Rita Hayworth among his clients - had the power to do something about it. Despite being married and old enough to be her father, Hyde fell madly in love. Due to Hyde's persistence, Marilyn landed the two films that put her on the map: The Asphalt Jungle and All About Eve.

She posed nude for photographer Tom Kelley on May 27, 1949. The model of the Miss Golden Dreams calendar from that shoot was billed as Anonymous. In 1952, a blackmailer threatened to identify her as Marilyn, but she shrewdly thwarted the scheme by announcing the fact herself. Hugh Hefner bought the rights to use the photo for the first issue of his new men's magazine, Playboy. Neither Kelley nor Monroe (who was paid $50) ever saw a dime of the millions it made.

A dying Hyde repeatedly asked Marilyn to marry him, assuring her that she would be a rich widow. But, she refused. She loved him, she explained in "My Story," but wasn't in love with him. She renewed contact with producer and "party circuit" host Joseph Schenck, ignoring Hyde for weeks at a time. Hyde suffered a fatal heart attack in Palm Springs on December 18, 1950. Marilyn, who had refused to join him, blamed herself for his death. His family threw her out of his Beverly Hills estate. The day after Hyde's funeral, she attempted suicide.

By late 1951, Fox was convinced of her potential and gave her a build-up. Though she was the biggest star in the world by 1954, she tired of the dimb bulb roles Darryl F. Zanuck assigned her. She broke her contract, and went to New York to study acting; she formed her own production company with photographer Milton H. Greene. These moves were met with derision by the film industry. Yet, when Jayne Mansfield and Sheree North failed to click with audiences, Zanuck finally admitted defeat. Her new contract gave her more creative control and the right to make one non-Fox film a year; the first project under the deal was Bus Stop. Her co-stars during these years included Cary Grant, Clark Gable, Laurence Olivier, Joseph Cotten, Richard Widmark, Jane Russell, Lauren Bacall, Ethel Merman, Charles Laughton, Tony Curtis, and Yves Montand (with whom she had an affair during the filming of Let's Make Love).

Marriages

She married James Dougherty on June 19, 1942. Grace, moving with her husband, wanted Norma Jeane to marry to avoid going to an orphanage. In "The Secret Happiness of Marilyn Monroe" and "To Norma Jeane With Love, Jimmie," Dougherty claims they were in love and would have lived happily ever after had not dreams of stardom lured her away. By contrast, Monroe always maintained it was a marriage of convenience foisted upon them by Grace, who paid Dougherty to take her charge on dates. She divorced him in 1946.

Retired from the Los Angeles Police Department, Dougherty claims in the documentary Marilyn's Man that he was her Svengali and the "creator" of Marilyn Monroe. (It should be noted no biographer has ever come across any evidence to support this or Dougherty's other claim that they remained friends; he didn't attend her funeral). He lives in Maine, and was married to his third wife until her death in 2003.

Joe DiMaggio saw her picture of Marilyn with two Chicago White Sox players, and asked the PR man who arranged the stunt to set them up on a date, but she didn't want to meet him, fearing him the stereotypical jock. Their January 14, 1954 elopment at San Francisco City Hall was the culmination of a courtship that had captivated the nation.

The union was complex, marred by conflicting personalities, jealousy (his), and casual infidelity (hers). DiMaggio biographer Richard Ben Cramer asserts it was also violent. One incident allegedly happened after the skirt blowing scene in The Seven Year Itch was filmed on New York's Lexington Avenue before hundreds of fans; director Billy Wilder recalled "the look of death" on DiMaggio's face as he watched. When she filed for divorce just 274 days after the wedding, Oscar Levant quipped it proved no man could be a success in two pastimes.

Miller
on the set of ''The Misfits']]

She married Arthur Miller in a civil ceremony on June 29, 1956, then in a Jewish ceremony 2 days later. When they returned from England after she wrapped The Prince and the Showgirl, they learned she was pregnant. Sadly, she suffered from endometriosis; the pregnancy was ectopic and had to be aborted to save her life. A second pregnancy ended in miscarriage.

By the time she filmed Some Like It Hot, Monroe was supporting him. Not only did she pay alimony to Miller's first wife, he reportedly bought a Jaguar while they were in England, shipped it to the States, and charged it to her production company. His script The Misfits was meant to be a Valentine to her. Instead, by the time filming started, the marriage was broken beyond repair. Marilyn's behavior—fueled by drugs and alcohol—was erratic, and she was utterly vicious toward Arthur. A Mexican divorce was granted on January 24, 1961.

On February 17, 1962, Miller married Inge Morath, one of the Magnum photographers recording the making of The Misfits. In January 1964, his After the Fall opened, featuring a beautiful, child-like, yet devouring shrew named Maggie. It upset all of Miller's and Monroe's friends. His new play, Finishing the Picture, is based on the making of The Misfits. The Marilyn-based character never appears, but the other characters talk about her constantly.

DiMaggio re-entered her life as her marriage to Miller was ending. On February 7, 1961, she was admitted into a psychiatric clinic, reportedly placed in the ward for the most seriously disturbed. He got her out and took her to another facility. After her release, she joined him in Florida where he was a batting coach for his old team, the New York Yankees. Their "just friends" claims didn't stop remarriage rumors from flying. Bob Hope even "dedicated" Best Song nominee "The Second Time Around" to them at the 1960 Academy Awards. According to DiMaggio biographer Maury Allen, he quit his $100,000 a year job to return to California and ask Marilyn to remarry him. DiMaggio claimed her body, and arranged her funeral. For 20 years he had a dozen red roses delivered 3 times a week to her crypt. Unlike the other men who knew her intimately (or claimed to), he never publicly spoke about her nor wrote a tell-all book.

Death and legacy

Marilyn was found dead in bedroom of her Los Angeles home at age 36 from an overdose of barbiturates. Circumstances surrounding her death have led many to believe she was killed because of her involvement with the Kennedy Family (President John F. Kennedy recently broke off their affair). A formal investigation in 1982 by the Los Angeles County District Attorney came up with no credible evidence of foul play, but the stories persist. Dr. Thomas Noguchi, who performed the autopsy (and the autopsies of Robert F. Kennedy and Natalie Wood, among other celebrities), wrote in his book Coroner that Marilyn's death was a very highly likely suicide.

DiMaggio chose to have her interred at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery: Marilyn buried Grace Goddard there because Grace's aunt - whom cared for Norma Jeane briefly - is there. Just as her career took off, she asked her make-up man, Whitey Snyder, to promise he would make her up when she died. Snyder joked he would if her body was brought to him while it was warm. A few days later, he received a money clip: "Whitey Dear, While I am still warm, Marilyn." He fulfilled that promise with the help of a bottle of whiskey.

Gladys—diagnosed as schizophrenic—was released from a sanitarium after Marilyn's death, and moved into her daughter Bernice's home in Florida. She died of congestive heart failure on March 11, 1984 at a nursing home. She was never certain who Marilyn Monroe or Norma Jeane were. A woman so fascinated by movie stars she named her daughter after one (Norma Talmadge) never knew she gave birth to one of the most famous women in history.

A myth that Marilyn was born with six toes resulted from the publication of photos taken by Joseph Jasgur in March 1946. The pictures were published in The Birth of Marilyn: The Lost Photographs of Norma Jeane by Jasgur and Jeannie Sakol. Two pictures can be interpreted as showing six toes, although they can be explained as tricks of light. Since there is no corroborating evidence from other photographs or written records, the story is commonly dismissed as an urban legend.

Trivia

Films

See also: List of celebrities with illicit drug history

External links