Marilyn Monroe (1926 - 1962)

Norma Jeane Mortenson
1926 - 1962
updated July 07, 2020
Marilyn Monroe was born on July 1, 1926 in Los Angeles, California. She was born to Gladys Pearl Monroe Baker. She died on August 5, 1962 in Brentwood, California USA at 36 years old.

Marilyn Monroe (height) 5' 5½" was an American actress, comedienne, singer, and model. She became one of the world's most enduring iconic figures and is remembered both for her winsome embodiment of the Hollywood sex symbol and her tragic personal and professional struggles within the film industry. Her life and death are still the subjects of much controversy and speculation. She was born Norma Jeane Mortenson at the Los Angeles County Hospital on June 1, 1926. Her mother Gladys Pearl Baker was a film-cutter at Consolidated Film Industries. Marilyn's father's identity was never known. Because Gladys was mentally and financially unable to care for young Marilyn, Gladys placed her in the care of a foster family, The Bolenders. Although the Bolender family wanted to adopt Marilyn, Gladys was eventually able to stabilize her lifestyle and took Marilyn back in her care when Marilyn was 7 years old. However, shortly after regaining custody of Marilyn, Gladys had a complete mental breakdown and was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic and was committed to a state mental hospital. Gladys spent the rest of her life going in and out of hospitals and rarely had contact with young Marilyn. Once Marilyn became an adult and celebrated as a film star, she paid a woman by the name of Inez Melson to look in on the institutionalized Gladys and give detailed reports of her progress. Gladys outlived her daughter, dying in 1984.

Marilyn was then taken in by Gladys' best friend Grace Goddard, who, after a series of foster homes, placed Marilyn into the Los Angeles Orphan's Home in 1935. Marilyn was traumatized by her experience there despite the Orphan's Home being an adequate living facility. Grace Goddard eventually took Marilyn back to live with her in 1937 although this stay did not last long as Grace's husband began molesting Marilyn. Marilyn went to live with Grace's Aunt Ana after this incident, although due to Aunt Ana's advanced age she could not care properly for Marilyn. Marilyn once again for the third time had to return to live with the Goddards. The Goddards planned to relocated and according to law, could not take Marilyn with them. She only had two choices: return to the orphanage or get married. Marilyn was only 16 years old.

She decided to marry a neighborhood friend named James Dougherty; he went into the military, she modeled, they divorced in 1946. She owned 400 books (including Tolstoy, Whitman, Milton), listened to Beethoven records, studied acting at the Actors' lab in Hollywood, and took literature courses at UCLA downtown. 20th Century Fox gave her a contract but let it lapse a year later. In 1948, Columbia gave her a six-month contract, turned her over to coach Natasha Lytess and featured her in the B movie Ladies of the Chorus (1948) in which she sang three numbers : "Every Baby Needs a Da Da Daddy", "Anyone Can Tell I Love You" and "The Ladies of the Chorus" with Adele Jergens (dubbed by Virginia Rees) and others. Joseph L. Mankiewicz saw her in a small part in The Asphalt Jungle (1950) and put her in All About Eve (1950), resulting in 20th Century re-signing her to a seven-year contract. Niagara (1953) and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) launched her as a sex symbol superstar. When she went to a supper honoring her in the The Seven Year Itch (1955), she arrived in a red chiffon gown borrowed from the studio (she had never owned a gown). That same year, she married and divorced baseball great Joe DiMaggio (their wedding night was spent in Paso Robles, California). After The Seven Year Itch (1955), she wanted serious acting to replace the sexpot image and went to New York's Actors Studio. She worked with director Lee Strasberg and also underwent psychoanalysis to learn more about herself. Critics praised her transformation in Bus Stop (1956) and the press was stunned by her marriage to playwright Arthur Miller. True to form, she had no veil to match her beige wedding dress so she dyed one in coffee; he wore one of the two suits he owned. They went to England that fall where she made The Prince and the Showgirl (1957) with Laurence Olivier, fighting with him and falling further prey to alcohol and pills. Two miscarriages and gynecological surgery followed. So did an affair with Yves Montand. Work on her last picture The Misfits (1961), written for her by departing husband Miller was interrupted by exhaustion. She was dropped from the unfinished Something's Got to Give (1962) due to chronic lateness and drug dependency.

On August 4, 1962, Marilyn Monroe's day began with threatening phone calls. Dr. Ralph Greenson, Marilyn's physician, came over the following day and quoted later in a document "felt it was possible that Marilyn Monroe had felt rejected by some of the people she had been close to". Apart from being upset that her publicist slept too long, she seemed fine. Pat Newcombe, who had stayed the previous night at Marilyn's house, left in the early evening as did Greenson who had a dinner date. Marilyn was upset he couldn't stay, and around 7:30pm she telephoned him while she was to tell him that her second husband's son had called him. Peter Lawford also called Marilyn, inviting her to dinner, but she declined. Lawford later said her speech was slurred. As the dark and depressing evening for Marilyn wore on there were other phone calls, including one from Jose Belanos, who said he thought she sounded fine. According to the funeral directors, Marilyn died sometime between 9:30pm and 11:30pm. Her maid unable to raise her but seeing a light under her locked door, called the police shortly after midnight. She also phoned Ralph Greenson who, on arrival, could not break down the bedroom door. He eventually broke in through French windows and found Marilyn dead in bed. The coroner stated she had died from acute barbiturate poisoning, and it was a 'probable suicide'.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Ed Stephan
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Norma Jeane Mortenson Biography

Vital facts & highlights of Norma's life to share with the world.

Marilyn Monroe
Most commonly known name
Female
Gender
Norma
First name
Jeane
Middle name
Unknown
Maiden name
Mortenson
Last name(s)
Norma Jeane Baker, The Blonde Bombshell, MM, Norma Jeane, Skip
Nickname(s) or aliases
Unknown. Did Norma move a lot? Where was her last known location?
Last known residence
Norma Mortenson was born on in Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California United States
Birth
Norma Mortenson died on in Brentwood, Los Angeles County, California USA
Death
Norma Mortenson was born on in Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California United States
Norma Mortenson died on in Brentwood, Los Angeles County, California USA
Birth
Death
It is said that she died of a drug overdose. But it's whispered she was killed due to possible political ties with a popular family.

In fact there are a number of 'conspiracy' theories out there.
Cause of death
at Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park and Mortuary, 1218 Glendon Ave, in Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California United States 90024
Burial / Funeral

Ethnicity & Lineage

Marilyn's mother, Gladys Pearl Monroe, was born in Piedras Negras Coahuila Mexico and much of her family resided in Indiana.

Nationality & Locations Lived

Marilyn was born and raised in Southern California where she spent the majority of her life.

Religion

Monroe's mother and Aunt Ana practiced Christian science and introduced Marilyn to the religion, “Nearly everybody I knew talked to me about God. They always warned me not to offend Him,” - Marilyn. When Marilyn married playwright Arthur Miller she converted to Judaism.

Education

High school drop out.

Professions

Famous, Actress, Celebrity

Personal Life & Organizations

Norma Jeane Mortenson (later baptized Norma Jeane Baker) grew up in foster care and an orphanage until in 1937 Monroe's mother paid family friends Grace and Doc Goddard $100 a month to take care of her. The Goddard household was very religious which made it so that the young Norma had to adhere to numerous restrictions. Perhaps this is why when she matured she pushed numerous social norms.

Norma would have continued to stay with the Goodards, but Doc's job required the family to relocate to the East Coast and they could not afford the expenses of raising a seven year old child. Monroe returned to foster homes were she endured sexual abuse.

She dropped out of high school at 15 and the next year married her boyfriend Jimmy Dougherty in 1942. During World War II she found work in a munitions factory in Van Nuys California where she happened to be discovered by a photographer.

Soon thereafter Monroe had become a successful model and by 1942 she signed her first movie contract and changed her name to Marilyn Monroe.

Military Service

Marilyn worked in a munitions factory in Van Nuys California during World War 2.

Average Age

Life Expectancy

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Marilyn Monroe

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c. May 27, 1902 - Mar 11, 1984

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Norma Mortenson Obituary

This obit of Marilyn Monroe is maintained by Norma's followers. Contribute to her obituary and include details such as cemetery, burial, newspaper obituary and grave or marker inscription if available.

Probably the most celebrated of all actresses, Marilyn Monroe was born Norma Jeane Mortenson on June 1, 1926, in the charity ward of the Los Angeles General Hospital. Prior to her birth, Marilyn's father bought a motorcycle and headed north to San Francisco, abandoning the family in Los Angeles. Marilyn grew up not knowing for sure who her father really was. Her mother, Gladys, had entered into several relationships, further confusing her daughter as to who it was who fathered her. Afterward, Gladys gave Norma Jeane (Marilyn) the name of Baker, a boyfriend she had before Mortenson. Poverty was a constant companion to Gladys and Norma. Gladys, who was extremely attractive and worked for R.K.O. Studios as a film-cutter, suffered from mental illness and was in and out of mental institutions for the rest of her life, and because of that Norma Jeane spent time in foster homes. When she was nine, she was placed in an orphanage where she was to stay for the next two years. Upon being released from the orphanage, she went to yet another foster home. In 1942, at sixteen years old, Norma Jeane married twenty-one-year-old aircraft plant worker James Dougherty. The marriage only lasted four years, and they divorced in 1946. By this time, Marilyn began to model swimsuits and bleached her hair blonde. Various shots made their way into the public eye, where some were eventually seen by R.K.O. Pictures head Howard Hughes. He offered Marilyn a screen test, but an agent suggested that 20th Century-Fox would be the better choice for her, since it was a much bigger and more prestigious studio. She was signed to a contract at $125 per week for a six-month period and that was increased by $25 per week at the end of that time when her contract was lengthened.

Her first film was in 1947 with a bit part in The Shocking Miss Pilgrim (1947). Her next production was not much better, a bit in the eminently forgettable Scudda Hoo! Scudda Hay! (1948). Two of the three brief scenes in which she appeared wound up on the cutting room floor. Later that same year, she was given a somewhat better role as Evie in Dangerous Years (1947). However, Fox declined to renew her contract, so she went back to modeling and acting school.

Columbia Pictures then picked her up to play Peggy Martin in Ladies of the Chorus (1948), where she sang two numbers. Notices from the critics were favorable for her, if not the film, but Columbia dropped her. Once again Marilyn returned to modeling. In 1949, she appeared in United Artists' Love Happy (1949). It was also that same year she posed nude for the now famous calendar shot which was later to appear in Playboy magazine in 1953 and further boost her career. She would be the first centerfold in that magazine's long and illustrious history. The next year proved to be a good year for Marilyn. She appeared in five films, but the good news was that she received very good notices for her roles in two of them, The Asphalt Jungle (1950) from MGM and All About Eve (1950) from Fox. Even though both roles were basically not much more than bit parts, movie fans remembered her dizzy but very sexy blonde performance.

In 1951, Marilyn got a fairly sizable role in Love Nest (1951). The public was now getting to know her and liked what it saw. She had an intoxicating quality of volcanic sexuality wrapped in an aura of almost childlike innocence. In 1952, Marilyn appeared in Don't Bother to Knock (1952), in which she played a somewhat mentally unbalanced babysitter. Critics didn't particularly care for her work in this picture, but she made a much more favorable impression later in the year in Monkey Business (1952), where she was seen for the first time as a platinum blonde, a look that became her trademark. The next year, she appeared in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) as Lorelei Lee. It was also the same year she began dating the baseball great Joe DiMaggio.

Marilyn was now a genuine box-office drawing card. Later, she appeared with Betty Grable, Lauren Bacall and Rory Calhoun in How to Marry a Millionaire (1953). Although her co-stars got the rave reviews, it was the sight of Marilyn that really excited the audience, especially the male members. On Thursday, January 14th, 1954, Marilyn wed DiMaggio, then proceeded to film There's No Business Like Show Business (1954). That was quickly followed by The Seven Year Itch (1955), which showcased her considerable comedic talent and contained what is arguably one of the most memorable moments in cinema history: Marilyn standing above a subway grating and the wind from a passing subway blowing her white dress up.

By October 1954, Marilyn announced her divorce from DiMaggio. The union lasted only eight months. In 1955, she was suspended by Fox for not reporting for work on How to Be Very, Very Popular (1955). It was her second suspension, the first being for not reporting for the production of The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing (1955). Both roles went to others. Her work was slowing down, due to her habit of being continually late to the set, her illnesses (whether real or imagined) and generally being unwilling to cooperate with her producers, directors, and fellow actors.

However in Bus Stop (1956), Marilyn finally showed critics that she could play a straight dramatic role. It was also the same year she married playwright, Arthur Miller (they divorced in 1960). In 1957, Marilyn flew to Britain to film The Prince and the Showgirl (1957) which proved less than impressive critically and financially. It made money, but many critics panned it for being slow-moving. After a year off in 1958, Marilyn returned to the screen the next year for the delightful comedy, Some Like It Hot (1959) with Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon. The film was an absolute smash hit, with Curtis and Lemmon pretending to be females in an all-girl band, so they can get work. This was to be Marilyn's only film for the year.

In 1960, Marilyn appeared in George Cukor's Let's Make Love (1960), with Tony Randall and Yves Montand. Again, while it made money, it was critically panned as stodgy and slow-moving. The following year, Marilyn made what was to be her final film. The Misfits (1961), which also proved to be the final film for the legendary Clark Gable, who died later that year of a heart attack. The film was popular with critics and the public alike. In 1962, Marilyn was chosen to star in Fox's Something's Got to Give (1962). Again, her absenteeism caused delay after delay in production, resulting in her being fired from the production in June of that year. It looked as though her career was finished. Studios just didn't want to take a chance on her because it would cost them thousands of dollars in delays. She was only thirty-six years old.

Marilyn acted in only thirty films, but her legendary status and mysticism will remain with film history for ever.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: Denny Jackson

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1926 - 1962 World Events

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In 1926, in the year that Marilyn Monroe was born, on October 31st, Harry Houdini died in Michigan. Houdini was the most famed magician of his time and perhaps of all time, especially for his acts involving escapes - from handcuffs, straitjackets, chains, ropes slung from skyscrapers, and more. He was president of the Society of American Magicians and stringently upheld professional ethics. He died of complications from a ruptured appendix. Although he had received a blow to the area a couple of days previously, the connection between the blow and his appendicitis is disputed.

In 1931, by the time she was only 5 years old, on May 1st, the Empire State Building opened in New York City. At 1,454 feet (including the roof and antenna), it was the tallest building in the world until the World Trade Center's North Tower was built in 1970. (It is now the 34th tallest.) Opening at the beginning of the Great Depression, most of the offices in the Empire State Building remained unoccupied for years and the observation deck was an equal source of revenue and kept the building profitable.

In 1941, she was just 15 years old when on June 25th, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 8802, prohibiting racial discrimination in the defense industry. EO 8802 was the first federal action to prohibit employment discrimination - without prejudice as to "race, creed, color, or national origin" - in the U.S. Civil Rights groups had planned a march on Washington D.C. to protest for equal rights but with the signing of the Order, they canceled the March.

In 1959, Norma was 33 years old when on August 8th, Hawaii became the 50th state of the United States. The US flag was changed to show 50 stars.

In 1962, in the year of Marilyn Monroe's passing, lasting from October 16th - 28th, the Cuban Missile Crisis was the closest that the United States and the Soviet Union came to nuclear war. The Soviet Union had been installing a nuclear missile base in Cuba. The United States established a blockade to stop the base from being completed. Through secret negotiations, war was averted: the Soviet Union agreed to dismantle their weapons in Cuba and the United States agreed to never invade Cuba and to dismantle weapons in Turkey and Italy.

Other Biographies

Other Norma Mortensons

Jul 1, 1918 - Sep 3, 1999

Other Mortensons

Unknown - Unknown
Unknown - Unknown
Oct 10, 1908 - April 1968
Oct 18, 1901 - October 1971
Aug 2, 1897 - December 1986
Dec 5, 1930 - Jan 5, 2002
Oct 14, 1891 - October 1976
Dec 5, 1905 - May 10, 1999
Jan 30, 1898 - May 2, 1998
Jun 21, 1912 - Dec 4, 2002
Aug 2, 1933 - Dec 27, 2002
Jul 10, 1907 - Feb 25, 1999
Jan 3, 1938 - Aug 12, 2006

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