Marilyn Monroe

by K-Dean

"Hollywood is a place where they'll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss and fifty cents for your soul." Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe, was an actress, singer, model and American sex symbol. She was born Norma Jeane Mortenson on June 1, 1926, but was raised as Norma Jeane Baker. Monroe was born in Los Angeles, to Gladys Pearl Baker. Monroe was never really sure of the identity of her real father, and her mother was mentally unstable and financially unable to care for Monroe. She was sent to live with foster parents Albert and Ida Bolender of Hawthorne, California, until she was seven. While living with the Bolenders, numerous bizarre encounters occurred with Monroe’s mentally disturbed mother. One time Gladys demanded her daughter be released back into her care and tried to kidnap her. Gladys stuffed her daughter into a duffel bag and tried unsuccessfully to run away with her. In 1933, Gladys bought a house and brought Norma Jeane to live with her. Her mother suffered yet another mental breakdown, and Monroe went to live with a new guardian, Grace McKee.

McKee would let her wear make up, get her hair done, and bring her to the movies where she fell in love with cinema and the stars on the big screen. It was McKee who told Monroe she would one day be a movie star. For several years Monroe lived in numerous foster homes, and stayed with different family members for short periods of time. Everywhere she ended up she was mistreated and sexually assaulted by the men in the household.

In 1942, Monroe was forced to find yet another place to stay so she didn’t end up in foster care again, but no one could adopt her because her mother wouldn’t sign papers and allow it to happen. Monroe at the age of 16, married James Dougherty, to avoid returning to foster care. In 1943, Dougherty enlisted in the Merchant Marine, and was shipped out to the Pacific during World War II.

Monroe began working at A Radioplane Munitions Factory, spray painting airplane parts with fire retardant and inspecting parachutes. At this time a photographer had snapped a shot of her for a magazine article and encouraged her to apply to The Blue Book Modeling Agency. This was when Monroe left behind her brown locks for golden blonde. Monroe found success in modelling gracing the covers of dozens of magazines. She divorced her husband in 1946, when he wouldn’t support her dream of modeling. In 1947 Monroe was cast in small movie roles and posed for nude photographs to make money. By 1949 she was impressing movie producers and signed a seven year contract with 20th Century Fox. Shortly after, n 1951 Monroe enrolled at UCLA to study literature and art appreciation.

In April 1952 she made her first appearance on the Cover of Life magazine, and was described as the talk of Hollywood. At this time she also started dating baseball player Joe DiMaggio.

Monroe had three marriages and all of them ended in divorce. Her last marriage was with Arthur Miller. Allegedly, she was briefly married to writer Robert Slatzer and had affairs with John and Robert Kennedy. She suffered two miscarriages and an ectopic pregnancy during her three marriages.

In Monroe’s early films her appearances were minor, but her performances in The Asphalt Jungle and All About Eve were well liked by audiences. By 1953, Monroe had moved up to leading roles. Her dumb blonde persona was used to comedic effect in films such as Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, How to Marry a Millionaire, and The Seven Year Itch. She received a Golden Globe nomination for her dramatic role in Bus Stop and a Golden Globe Award for her performance in Some Like It Hot. Monroe made a total of 30 films in her lifetime.

On May 19, 1962, made her last big significant public appearance at President John F. Kennedy’s birthday celebration at Madison Square Garden. The last few years of Monroe’s life were marked by illness, personal problems, and a reputation for being unreliable and difficult to work with.

On August 5, 1962 Monroe was found dead at her home in Brentwood, Los Angeles at the age of 36. Monroe’s cause of death was ruled acute barbiturate poisoning, which is an overdose of pills. She was found face down on her bed, nude, with her left hand sprawled across the bed touching the telephone on the nightstand. There were prescription bottles littered on top of the nightstand, however no drinking glass in the room and no running water. Suspicions arose about why the housekeeper had waited nearly four hours to call police after finding Monroe’s lifeless body.

On August 8, 1962, Monroe was interred in a crypt at Corridor of Memories #24, at the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery. Her ex husband Joe DiMaggio planned the funeral which consisted of only 31 close friends and family members. Her casket was solid bronze and lined with champagne silk. She wore her favourite green Emilio Pucci dress and held a small bouquet of pink teacup roses. Every year red roses are placed in a vase attached to the crypt courtesy of DiMaggio.

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