Brief Biography of the Life of Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe had a glamorous and exciting existance, but Norma Jeane had a lonely, tragic life.There are many opinions about the details of her life and many questions surrounding her death. I don’t know the truthful answers. In this brief history, compiled from many sources, I try to present the indisputable facts without any editorial comments. You must form your own opinions based on your own judgement.
Marilyn Monroe was born at 9:30 AM on June 1st, 1926, in the Los Angeles General Hospital registered under the name of Norma Jeane Mortenson. Her mother, Gladys Monroe, gave her to a foster family where she lived until she was 7. Then her mother, following her grandfather’s suicide, reclaimed her and brought her back. Soon thereafter her mother’s friend, Grace McKee, had Gladys declared insane and commited to a psychiatric hospital, and took custody of Norma Jeane. Then Grace met Ervin Silliman Goddard and married him. Goddard brought one of his 3 daughters back to live with them, and then Grace sent Norma Jeane away at the age of 9 to the Los Angeles Orphans Home where she became occupant number 3463 for several years.
Two years later Grace brought Norma Jeane home but Goddard tried to molest her, and so she went to live with her mother’s brother’s mother, Olive Brunings. Just after Norma Jeane’s 12th birthday she was assaulted by one of Olive’s sons and went to live with Grace McKee’s aunt, Ana Lower. Several years later Ana developed health problems and Norma Jeane went back to the Goddards where she met a neighbor’s son, Jim Dougherty. Right after her 16th birthday, Norma Jeane married him.
In 1944 Jim was called to military service and she went to live with her mother-in-law. Norma Jeane got a job at an airplane factory. The Army sent a photographer (David Connover) to take pictures of women helping with the war effort. The photographer was impressed by Norma Jeane and suggested she apply for a modeling position at the Blue Book model agency.
By 1946 she was on 33 magazine covers and was posing for top photographers. Grace McKee arranged a divorce for her. In July 1946 Norma Jeane did a screen test at Twentieth-Century Fox and got a contract which she signed using the name Marilyn Monroe. She got a role in Scudda-Hoo! Scudda-Hay! and her only words were ‘Hi Rad!’ he alszo got a bit part in Dangerous Years.
Twentieth-Century Fox did not renew her contract in 1947. She then got a contract with Columbia but didn’t get any parts. Then she had an affair with Johnny Hyde, executive vice-president of the William Morris Agency, and he got her a cameo in the Marx Brothers movie Love Happy and small roles in The Asphalt Jungle and All About Eve.
When Hyde died in 1950, Marilyn went to Famous Artists who soon got her a seven-year contract with Fox. By the end of 1951 Marilyn was receiving 2000 – 3000 fan mail letters per week and because of her popularity the studio gave her the starring role in Don’t Bother To Knock and Monkey Business.
In 1952 she began an affair with baseball great Joe diMaggio. In June she got a co-star role in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. On January 14th, 1954 she married Joe diMaggio in San Fransisco. After their honeymoon Marilyn started work on The Seven Year Itch but she was frequently late and unproductive on the set. She also had problems with her marriage and got divorced on October 27th, 1954. At Christmas, Marilyn moved into a New York City apartment and enrolled at Lee Strasberg’s Actors’ Studio. She also began her relationship with playwright Arthur Miller around this time.
On June 1st, 1955 The Seven Year Itch premiered and became the biggest movie of the summer. On June 29th, 1956 she married Arthur Miller. On July 1st, 1956 they had another, Jewish, wedding ceremony. Then they went to England, where she began work on Marilyn Monroe Productions’ first independant movie,The Prince and the Showgirl. Marilyn went back to Hollywood to work on the movie Bus Stop. Marilyn had more problems on the movie set and was taking large doses of sleeping pills. After Bus Stop she started work on the movie Some Like It Hot and although her problems continued, she did finish it, and it became the biggest hit of 1959.
In July of 1960 Marilyn went to Nevada to film The Misfits. The movie was a disappointment and Marilyn was depressed. On January 20th, 1961, the day of President Kennedy’s inauguration, she divorced Arthur Miller. Marilyn’s therapist had her commited to the New York Hospital for several days. Marilyn smuggled a note out to Joe diMaggio who came from Florida the next evening and got her released. She was with him again until April 1961, when she returned to Los Angeles to start work on the movie Something’s Got To Give but after the first day she stayed at home sick in bed.
On May 19th, 1961, she went to Madison Square Garden and sang Happy Birthday, Mr. President to President Kennedy, and then went back to L.A. and the movie set. She almost overdosed on drugs and Joe diMaggio came to her rescue again. They decided to remarry and set the date for August 8th, 1962 but on the evening of August 4th, Marilyn died. There was no suicide note, and she was found naked in bed with no signs of violence, according to the police investigation. Although there are many different rumors and conspiracy theories surrounding her death, they are all unproved, and we can only guess or believe whatever we want to believe about it.
All we can agree on, probably, is that Marilyn was a very beautiful and talented woman who found fame and fortune but was unsatisfied with her life, and died tragically.
Important Dates in Marilyn’s Life
- 6-1-26 – Birthdate
- 9-13-35 – Entered orphanage
- 6-26-37 – Left orphanage
- 6-19-42 – Married Jim Dougherty
- 6-26-45 – Photographed by David Conover for Yank magazine
- 8-2-45 – Application for the Blue Book Modeling Agency
- 7-17-46 – First interview at Fox with Ben Lyon
- 7-19-46 – First screen test, for Fox
- 7-29-46 – First time mentioned in a Hollywood gossip column
- 8-26-46 – First studio contract with Fox
- 9-13-46 – Divorced Jim Dougherty
- 8-25-47 – Dropped by Fox
- 3-9-48 – Contract with Columbia Studios
- 9-8-48 – Dropped by Columbia Studios
- 5-27-49 – Posed for nude calendar
- 7-24-49 – First interview with Earl Wilson
- 8-15-49 – Started A Ticket to Tomahawk
- 1-5-50 – Started The Fireball
- 12-10-50 – New contract with Fox
- 12-18-50 – Johnny Hyde dies
- 3-29-51 – Presenter at the Academy Awards ceremony
- 4-18-51 – Started Love Nest
- 9-8-51 – First full-length national magazine feature (Colliers)
- 3-13-52 – Nude calendar story broken to the public
- 4-7-52 – First LIFE magazine cover
- 6-1-52 – Got the part of Lorelei Lee in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
- 9-2-52 – Grand Marshal at the Miss America pageant
- 10-4-52 – Alledgedly married Robert Slatzer. (unproved)
- 6-26-53 – Placed footprints in cement at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre
- 9-13-53 – First TV appearance on The Jack Benny Show
- 10-53 – Met Milton Greene at a party given by Gene Kelly, and signed a recording contract with RCA
- 11-4-53 – Premiere of How to Marry a Millionaire
- 12-15-53 – Girl in Pink Tights scheduled to begin shooting. Marilyn didn’t show up
- 1-4-54 – Suspended by Fox
- 2-16-54 – Married Joe DiMaggio
- 2-16-54 – Went to entertain troops in Korea
- 9-15-54 – Shot the famous skirt-blowing scene from The Seven Year Itch
- 10-5-54 Officially left Joe DiMaggio
- 10-27-54 – Divorce granted from Joe DiMaggio
- 11-5-54 – “Wrong Door Raid” took place
- 1-6-54 – Hollywood’s royalty honors MM at Romanoff’s party
- 12-31-54 – Formed Marilyn Monroe Productions with Milton Greene
- 1-15-55 – Suspended by Fox again
- 3-31-55 – Rode on pink elephant at Madison Square Garded for arthiritis benefit
- 4-8-55 – Appeared on Edward R. Murow’s Person to Person
- 6-1-55 – Premiere of The Seven Year Itch
- 11-1-55 – Granted final divorce decree from Joe DiMaggio
- 12-31-55 – The big new contract with Fox
- 1-4-56 – Announced signed agrrement with Fox over contractual disputes
- 2-56 – Performed scene from Anna Christie at the Actors Studio in New York
- 2-9-56 – Press conference with Olivier to announce their joint project, The Prince and the Showgirl
- 2-25-56 – Returned to Hollywood after her exile in New York
- 5-3-56 – Started Bus Stop
- 3-22-56 – Darryl Zanuck leaves Fox
- 6-3-56 – Returns to New York after finishing Bus Stop
- 6-29-56 – Married Arthur Miller in a civil ceremony
- 7-1-56 – Married Arthur Miller in a Jewish ceremony
- 7-14-56 – Arrived in London and held press conference with Olivier about The Prince and the Showgirl
- 10-29-56 – Met Queen Elizabeth at the royal command film performance
- 11-20-56 – Left England
- 12-18-56 – Radio Show from the Waldorf-Astoria
- 6-3-57 – Premiere of The Prince and the Showgirl
- 8-1-57 – Miscarriage
- 8-4-58 – Started Some Like It Hot
- 11-6-58 – Finished Some Like It Hot
- 12-17-58 – Second miscarriage
- 3-29-59 – Premiere of Some Like It Hot
- 3-8-60 – Received Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Comedy, for Some Like It Hot
- 7-18-60 – Started The Misfits
- 8-26-60 – Flew to LA because of nervous breakdown
- 9-5-60 – Returned to the production of The Misfits
- 11-4-60 – Finished The Misfits
- 11-11-60 – Announced to the press that her marriage to Arthur Miller was over
- 11-16-60 – Clark Gable died
- 1-20-61 – Divorce granted from Arthur Miller
- 1-31-61 – Premiere of The Misfits
- 2-7-61 – Entered Payne Whitney Psychiatric Clinic at New York Hospital
- 2-11-61 – Left Payne Whitney Psychiatric Clinic and entered Columbia Presbyterian Hospital
- 3-5-61 – Released from Columbia Presbyterian Hospital
- 11-19-61 – Went to Peter Lawford’s beach house to be with President Kennedy
- 2-62 – Moved into her Brentwood home
- 2-1-62 – Dinner in honor of Robert Kennedy
- 3-62 – MM presented with “World’s Film Favorite” award at the Golden Globe Awards
- 4-3-62 – Started Something’s Got to Give
- 5-19-62 – Sang “Happy Birthday” and “Thanks for the Memory” to President Kennedy at Madison Square Garden
- 5-28-62 – Shot nude pool sequence for Something’s Got to Give
- 6-1-62 – Last day at Fox and last public appearance
- 6-8-62 – Fired by Fox
- 6-23-62 – Shot the “Last Sitting” sequence with Bert Stern
- 6-28-62 – Met with Fox heads regarding Something’s Got to Give
- 7-6-62 – Did Allan Grant shoot for LIFE magazine
- 7-12-62 – Met with Fox heads at the studio
- 7-20-62 – Alledgedly enterd Cedars of Lebannon Hospital for an abortion
- 7-30-62 – Paula Strasberg returned to New York
- 8-3-62 -Appeared on the cover of LIFE for the last time before her death.
- 8-4-62 – Marilyn’s last day
- 8-8-62 – Marilyn’s funeral
- 8-28-62 – Marilyn’s death certificate signed You can find a lot more info about Marilyn on my . If you have questions, as so many do, regarding Marilyn’s death, we refer you to this book:
We would also recommend that you never get a housekeeper with the name of Eunice Murray, or a psychiatrist named Dr. Ralph Greenson.
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