The Life Of Marilyn Monroe
To call actress Marilyn Monroe a "Dumb Blonde" would serve as a great injustice to this great acting legend. In fact she was an enthusiastic student of acting and an avid reader who would open up book store accounts wherever she worked. In fact, her enormous personal library of books wouldn’t begin to describe her. Marilyn Monroe's had such an impact on the fashion industry and Hollywood movies, she continues to be remembered as a powerhouse of acting and the goddess of fashion.
Famed songstress "Madonna" tried to emulate her and once said she was the reincarnation of Marilyn Monroe. Even many of today’s youth look at the beautiful actress as their role model. An actress who was in a league of her own, Marilyn Monroe was a class act who created an identity that would neither varnish nor vanish. The beauty of a woman today is still compared with the dazzling beauty of Marilyn Monroe. And even though she would have been in her 80’s had she lived, she continues to be every man's dream girl.
Norma Jean Mortensen was born on June 1, 1926 in Los Angeles, California. Norma Jean Mortensen would change her original name to Marilyn Monroe but would be called “The Blonde Bombshell” by millions of Marilyn Monroe movie fans.
Marilyn Monroe's childhood was very troubled. She never knew who her father was and her mother, a film cutter for RKO, would slip into madness and abandon Norma Jean to a life of abusive foster homes and an orphanage. Norma Jean ’s suffering didn’t end there; at the tender age of just 2 years old she had a close brush with death and at the age of 6 she would nearly be raped. At the age of 9 Norma Jean began doing kitchen work for church for just five cents per month and at the age of 16, during World War II, she would work in an aircraft factory building planes. It was while she was working here that she would be discovered by photographers.
It was during this time in her life that she would marry her first husband, Jim Dougherty, a man who she called Daddy. Jim entered the military and would soon be sent overseas. It wouldn't be long for Norma Jean to start a modeling career where she would soon be discovered by Hollywood and change her name to Marilyn Monroe. Her marriage to Jim Dougherty would be short lived though. When he returned home from the war, he became very jealous over her new found popularity as a sex symbol. They got divorced in 1946.
Marilyn Monroe, a voracious reader, amassed hundreds of books written by many great writers. She really enjoyed listening to Beethoven and had a great love for all kinds of music in general. Contrary to popular beliefs, Marilyn Monroe had extensive training in acting. At one time she studied under the famous method acting teacher Lee Strasberg. Marilyn also joined acting classes at Hollywood’s Actor’s Lab, as well as literature classes at University of California, Los Angeles. This was no dumb blonde who worked very hard at her craft! If you watch a good sampling of Marilyn Monroe Movies I think you will agree.
While the Hollywood starlet's modeling career was a great success and relatively easy, that was nowhere near the case with her acting career. She was limited to taking many small acting roles which included only a dozen B movies with only minor secondary acting roles. In 1950, Marilyn Monroe got her first big break. She got to work with legendary director John Huston in MGM's “The Asphalt Jungle” as well as a role in "All About Eve". These two Marilyn Monroe movies helped to put her on the right track. It was only a small roll but it got her noticed and she soon signed a seven year contract with 20th Century Fox where she starred in films "Gentleman Prefer Blondes", "How To Marry A Millionaire" and "Niagra", which were all filmed in 1953. Marilyn Monroe's movie career would skyrocket at this time and “The Blonde Bombshell” would build a massive fan base. She would also be voted as the "Best New Actress" by Photoplay magazine. After all of the success and accolades, Marilyn Monroe would walk out on her contract with 20th Century Fox after only a year.
In 1954, Marilyn Monroe would get married to one of the greatest baseball players of all time, New York Yankee superstar Joe DiMaggio. By the end of the year, her much publicized marriage to "Joltin Joe" Dimaggio would end in divorce. In 1955, she would again star in another super hit movie called “The Seven Year Itch”. Wanting to change her “Blonde Bombshell” image and wanting to learn about serious acting, Marilyn Monroe went to New York City to consult with and train under famed method actor trainer, Lee Strasberg. She also took some therapy sessions of psychoanalysis. Apparently it worked wonders. In 1956 Marilyn returned to Hollywood a transformed person which really showed in her next movie called “Bus Stop”. Her performance was so good it won her critical acclaim.
In 1956, Marilyn Monroe would marry her third husband, playwright Arthur Miller. In 1959, she would co-star with Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon in one of the most popular Marilyn Monroe movies of all time called, "Some Like It Hot" in which she portrays a broken-hearted band singer who can't say no to saxophone players, especially Tony Curtis. Marilyn Monroe's problems with drinking and prescription drugs also came to light during the filming of this hysterical movie.
Apparently, her bad marriages, insecurities and inability to have children were taking their toll on the Hollywood actress. While her acting career was soaring like an eagle, her personal life was burning itself out like a phoenix, but unlike a phoenix, there was no chance of rebirth. After a couple of devastating miscarriages and a gynecological surgery she fell prey to pills and alcohol. In 1961, Marilyn Monroe acted in her last completed movie called “The Misfits” which was written by her soon to be ex-husband Arthur Miller. Ironically, John Huston, the director who cast her for her first big break, “The Asphalt Jungle” also cast her for this film. “The Misfits” also happened to be acting legend Clark Gable’s last film before he died a year later due to a heart attack. Marilyn Monroe would attempt to star in the movie “Something’s Got to Give” but would be dropped from the films cast due to drug abuse and frequent no shows.
On August 5, 1962 at the young age of only 36, Marilyn Monroe’s life would end tragically due to a drug overdose. Though Marilyn Monroe starred in only thirty movies during her great career, her movies and her life will be remembered by her fans and the world forever.
Although there are stories of affairs with John and Robert Kennedy as well as suicide attempts and previous drug overdoses, they are all conjecture and possible misinformation. I choose to talk only about known truths.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Neil Gerstein is an expert author who writes about multiple topics. You can read some of his articles here:
The Shocking Miss Pilgrim (1947)
Dangerous Years (1948)
Scudda Hoo! Scudda Hay! (1948)
Ladies of the Chorus (1949)
The Asphalt Jungle (1950)
The Fireball (1950)
Right Cross (1950)
Love Happy (1950)
All About Eve (1950)
A Ticket to Tomahawk (1950)
Let's Make It Legal (1951)
Love Nest (1951)
Hometown Story (1951)
As Young As You Feel (1951)
We're Not Married! (1952)
Clash by Night (1952)
O. Henry's Full House (1952)
Monkey Business (1952)
Don't Bother to Knock (1952)
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)
How to Marry a Millionaire (1953)
There's No Business Like Show Business (1954)
River of No Return(1954)
The Seven Year Itch (1955)
Bus Stop (1956)
The Prince and the Showgirl(1957)
Some Like It Hot (1959)
Let's Make Love (1960)
The Misfits (1961)
Somethings Got to Give (1962)
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