Marilyn Monroe was born as Norma Jeane Mortenson on June 1, 1926 in Los Angeles, California. During her brief life, Marilyn Monroe overcame a difficult childhood to become one of the world’s biggest and most enduring sex symbols. During her career, Monroe’s films grossed more than $200 million. Monroe died of a drug overdose on August 5, 1962, at only 36 years old.
Monroe was born into a troubled early life. She never knew her father and Monroe’s mother, Gladys, developed psychiatric problems and was eventually placed in a mental institution. As an adult, Monroe often mentioned one of her earliest memories of her mother trying to smother her in her crib with a pillow. Monroe had a half-sister, who she was not close to. Monroe spent much of her time in foster care and in an orphanage. In 1937, a family friend and her husband, Grace and Doc Goddard, took care of Monroe for a few years. The Goddard’s were paid $25 weekly by Monroe’s mother to raise her. The couple was deeply religious and followed fundamentalist doctrines; among other prohibited activities, Monroe was not allowed to go to the movies. But when Doc’s job was transferred in 1942 to the East Coast, the couple could not afford to bring Monroe with them.
At 7 years old, Monroe returned to a life in foster homes, where she was on several occasions sexually assaulted and later saying that she had been raped when she was 11 years old. But she had one way out—get married. She married her boyfriend Jimmy Dougherty on June 19, 1942, at the age of 16. By that time, Monroe had dropped out of high school (age 15). A merchant marine, Dougherty was later sent to the South Pacific. Monroe went to work in a munitions factory in Van Nuys, California, where she was discovered by a photographer. By the time Dougherty returned in 1946, Monroe had a successful career as a model, and had changed her name to Marilyn Monroe in preparation for an acting career. This isolated childhood created the world famous and iconic symbol that was Marilyn Monroe. The couple divorced in 1946, the same year that Monroe signed her first movie contract. With the movie contract came a new name and image; she began calling herself “Marilyn Monroe” and dyed her hair blonde. Throughout her short professional career she was involved in various successful films and TV programs, the most famous being ‘Some like it Hot’. However, especially towards the end of her career, she was often late or didn’t show up to filming through illness which could have been an indication to the internal troubles she was undergoing. She also had a string of unsuccessful marriages and relationships. Her 1954 marriage to baseball great Joe DiMaggio only lasted nine months.
On August 5, 1962, at only 36 years old, Marilyn Monroe died at her Los Angeles home. An empty bottle of sleeping pills was found by her bed. There has been some speculation over the years that she may have been murdered, but the cause of her death was officially ruled as a drug overdose. There have been rumors that Monroe was involved with President John F. Kennedy and/or his brother Robert around the time of her death, causing yet further controversy.
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