Legendary actress, Marilyn Monroe, was born Norma Jean Mortenson (Baker) on Jun 1, 1926 in Los Angeles, CA. Monroe appeared in over 30 film roles. Her best known films include Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, How to Marry a Millionaire, The Seven Year Itch, Bus Stop, The Prince and the Showgirl, Some Like It Hot, Niagara, Let's Make Love and The Misfits. Earlier performances include The Asphalt Jungle and All About Eve (both 1950), and her first leading role in Don't Bother to Knock (1952). Monroe died at the age of 36 on Aug 5, 1962 in Brentwood, CA and was laid to rest in Westwood Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles, CA.
There is no greater figure in the realm of classic Hollywood than that of Marilyn Monroe. Her rise from humble beginnings to the dizziest heights of superstardom is the essence of the American dream. Her tragic, lonely ending can only be described as anything but. Monroe's life provided her with a narrative the entire world would come to know and a persona the entire world come would to love.
Norma Jean Mortensen came into this world on June 1, 1926, in the city of angels, Los Angeles. From the very beginning, her life was not an easy one. She never knew her father, and after seeing a picture of him, clung to the notion that it might be Clark Gable due to their shared pencil thin mustache. Her mother, Gladys, was extraordinarily unstable in matters of both mental health and finance, sending the toddler Monroe off to live with foster parents. She would later regain custody of Monroe, only to suffer a series of mental breakdowns that would ultimately lead to Monroe's forcible removal by the state. From there, Monroe spent much of her teen years being bounced around from foster home to orphanage, from relative to relative, and on several occasions suffered from sexual assault and rape. With matrimony her only escape, Monroe wed her boyfriend, Jim Dougherty on June 19th, 1942 at the age of 16. The two would relocate to southern California after Dougherty's enlistment in the Merchant Marines. Originally stationed in Santa Catalina Island, he would quickly be shipped off to the Pacific. With her husband off to war, Monroe took work at a munitions factory, where a photographer suggested she apply to The Blue Book Modeling Agency. She quickly became one of the most popular models at the agency, appearing in dozens of national publications.
It wasn't long before Hollywood started taking notice of the photogenic young model, and in 1946, Monroe signed her first movie contract with 20th Century Fox, gaining a new name and new image in the process. She dyed her dark hair to its now trademark blonde and took on a new name: Marilyn Monroe. During the first few months, she saw neither lights nor cameras, but instead was put through a parade of speech, vocal, dancing and etiquette classes. Although she appeared in a few films, her roles were small and she was released from her contact in 1947. The next year she signed with Columbia Pictures, where she would meet the woman who was to become her acting coach, Natasha Lytess. She would star in one picture, 1948's Ladies of The Chorus, before being dropped by Columbia. Although she would appear in a few films at the end of the decade, it would not be until 1950, in John Huston's The Asphalt Jungle, that Monroe would gain national attention. After receiving good notices for the role as a mistress of an aging criminal, she was cast in the Joseph Mankiewicz classic All About Eve. For her successes, she was awarded with a seven-year contract to 20th Century Fox. Despite her popularity, her first years back at the studio resembled her first tenure at 20th Century Fox: a lot of dedication for subpar parts in B-comedies. It would not be until 1952, when she was loaned out to RKO for the lead in the Barbara Stanwyck vehicle, Clash by Night, that her studio took notice of her talents.
NIAGARA / GENTLEMAN PREFER BLONDES:
THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH / SOME LIKE IT HOT:In 1954, Monroe once again caused a national stir by marrying New York Yankee star player, Joe DiMaggio. In1955, she starred in the Billy Wilder comedy The Seven Year Inch, the source of Monroe's most endearing image: her long, white skirt being blown above her head by a subway grate. Although the film was a hit, Monroe's frustration at being typecast as bubbly, slow-witted blondes came to a head and she headed east to New York to study at the famed Actors Studio. While studying, she met playwright Arthur Miller and fell in love. Her marriage to DiMaggio already crumbling, she soon divorced the famed baseball payer in favor of the famed author. After completing her training in New York, Monroe returned to Hollywood with a brand new 7- year contact which allowed her directorial approval and $100,000 per film. Her first film under the new contract, Bus Stop, garnered Monroe the best reviews of her career thus far. In 1957, she starred opposite Sir Laurence Olivier in The Prince and the Showgirl. In 1959, she returned to comedy, reteaming with director Billy Wilder for Some Like it Hot. The film, co-starring Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis as cross-dressing musicians on the run from gangers, was Monroe's most successful film to date and earned her a Best Actress in a Comedy Golden Globe Award.
FINAL YEARS:Her final completed project was the John Huston film, The Misfits, co-starring Clark Gable and Montgomery Clift. The film was written by her husband, Arthur Miller, despite there failing marriage. She suffered severe depression during the shoot, often refusing to come to the set, and was hospitalized several times during production. The film was a box-office failure. Although she was slated to star opposite Dean Martin in Something's Got to Give, she was fired due to her erratic behavior on-set. A few months later, On August 5th, 1962, Monroe was found dead in her Hollywood home. Her death was ruled a suicide via a barbiturate overdose. She was 36.
HONORS and AWARDS:.
She was honored with one star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the category of Motion Pictures. Marilyn Monroe's handprints and footprints were 'set in stone' at Grauman's Chinese Theater during imprint ceremony #104 on Jun 26, 1953. In addition, Monroe was immortalized on a US postal stamp in 1995. She appears on the cover of The Beatles' Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album. Monroe was never nominated for an Academy Award.
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Molly Donahue: Fit Lew Harris into this picture, will you?
Vicky Hoffman: Lew did everything for me. Maybe he did have some ideas, that doesn't mean I always agreed with them. There was never anyone for me but Tim.
Amanda Dell: Listen. There used to be an actor. He played Abraham Lincoln for so many years - this is true - he grew his own beard. He went around in a shawl and you know what they used to say? 'He looks like Lincoln. He talks like Lincoln. But he won't be satisfied until he gets shot!'
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