"I don't mind making jokes, but I don't want to look like one." - Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe was born Norma Jeane Baker on June 1, 1926, in Los Angeles, California. She never knew her father and her mother was mentally ill. Marilyn spent most of her childhood in foster homes (some sources claim she was sexually abused). When Marilyn was sixteen she married her neighbor, James Dougherty. She divorced him in 1946 and began modeling. Marilyn appeared on hundreds of magazine covers. She often posed nude to help pay the bills. Marilyn dyed her hair blonde and had cosmetic surgery on her nose and chin. She started dating Hollywood agent Johnny Hyde. He helped her get small roles in The Asphalt Jungle and All About Eve. When Johnny died in 1950 Marilyn was so distraught she attempted suicide. Marilyn was offered a contract with 20th Century Fox.
She became the most popular actress in world with starring roles in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, How To Marry A Millionaire, and There's No Business Like Show Business. Critics often dismissed her as a dumb blonde but audiences couldn't get enough of Marilyn. In December 1953 Marilyn was featured on the cover of the first issue of Playboy magazine. She married baseball player Joe DiMaggio in January 1954. The marriage lasted just nine months but they remained close friends. Marilyn enjoyed brief romances with Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando. In 1955 she moved to New York and began studying with Lee Strasberg at The Actor's Studio. She also formed her own production company. Marilyn married playwright Arthur Miller in 1956. She desperately wanted to be a mother but suffered several miscarriages.
In 1959 she costarred with Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon in the comedy Some Like It Hot. The movie was the biggest hit of the year. While making Let's Make Love in 1960 she had an affair with her costar Yves Montand. She and Arthur divorced in 1961. By this time Marilyn had a drinking problem and a serious addiction to prescription drugs. She had a nervous breakdown and had to be hospitalized. In the spring of 1962 she began filming Something's Got To Give. After missing numerous days of work she was fired. There were rumors that during this time Marilyn was having an affair with President John Kennedy and his brother Robert Kennedy. On August 5, 1962, Marilyn died from an overdose of prescription drugs. She was just thirty-six years old. Her death was ruled a suicide but many believe it was either an accident or murder. Marilyn is buried at Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles, California.
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)