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Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe

Norma Jean Mortenson was born on June 1, 1926, the daughter of Gladys Monroe and a baker named Edward Mortenson (whom she never met).

Norma Jean was placed in a foster home with Albert and Ida Bolaner until she was seven, when she returned to her mother. The following year, her mother was admitted to a mental home, suffering from depression, and Norma Jean was taken in by Grace McKee, a friend of her mother. Shortly after this, Grace married Erwin Goddard. Within a few months, Norma Jean accused Erwin of attempting to rape her and was sent to live with various relatives of Grace's.

In September 1941, Grace and Erwin arranged a marriage between the sixteen year old Norma Jean and a twenty-one year old man named Jim Dougherty (who Marilyn called "Daddy"). In 1944, Jim joined the Merchant Marines and was posted overseas. After two years of separation. the couple divorced.

During her husband's absence, Norma Jean worked in a parachute factory where she was photographed as part of an army promotion. Norma Jean quickly became a sought after model and within a year had appeared on the cover of 33 national magazines. At the same time she took act acting classes and studied literature and classical music.

In 1946, she was signed to make movies by Twentieth Century Fox, changing her name to Marilyn Monroe. Marilyn did not get a significant movie role until The Asphalt Jungle in 1950.

Ventillator Scene
Ventillator Scene

In 1952, Marilyn met the recently retired baseball hero, Joe DiMaggio. They married early in 1954. Joe objected to Marilyn's behaviour such as appearing in the first issue of Playboy in 1953 and, particularly, the famous ventilator scene (in which her skirt flies up) in The Seven Year Itch. Two weeks after this was filmed they were divorced.

Following her divorce, Marilyn decided to study serious acting and, through this, met the playwright Arthur Miller. They married in 1956. In 1958 and 1960, Marilyn miscarried two children. By 1960, she was undergoing psychotherapy and taking tranquillisers. In November 1960, Clark Gable, her co-star in the The Misfits (written by Arthur Miller) suffered a fatal heart attack on the day after filming ended. Marilyn blamed herself for bringing her problems to the film set. Two months later she divorced Arthur Miller.

Despite a reported affair with President Kennedy in 1962, Marilyn and Joe DiMaggio announced that they would remarry on August 8 that year. On August 5, Marilyn was found dead by her housekeeper. The death was officially attributed to suicide by drug overdose but, as it was not reported for three hours, there have been innumerable theories as to what actually happened.

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Marilyn Monroe Purse Mirror From The Bendigo Art Gallery Australia Exhibition

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