Marylin Monroe (1926-1962)

Marylin Monroe

1926 Norma Jean Mortensen was born on the 1st of June at Los Angeles, California, USA (her grandmother, Della Monroe Grainger, baptized her in a Baptist style as Norma Jeane Baker). Having a Screen Names as Marilyn Monroe she became an important American actress, a model and a singer who played roles in a lot of successful movies in 1950 and the beginning of ‘60s.

The majority of biographies say that her biological father was Charles Stanley Gifford,a salesperson for the film studio where Monroe’s mother, Gladys Pearl Monroe Baker Eley, worked as a film editor. But her birth certificate indicates the Norwegian Martin Edward Mortensen as being her father. In the last years some biographers started even to sustain that this is the real situation.

Gladys was not able to convince Della to take care of Marilyn so she was entrusted to some adoptive parents, Albert and Ida Bolender from Hawthrone, California, in the South-West of Los Angeles where she lived until seven years old. In her autobiography “My Story”, Monroe declares that she thought that Albert and Ida were her parents until one day when, sternly, Ida corrected her. Also from “My Story” we find out that Gladys visited Marilyn every Saturday but she never embraced or kissed her, she did not even smile to her daughter.

1933 Uncertainty, this year Gladys announced she had bought a house for her and for her daughter but after living there few months she suffered a psychotic break. Monroe remembered Gladys as “screaming and laughing” when she was compulsorily hospitalized in a mental hospital in Norwalk, California, the same hospital where Gladys’ mother, Della, had died in August 1927.

But be worth pointing out that “My Story” is not reliable because it was written by a journalist called Ben Hecht and it was meant to create the image of a pained orphan for Monroe. Those confesses were considered as being questionable.

Gladys was declared unable to be a mother and her best friend, Grace McKee (later Goddard) became her legal guardian.

1935 After marrying McKee, Marilyn was sent to an orphanage in Los Angeles then she was within more adoptive families where it is believed she was abused and neglected. But there are few proofs that there were so many adoptive families. As an addition, Marilyn herself was known for her weakness to exaggerate the information regarded to her childhood during interviews.

1942 Being 16 year-olds, Monroe married James Dougherty.

1946 Even if she spent a big part of her childhood within adoptive families and foster homes, Marilyn began a career as a top model which led to a film contract with Twentieth Century-Fox but early appearances were minor. Marilyn divorced on the 13th of September.

1950 Her appearances in the movies “The Asphalt Jungle” and “All about Eve” drew the attention.

1952 This year she got remarked due to the main role in “Don’t Bother to Knock” performing as a babysitter with problems that, in a transport of fury, attacks the girls she takes care of. Although she was criticized Monroe said later that this role was one of her favourites. Later many film critics considered that her contribution to the filmmaking was one of the strongest of her career.

1953 Monroe played a role in a big-budget movie, “Niagara”. Film critics focused on camera magnetism to Monroe, not only to background action of the film. “Niagara” helped her became the sensation of that moment almost overnight. Her role as an unbalanced woman with loose morals who plans to kills her husband made critics say she would have been the perfect actress for one of the movies directed by Alfred Hitchcock. This moment falls in with the time when Monroe’s nude pictures, taken by photographer Tom Kelley in the years of fight for roles, started to come out.  Copies of these were bought by Hugh Hefner and in December 1953 they appeared in the first edition of his new magazine: “Playboy”. Even if Fox was worried that this fact would begin a controversy which would affect her career, Monroe decided to admit publicly that she was the woman from the photos. To a journalist who asked her what she was wearing during the shoot Marilyn answered: “The radio”. To the question about what she wore in the bed the answer was also simple: “Chanel No. 5”. Later she would have become famous for these inciting replies without predicate.

Her style of “Innocent blonde” would have been used as a comic effect in movies like “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” (1953), “How to Marry a Millionaire” (1953) or “The Seven Year Itch” (1955).

Free of theatrical style, Marilyn attended Actors Studio in order to extend the range of roles.

1954 She remarried to baseball star Joe DiMaggio after two years of gallantry. They got married to the Town Hall in San Francisco on the 14th of January. On the 24th of October, after 274 days of marriage, she filed the divorce and the declared reason was “mental rawness”.

1956 Her dramatic performing in “Bus Stop” was praised by critics and that is was she was Golden Globe nominee. On the 29th of June Monroe married for the first time with Arthur Miller who she had met in 1951 during a civil ceremony at White Plains, New York.

1957 Her production company, Marilyn Monroe Productions, launched “The Prince and the Showgirl” for which she got a nominalization for “BAFTA” and won “David di Donatello” Award.

1959 She got a Golden Globe for the role in “Some Like It Hot”.

1961 Her last complete film was “The Misfits”, together with Clark Gable, with a scenario written by her husband in that time, Arthur Miller. On the 24th of January, Marilyn divorced.

1962 On the 5th of August, at 04:25, Sergeant LAPD Jack Clemmons was called by Dr. Ralph Greenson, Monroe’s psychiatrist, telling that Marilyn had been found dead in her house in Los Angeles, California. She was only 36 years old. To the subsequent autopsy they found out in her body 8 mg of hydrochloride and 45 mg of Nembutal (anaesthetic used for lethal injections in the USA). Monroe’s death is a mystery even nowadays so that there are more hypotheses, even the suicide.

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