Marilyn Monroe (Norma Jean Baker)

Marilyn  Monroe

Marilyn Monroe

Actress. In a career that spanned 16 years, with no acting experience and through the promotion of her sex symbol image, Marilyn became a Hollywood media star and a legend while making 29 movies. She was born in Los Angeles at General Hospital to unmarried Gladys Pearl Monroe Baker. Her father was Charles Stanley Gifford, a salesman for the studio where Marilyn’s mother worked as a film-cutter. The recently divorced Gifford had no desire to be involved and left Gladys when informed of her pregnancy. She received her name, norma Jean Baker during baptism performed by Aimee Semple McPherson at the Angeles Temple. Her unstable, overwhelmed mother gave her up and norma Jean was declared a ward of the state. She was passed around among relatives, foster care and even spent time at the Los Angles Orphanage. She never graduated but attended Emerson Junior High School in Los Angeles and then Van Nuys High School in nearby Van Nuys. To escape her ‘ward of the state’ status, she married James E. Dougherty while under-age in Nevada. With her new husband off to war, norma joined millions of other women in America and began working at a defense plant in Burbank. A chance publicity photo of her wound up on the cover of the plant magazine prompting norma Jean to quit and seek a career as a photographer’s model. Her images began to appear on pin-up posters, advertisements and throw-away magazines. She was catapulted to fame after her picture appeared on the cover of the premier issue of Playboy Magazine. She then pursued a movie career finding some work while being bounced from studio to studio. By 1954, under her stage name Marilyn Monroe, she became a huge star at Fox Studio with films such as “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” “How to Marry a Millionaire” and “There’s no Business Like Show Business.” She grew tired of the dumb blonde roles, broke her contract and went to New York to study acting. She returned and with her own production company made the blockbuster, “The Seven Year Itch.” Fox Studio re-signed her to a new contract granting her more control and the option to make one film a year. The first movie was “Bus Stop,” followed by many more. In contrast to a bright professional career, her personal life was dismal. The first marriage of convenience ended in divorce. Her story book wedding to baseball great Joe DiMaggio, after a two-year courtship, captivated the nation, ended in divorce – just 274 days later on grounds of mental cruelty. A marriage to playwright Arthur Miller followed and lasted some five years punctuated by an abortion and a miscarriage resulting again in divorce. Marilyn completed the film, “Misfits” in 1960 which would be the last for her and co-star Clark Gable. Her behavior during 1962 signaled the beginning of her demise. She appeared dazed and disoriented at times. She was fired from Fox for repeated absences. Her final public appearance was at Dodger Stadium for a Muscular Dystrophy benefit on June 1, 1962. Two months later, she was found dead by her housekeeper in the bedroom of her recently purchased Brentwood, California, home on Helena Drive…at age thirty-six. The Los Angeles Coroner office ruled the cause of death an overdose of barbiturates. Her untimely demise and cause has spawned numerous conspiracy theories that abound even to this day. Her funeral was at Westwood Memorial Park Chapel arranged by her ex-husband Joe DiMaggio. It was conducted by Lutheran minister, Reverend A.J. Soldan from the Village Church of Westwood. Judy Garland’s ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ was played. Her drama coach, Lee Strasberg, delivered the eulogy. Marilyn was interred in a nearby wall crypt occupying a bronze casket. Awards, Honors and Legacy…She received three Golden Globe Awards; ‘World Film Favorite’ 1953, Best Actress in a Comedy ‘Some Like It Hot’ 1960, ‘World Film Favorite’ again in 1962. She appeared on the cover of Life magazine twice, April 7, 1952, and August 3, 1962. The Postal Service featured her on a 32 cent commemorative postage stamp in 1995. Marilyn never won nor was nominated for an Academy Award but served as its emcee during one year.

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  • June, 01, 1926
  • Los Angeles, California


  • August, 05, 1962
  • Brentwood, Los Angeles, California

Cause of Death

  • acute barbiturate poisoning


  • Westwood Memorial Park
  • Los Angeles, California

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