Marilyn Monroe was an American model, singer, and actress. She was famous for playing comedic blonde bombshell characters. She also became one of the most famous sex symbols of the 1950s and early 1960s. She was a top-billed actress for a decade, and her films earned $200 million or around $2 billion today by the time of her death in 1962. After she died, she still continued to be one of the major icons of pop culture. She was ranked 6th on the list of the greatest female screen legends from the Golden Age of Hollywood in 1999 by the American Film Institute.
Early Life and Career
Marilyn Monroe was born and raised in Los Angeles. She spent most of her childhood in foster homes and an orphanage. At the age of sixteen, she got married. It was during World War II when she met a photographer from the First Motion Picture unit while she was working in a factory. There, she started a successful pin-up modeling career, which led her to make short-lived film contracts with 20th Century Fox and Columbia Pictures.
After doing a series of minor films, she signed a new contract in late 1950 with Fox. After a couple of years, she became popular with roles in some comedies, such as “As Young as You Feel” and “Monkey Business.” She also starred in dramas like “Don’t Bother to Knock” and “Clash by Night.” Monroe also faced a scandal. It was revealed that she had posed for nude photos before she became popular. However, the story did not affect her career. Instead, it helped in increasing the interest of people in her films.
The Popularity of Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe was one of the most sought-after Hollywood stars by 1953. She played a lead role in the film noir Niagara, which fixated on her sex appeal. In addition to that, she also starred in comedies, such as “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” and “How to Marry a Millionaire.” These films established her star image as a “dumb blonde.” In the same year, Monroe’s nude images were used as the centerfold and cover of the first issue of Playboy magazine.
She played an important role in the making and management of her public image throughout her career. However, Monroe was disappointed as she was typecast and underpaid by the studio. In early 1954, she was suspended for a while as she refused a film project. In 1955, she returned and starred in the film “The Seven Year Itch,” which was one of the major box office successes of her career.
When the studio was still unwilling to change her contract, what Monroe did was founded her own film production company. In 1955, she dedicated her time to building the company. She started to study method acting under Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio. Later in the same year, Fox gave her a new contract, which gave her more control and a higher salary. Her succeeding roles included her much-admired performance in the 1956 film “Bus Stop,” and as well as her first independent production in 1957 titled “The Prince and the Showgirl.”
In 1959, Monroe won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress for her work in “Some Like It Hot,” which was a critical and commercial success. Marilyn Monroe’s last completed film was the 1961 drama “The Misfits.”
Health and Death
Marilyn Monroe had a troubled private life that received a lot of attention. She fought with addiction and mood disorders. Her marriages were also highly publicized. She was married to retired baseball star Joe DiMaggio and to playwright Arthur Miller. However, both of those marriages ended in divorce.
She died at the age of 36 on August 4, 1962, from an overdose of barbiturates at her Los Angeles home. Her death was ruled a possible suicide. However, several conspiracy theories have been proposed decades after her death.
Facts About Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe is indeed a very popular actress in the 1950s and 1960s. In fact, even the new generation knows her name and some of her works in the past. Here are some of the facts about Marilyn Monroe:
- Marilyn Monroe was born Norma Jeane Mortenson on June 1, 1926. Her stage name was created with the help of Ben Lyon, the head of new talent at Fox Studios. The name Marilyn was from Marilyn Miller, who starred in musicals in New York. Monroe is her grandmother’s last name.
- She had a minor plastic surgery done in 1950. It was a small nose job that left her nose lifted. Some cartilage was also placed in her jaw to make her chin line stronger.
- She had always wanted to be taken as a more serious actress. That’s why she worked with acting coaches throughout her career to improve her performances.
- Her father was not present throughout her life. When she was nine years old, she was sent to an orphanage as her mom was hospitalized due to mental issues. Her grandmother was also confined to a hospital for mental disturbances. Marilyn had fears of going mad like her grandmother and mother, and it haunted her throughout her life.
- She got fired from the last movie she ever worked on due to her erratic behavior.