It could be said that Marilyn Monroe was just a 1950s actress, but to millions of people around the world, she embodied the role of the glamorous sex symbol. Her image has become one of the most famous Hollywood icons of the twentieth century. Marilyn Monroe is known the world over, and people love her not just for her beauty, but also for her tragic story.
Marilyn Monroe was born Norma Jeane Mortenson in Los Angeles in 1926. Her name was soon changed to Norma Jeane Baker as her father’s identity was unknown. Her mother was committed to a mental asylum when Norma Jeane was still a child. Her early years found her passed from one foster home to another. Check out 23 more images after the jump.
At the age of 21, Norma Jeane married her first husband. Two years later, she was divorced, but had obtained a modeling contract. Norma Jean changed her name, adopting her grandmother’s surname, and dyed her hair blonde. As Marilyn Monroe, she studied acting and gained a studio contract with 20th Century Fox.
Monroe soon began to obtain small role in movies, but it was her role in the 1953 film Niagara that caught the world’s attention. The blonde bombshell had arrived and soon became everyone’s favorite actress. Women wanted to be her and men wanted to be with her. In 1953, she was voted best new actress, and it seemed Marilyn Monroe could do no wrong.
In 1954, Marilyn married baseball legend Joe DiMaggio, but the marriage lasted only nine months. Determined to become a serious actress and not just a shallow blonde, Monroe moved to New York to study acting. Her success continued to grow, and she won a Golden Globe award for her role in Some like it Hot (1959). She was a natural in comedies such as The Seven Year Itch (1955) and Bus Stop (1956).
Marilyn Monroe married for a third time in 1956. Her marriage to playwright Arthur Miller seemed to many to be a strange match. Some called the marriage "the beauty and the brains," and it was to last only five years.
The private life of Marilyn Monroe was surrounded by rumor and gossip. Tales of drugs, abortions and affairs with famous people and a President are all well documented. The press would not leave Marilyn Monroe alone, and every part of her life seemed fair game to the media. In 1962, Marilyn Monroe died in her sleep at the age of 36. At the time, she was the most famous actress in the world.
The cause of Monroe’s death has also been surrounded by rumours. Did she commit suicide, or was she killed in order to prevent a scandal regarding her affair with President Kennedy? Since her death, speculation has been constant. Every year, someone throws up some new theory or there are new unpublished photographs to be sold to the newspapers.
The public loved and still love Marilyn Monroe. Her childlike innocence shone through and touched many people’s hearts. She stills exerts a huge influence on many people today. Every new blonde that appears, from Debbie Harry to Madonna, credits Marilyn Monroe with an influence on her career. There is no doubt that Monroe holds the title of the most famous woman of the twentieth century.