Marilyn Monroe biograhpy and movie guide

A one-of-a-kind blend of godly inner radiance and beauty, tragic vulnerability, intense sensitivity, baby-doll sexuality, perceptive melancholy, charming naivete, disarming sincerity and witty intelligence, Marilyn Monroe is one of the most celebrated, popular, photogenic and enduring screen legends in Hollywood's history. Her mythical status has transcended into that of an American cultural icon. An eternal symbol of sensuality and glamour, her star shone bright yet all too briefly. Contrary to common belief, the ”sexiest woman of the century” was not another famed dumb blonde - her IQ was 168, considerably higher than John F. Kennedy's IQ of 129. 

Marilyn Monroe

Norma Jean

Marilyn Monroe was born Norma Jeane Mortenson on June 1st, 1926 in Los Angeles, California to Gladys Baker (née Monroe, 1902-1984), who used to work as a film cutter in a Hollywood movie studio. According to her birth certificate, the fictitious Edward Mortenson was listed as her father. Some time after the birth of her daughter Norma Jean, her third child (her other two children had been kidnapped by her former husband and taken to Kentucky where he remarried) who was baptized Norma Jean Baker, the emotionally fragile and financially unstable Gladys Baker who had been deserted by the father of the baby girl, suffered a nervous breakdown and was committed to a mental institution. The pretty little girl Norma Jean, without a mother or a father or any family for that matter, became a ward of the county of Los Angeles early in the 1930s, when the US was in the throes of the Great Depression. Her mother designated Grace McKee, her best friend as the minor's legal guardian. 

Little Norma Jeane spent most of her first fifteen years being shuttled back and forth to a dozen foster homes in which she experienced child slavery and sexual abuse on more than one occasion.

Little Norma Jeane spent most of her first fifteen years being shuttled back and forth to a dozen foster homes in which she experienced child slavery and sexual abuse on more than one occasion. For a short time during those years, Gladys was thought to be cured and left the psychiatric facility. In her autobiography entitled ”My Story”, published a decade after her untimely death, Marilyn Monroe recalled ”I used to be freightened when I visited her and spent most of my time in the closet of her bedroom...She seldom spoke to me except to say ”Don t make so much noise, Norma”. She would say this even when I was lying in bed at night and turning the pages of a book”. In her mother's bedroom she discovered a framed photo of a Clark Gable lookalike, who was in fact her real father ( her mother would' t say his name, but Miss Monroe later found out he was Charles Stanley Gifford, who used to live in the same apartment building as her mother and later became a film producer and director). Finding her father's photo was her ”first happy time” – ”I felt warm and not alone” and ”used to make up daydreams about my father”. 

Gladys took the little girl to watch Hollywood premieres and together they examined the footprints of the stars in the forecourt of the Grauman's Chinese Theater. But her mother's mental disease came back with a vengeance and little Norma was left alone once again ” I kept hearing the terrible noise on the stairs and my mother screaming and laughing as they led her out of the white painted house she had tried to build for me”. Years later, Miss Monroe managed to recover (”I found it in an old auction room” ) the baby grand piano that once had belonged to movie star Fredric March and which her mother had bought especially for her. ”It has been painted a lovely white and it has new strings and plays as wonderfully as any piano in the world”. Monroe's famous white lacquered piano, one of the legendary star's most sentimental memorabilia was auctioned off at Christie's in 1999 and the winning bidder was diva Mariah Carey (she purchased it for $662,500). 

When her mother was taken away to the Norwalk Mental Hospital, Norma Jean began to weave her own fantasy that someday she will escape her lonely, loveless, invisible life and become a movie star loved, applauded and cherished, just like her favorite actors Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert, Gary Cooper and especially Jean Harlow. ”I want to be a big star more than anything; it When her mother was taken away to the Norwalk Mental Hospital, Norma Jean began to weave her own fantasy that someday she will escape her lonely, loveless life and became a movie star loved applauded and cherished, just like her favorites Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert, Gary Cooper and especially Jean Harlow. ”I want to be a big star more than anything; it's something precious”. The blonde bombshell Harlow was her idol and when she died prematurely at only 26 years, 11-year old Norma Jeane was unconsolable.

In 1942, she returned for the third time to her guardian's home (where she briefly stayed when she was 9 and 11 years old respectively), but Grace and her husband would soon relocate to Virginia. Norma Jean, a popular and pretty 15-year old that had just graduaded from junior high school and in order to avoid sending her again to a foster home or orphanage, her guardian decided that she should marry the boy next door, 21-year old aircraft worker Jim Dougherty, a decent and affable young man. Shortly after her sixteenth birthday, Norma Jean was married off and became a Van Nuys, California housewife, but her domestic life was short lived. Dougherty went off to sea in the Merchant Marine, while Norma Jean took a job in the Radioplane Factory, a defense plant based in Burbank, California and owned by English actor and aviator Reginald Denny. 

In 1945, army photographer David Conover, who was doing a story about girls working on the homefront takes a few cheesecake pictures of Norma Jean Dougherty that catapult the young wife nicknamed ”Miss Flame Thrower” into an unexpected career as a photographic model for the Blue Book Modeling Agency. The agency made a film test of her, at 20th Century Fox which was the first time she appeared before a motion picture camera. At the agency's suggestion, the naturally brunette Norma Jean dyed her hair a golden shade of blonde. She was happy that the agency found it easy to sell her as the wholesome girl-next-door type. As one of the agency most successful models, she was featured on numerous national and international magazine covers that opened a new world for her. 

She divorced her husband in October 1946 in Reno, Nevada and devoted her full time to working at her new-found profession, landing assignments with top fashion photographers for various popular magazines at that time. The photographers told her that glamour-girl shots paid more money. The photo on the cover of LAFF magazine captured the attention of Howard Hughes, the same film producer who discovered her idol, Jean Harlow. Hughes urged 20th Century Fox studio executive Ben Lyon to have Norma Jean Baker take a color screen test. In July 1946, utterly impressed with the striking resemblance between the aspiring young actress and the late movie star Jean Harlow, Lyon signed Norma Jean to her first studio contract. The one-year contract to 20th Century Fox came with a salary of $125 a week. For alliteration purposes, Lyon changed her first name to Marilyn ( after stage actress Marilyn Miller who died in 1936 at 37 years old) and her last name to her mother's maiden name, Monroe.

Although she was ecstatic that her fantasy had began to come true, she was not given the chance to prove her acting skills. With the exception of a few walk-ons ( in the 1947 musical ”The Shocking Miss Pilgrim ” starring Betty Grable and the 1948 musical ”You Were Meant For Me” ), the only way they used Monroe was for publicity shots. Miss Monroe's first credited role, as the alluring waitress Evie in the 1947 drama ”Dangerous Years” followed the one-line bit part as Betty in ”Scudda Hoo! Scudda Hay!” (wearing a blue pinafore, she said in her signature lisp, soft voice ”Hi, Rad” ). Marilyn Monroe never took her innate artistic talents for granted and enrolled in countless singing and dancing classes; she also underwent cosmetic surgery to slim the tip of her nose. After only one year, the studio dropped her and a disillusioned yet still hopeful Monroe went back to modeling while continuing her drama lessons. Miss Monroe loved the camera and that same year, her perseverance and fierce determination won her a second chance at a movie contract, this time to Columbia Pictures. 22-year old Marilyn Monroe was cast as the young and enamored burlesque chorus girl Peggy Martin in Phil Karlson's low-budget musical ”Ladies of the Chorus” and the second lead of the movie. The high point of the movie for Marilyn Monroe was the opportunity to showcase her singing abilities and to perform the solo song and dance routine entitled ”Every Baby Needs a Da Da Daddy”. Because the film was only a modest success, the studio executives saw little promise in Marilyn Monroe and failed to renew her contract. 

Miss Monroe has been raised on a steady diet of rejection; her leonine ambition (”I dreamt the hardest”) determined her to swallow the disappointment and undaunted, she went on to work with Columbia's head drama coach Natasha Lytess , supporting herself with occasional modeling jobs, TV commercials and unemployment insurance. She posed for calendars, for pin-up and glamour artists like Earl Moran and photographers like Tom Kelley. The iconic 1949 nude photos of Marilyn Monroe, for which she was paid $50 (much-needed money for the rent) were then distributed as calendar art. The dazzling blonde bombshell developed an unfaillable instinct for publicity, feeling that this was the best way to attract the eye of Hollywood producers. In 1949 she appeared again as a walk-on in David Miller's musical comedy ”Love Happy”, the Marx brothers ( Harpo, Groucho and Chico) last feature film. Utterly impressed with the abundantly apparent, luscious screen presence of the aspiring blonde actress, the producers sent her to New York for the promotional campaign of the film. 

In 1950, Marilyn Monroe signed a new movie contract with the studio that had dropped her three years before, 20th Century Fox and in the context of the Korean war, she became the new GI's pin-up queen, just as soldiers a decade before had worshipped Betty Grable. America's love affair with Miss Monroe began.

Breakthrough role

Russian-American talent agent Johnny Hide, an influential William Morris agent who was 30 years her senior was smitten with his 23-year old client and was devoted to promoting her film career. Marilyn Monroe refused his impulsive offers of marriage but accepted the role he secured her in MGM's gritty urban crime drama Asphalt Jungle directed by John Huston in magnificently naturalistic style. Brimming with a plethora of plot twists, this now-classic film noir caper showcases the planning and execution of a million-dollar jewelry robbery. From the scenes depicting the robbery itself, to the ensuing police chase scene and the disintegration of the criminal gang, the film was a suspense feast that won universal critical praise; the robbery was considered one of the ”best-staged heists in film noir”. John Huston and Ben Maddow won the Oscar for best adapted screenplay. Although Monroe was insecure at the audition, she was given the part of the easy-living blue-eyed blonde Angela Phinlay. Her role in the film was small and her name did not even appear on the original poster for the movie, but it proved however that Miss Monroe's acting range might be broader than her earlier appearances suggested. Starring character actors Sterling Hayden and Jean Hagen, ”The Asphalt Jungle” was based on W. R. Burnett's 1949 novel of the same name. 

That same year, Hyde also got her another part at 20th Century Fox in the 1950 now-classic Bette Davis vehicle All About Eve, directed and written by Joseph L. Mankiewicz and produced by Darryl F. Zanuck. One of the greatest film ever shot in Hollywood, All About Eve received an unprecedented fourteen Academy Award nominations and won six Oscars, including for best picture, best adapted screenplay and best director. Featured among a galaxy of top movie stars, Marilyn Monroe managed to shine bright although the role of the lightheaded aspiring actress Miss Claudia Caswell came dangerously close to self-parody. She received glowing reviews from film critics and she was then signed to a seven-year contract with Fox, at $500 a week. In 1951, the timeless sex goddess was cast in a series of lightweight and mostly forgettable films, in stereotypical roles as the voluptous yet scatterbrained blonde in such comedies as ”Love Nest”, ”As Young As You Feel” and ”Let's Make Love”. 

Desperate to avoid the pitfalls of typecasting, Monroe pleaded for more challenging parts. The following year , she was lent to RKO studio and cast in a supporting role to Barbara Stanwyck in Fritz Lang's 1952 drama ”Clash By Night”, a screen adaptation of Clifford Odets' successful play. Her inspired portrayal of the fish-canner Peggy, the girlfriend of fisherman Joe, Keith Andes' character garnered her the best reviews of her career up to that point. As the film was released in theaters, her nude pictures surfaced, appearing as the January calendar girl in gas stations all over the country. Even more controversy to her name in the 1950s conservative America was added with the inclusion of one of her infamous nude pictures in the very first issue of Hugh Hefner' s Playboy magazine, published in January 1953. She would later joke about it ”I' ve been on a calendar, but never on time”. Monroe nevertheless faced the scandal heads-on. She embodied a refreshing reinterpretation of the modern woman with the clear message that sex was not equal to sin, which postwar America embraced. That same year, she appeared in Edmund Goulding's star-studded romantic comedy ”We' re Not Married” in which she played beauty queen and wife Annabel Norris. 

A Starlet Becomes A Superstar

Roy Ward Baker's 1952 thriller ”Don't Bother To Knock” , co-starring Richard Widmark and Anne Bancroft in her first film featured Monroe in her first starring role as a mentally disturbed babysitter, offering her the most challenging and dramatic role to date. Her wildly intense, pathos-filled, believable portrayal of Nell Forbes testified to the undeniable acting skills of Miss Monroe. The teary and gloomy expression of her character's face came all too natural for the 25-year old actress who had seen sorrow one too many times in her life. That look of forlorn inner disarray that characterized her performance earned her the critical praise she had longed for and gave anyone in Hollywood who doubted her talent for acting at least something to think about. 

True to her versatility as an actress, she switched genres and accepted another comedic role, as the dumb blonde secretary Lois Laurel alongside Cary Grant and Ginger Rogers in Howard Hawks' 1952 screwball comedy ”Monkey Business”, which proved a huge success at the box-office. For this film, Marilyn Monroe dyed her hair Jean Harlow's trademark platinum blonde. The dreams that had sustained her and given her a much-needed escape from the harsh reality were coming true for Miss Monroe. On the fast track to the fame she had always longed for, she was relishing the ride. 

That same year, she was introduced to one of her biggest fans, the legendary baseball player Joe DiMaggio. In stark contrast to the other men in Monroe' s life, DiMaggio was quiet, reserved, family-oriented and conservative. The couple's courtship made headlines all over the world and their love affair was regarded as the merger of two American institutions. Adding steam to their romance was the heat generated by Monroe' s next film, the 1953 ”Niagara”, shot on location. She portrayed a married woman whose lustful indiscretions lead to murder. As the ravishing yet miserably married Rose Loomis staying at a Niagara Falls motel, she sang of love ( performing ”Kiss”) just as she lived for love. Co-starring Joseph Cotten, the thriller-film noir filmed in Technicolor and directed by Henry Hathaway proved that Marilyn Monroe could carry a big budget dramatic film. For the release of the film, in which she received top billing for the first time, Fox launched a massive publicity campaign, during which she sang live with a jazz band. 

After All, ”Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”

The colossal succes of ”Niagara” was followed by an intoxicating performance in the 1953 comedy Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, co-starring Jane Russell as the brunette showgirl. Showcasing her divine charm and ravishing, powerful screen presence , the role of the gold-digger Lorelei Lee made her the most popular star in Hollywood, almost as if she used ”novocaine in her lipstick”, as her co-star pointed out in the film. Lavishly produced in Technicolor, the film provided the glitzy setting that Monroe needed to sparkle in all her beauty, effervescence and glamor. One of the year's smash hits, the iconic Gentleman Prefer Blondes featured one of her indelible songs ”Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend” that put a funny twist on sexiness. Monroe was absolutely hilarious in the film and her spellbinding performance cemented her undeniable talents as a comedienne. Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell were also given the opportunity to physically put their foot and hand prints in cement at the forecourt of Grauman's Chinese Theater - her wildest dreams had become a reality. In the wake of this film, Miss Monroe was finally receiving the attention she craved for. At 26 years old, Marilyn Monroe was the biggest movie star in the world. America's love for Marilyn Monroe seemed to match her need for love.

That same year, Marilyn Monroe was teamed with Betty Grable and Lauren Bacall in the first wide screen comedy How to Marry A Millionaire, directed by Jean Negulesco. Cast as Pola Debevoise, whose logic was as fuzzy as her eyesight, Monroe played once again the dumb blonde. A glittering star-studded romp, the film was a colossal success, largely attributed to Monroe's innate comic prowess. Often confused with her characters, the real Marilyn pleaded with Fox for more dramatic roles, but the studio was unresponsive. She wanted, more than anything, to be taken seriously as an actress, but Zanuck refused to tamper with Monroe's glamour girl screen formula that made her a popular movie star.

She was next cast as Kay Weston opposite Robert Mitchum in the ”River of No Return”, a rugged frontier thriller that was an uneasy mix of wide screen grandeur and wild west cliches. Otto Preminger's gruff directorial style and Monroe's sensitive and vulnerable temperament did not mix well and as such, in many scenes she looked out of place and awkward. She was late to the set and often uncooperative. What was initially viewed as insecurity was becoming granted as unprofessionalism. In a bold rebuff to the studio and Zanuck, she refused her next assignment in the lightweight comedy ”The Girl in Pink Tights”, informing Zanuck of her disapproval of the story and script. Miss Monroe was immediately placed on suspension without pay.

While entertaining the GIs in Korea, Monroe realized for the first time the overwhelming impact of her fame. Performing ten shows in two days to adoring crowds of over a hundred thousand soldiers, Monroe felt ecstatic, but her husband did not enjoy playing second fiddle to his celebrity wife and tensions between them grew fast.

With her career temporary on hold, Marilyn Monroe accepted DiMaggio's proposal of marriage. The civil ceremony was held at San Francisco City Hall on January 15th, 1954 and was anything but private. Hollywood's reigning sex goddess and baseball's legendary superstar tied the knot. The intense public support of their high-profile marriage determined Zanuck to lift her suspension. While on the famous newlyweds' honeymoon trip to Japan where baseball had become a national obsession, Monroe managed to overshadow even her revered husband. While entertaining the GIs in Korea, Monroe realized for the first time the overwhelming impact of her fame. Performing ten shows in two days to adoring crowds of over a hundred thousand soldiers, Monroe felt ecstatic, but her husband did not enjoy playing second fiddle to his celebrity wife and tensions between them grew fast. Returned to Hollywood, Marilyn Monroe exerted her new-found confidence by refusing a starring role in Irving Berlin's 1954 film There No Business Like Show Business until her salary was raised to a whopping $3,000 a week. In this conventional backstage confection, co-starring Ethel Merman, Monroe was divinely fabulous and stole every scene as the amorous and vivacious show girl Victoria Hoffman. 

Monroe in The Seven Year Itch

As charming neighbor in The Seven Year Itch.

Based on a successful Broadway comedy written by George Axelrod, Billy Wilder's 1955 production of the The Seven Year Itch solidified Monroe's status as America's leading sex siren. Co-starring a hilarious Tom Ewell, the story concerned the middle aged husband's funny efforts to seduce his highly desirable upstairs neighbor. As the neighbor with no name, Marilyn was willingly playing into the notion that her on-screen persona and off-screen personality were one and the same. The line between reality and fantasy became increasingly blurred. In the iconic skirt scene ( where she stood over the subway crating and the wind blew up her skirt), Monroe understood her white cocktail dress would be blowing up and upon noticing in the mirror that one could see through her panties, she put on a second pair of panties. For New Yorkers watching the endless retakes of Monroe it was the greatest show on earth, but it did not sit well with Joe DiMaggio. This public display was in fact a celebration of her tremendous sexual and professional power. 

In October 1954, Monroe filed for divorce in Santa Monica. She continued to leverage her bigger-than-life popularity and, at the age of 28, she took the advice of photographer Milton Green and launched her own production company – Marilyn Monroe Productions. Furious at his star's repeated attempts to assert her artistic independence, head of Fox Darryl Zanuck reminded her that she still had three years left on her contract to Fox studio. After turning down another role, she was once again suspended. In January 1955 she left for Manhattan to pursue her dream of becoming a serious actress. Invited to join The Actors Studio as an observant ( she was not allowed to participate), for almost a year she did not do anything but observe. Under the direction of Lee and Paula Strasberg, the Studio had started somewhat a revolution in this noble profession, with its teachings encompassing innovative and intrepid acting techniques. As a Method actress, Monroe carried an enormous amount of internal examination and was hungry to learn and further improve her craft. She became a live-in member of Paula and Lee Strasberg's family.

When it premiered on her birthday on June 1st, 1955, ”The Seven Year Itch” became a critical a box-office smash, but the huge success of the film amplified Monroe's inner conflict. Forced to reconsider his position, Zanuck prepared a new contract, this time she would have directorial and script approval.
While in New York, she began socializing with playwright Arthur Miller, the author of one of the most compelling plays in modern American theater ”Death of a Salesman”. Contrary to her on-screen image, she enjoyed the company of intellectuals and bohemians and her relationship with Miller blossomed into a romance. Professionally confident yet emotionally insecure she returned to Hollywood. Her next film directed by Joshua Logan and co-starring Don Murray, the 1956 drama ”Bus Stop”, the screen version of William Inge's Broadway hit offered her the challenging, complex role she craved for, but also the kind of role that would expose some of her worst fears. With an impeccable Southern accent as Cherie, the roadhouse torch singer whose dreams of stardom were shattered by the harsh reality, she felt she had much to prove as well as a responsibility to validate her controversial training at The Actors Studio. Monroe could relate very strongly to that character and the fact that she used her own inner life to give life to the character of Cherie gave her emotionally-charged, impeccable interpretation a unique perception and depth of character that garnered her tremendous critical acclaim. Often late to the set, while her latent vulnerability and deep seated insecurities were beginning to take their toll, she became increasingly dependent on prescription drugs. Her personal drama coach Paula Strasberg had accompanied Marilyn Monroe to LA; Strasberg's emphasis on inner examination led Monroe to confront her feelings of abandonment, loneliness and analyze the sexual nature of her screen appeal. Newly validated, she began considering Miller's proposal of marriage.

On July 1st, 1956 after a private wedding ceremony held at Miller's parents home, the newlyweds traveled to England, where Monroe was to star as the lovely Elsie Marina opposite Laurence Olivier in the lighthearted romantic comedy ”The Prince and the Showgirl”, Monroe's first independent production. One of the finest actors of his generation, Olivier had no patience with the indulgences associated wityh Monroe's Method acting. He found her tardiness and dependency on Paula Strasberg to be glaring examples of a pampered star's unprofessionalism. Despite glowing critical reviews, the lack of chemistry between the two stars made the film only a moderate success at the box-office. On August 1st, 1957 Monroe's emotional balance collapsed when she suffered a miscarriage and became increasingly haunted by her mother's insanity. She took refuge once again in her work, starring in another comedy directed by one of her favorites, Billy Wilder, the 1959 masterpiece ”Some Like It Hot”, in which she portrayed the sensual yet scatterbrained singer and ukulele player Sugar "Kane" Kowalczyk, regarded as her definitive role. Constantly late and unfamiliar with the script she had to have her dialogue written on cue cards that were placed around the set. The film co-starring Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis would become Monroe's biggest hit to date. After the filming, shesuffered ye another miscarriage. , Monroe's follow-up to the box-office smash ”Some Like It Hot” would be the off-beat musical comedy ”Let's Make Love”, directed by George Cukor, in which she played the actress Amanda Dell and performed one of her iconic songs ”My Heart Belongs to Daddy”. By 1960, the sharp contrast between Monroe's sexy on-screen persona and the torment of her private life was evident. Her self-destructive behavior led to frequent absences and rumours of a highly-charged off-screen affair with co-star Yves Montand began to circulate.

The lurid circumstances of her death made headlines across the world. As her lifeless body was carried by the coroner, Marilyn Monroe the myth was born.

Just like her delicate mental state, her marriage to Miller was breaking apart. Written by Arthur Miller as a ”Valentine” and a vehicle for his wife, ”The Misfits” was a somber tale of modern day cowboys struggling to find an identity. Shot on location in Reno, Nevada, the film directed by John Huston teamed Marilyn with a dream cast, her childhood idol Clark Gable and close friends Eli Wallach and Montgomery Clift. .The dark tone of the story seemed to mirror the atmosphere on the set. Costly delays and unprofessional behavior sent tempers over the boiling point and Gable complained that her behavior was certain to give him a heart attack. Monroe continued to rely on prescription medication to get her through the day, a situation similar to that of co-star Montgomery Clift. Monroe felt an intense sense of guilt over the death of Clark Gable, her childhood hero who passsed only three weeks after the completion of the film . After returning to New York, she divorced Arthur Miller. Despite rave reviews from critics, the 1961 film ”The Misfits” failed at the box-office. Monroe began sinking deeper and deeper into a downward spiral of depression and substance abuse. Her New York psychiatrist had her institutionalized in 1961 , throwing Monroe into a kind of psychotic panic. Her worst fears were coming true - she was suffering the same fate as her mother. Surprisingly, Joe DiMaggio looked after her during this time and took her from the hospital. He re-entered Monroe's life to help her cope with her emotional crisis. Still craving the attention and the validation of powerful men , she began socializing with Frank Sinatra and his friends from the Rat Pack, She also began an intense and secret relationship with President John F. Kennedy, to whom she had been introduced by actor and Kennedy's brother-in-law, Peter Lawford. She returned to Fox for a remake of the old Cary-Grant- Irene Dunne comedy ”My Favorite Wife, now retitled ”Something's Got To Give” . The story concerned Ellen, her character's struggle to reacquaint herself with her family five years after being lost at sea. In a highly publicized and controversial move, she agreed to perform her first on-camera nude scene. Proud of the fact that she had lost fifteen pounds for this film, she frolicked boldly for the camera. But monroe frequently forgot her lines, had trouble focusing and appeared high-strung and nervous. Director George Cukor was forced to shoot around her and even read her lines to Dean Martin, her co-star from off-camera. The scenes in which she had to perform with children were particularly difficult for her. On May 19th, 1962 she abruptly left the set of this movie to perform ”Happy Birthday, Mr. President” at John F. Kennedy's birthday party. Fox executives shot the picture down and Monroe was fired. Living alone, she tried to remain brave in the face of her humiliating ordeal. In the weeks that followed her dismissal from the film, she reached out to all her friends. On August 5th, 1962 Marilyn Monroe's housekeeper Eunice Murray found her dead in her Hollywood home, faced down in her bed and with the telephone in her hand. The lurid circumstances of her death made headlines across the world. As her lifeless body was carried by the coroner, Marilyn Monroe the myth was born.

What might interest you next:

James Dean

James Dean became first the personification of the young rebel and then – after his tragic early death – also a myth.
James Dean biography and greatest movies

Vivien Leigh

Vivien Leigh is known for her ravishing beauty and innate theatrical sense and ludic yet effervescent personality with her characteristic illness-derived mood swings.
Vivien Leigh biography and greatest movies