Entertainment
Historic Unedited Photos They Don't Want You To See
Publication: Historical Archives. Posted by
760a631d0dea2ae92cb6e9f7b157b927
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Entertainment
Historic Unedited Photos They Don't Want You To See
Publication: Historical Archives.
Posted by
760a631d0dea2ae92cb6e9f7b157b927
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Marilyn Monroe

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Where:
Los Angeles, California
When:
Aug-62
Summary:
Pictured with Buddy Greco on the same weekend she died of a barbiturate overdose, Monroe poses near the Hollywood sign.
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Marilyn Monroe


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  Where:
Los Angeles, California

  When:
Aug-62

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or read more about below

“Fame doesn’t fulfill you. It warms you a bit, but that warmth is temporary.” The most iconic blonde bombshell and sex symbol of the 1950s, Marilyn Monroe is one of the best-recognized pop culture icons in Hollywood this century. Monroe defied the odds after a troubled childhood in and out of foster homes and orphanages. She launched her career in the spotlight in the mid-1940s after meeting a photographer from the First Motion Picture Unit. Gaining early success as a pin-up model, she signed film contracts with Twentieth Century-Fox and Columbia Pictures that made her a star thanks to hits like As Young As You Feel, Monkey Business, and Don’t Bother to Knock.

By the 1950s, Monroe was one of the biggest stars in Hollywood and sealed her fate as a sex symbol in Gentleman Prefer Blondes and How to Marry a Millionaire. She graced the cover of Playboy magazine and stunned fans with her 1955 box office hit, The Seven Year Itch. Proving she was more than the “dumb blonde” she often played in film, she founded her own film production company and studied at the Actors Studio, which put her on the path to even bigger stardom with her Golden Globe-winning performance in Some Like it Hot (1959). Amid this success, Monroe’s life behind the scenes was troubled as she battled addiction, depression, and anxiety that ultimately led to her death on August 5, 1962, at only 36 years old.

Life and Career

Norma Jeane Mortenson came into this world on June 1, 1926, in Los Angeles, California. Monroe’s early childhood was stable and happy, but her mother was not financially prepared to raise a child, which is why she left the young Monroe with Albert and Ida Bolender in Hawthorne, California. Monroe’s mother often visited her at the Bolenders and was finally back on her feet in 1933 when she brought Monroe back to live with her. Months later, however, her mother had a breakdown and was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. With her mother committed to the Metropolitan State Hospital, the young Monroe became a ward of the state and spent the rest of her childhood in and out of orphanages and foster homes.

Despite her troubled childhood and feeling that no one wanted her, Monroe dreamed of becoming an actress. “When I was five, I think that’s when I started wanting to be an actress,” she said. “I loved to play. I didn’t like the world around me because it was kind of grim, but I loved to play house. It was like you could make your own boundaries… When I heard that this was acting, I said that’s what I want to be… Some of my foster families used to send me to the movies to get me out of the house and there I’d sit all day and way into the night. Up in front, there with the screen so big, a little kid all alone, and I loved it.”

In 1944, Monroe picked up a job at the Radioplane Munitions Factory in Van Nuys where she met photographer David Conover who was contracted to take morale-boosting pictures of female workers at the plant. None of Monroe’s pictures were used but Conover felt a kinship with Monroe and invited her to model for him. Within a year, she signed a modeling contract with the Blue Book Modeling Agency under the name “Jean Norman.” She dyed her naturally curly brunette hair blonde and straightened it, creating the signature look that would soon skyrocket her to fame.

Signing another six-month modeling contract in 1946, Monroe ventured into film and adopted her new stage name as “Marilyn Monroe.” For the first few months of her contract, she took singing, dancing, and acting classes before she was cast in her first two films—Dangerous Years (1947) and Scudda Hoo! Scudda Hay! (1948). She enrolled at the Actors’ Laboratory Theatre where her shyness and insecurity left many of her teachers to argue that she wasn’t ready for a life in the spotlight. Regardless, Monroe pushed forward and continued taking classes. In the meantime, she built her brand and started frequenting producers’ offices where she befriended male guests with her natural charm and sex appeal.

By the 1950s, Monroe’s hard work finally paid off when she landed minor roles in As Young As You Feel (1951), Monkey Business (1952), Clash By Night (1952), and Don’t Bother to Knock (1952). The films boosted Monroe’s appeal as she snagged leading roles in 1953 flicks Niagara, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and How to Marry a Millionaire, all of which made her one of Hollywood’s biggest stars. Going on to grace the cover of the first issue of Playboy magazine, Monroe was unstoppable and followed up with her biggest box office hit, The Seven Year Itch (1955).

Eventually launching her own production company, Monroe extended her reach as an actress and proved she was legions beyond the dumb blonde stereotype. She studied at the Actors Studio and earned a Golden Globe Award for her work in Some Like It Hot (1959). Despite this success, however, her life behind the scenes unraveled as she suffered from bouts of depression, anxiety, and substance abuse.

Death and Legacy

Monroe was at the height of her career when she was found dead by her housekeeper in her Brentwood home on August 5, 1962, at 36 years old. The toxicology report revealed she died of barbiturate poisoning, which was confirmed by the empty pill bottles found next to her bed. With an accidental overdose eventually ruled out, many believe that Monroe’s cause of death was suicide. Today, Monroe’s final hours are shrouded in mystery as many wonder how America’s sweetheart could end her life so soon.