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Marilyn Monroe's Life of Fame Had a Tragic Behind-the-Scenes

Marilyn Monroe was one of the most iconic film stars of the 1950s, and to this day, she remains a timeless image of beauty and style. Her rise to Hollywood fame was a “rags-to-riches” story, but was her reality all fame and glory?

Norma Jean Baker, later known as Marilyn Monroe, was born on June 1st, 1926. She was the daughter of Gladys Baker, who was a film editor for RKO Pictures. Unfortunately, Gladys’ mental state worsened after Norma’s birth, and she was transferred to a mental institution. During her childhood, Norma was put in orphanages and foster homes.

In 1941, Grace McKee Goddard, a friend of Gladys Baker, took Norma in as she could no longer afford to help her. Norma’s best alternative was to get married at the age of 16 to her 21-year-old neighbor. She married James Dougherty in 1942, but he joined the Merchant Marines and was sent to the South Pacific.

Norma’s career started when she worked at a factory in Burbank, California, and was spotted by a photographer, David Conover. Conover’s work and Norma’s photogenic talent brought her numerous modeling jobs and caught the attention of Ben Lyon, a talent scout for 20th Century Fox Film Studios. She learned about hair, makeup, and costumes during a six-month contract with the studio. She was given a renewed contract and chose the stage name “Marilyn Monroe.” As Monroe settled into her new identity, Doughtery began seeing another woman, and the marriage quickly turned to divorce in 1946.

Monroe continued her modeling and received small roles in films. Her first leading role was Don’t Bother to Knock in 1952, but it was Niagara in 1953 that established her as a star. She also appeared in the first edition of Playboy magazine, which upset her fiancée, Joe DiMaggio. Their marriage only lasted nine months.

In 1954, after the production of The Seven-Year Itch, Monroe broke her contract with Fox because she was fed up playing the role of the “dumb blonde.” Eventually, Fox gave her a new contract, and Monroe made her own company, Marilyn Monroe Productions. Her company released The Prince and the Showgirl and Some Like it Hot, becoming her most famous production, which won her a Golden Globe.

On June 29, 1956, Monroe married Arthur Miller. He was a praised playwright and an important member of the artistic high society. Throughout her career, Monroe suffered from substance abuse, causing her to miscarry twice. Their marriage ended in 1961, when her last film, The Misfits, was released.

Around that time, Monroe’s substance abuse began to wreck her life. She was hard to work with, always late, and forgetful of her lines. Monroe’s reputation was also at stake as rumors of secret affairs with influential politicians and celebrities began to surface.

Monroe's mental, physical, and emotional health was fractured, and she spent months moving from one treatment center to another until 1962, when she died from a drug overdose.

Marilyn Monroe was a bold woman in her generation who had a tragic life. Facing forced roles and lethal addictions, she once said, “Hollywood’s a place where they’ll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss, and fifty cents for your soul.”

[Source: Women Who Changed The World]

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