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Marilyn Monroe: The Mystery Behind The Legend

1284 words - 6 pages

According to many movie critics and fans, Marilyn Monroe was one of the most talented and well-known entertainers and fashion icons of the twentieth century based on her success as an actress, singer, model, and her remarkable personality. Marilyn Monroe once said, “Fame will go by, and, so long, I’ve had you, fame. If it goes by, I’ve always known it was fickle. So at least it’s something I experience, but that’s not where I live” (Marilyn Monroe 26).
On June 1, 1926, a baby girl was born to Gladys Mortensen in Los Angeles, California. Her biological father is unknown because her mother was having sexual relations with multiple men at the time of conception. The newborn baby girl was named Norma Jeane Baker. Norma’s mother placed her into an orphanage shortly after her birth. Norma remained in the orphanage until the age of nine.
Shortly after Norma turned nine, she was adopted by her mother’s best friend, Grace McKee. She lived with Grace for six months. During those six months, Norma helped Grace prepare for her upcoming wedding to Ervin Goddard. Once Grace wed Ervin, Norma was sent to live with her great aunt, Olive Brunings. Shortly after living with Olive, Norma was sexually assaulted by Olive’s son. This was the starting point which would lead Norma down a winding path filled with substance abuse (Marilyn Monroe Biography 2).
When Norma turned sixteen, she began dating her former neighbor, Jim Doughtery, age twenty-one. Despite the five year age difference, they were happily in love and decided to get married on June 19, 1942, in Los Angeles, California. Jim was deployed to the South Pacific in 1944, which required Norma to find work while he was away. She began work at a manufacturer called the Radioplane Company. One afternoon when she was working, she was spotted by photographer David Convor, who was taking pictures of women helping the war cause. He said that she was a “photographers [sic] dream” (Gilmore 32). She now faced the decision of staying with Jim or furthering her career. Norma decided to choose her career and filed for divorce in 1946.
Norma began modeling shortly after the divorce. She signed her first contract with Twentieth Century Fox on August 26, 1946. Her contract entitled her to $125 per week for six months (Marilyn Monroe Biogaphy 3). With the signing of this contract and recommendation by her studio, Norma agreed to dye her hair blonde and change her name to Marilyn Monroe. Monroe was her grandmother’s maiden name but was awkward when said Norma Jeane Monroe, so it was suggested that she be named after a 1920s Broadway Bombshell, Marilyn. Thus, this was the beginning of the legend of Marilyn Monroe (Bell 1).
Monroe played small roles in Love Happy and All About Eve, which led to her breakout stardom moment in 1953 when she received the lead role in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (Gilmore 36). Later in 1953, she began dating upcoming baseball star, Joe DiMaggio. However, her biggest achievement of 1953 was being featured...

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