Marilyn Monroe

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Posted by r2d2 03/10/2009 @ 08:07

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Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe in The Prince and the Showgirl trailer cropped.jpg

Marilyn Monroe (born Norma Jeane Mortenson, June 1, 1926 – August 5, 1962; baptized Norma Jeane Baker) was an American actress, singer, model, and a sex symbol.

After spending much of her childhood in foster homes, Monroe began a career as a model, which led to a film contract in 1946. Her early roles were minor, but her performances in The Asphalt Jungle and All About Eve (both 1950) were well received; as her career progressed, she became known as a sex symbol. She was praised for her comedic ability in such films as Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, How to Marry a Millionaire and The Seven Year Itch, and became one of Hollywood's most popular performers.

The typecasting of Monroe's "dumb blonde" persona limited her career prospects, so she broadened her range. Her marriage to baseball player Joe DiMaggio failed. While married to playwright Arthur Miller, she studied at the Actors Studio and formed Marilyn Monroe Productions. Her dramatic performance in William Inge's Bus Stop was hailed by critics, and she won a Golden Globe Award for her performance in Some Like it Hot.

The final years of Monroe's life were marked by illness, personal problems, and a reputation for being unreliable and difficult to work with. The circumstances of her death, from an overdose of barbiturates, have been the subject of conjecture. Though officially classified as a "probable suicide", the possibility of an accidental overdose has not been ruled out, while conspiracy theorists argue that she was murdered.

In 1999, Monroe was ranked as the sixth greatest female star of all time by the American Film Institute.

Monroe was born in the Los Angeles County Hospital, the third child born to Gladys Pearl Baker (1902–1984).

Monroe's birth certificate names the father as Edward Mortensen, a Norwegian, with his residence stated as "unknown", Gladys Baker had married a Martin E. Mortensen in 1924, but they had separated before Gladys' pregnancy. Several of Monroe's biographers suggest that Gladys Baker used his name to avoid the stigma of illegitimacy. Mortensen filed for divorce from Gladys on March 5, 1927, and the case was finalized on October 15, 1928. When Mortensen died, at the age of 85, Monroe's birth certificate together with her parents' marriage and divorce documents were discovered that proved that she was born legitimate.

Throughout her life, Marilyn Monroe denied that Mortensen was her father. She said that when she was a child, she had been shown a photograph of a man that Gladys Baker identified as her father. She remembered that he had a thin moustache and somewhat resembled Clark Gable, and that she had amused herself by pretending that Gable was her father, but never determined her father's true identity.

Mentally unstable and financially unable to care for Norma Jeane, Gladys placed her with foster parents Albert and Ida Bolender of Hawthorne, California, where she lived until she was seven. In her autobiography My Story (co-authored with screenwriter and novelist Ben Hecht,) Monroe stated she believed that the Bolenders were her parents until Ida corrected her. After that Norma Jeane referred to them as Aunt & Uncle.

During one of her weekly visits, Gladys told Norma Jeane that she had bought a house for them, and Norma Jeane was allowed to move in with her mother. A few months after moving in, Gladys suffered a breakdown. In My Story, Monroe recalls her mother "screaming and laughing", as she was forcibly removed to the State Hospital in Norwalk. Monroe was declared a ward of the state, and Gladys's best friend, Grace McKee, became her guardian. It was Grace that had told Monroe that someday she would become "...an important woman... a movie star". Grace was captivated by Jean Harlow, and would let Norma Jeane wear makeup and take her out to get her hair curled. They would go to the movies together, forming the basis for Norma Jeane's fascination with the cinema and the stars on screen.

After Grace McKee married Ervin Silliman Goddard in 1935, the 9 year-old Monroe was sent to the Los Angeles Orphans Home, (later renamed Hollygrove), and then to a succession of foster homes. Two years later Grace took Norma Jeane back to live with herself, Goddard and one of Goddard's daughters from a previous marriage. When Goddard tried to molest Norma Jeane, Grace sent her to live with her great aunt, Olive Brunings. Norma Jeane was assaulted by one of Olive's sons at the age of 12 and then went on to live with Grace's aunt, Ana Lower. When Ana developed health problems, Norma Jeane went back to live with Grace and Ervin Goddard, where she met a neighbor's son, Jim Dougherty, and soon began a relationship with him.

Grace and her husband were about to move East and could not take Norma Jeane. Another family wanted to adopt Norma Jeane, but Gladys would not allow it. Grace then approached a neighbor suggesting that her son, James Dougherty, could marry Norma Jeane so that she would not have to return to an orphanage or foster care, and in June 1942, they were married. Monroe would state in her autobiography that she did not feel like a wife; she enjoyed playing with the neighborhood children until her husband would call her home. The marriage lasted until 1946 when Monroe decided to pursue her career.

While Dougherty was in the Merchant Marine during World War II, Monroe moved in with her mother-in-law, and found employment in the Radioplane Munitions Factory. She sprayed airplane parts with fire retardant and inspected parachutes. During this time, Army photographer David Conover snapped a photograph of her for a Yank magazine article. He encouraged her to apply to The Blue Book modeling agency. She signed with the agency and began researching the work of Jean Harlow and Lana Turner. She was told that they were looking for models with lighter hair, so Marilyn dyed her brunette hair to a golden blonde.

Norma Jeane Dougherty became one of Blue Book's most successful models, appearing on dozens of magazine covers. In 1946, she came to the attention of Ben Lyon, a 20th Century Fox executive, who arranged a screen test for her. Lyon was impressed and commented, "It's Jean Harlow all over again". She was offered a standard six-month contract with a starting salary of $125 per week.

It was agreed that she would change her name. Lyon told her that she reminded him of the actress Marilyn Miller and she took her grandmother's name of Monroe as her surname. She appeared in Scudda Hoo! Scudda Hay! and Dangerous Years (both 1947), but when her contract was not renewed, she returned to modeling. She attempted to find opportunities for film work, and while unemployed she posed for nude photographs.

In 1948 Monroe signed a six-month contract with Columbia Pictures, and was introduced to the studio's head drama coach, Natasha Lytess, who became her acting coach for several years. She starred in the low-budget musical, Ladies of the Chorus, but the film was not a success, and her contract was not renewed. She appeared in a small role in the Marx Brothers film Love Happy (1949) and impressed the producers, who sent her to New York to feature in the film's promotional campaign.

Love Happy brought Monroe to the attention of the agent, Johnny Hyde, who agreed to represent her. He arranged for her to audition for John Huston, who cast her in the drama The Asphalt Jungle, as the young mistress of an aging criminal. Her performance brought strong reviews, and was seen by the writer and director, Herman Mankiewicz. He accepted Hyde's suggestion of Monroe for a small comedic role in All About Eve, as Miss Caswell, an aspiring actress, described by another character as a student of "The Copacabana School of Dramatic Art". Mankiewicz later commented that he had seen an innocence in her that he found appealing, and that this had confirmed his belief in her suitability for the role. Following Monroe's success in these roles, Hyde negotiated a seven-year contract for her with 20th Century Fox, shortly before his death in December 1950.

Monroe enrolled at the University of California, Los Angeles studying literature and art appreciation, and appeared in several minor films playing opposite such long-established performers as Mickey Rooney, Constance Bennett, June Allyson, Dick Powell and Claudette Colbert. In March 1951, she appeared as a presenter at the 23rd Academy Awards ceremony.

In the early 1950s, Monroe and Gregg Palmer both unsuccessfully auditioned for roles as Daisy Mae and Abner in a proposed Li'l Abner television series based on the Al Capp cartoon, but the effort never materialized.

In March 1952, Monroe faced a possible scandal when one of her nude photographs from 1949 was featured in a calendar. The press speculated about the identity of the anonymous model and commented that she closely resembled Monroe. As the studio discussed how to deal with the problem, Monroe suggested that she should simply admit that she had posed for the photograph but that she should emphasize that she had done so only because she had no money to pay her rent. She gave an interview in which she discussed the circumstances that led to her posing for the photographs, and the resulting publicity elicited a degree of sympathy for her plight as a struggling actress.

She made her first appearance on the cover of Life in April 1952, where she was described as "The Talk of Hollywood". Stories of her childhood and upbringing portrayed her in a sympathetic light; a cover story for the May 1952 edition of True Experiences magazine showed a smiling and wholesome Monroe beside a caption that read, "Do I look happy? I should — for I was a child nobody wanted. A lonely girl with a dream — who awakened to find that dream come true. I am Marilyn Monroe. Read my Cinderella story." It was also during this time that she began dating the baseball player, Joe DiMaggio. A photograph of DiMaggio visiting Monroe at the 20th Century Fox studio, was printed in newspapers throughout the United States, and reports of a developing romance between them generated further interest in Monroe.

Over the following months, four films in which Monroe featured were released. She had been loaned to RKO Studios to appear in a supporting role in Clash by Night, a Barbara Stanwyck drama, directed by Fritz Lang. Released in June 1952, the film was popular with audiences, with much of its success credited to curiosity about Monroe, who received generally favorable reviews from critics. This was followed by two films released in July, the comedy We're Not Married, and the drama Don't Bother to Knock; We're Not Married featured Monroe as a beauty pageant contestant, and while Variety described the film as "lightweight", its reviewer commented that Monroe was featured to full advantage in a bathing suit, but that some of her scenes suggested a degree of exploitation. In "Don't Bother to Knock", she played a starring role, as a babysitter who threatens to attack the child in her care. The downbeat melodrama was poorly reviewed, although Monroe commented that it contained some of her strongest dramatic acting. Monkey Business, a Howard Hawks directed comedy, costarring Cary Grant and Ginger Rogers, was released in September, and achieved good ticket sales despite weak reviews.

Darryl F. Zanuck considered that Monroe's film potential was worth developing, and cast her in "Niagara", as a femme fatale scheming to murder her husband, played by Joseph Cotten. During filming, Monroe's make-up artist, Whitey Snyder noticed the stage fright that was to mark her behavior on film sets throughout her career, and was assigned by the director to spend hours gently coaxing and comforting Monroe as she prepared to film her scenes.

Much of the critical comment following the release of the film was in relation to Monroe's overtly sexual performance, and a scene which shows Monroe from the back, making a long walk towards Niagara Falls was frequently referred to in reviews. After seeing the film, Constance Bennett reportedly quipped, "There's a broad with her future behind her." Whitey Snyder also commented that it was during preparation for this film, after much experimentation, that Monroe achieved "the look, and we used that look for several pictures in a row... the look was established".

While the film was a success, and Monroe's performance was reviewed positively, her conduct at promotional events sometimes drew negative comments. Her appearance at the Photoplay awards dinner in a skin-tight gold lamé dress was criticized. Joan Crawford was quoted in Louella Parsons' newspaper column, discussing Monroe's "vulgarity" and describing her behavior as "unbecoming an actress and a lady". She had previously received criticism for wearing a dress with a neckline cut almost to her navel, when she acted as Grand Marshall at the Miss America Parade in September 1952. A photograph from this event was used on the cover of the first edition of Playboy Magazine in December 1953, with a nude photograph of Monroe, taken in 1949, inside the magazine.

Her next film was Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) co-starring Jane Russell and directed by Howard Hawks. Playing Lorelei Lee, a gold-digging showgirl, she was required to sing and dance. The two stars became friends, with Russell describing Monroe as "very shy and very sweet and far more intelligent than people gave her credit for". She later recalled that Monroe showed her dedication by rehearsing her dance routines each evening after most of the crew had left, but was habitually late on set for filming. Realizing that Monroe remained in her dressing room due to stage fright, and that Hawks was growing impatient with her tardiness, Russell started escorting her to the set.

At the Los Angeles premiere of the film, Monroe and Russell pressed their hand- and foot prints in the cement in the forecourt of Grauman's Chinese Theatre. Monroe received positive reviews and the film grossed more than double its production costs. Her rendition of "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" became associated with her. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes also marked one of the earliest films in which Monroe was dressed by William Travilla, a designer who would go on to dress Monroe in eight of her films including Bus Stop, Don't Bother to Knock, How to Marry a Millionaire, River of No Return, There’s No Business Like Show Business, Monkey Business, and The Seven Year Itch .

Monroe's films of this period established her "dumb blonde" persona and contributed to her popularity. In 1953 and 1954, she was listed in the annual "Quigley Poll of the Top Ten Money Making Stars", which was compiled from the votes of movie exhibitors throughout the United States for the stars that had generated the most revenue in their theaters over the previous year.

During this time, Monroe discussed her acting ambitions, telling the New York Times, "I want to grow and develop and play serious dramatic parts. My dramatic coach, Natasha Lytess, tells everybody that I have a great soul, but so far nobody's interested in it". She saw a possibility in 20th Century Fox's upcoming film, The Egyptian, but was rebuffed by Darryl F. Zanuck who refused to screen test her.

In late 1953, Monroe was scheduled to begin filming The Girl in Pink Tights with Frank Sinatra, and when she failed to appear for work, she was suspended by 20th Century Fox. She and DiMaggio were married in San Francisco on January 14, 1954, and travelled to Japan soon after, combining a honeymoon with a business trip previously arranged by DiMaggio. For two weeks she took a secondary role to DiMaggio as he conducted his business, and said to a reporter, "Marriage is my main career from now on". She then travelled alone to Korea where she performed for 13,000 American marines over a three-day period, and later commented that the experience had helped her overcome a fear of performing in front of large crowds.

Returning to Hollywood in March 1954, Monroe settled her disagreement with 20th Century Fox and appeared in There's No Business Like Show Business, a musical which failed to recover its production costs. The film was received poorly; Ed Sullivan described Monroe's performance of the song "Heat Wave" as "one of the most flagrant violations of good taste" he had witnessed, Time compared her unfavourably to co-star Ethel Merman, while Bosley Crowther for The New York Times said that Mitzi Gaynor had surpassed Monroe's "embarrassing to behold" performance. The reviews echoed Monroe's opinion of the film, which she had made reluctantly, with the assurance that she would be given the starring role in the film adaption of the Broadway hit The Seven Year Itch.

In September 1954, Monroe filmed one of the key scenes for The Seven Year Itch in New York City. In it, she stands with her co-star, Tom Ewell, while the air from a subway grating blows her skirt over her head. A large crowd watched as director Billy Wilder ordered the scene to be refilmed many times. Among the crowd was Joe DiMaggio, who was reported to have been infuriated by the spectacle. After a quarrel, witnessed by journalist Walter Winchell, the couple returned to California where they avoided the press for two weeks, until Monroe announced that they had separated. Their divorce was granted in November 1954. The filming was completed in early 1955, and after refusing what Monroe considered to be inferior parts in The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing and How to Be Very, Very Popular, she decided to leave Hollywood, at the advice of Milton Greene.

Greene had first met Monroe in 1953 when he was assigned to photograph her for Look magazine. While many photographers tried to emphasize her sexy image, Greene presented her in more modest poses, and she was pleased with his work. As a friendship developed between them, she confided in him her frustration with her 20th Century Fox contract, and the roles she was offered. Her salary for Gentlemen Prefer Blondes amounted to $18,000, while freelancer Jane Russell was paid more than $100,000. Greene agreed that she could earn more by breaking away from 20th Century Fox. He gave up his job in 1954, mortgaged his home to finance Monroe, and allowed her to live with his family as they determined the future course of her career.

Truman Capote introduced Monroe to Constance Collier, who gave her acting lessons. She felt that Monroe was not suited to stage acting, but possessed a "lovely talent" that was "so fragile and subtle, it can only be caught by the camera". After only a few weeks of lessons, Collier died. Monroe had met Paula Strasberg and her daughter Susan on the set of There's No Business Like Show Business, and had previously said that she would like to study with Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio. In March 1955, Monroe met with Cheryl Crawford, one of the founders of the Actors Studio, and convinced her to introduce her to Lee Strasberg, who interviewed her the following day, and agreed to accept her as a student.

In May 1955, Monroe started dating the playwright, Arthur Miller; they had met in Hollywood in 1950 and when Miller discovered she was in New York, he arranged for a mutual friend to reintroduce them. On June 1, 1955, Monroe's birthday, Joe DiMaggio accompanied Monroe to the premiere of The Seven Year Itch in New York City. He later hosted a birthday party for her, but the evening ended with a public quarrel, and Monroe left the party without him. A lengthy period of estrangement followed.

The Seven Year Itch was released and became a success, earning an estimated $8 million. Monroe received positive reviews for her performance, and was in a strong position to negotiate with 20th Century Fox.On New Year's Eve 1955, they signed a new contract which required Monroe to make four films over a seven-year period. The newly formed Marilyn Monroe Productions would be paid $100,000 plus a share of profits for each film. In addition to being able to work for other studios, Monroe had the right to reject any script, director or cinematographer she did not approve of.

The first film to be made under the contract and production company was Bus Stop directed by Joshua Logan. Logan had studied under Konstantin Stanislavsky, approved of method acting, and was supportive of Monroe. Monroe severed contact with her drama coach, Natasha Lytess, replacing her with Paula Strasberg, who became a constant presence during the filming of Monroe's subsequent films.

In Bus Stop Monroe played Chérie, a saloon bar singer with little talent, who falls in love with a cowboy. Her costumes, make-up and hair reflected a character who lacked sophistication, and Monroe provided deliberately mediocre singing and dancing. Bosley Crowther of The New York Times proclaimed: "Hold on to your chairs, everybody, and get set for a rattling surprise. Marilyn Monroe has finally proved herself an actress." In his autobiography, Movie Stars, Real People and Me, director Logan wrote: "I found Marilyn to be one of the great talents of all time... she struck me as being a much brighter person than I had ever imagined, and I think that was the first time I learned that intelligence and, yes, brilliance have nothing to do with education." Logan championed Monroe for an Academy Award nomination and complimented her professionalism until the end of his life. Though not nominated for an Academy Award, she received a Golden Globe nomination.

During this time, the relationship between Monroe and Miller had developed, and although the couple were able to maintain their privacy for almost a year, the press began to write about them as a couple, often referred to as "The Egghead and The Hourglass". The reports of their romance were soon overtaken by news that Miller had been called to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee to explain his supposed communist affiliations. Called upon to identify communists he was acquainted with, Miller refused and was charged with contempt of Congress. He was acquitted on appeal. During the investigation, Monroe was urged by film executives to abandon Miller, rather than risk her career but she refused, later branding them as "born cowards". The press began to discuss an impending marriage, but Monroe and Miller refused to confirm the rumor. In June 1956, a reporter was following them by car, and as they attempted to elude him, the reporter's car crashed, killing a female passenger. Monroe became hysterical upon hearing the news, and their engagement was announced, partly in the expectation that it would reduce the excessive media interest they were being subjected to.They were married on June 29, 1956.

Bus Stop was followed by The Prince and the Showgirl directed by Laurence Olivier, who also co-starred. Prior to filming, Olivier praised Monroe as "a brilliant comedienne, which to me means she is also an extremely skilled actress". During filming he resented Monroe's dependence on her drama coach, Paula Strasberg, regarding Strasberg as a fraud whose only talent was the ability to "butter Marilyn up". He recalled his attempts at explaining a scene to Monroe, only to hear Strasberg interject, "Honey - just think of Coca-Cola and Frank Sinatra".

Despite Monroe and Olivier clashing, Olivier later commented that in the film "Marilyn was quite wonderful, the best of all". Monroe's performance was hailed by critics, especially in Europe, where she won the David di Donatello, the Italian equivalent of the Academy Award, as well as the French Crystal Star Award. She was also nominated for a BAFTA.

It was more than a year before Monroe began her next film; during her hiatus she lived with Miller in Amagansett, Long Island and suffered a miscarriage on August 1, 1957. With Miller's encouragement she returned to Hollywood in August 1958, and filmed Some Like it Hot directed by Billy Wilder, and co-starring Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis. Although Wilder had experienced Monroe's tardiness, stage fright, and inability to remember lines during production of The Seven Year Itch, her behavior was more hostile, and was marked by refusals to participate in filming, and occasional outbursts of profanity. She consistently refused to take direction from Wilder, or insisted on numerous retakes of simple scenes until she was satisfied. She developed a rapport with Lemmon, but she disliked Curtis after hearing that he had described their love scenes as "like kissing Hitler". Curtis later stated that the comment was intended as a joke.During filming, Monroe discovered that she was pregnant, but suffered another miscarriage in December 1958, as filming was completed.

The film became a resounding success, and was nominated for five Academy Awards. Monroe was acclaimed for her performance and won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy. Wilder commented that the film was the biggest success he had ever been associated with. He discussed the problems he encountered during filming, saying "Marilyn was so difficult because she was totally unpredictable. I never knew what kind of day we were going to have... would she be cooperative or obstructive?" He had little patience with her method acting technique and said that instead of going to the Actors Studio "she should have gone to a train-engineer's school ... to learn something about arriving on schedule." Wilder had become ill during filming, and explained, "We were in mid-flight – and there was a nut on the plane." In hindsight, he discussed Monroe's "certain indefinable magic" and "absolute genius as a comic actress", and after Some Like it Hot was completed, he discussed other projects with her, including Irma La Douce which he later filmed with Shirley MacLaine.

By this time, Monroe had only completed one film, Bus Stop, under her four picture contract with 20th Century Fox. She agreed to appear in Let's Make Love, which was to be directed by George Cukor, but she was not satisfied with the script, and Arthur Miller rewrote it. Gregory Peck was originally cast in the male lead role, but he refused the role after Miller's rewrite; Cary Grant, Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner and Rock Hudson also refused the role before it was offered to Yves Montand. Monroe and Miller befriended Montand, and his wife, the actress, Simone Signoret and filming progressed well until Miller was required to travel to Europe on business. Monroe began to leave the film set early and on several occasions failed to attend, but her attitude improved after Montand confronted her. Signoret returned to Europe to make a film, and Monroe and Montand began a brief affair that ended when Montand refused to leave Signoret. The film was not a critical or commercial success.

Monroe's health deteriorated during this period, and she began to see a Los Angeles psychiatrist, Dr. Ralph Greenson. He later recalled that during this time she frequently complained of insomnia, and told Greenson that she visited several medical doctors to obtain what Greenson considered an excessive variety of drugs. He concluded that she was progressing to the point of addiction, but also noted that she could give up the drugs for extended periods, without suffering any withdrawal symptoms. According to Greenson, the marriage between Miller and Monroe was strained; he said that Miller appeared to genuinely care for Monroe and was willing to help her, but that Monroe rebuffed while also expressing resentment towards him for not doing more to help her. Greenson stated that his main objective at the time was to enforce a drastic reduction in Monroe's drug intake.

In 1956 Arthur Miller had lived briefly in Nevada and wrote a short story about some of the local people he had become acquainted with, a divorced woman and some aging cowboys. By 1960 he had developed the short story into a screenplay, and envisioned it as a suitable role for Monroe. It became her last completed film, The Misfits, directed by John Huston and costarring Clark Gable, Montgomery Clift and Thelma Ritter. Filming commenced in July 1960, with most of it taking place in the hot Northern Nevada Black Rock Desert. Monroe was frequently ill and unable to perform, and away from the influence of Dr. Greenson, had resumed her consumption of sleeping pills and alcohol. A visitor to the set, Susan Strasberg, later described Monroe as "mortally injured in some way," and in August, Monroe was rushed to Los Angeles where she was hospitalized for ten days. Newspapers reported that she had been near death, although the nature of her illness was not disclosed. Louella Parsons wrote in her newspaper column that Monroe was "a very sick girl, much sicker than at first believed", and disclosed that she was being treated by a psychiatrist.

Monroe returned to Nevada and completed the film, but she became hostile towards Arthur Miller, and public arguments were reported by the press. Making the film had proved to be an arduous experience for the actors; in addition to Monroe's distress, Montgomery Clift had frequently been unable to perform due to illness, and by the final day of shooting, Thelma Ritter was in hospital suffering from exhaustion. Gable, commenting that he felt unwell, left the set without attending the wrap party. Monroe and Miller returned to New York on separate flights.

Within ten days Monroe had announced her separation from Miller, and Gable had died from a heart attack. Gable's widow, Kay, commented to Louella Parsons that it had been the "eternal waiting" on the set of The Misfits that had contributed to his death, though she did not name Monroe. When reporters asked Monroe if she felt guilty about Gable's death, she refused to answer, but the journalist, Sidney Skolsky, recalled that privately she expressed regret for her poor treatment of Gable during filming and described her as being in "a dark pit of despair". Monroe later attended the christening of the Gables' son, at the invitation of Kay Gable.

During the following months, Monroe's dependence on alcohol and prescription medications began to take a toll on her health, and friends such as Susan Strasberg later spoke of her illness. Her divorce from Arthur Miller was finalized in January 1961, with Monroe citing "incompatibility of character", and in February she voluntarily entered the Payne Whitney Psychiatric Clinic. Later describing the experience as a "nightmare", she was able to phone Joe Di Maggio from the clinic, and he immediately traveled from Florida to New York to facilitate her transfer to the Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, where she remained for three weeks. Illness prevented her from working for the remainder of the year; she underwent surgery to correct a blockage in her Fallopian tubes in May, and the following month underwent gall bladder surgery. She returned to California and lived in a rented apartment as she convalesced.

Monroe returned to the set of Something's Got to Give, and filmed a sequence in which she appeared nude in a swimming pool. Commenting that she wanted to "push Liz Taylor off the magazine covers", she gave permission for several partially nude photographs to be published by Life. Having only reported for work on twelve occasions out of a total of 35 days of production , Monroe was dismissed. 20th Century Fox filed a lawsuit against her for half a million dollars, and the studio's vice president, Peter Levathes, issued a statement saying "The star system has gotten way out of hand. We've let the inmates run the asylum, and they've practically destroyed it." Monroe was replaced by Lee Remick, and when Dean Martin refused to work with any other actress, he was also threatened with a lawsuit.

In the final weeks of her life, Monroe engaged in discussions about future film projects, and firm arrangements were made to continue negotiations. Among the projects was a biography of Jean Harlow. Starring roles in Billy Wilder's Irma La Douce and What a Way to Go! were also discussed; Shirley MacLaine eventually played her role in both films. Kim Novak replaced her in Kiss Me, Stupid, a comedy in which she was to star opposite Dean Martin. A film version of the Broadway musical, A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, and an unnamed World War I themed musical co-starring Gene Kelly were also discussed, but the projects did not eventuate. Her dispute with 20th Century Fox was resolved, and her contract renewed, and filming of Something's Got to Give was scheduled to resume before the end of the year. Allan "Whitey" Snyder who saw her during the last week of her life, said Monroe was pleased by the opportunities available to her, and that she "never looked better was in great spirits".

On August 5, 1962, LAPD police sergeant Jack Clemmons received a call at 4:25AM from Dr. Hyman Engelberg proclaiming that Monroe was dead at her home in Brentwood, Los Angeles, California. Sergeant Clemmons was the first police officer to arrive at the death scene. Many questions remain unanswered about the circumstances of her death and the timeline after Monroe's body was found.

The official cause of Monroe's death was classified by Dr. Thomas Noguchi of the Los Angeles County Coroners office as "acute barbiturate poisoning", which he recorded as an accidental overdose. Eight milligram percent of chloral hydrate and 4.5 milligram percent of Nembutal were found in her system after the autopsy. Her death was rumored to be a "probable suicide", but because of a lack of evidence, investigators could not classify her death as suicide or homicide. Also, some conspiracy theories involve John and Robert Kennedy with her death, while other theories suggest CIA or mafia complicity.

On August 8, 1962, Monroe was interred in a crypt at Corridor of Memories, #24, at the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles, California. Lee Strasberg delivered the eulogy.

Monroe married James Dougherty on June 19, 1942. In The Secret Happiness of Marilyn Monroe and To Norma Jeane with Love, Jimmie, he claimed they were in love, but dreams of stardom lured her away. In 1953, he wrote a piece called "Marilyn Monroe Was My Wife" for Photoplay, in which he claimed that she threatened to jump off the Santa Monica Pier if he left her. In the 2004 documentary Marilyn's Man, Dougherty made three new claims: that he invented the "Marilyn Monroe" persona; studio executives forced her to divorce him; and that he was her true love and her "dedicated friend for life".

Dougherty's actions seem to contradict these claims: he remarried months after Monroe divorced him; his sister told the December 1952 Modern Screen Magazine that he left Monroe because she wanted to pursue modeling, after he initially gave her permission to do so; he confirmed Monroe's version of the beginning of their relationship in an A&E Network Monroe documentary that his mother had asked him to marry her so that she would not be returned to an orphanage. Most telling, on August 6, 1962, The New York Times reported that, on being informed of her death, Dougherty replied "I'm sorry", and continued his LAPD patrol. He did not attend Monroe's funeral.

In 1951, Joe DiMaggio saw a picture of Monroe with Chicago White Sox players Joe Dobson and Gus Zernial, but did not ask the man who arranged the stunt to set up a date until 1952. Monroe wrote in My Story that she did not want to meet him, fearing a stereotypical jock. They eloped on January 14, 1954. During their honeymoon in Japan, she was asked to visit Korea as part of the USO. She performed ten shows in four days for over 100,000 servicemen.

DiMaggio biographer Maury Allen quoted New York Yankees PR man Arthur Richman that Joe told him that the marriage went wrong from then. On September 14, 1954, Monroe filmed the skirt-blowing scene for The Seven Year Itch in front of New York's Trans-Lux Theater. Bill Kobrin, then Fox's east coast correspondent, told the Palm Springs Desert Sun in 2006 that it was Billy Wilder's idea to turn the shoot into a media circus, and that the couple had a "yelling battle" in the theater lobby. She filed for divorce on grounds of mental cruelty 274 days after the wedding.

In February 1961, Monroe was admitted to the Payne Whitney Psychiatric Clinic. She contacted DiMaggio, who secured her release. She later joined him in Florida, where he was serving as a batting coach at the New York Yankees' training camp. Bob Hope jokingly dedicating Best Song nominee The Second Time Around to them at the 1961 Academy Awards.

According to Allen, on August 1, 1962, DiMaggio  – alarmed by how Monroe had fallen in with people he considered detrimental to her well-being  – quit his job with a PX supplier to ask her to remarry him.

After Monroe's death, DiMaggio claimed her body and arranged her funeral. For 20 years, he had a half-dozen red roses delivered to her crypt three times a week. Unlike her other two husbands or those who claimed to have known her, he never talked about her publicly or otherwise exploited their relationship.

On June 29, 1956, Monroe married playwright Arthur Miller, whom she first met in 1950, in a civil ceremony in White Plains, New York. City Court Judge Seymour Robinowitz presided over the hushed ceremony in the law office of Sam Slavitt (the wedding had been kept secret from both the press and the public). In reflecting on his courtship of Monroe, Miller wrote, "She was a whirling light to me then, all paradox and enticing mystery, street-tough one moment, then lifted by a lyrical and poetic sensitivity that few retain past early adolescence." Nominally raised as a Christian, she converted to Judaism before marrying Miller. After she finished shooting The Prince and the Showgirl with Laurence Olivier, the couple returned to the United States from England and discovered she was pregnant.

Miller's screenplay for The Misfits, a story about a despairing divorcée, was meant to be a Valentine gift for his wife, but by the time filming started in 1960 their marriage was beyond repair. A Mexican divorce was granted on January 24, 1961. On February 17, 1962, Miller married Inge Morath, one of the Magnum photographers recording the making of The Misfits.

In January 1964, Miller's play After The Fall opened, featuring a beautiful and devouring shrew named Maggie. Simone Signoret noted in her autobiography the morbidity of Miller and Elia Kazan resuming their professional association "over a casket". In interviews and in his autobiography, Miller insisted that Maggie was not based on Monroe. However, he never pretended that his last Broadway-bound work, Finishing the Picture, was not based on the making of The Misfits. He appeared in the documentary The Century of the Self, lamenting the psychological work being done on her before her death.

On May 19, 1962, Monroe made her last significant public appearance, singing "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" at a televised birthday party for President John F. Kennedy at Madison Square Garden. The dress that she wore to the event, specially designed and made for her by Jean Louis, sold at an auction in 1999 for USD $1.26 million.

Rumors have existed since the 1960s that Monroe had affairs with John or Robert Kennedy, or both. While reports of an affair with President Kennedy were covered up until the 1970s, a pamphlet published after Monroe's death in 1964 entitled The Strange Death of Marilyn Monroe, by investigator Frank Cappell, alleged a relationship between Monroe and Robert Kennedy. JFK's mistress Judith Exner also wrote about an affair that she says the president and Monroe had in her 1977 autobiography.

In her will, Monroe left Lee Strasberg her personal effects, which amounted to just over half of her residuary estate. She expressed her desire that he "distribute among my friends, colleagues and those to whom I am devoted". Instead, he stored them in a warehouse, and willed them to his widow, Anna. After successfully suing Los Angeles-based Odyssey Auctions in 1994 to prevent the sale of items taken by Monroe's former business manager, Inez Melson, in October 1999, Christie's auctioned the bulk of the items, including those recovered from Melson's family, netting US $13,405,785.

Strasberg then sued the children of four photographers to determine rights of publicity, which permits the licensing of images of deceased personages for commercial purposes. The decision as to whether Monroe was a resident of California, where she died, or New York, where her will was probated, was worth millions.

On May 4, 2007, a judge in New York ruled that Monroe's rights of publicity ended at death. In October 2007, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Senate Bill 771, The legislation, which was supported by Strasberg and the Screen Actors Guild, established that non-family members may inherit rights of publicity through the residuary clause of the deceased's will provided that the person was a resident of California at the time of death.

In March 2008, the United States District Court in Los Angeles ruled that Monroe was a resident of New York at the time of her death, citing that the executor of her estate told California tax authorities as such, and that a 1966 sworn affidavit by her housekeeper quoted Monroe as saying that she considered New York City to be her primary residence. The decision was reaffirmed by the United States District Court of New York in September 2008.

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Marilyn Monroe in popular culture

As one of the most iconic figures of the 20th century, Marilyn Monroe is frequently depicted and referenced in popular culture.

According to The Guardian, there are nearly 300 biographies on Monroe in English alone. The only volumes published while she was living was Marilyn Monroe (1961), by biographer Maurice Zolotow, and "The Marilyn Monroe Story" (1953) by Franklin and Palmer. the following are fictional takes.

Depaoli, G. Elvis + Marilyn: 2x Immortal. Rizzoli, 1994.

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Childhood of Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe was born Norma Jeane Mortenson on June 1, 1926, in the charity ward of the Los Angeles County Hospital. According to biographer Fred Lawrence Guiles, her grandmother, Della Monroe Grainger, had her baptised Norma Jeane Baker by Aimee Semple McPherson. She obtained an order from the City Court of the State of New York and legally changed her name to Marilyn Monroe on February 23, 1956.

Monroe's maternal grandparents were Otis Elmer Monroe and Della Mae Hogan. Her mother, Gladys Pearl Monroe, was born in Porfirio Diaz, Mexico, now known as Piedras Negras, on May 27, 1902 where the family had gone, so Otis could work on the railroad. The family returned to California where Gladys's brother Otis was born in 1905. Their father, suffering from syphilis that had invaded his brain, died in 1909 in Southern California State Hospital in San Bernardino County. Gladys married Jasper Baker, a native of Kentucky, in May 1917 and had two children, Robert Kermit Baker (born January 24, 1918) and Berniece Baker (Miracle) (born July 30, 1919). They were both born in Los Angeles. After Gladys and Jasper divorced, he kidnapped the children and moved to Kentucky, where he had been born, according to Miracle's book My Sister Marilyn. Gladys moved there to be near her children but later returned to Los Angeles. Her son died without her ever seeing him again, but she did reunite with her daughter many years later.

Marilyn's birth father remains unclear. After Gladys returned to Los Angeles, she married Martin Edward Mortensen (1897-1981) on October 11, 1924. They separated six months into their marriage, but the divorce wasn't finalized until over a year later, according to My Sister Marilyn. Martin's father, also named Martin, was born in Haugesund, Norway, and had immigrated to the United States about 1880 where he married Stella Higgins. Their son was born in Vallejo, California.

Biographer Donald H. Wolfe in The Last Days of Marilyn Monroe, writes his belief that Norma Jeane's biological father was Charles Stanley Gifford, a salesman for RKO Pictures where Gladys worked as a film-cutter. Monroe's birth certificate lists Gladys's second husband, Martin Edward Mortensen, as the father. Although Mortensen left Gladys before Norma Jeane's birth, some biographers think he may have been the father. In an interview with Lifetime, James Dougherty, Monroe's first husband, said Norma Jeane believed that Gifford was her father. Whoever the father was, he played no part in Monroe's life.

Unable to persuade Della to take Norma Jeane, Gladys placed her with foster parents Albert and Ida Bolender of Hawthorne, California, where she lived until she was seven. In her autobiography My Story, Monroe states she thought Albert was a girl.

One day, Gladys announced that she had bought a house. A few months after they had moved in, Gladys suffered a breakdown. In My Story, Monroe recalls her mother "screaming and laughing" as she was forcibly removed to the State Hospital in Norwalk. According to My Sister Marilyn, Gladys's brother, Marion, hanged himself upon his release from an asylum, and Della's father did the same in a fit of depression.

Norma Jeane was declared a ward of state, and Gladys' best friend, Grace McKee (later Goddard) became her guardian. After McKee married in 1935, Norma Jeane was sent to the Los Angeles Orphans Home (later renamed Hollygrove), and then to a succession of foster homes.

The Goddards were about to move to the east coast and could not take her. Grace approached the mother of James Dougherty about the possibility of her son marrying the girl. They married weeks after she turned 16, so that Norma Jeane would not have to return to an orphanage or foster care.

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Death of Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe's crypt at the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery

Marilyn Monroe was found dead in the bedroom of her Brentwood, California home by her live-in housekeeper Eunice Murray on August 5, 1962. She was 36 years old at the time of her death.

Her death was ruled to be "acute barbiturate poisoning" by Dr. Thomas Noguchi of the Los Angeles County Coroners office and listed as "probable suicide." Many individuals, including Jack Clemmons, the first Los Angeles Police Department officer to arrive at the death scene, believe that she was murdered.

The death of Marilyn Monroe is one of the most debated conspiracy theories of the twentieth and twenty first century.

The funeral arrangements for Monroe were made by her second husband, baseball legend Joe DiMaggio. They were re-connecting at the time of her death, and it is rumored that, at the time of her death, he was preparing to ask her to marry him again.

Marilyn Monroe was buried in what was known at that time as the "Cadillac of caskets"—a hermetically sealing silver-finished 48-ounce (heavy gauge) solid bronze "Masterpiece" casket lined with champagne-colored satin-silk; the casket had been manufactured by the Belmont casket company in Columbus, Ohio. Before the service, the outer lid and the upper half of the divided inner lid of her casket were opened so that the mourners could get a last glimpse of Monroe. Whitey Snyder had prepared her face, a promise he had made her if she were to die before him.

The service was the second one held at the newly built chapel at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in West Los Angeles, and only 25 people were given permission to attend. Monroe's acting coach, Lee Strasberg, delivered her eulogy. An organist played Judy Garland's song "Over the Rainbow" at the end of the service.

Monroe is interred in a pink marble crypt at Corridor of Memories, #24. Hugh Hefner owns the rights to the crypt next to Monroe's. Monroe had visited the cemetery more than once as a struggling actress because Ana Lower, the adult to whom she had been closest during her juvenile years, had been buried there in 1948. Lower was related to Grace Goddard, Monroe's official guardian during much of her childhood. When Goddard committed suicide in 1953, Monroe, by then wealthy, arranged for her burial at Westwood.

DiMaggio had a half-dozen red roses delivered to her crypt three times a week for the next 20 years and never remarried.

In 1973, Norman Mailer received publicity for having written the first bestselling book to suggest that Monroe's death was a murder staged to look like a drug overdose. The book has no footnotes and does not cite any interviews with witnesses, police officials or coroner Thomas Noguchi, who performed the autopsy, although there are many references to the Kennedy brothers. In a notorious 60 Minutes interview in August of that year, Mailer told Mike Wallace that he could not have interviewed Monroe's housemate Eunice Murray because Murray was dead before he started work on the book. Wallace said on the air that Murray was alive and listed in the West Los Angeles telephone directory.

In a 1974 book on Monroe's death that was not publicized on television, author Robert Slatzer made controversial claims about not only a conspiracy, but also his alleged brief marriage to Monroe in Tijuana, Mexico in 1952. (During that year her romance with Joe DiMaggio was reported by gossip columnists, although they did not marry until 1954.) Unlike Norman Mailer, Slatzer interviewed an authority whose name, which was unknown to the public at the time, appears in official documents from 1962. Slatzer's source was Jack Clemmons, a sergeant with the LAPD who was the first officer to report to the death scene. According to Clemmons' statements in Slatzer's book, Eunice Murray behaved suspiciously, doing laundry at 4:30 a.m. and answering his questions evasively. When Slatzer approached Murray with questions, she denied any wrongdoing by herself or by Monroe's psychiatrist Ralph Greenson, who had hired Murray to watch the actress for signs of drug abuse or suicidal tendency. Greenson himself refused to talk to Slatzer, having reacted to Norman Mailer's highly publicized book by telling the New York Post that Monroe "had no significant involvement" with John or Robert Kennedy.

In 1985, the American media publicized an investigation by British journalist Anthony Summers. That year BBC viewers saw a documentary titled The Last Days of Marilyn Monroe that was narrated by Summers and based on his research. (Years later it was seen by Americans under the title Say Goodbye To The President.) The program contained soundbite interviews with, among others, Jack Clemmons and Eunice Murray, who was still alive 12 years after Norman Mailer's erroneous claim that she was dead. A former district attorney named John Miner is also seen being interviewed. He refused at the time to say anything about his interview with a griefstricken Ralph Greenson in 1962, citing a policy of confidentiality at the district attorneys' office and Greenson's doctor/patient confidentiality. Summers also came out that year with the book Goddess, which quoted Miner as saying he was aware that Greenson was now dead, but their 1962 conversation was still confidential.

A People Weekly cover story in 1985 reported that 20/20 had cancelled a segment about Monroe's relationships with the Kennedys and the circumstances of her death. Barbara Walters, Hugh Downs and Geraldo Rivera were reported to have reacted angrily to the cancellation. The staffs of both the BBC and 20/20 had worked closely with Anthony Summers. All of these investigations had started after the 1979 death of Ralph Greenson. For the BBC program Eunice Murray initially repeated the same story she had told Robert Slatzer in 1973 and the police in 1962. She apparently noticed the camera crew starting to pack up and then said, "Why, at my age, do I still have to cover this thing?" Unknown to her, the microphone was still on. Murray went on to admit that Monroe had known the Kennedys. She volunteered that on the night of the actress' death, "When the doctor arrived, she was not dead." Murray died in 1993 without revealing further details.

According to a mini-biography of the events leading up to Monroe's untimely death written by Rachael Bell for Court TV's Crime Library, a sedative enema might have been administered on the advice of Monroe's psychiatrist, Dr. Ralph Greenson, as a sleep aid and as part of Greenson's larger project to wean his patient off barbiturates.

Bell goes on to suggest that the suspicious circumstances surrounding Monroe's death are very possibly the result of an elaborate cover-up for what was, essentially, a tragic medical mistake.

On August 5, 2005, the Los Angeles Times published an account of Monroe's death by former Los Angeles County district attorney John Miner, who was present at the autopsy. Miner claimed that she was not suicidal, offering as proof his notes on audio tapes she had supposedly recorded for Greenson and that Greenson had played for him. Miner had refused to discuss them during Anthony Summers' 1980s investigation. In 2005, Miner did not explain why he was now willing to break the confidentiality agreement he had made with Greenson in 1962.

In April 2006, CBS's 48 Hours presented an updated report by Anthony Summers on Monroe's death. Through Summers, 48 Hours gained access to audio tapes of interviews conducted by the Los Angeles District Attorney's office in 1982.

According to Summers' sources, Monroe attended social events at actor Peter Lawford's beach home in Santa Monica, California, in the months before her death that also included President John F. Kennedy and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. The 48 Hours report quoted a former Secret Service agent as stating that it was "common knowledge" among his colleagues that there was an affair between Monroe and John Kennedy. Rumors of a relationship with Robert Kennedy were not confirmed.

According to newly released FBI documents, Monroe was considered to be a security risk. In March 1962 Monroe visited Mexico on a vacation, where she socialized with Americans who were openly communist. Subsequently the FBI maintained a file about Monroe. Summers stated that, contrary to her public image as a dumb blonde, Monroe was passionate about politics and discussed atomic testing issues with President Kennedy just three months before the Cuban Missile Crisis.

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Source : Wikipedia