Marilyn would become one of the most famous actors in the world. She was known for her blonde bombshell looks and her rocky relationships with famous men. Marilyn’s soft voice, gentle manner, and beautiful smile won her fans all over the world, even though her personal life was a mess. She was also a smart businessman who changed the way films were made. Here’s how her life has changed over the years.
1926: Her mother held her
Gladys Baker is holding her daughter Norma in this picture. When the baby was only two weeks old, she took her to her first foster home. Before Gladys was hospitalised for a while because of paranoid schizophrenia, she went to see Norma and even lived with her daughter for a short time. She would spend most of her time in and out of hospitals.
In 1927, she posed for her first picture.
In what is possibly her first formal portrait, six-month-old Norma is shown.
1928: Taking a picture at age 2
Here, Norma is two years old. She was living with her first set of foster parents at the time.
1929: Time spent at the beach
Gladys, Norma’s mother, came to see her often when she was young.
1931: She smiled with her signature grin
This picture of Norma, when she is five years old, shows her beautiful smile.
1933: Having fun with dogs in the neighbourhood
Norma loved dogs and had them for most of her life, even when she was dying.
1940: When I turned 13
For this formal picture, Norma is dressed in style.
1941: She was on a boat with friends
Norma (in the middle) is seen with two friends on a trip.
Spending time with family in 1942
Norma did see her relatives from time to time. They are in a diner, and Norma is on the far right, in the middle.
When she was 16, Norma married a merchant marine named Jimmy Dougherty. This was the first time she had been married. The two stayed together until 1946.
1945: At the start of her modelling career
Here, Norma poses for an ad for hair products.
1947: She made her first movie
After signing with 20th Century Fox, Norma did a lot of press shoots in a short amount of time. She changed her stage name around this time. At the time, Marilyn was a famous first name, so she combined it with Monroe, which was her mother’s maiden name.
1947: Working on her style
This costume picture set up by the studio shows how Marilyn started to change from an all-American charmer to a movie starlet.
1947: While practising with her acting coach, Marilyn spent a lot of time getting better at what she did.
At the opening of How to Marry a Millionaire in 1953, Marilyn laughed with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.
1953: She put her hand and feet in cement.
At Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles, Marilyn’s hand and feet are in the cement. Jane Russell, who was her co-star in the movie Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, is with her.
1953: Putting names on things
People of all ages liked Marilyn. At the Grauman’s event, she signs this for a young boy.
Marilyn married Joe DiMaggio in January 1954. This was her second marriage. They are leaving the courthouse, which is where the wedding took place.
1954: Going to see the soldiers
During the Korean War, Marilyn went to see the men in Korea. As you might expect, both service members and the press were happy to see her.
1955: On our way to New York
Marilyn went to New York City to study at the Actor’s Studio because she was tired of being cast as a dumb blonde. Marilyn is holding Maf, her small white dog, in this picture.
1956: She turned 30 and had a party.
Marilyn blew out the candle on her birthday cake to mark the occasion.
Marilyn married Arthur Miller, a famous writer who won a Pulitzer Prize for his play Death of a Salesman, for the third time in 1956.
1956: Going to England
The newlyweds went to London together, where Marilyn was going to start filming her next movie.
1956: At a press meeting, he smiled.
Marilyn was hired to be in the 1957 movie The Prince and the Showgirl with Laurence Olivier, who also directed and made the movie. Her strange behaviour on set made things hard for the cast and team. The reviews for the movie were mixed.
1960: Attending a gathering to cut the ribbon
Marilyn was the guest of honour at an event in New York City to open the Time-Life Building. She is using a huge match to light the big firecracker.
Leaving the hospital in 1961
Marilyn had problems with depression and being addicted to prescription drugs. In February 1961, she was taken to a psychiatric hospital in New York for “exhaustion.” Her ex-husband, DiMaggio, helped her get out of jail.
Marilyn sang “Happy Birthday” to President John F. Kennedy on his 45th birthday in 1962. This version of the song has become an icon. She was sewn into a beautiful gown with more than 2,500 diamonds that made it sparkle.
1962: Looking back on a tale
Marilyn died in her Los Angeles home on August 5, 1962, just a few months after she turned 36. Empty bottles of prescription drugs were found in her room, and her death was ruled a “probable suicide.” Marilyn has been a symbol of beauty, style, and lasting sex appeal all over the world, despite her complicated past. She has never been matched.