Almost 60 years after her death, Marilyn Monroe remains one of Hollywood’s most famous icons. She was famous for playing the “blonde bombshell” in her films and as an actress, singer and model was symbolic of the eras changing attitudes to sex and sexuality.
Born Norma Jeane Mortenson in Los Angeles on June 1, 1926 Marilyn was had a difficult childhood spent in foster homes and an orphanage before she eventually married at the age of 16.
In 1944 she was introduced to a photographer at the Radioplane Company and began a successful modelling career. This work gave her further exposure and earned her short term contracts with both Twentieth Century Fox and Columbia Pictures. After several minor roles, Marilyn signed a contract with Fox in 1951 and starred in several films such as “Monkey Business” and “Clash By Night” and as her exposure grew so did her popularity – appearing at the 23rd Academy Awards as a presenter in March 1951.
By the mid-1950s, Marilyn was one of the most famous faces in Hollywood following leading roles in “Niagara”, “Gentleman Prefer Blondes” and “The Seven Year Itch”.
Throughout her career, Marilyn’s private life attracted a lot of media attention. She struggled with mental health issues and substance abuse and both her second and third marriages to retired baseball star Joe DiMaggio and playwright Arthur Miller ended in divorce. On August 4, 1962 she died in Los Angeles from an overdose of barbiturates, she was 36.