- Monroe was born on June 1, 1926, in Los Angeles, California. Growing up, Monroe spent much of her time in foster care and in an orphanage.
- In 1937, a family friend and her husband, Grace and Doc Goddard, took care of Monroe for a few years. The Goddards were paid $25 weekly by Monroe’s mother to raise her.
- At seven years old, Monroe returned to a life in foster homes, where she endured sexual assault on several occasions; she later said that she had been raped when she was 11 years old. She dropped out of high school by age 15.
- Monroe never knew her father. As an adult, Monroe would maintain that one of her earliest memories was of her mother trying to smother her in her crib with a pillow.
- Monroe dreamt of becoming an actress like Jean Harlow and Lana Turner. When her husband was sent to the South Pacific, she began working in a munitions factory in Van Nuys, California. It was there that she was first discovered by a photographer.
- By the time Dougherty returned in 1946, Monroe had a successful career as a model. That year, she signed her first movie contract.
STAR WAS BORN
- At first, Monroe wasn’t initially considered to be star acting material. Her acting career didn’t really take off until a few years later. With her breathy voice and hourglass figure, she would soon become one of Hollywood’s most famous actresses.
- Monroe became a much-admired international star despite chronic insecurities regarding her acting abilities. She suffered from pre-performance anxiety that sometimes made her physically ill.
- Throughout her career, Monroe was signed and released from several contracts with film studios. In the mid-1950s Monroe grew tired of bubbly, dumb blonde roles and moved to New York City.
- By 1953, Monroe was one of the most marketable Hollywood stars; she had leading roles in the film noir Niagara, which focused on her sex appeal, and the comedies Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and How to Marry a Millionaire, which established her star image as a “dumb blonde”.
- She was briefly suspended in early 1954 for refusing a film project but returned to star in The Seven Year Itch (1955), one of the biggest box office successes of her career.
- Her subsequent roles included a critically acclaimed performance in Bus Stop (1956) and her first independent production in The Prince and the Showgirl (1957).
- She won a Golden Globe for Best Actress for her work in Some Like It Hot (1959), a critical and commercial success. Her last completed film was the drama The Misfits (1961).
- Monroe had three husbands in her lifetime: James Dougherty (1942-1946); Joe DiMaggio (1954) and Arthur Miller (1956-1961).
- Monroe died at her Los Angeles home on August 5, 1962, at only 36 years old. An empty bottle of sleeping pills was found by her bed.
- There has been some speculation over the years that she may have been murdered, but the cause of her death was officially ruled as a drug overdose.