On June 1, 1926, the film editor Gladys Pearl Baker gave birth to an unwanted, illegitimate girl at the General Hospital in Los Angeles and was placed in the care of foster parents only twelve days after birth.
Until the age of 16, the little girl was often forced to change homes and be passed around in foster homes and orphanages. Since there was rarely anyone who could take care of the child for a long time, the girl was arranged with her boyhood friend only two weeks after her 16th birthday, which saved her from having to go back to a orphanages.
However, she was now denied as a married minor, continue to attend school, which is why she did not even have a school degree. But that should not stop her from going her own way.
Her name was Norma Jeane Baker and despite her bumpy start in life, she was to become a famous movie star, singer, film producer, and in their time the most photographed woman in the world. She is considered a movie icon and sex symbol of the 20th century and we all know her to this day:
In 1944, the 18-year-old Norma Jeane worked in the assembly department of an armaments factory, where she was promptly discovered by a military photographer as a photo model when painting model aircraft.
Her talent was quickly recognized and she soon worked as a model and mannequin. For a shampoo advertisement, she let her shiny brown curls straighten and bleach. The beginning of her later look as a blond sex symbol.
Her face soon graced the covers of numerous magazines, so it was not long before her agent gave her the first test recordings of the film.
The talent searchers of the "20th Century Fox" initially offered her a half-year contract as a young actress, which was later extended by six months with double pay.
Now it was time to find a stage name, and Norma Jeane Baker became Marilyn Monroe. Marilyn after the then well-known dancer Marilyn Miller and Monroe after the maiden name of her mother.
She began with small supporting roles in B-Movies and made by the way further advertisement photos and was also photographed for nudes, which should provide a few years later still really stir.
As her popularity grew, movies and performances as singers and dancers were added, because at that time an actress had to be able to do everything.
MGM's talent department team up with director and Academy Award winner John Huston, giving Marilyn her first major role in a major production. In "The Asphalt Jungle," she showed what she could in just five minutes, and delivered a superb performance of the naive Angela Phinlay, mimicking the mistress of an elderly, fraudulent lawyer.
Her first leading role as a character actress she had in the great movie "Don’t Bother to Knock" in 1952. In 1953, the thriller "Niagara" followed, in which she understood her erotic charisma as femme fatale impressive and memorable set in scene. Unfortunately, in the following years, 20th Century Fox determined her to be the type of naive, lascivious blonde, and to get out of this drawer, she had a hard time fighting. Nonetheless, films like "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes", "How to Marry a Millionaire", "Some Like It Hot," or "The Seven Year Itch" in which she just portrayed the type of the sweet, blonde, silly girl, made her the biggest Hollywood star.
With "The Misfits" at last, she made it to the side of her much revered great actor Clark Gable the leap into the much-longed-for character compartment. Unfortunately, it should be her last movie, as well as Clark Gable, who died shortly after filming.
Marilyn considered herself a committed and serious actress. She took lessons from Lee Strasberg himself and learned Method Acting from him. She tried again and again for serious roles and hated her image as "stupid blond girl". Her efforts were not successful for a long time, which led to the sensitive artist fairly quickly to mental problems that she tried to numb with alcohol and tablets.
She loathed the drawer she was put into by her production companies, because she just wanted to be wonderful…
The art figure Marilyn Monroe is still a legend. Her look was and is often and enthusiastically copied by subsequent artists such as Madonna, Kylie Minogue, Anna Nicole Smith, Gwen Stefani and Christina Aguilera.
On August 5, 1962, Marilyn Monroe officially died in her home of an overdose of barbiturates. The circumstances of her death are still unclear and rumors continue from the insidious murder to unintentional suicide. She was only 36 years old.
"Good bye Norma Jean" - with these words in his ballad from 1973 Elton John set a memorial for her. Her body rests in a bronze coffin at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery, Los Angeles.
Text: Nadja von der Hocht
New York Sunday News [Public domain]
Teichnor Bros., Boston [Public domain]