Marilyn Monroe is one of the most celebrated and controversial figures of the 20th century. She didn’t come from a wealthy background but succeeded in carving a niche for herself in Hollywood. Nevertheless, behind the glamour and fame was a woman with a complicated life. From scandalous affairs to sensational acting roles, Monroe’s life had bitter-sweet undertones.
Today, she is revered by many not just for her image as a sex symbol but also for her charisma and style.
Here are 10 timeless facts about the legend:
A Childhood of Hardship
Born to a single mother, Monroe lived in a foster home under the care of an evangelical christian family, the Bolenders. Her mother, Gladys, came back for her when she was seven and they lived together for a while. Glady would later be diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and institutionalized for the rest of Monroe’s life.
Following her mother’s hospitalization, Monroe had to depend on foster homes once again. First, she stayed with a couple under whose care she was sexually abused. This led to a decline in her grades and caused her to develop a stutter.
Next, she stayed with her mother’s friend Grace McKee Goddard but was soon the target of Goddard’s husband.
Monroe continued to move from one foster home to another until the age of 16 when she got married. She married James Dougherty in order to avoid more orphanages or foster homes. The marriage would end four years later after James joined the U.S. Merchant Marines in 1943.
She Stuttered Through Childhood Into Her Teens
Monroe’s stuttering followed her through her formative years. The stuttering disappeared, later on in her life, but resurfaced during the filming of her final film Something’s Got to Give as a result of the stressful life she was living at the time.
An Undervalued Star
Despite Monroe’s appeal in Hollywood, she was paid poorly when compared to her peers. Jane Russell, her co-star in the film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, was paid 10 times more than her.
Monroe earned only $100,000 for her role in her last film Something’s Got to Give. Meanwhile, Elizabeth Taylor got paid one million dollars for her role in Cleopatra.
Her Real Name Was Not Marilyn Monroe
Monroe was born Norma Jeane Mortenson. However, she was baptised Norma Jeane Baker. Moreover, she took up the names Jean Norman and Mona Monroe.when she began modelling. Her initial name as an actress was Jean Adair.
As a public figure, she booked into hotels as Zelda Zonk and into a psychiatric hospital with the name Faye Miller.
It wasn’t until February 1956 that she changed her name to Marilyn Monroe!
Beauty With Brains
As a rising star, the studios portrayed Monroe as a “dumb blonde”, a persona she hated. In reality, she was actually extremely intelligent. She had an IQ of 168.
She Had A Strong Dislike For Diamonds
Although Monroe was famous for singing the song, “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend,” she kept her jewelry simple /modest. She wore only costume jewelry with the exception of a diamond ring and a strand of pearls given to her by her second husband, Joe DiMaggio.
Her Dresses Are Worth Millions And Make Fashion Statements
Marilyn Monroe owned dresses which are worth millions today. The most famous one she wore while singing “happy birthday Mr. President” to John F. Kennedy was auctioned at a record-breaking price of $4.8 million. The dress was a sensation right from the moment it was unveiled and inspired the development of ‘naked’ dresses which are still worn by the likes of Beyonce and Kim Kardashian.
A Tragic Death
In 1962, Monroe got fired during the filming of Something’s Got to Give due to her chronic lateness and absence.
On August 1, she was rehired by Fox and signed a two-picture deal which would have earned her $1 million – the highest in her career. Unfortunately, she died four days later.
Her Grave Was Adorned With Flowers For 20 Years
Prior to her death, Monroe made her ex-husband Joe DiMaggio promise to leave flowers on her grave every week. He kept his promise and delivered flowers three times a week to her grave for 20 years.
What more Marilyn Monroe facts do you know?