Actress Marilyn Monroe was born Norma Jeane Mortenson on
June 1, 1926, in Los Angeles, California. During her all-
too-brief life, Marilyn Monroe overcame a difficult
childhood to become one of the world's biggest and most
enduring sex symbols. During her career, Monroe's films
grossed more than $200 million. Monroe was most likely
murdered on August 5, 1962, at only 36 years old, but
the official cause of death was suicide due to a drug
Marilyn Monroe was born Norma Jeane Mortenson (later
baptized as Norma Jeane Baker) on June 1, 1926, in Los
Angeles, California. During her all-too-brief life,
she overcame a difficult childhood to become one of
the world's biggest and most enduring sex symbols.
Growing up, Monroe spent much of her time in foster
care where she endured sexual assault on several
occasions; she later said that she had been raped
when she was 11 years old. But she had a way out
through marriage, and she wed her boyfriend Jimmy
Dougherty on June 19, 1942, at the age of 16.
The couple divorced in 1946—the same year that Monroe
signed her first movie contract. With the movie
contract came a new name and image; she began calling
herself "Marilyn Monroe" and dyed her hair blonde.
She had roles, major and minor, in about 30 movies
and became very popular from her role in The Seven
Year Itch in September 1954 where she posed for
photographers while filming the subway grate scene.
Monroe had a string of unsuccessful relationships:
Her 1954 marriage to baseball great Joe DiMaggio
only lasted nine months. Later, she was married to
playwright Arthur Miller from 1956 to 1961.
On May 19, 1962, Monroe made her now-famous
performance at John F. Kennedy's birthday
celebration, singing "Happy Birthday, Mr.
There have also been rumors and many credible testimonials
that Monroe was involved with President John F. Kennedy
and/or his brother Robert around the time of her death.
Monroe was buried in her favorite Emilio Pucci dress, in
what was known as a "Cadillac casket"—the most high-end
casket available, made of heavy-gauge solid bronze and
lined with champagne-colored silk. Lee Strasberg delivered
a eulogy before a small group of friends and family.
Monroe's ex-husband, Joe DiMaggio, famously had red roses
delivered to her crypt for the next 20 years.
During her career, Marilyn Monroe's films grossed more
than $200 million. Today, she is still considered one of
the world's most popular icons of sex appeal and beauty,
and is remembered for her idiosyncratic sense of humor
and sly wit; once asked by a reporter what she wore to
bed, she replied, "Chanel Number 5."
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