It may perhaps be difficult for many to appreciate why Norma Jean Mortenson is regarded as an American icon.
She lived for only 36 years, but during her short life, Marilyn Monroe, as she was later known, was able to conquer a childhood filled with challenges. She nevertheless, still managed to become one of the world’s long-lasting sex symbols and throughout her career, Marilyn’s films earned more than $200 million.
Norma Jean never knew her father, and her mother Gladys, was put in a mental institution after developing psychiatric problems. Much of her childhood was either spent in foster care, or in an orphanage.
Beginning in 1937, up to 1942, she lived with friends of the family, when family friend, Doc Goddard, was transferred to a job on the East Coast. She was once again back in foster care, but believed that getting married was her way to get out. She married Jimmy Dougherty, who was a merchant marine, in June of 1942.
When Jimmy went to the South Pacific, Norma Jean began working in an explosives factory in Burbank. It was there, that she was discovered by a photographer. When Dougherty returned in 1946, Monroe had already launched a flourishing career as a model. She also harboured dreams of becoming an actress like Lana Turner and Jean Harlow.
As she focused on her career, her marriage collapsed roofing contractors monroe la , ending in divorce in 1946, which was the same year of the signing of her first movie contract. The signing of her first contract was accompanied by a personal transformation. Her hair was dyed platinum blond, and Norma Jean was now known as Marilyn Monroe.
Her career as an actress didn’t blossom until the 1950s, when a minor appearance in a crime drama, The Asphalt Jungle, directed by John Huston attracted a lot of attention. She also drew a lot of attention, and impressed audiences with her role as Claudia Caswell in “All About Eve”, that featured Bette Davis.
Her success continued between 1953 to 1955, with appearances in the drama “Niagara” and light comedies and musicals. She then moved to New York to study acting with Lee Strasberg.
In 1959, she played Sugar Kane Kowalczyk, for which she earned a Golden Globe Award as the Best Actress in a Comedy, in the popular comedy film ” Some Like It Hot”, where she worked with Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon.
In 1961, she was reunited with John Huston, where she starred opposite Clark Gable and Montgomery Cliff in The Misfits, but it was shortly after completing the picture, that her life appeared to begin to unravel. She was fired from projects, and had a series of unsuccessful relationships and marriages.
Norma Jean died on August 5, in 1962, at her home in Los Angeles. The cause of death was ruled as an overdose of drugs.