Monroe in The Prince and the Showgirl (1957)
|Born||Norma Jeane Mortenson
June 1, 1926
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Died||August 5, 1962
Brentwood, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Cause of death||Barbiturate overdose|
|Resting place||Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery, Westwood, Los Angeles|
Marilyn Monroe (born Norma Jeane Mortenson; June 1, 1926 – August 5, 1962) was an American actress, model, and singer, who became a major sex symbol, starring in a number of commercially successful motion pictures during the 1950s and early 1960s.
After spending much of her childhood in foster homes, Monroe began a career as a model, which led to a film contract in 1946 with Twentieth Century-Fox. Her early film appearances were minor, but her performances in The Asphalt Jungle and All About Eve (both 1950) drew attention. By 1952 she had her first leading role in Don't Bother to Knock and 1953 brought a lead in Niagara, a melodramatic film noir that dwelt on her seductiveness. Her 'dumb blonde' persona was used to comic effect in subsequent films such as Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), How to Marry a Millionaire (1953) and The Seven Year Itch (1955). Limited by typecasting, Monroe studied at the Actors Studio to broaden her range. Her dramatic performance in Bus Stop (1956) was hailed by critics and garnered a Golden Globe nomination. Her production company, Marilyn Monroe Productions, released The Prince and the Showgirl (1957), for which she received a BAFTA Award nomination and won a David di Donatello award. She received a Golden Globe Award for her performance in Some Like It Hot (1959). Monroe's last completed film was The Misfits (1961), co-starring Clark Gable, with a screenplay written by her then-husband, Arthur Miller.
The final years of Monroe's life were marked by illness, personal problems, and a reputation for unreliability and being difficult to work with. Ever since Monroe's death from an overdose of barbiturates on August 5, 1962, the exact circumstances have been subject to conjecture. Though officially classified as a "probable suicide", the possibilities of an accidental overdose or a homicide have not been ruled out. In 1999, Monroe was ranked as the sixth-greatest female star of all time by the American Film Institute. In the decades following her death, she has often been cited as both a pop and a cultural icon as well as the quintessential American sex symbol. In 2009, TV Guide Network named her No. 1 in Film's Sexiest Women of All Time.
- 1 Life and career
- 1.1 Childhood and first marriage
- 1.2 Modeling and first film roles (1945–1949)
- 1.3 Breakthrough (1950–1952)
- 1.4 Establishment as a star (1953)
- 1.5 Conflicts with 20th Century-Fox and marriage to Joe DiMaggio (1954–1955)
- 1.6 Critical acclaim and marriage to Arthur Miller (1956–1959)
- 1.7 Final films and personal difficulties (1960–1962)
- 2 Death
- 3 Portrayals
- 4 Tributes
- 5 Filmography
- 6 Discography
- 7 Awards and nominations
- 8 Notes
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Life and career
Childhood and first marriage
Monroe was born Norma Jeane Mortenson at the charity ward of the Los Angeles County Hospital on June 1, 1926  as the third child of Gladys Pearl Baker (née Monroe, 1902 –1984), a negative-cutter at Columbia. Gladys' older children, Robert (nicknamed "Jack" or "Jackie", 1917–1933) and Berniece (1919–), were from her first marriage to John Newton Baker (also called Jasper or Jack), whom she had married in 1917 at the age of 15 after becoming pregnant by him. She had filed for divorce in 1921, after which Baker had taken the children with him to his native Kentucky; Monroe would have no contact with her sister until adulthood. Gladys had then married Martin Edward Mortensen in 1924, but they had separated after only a few months and before she had become pregnant with Monroe; they would divorce in 1928. However, in Monroe's birth certificate, Gladys named Mortensen as the father (although the name was misspelled), probably to avoid the stigma of illegitimacy. During Monroe's childhood, Mortenson, Mortensen and Baker were all variably used as her surnames.
The identity of Monroe's father is unknown. Biographers Fred Guiles and Lois Banner have stated that her father was most likely Charles Stanley Gifford, a co-worker with whom Gladys had had an affair in 1925 and whose photograph she had allegedly shown Monroe, telling her it was her father. Anthony Summers and Donald Spoto disagree. In addition to the lack of evidence to prove Gifford's paternity, Spoto has stated that Monroe did not know who her father was, although as an adult she unsuccessfully tried to contact a number of men, including Gifford, to find answers. He instead suggests that any of Gladys' boyfriends in 1925 may have been the father, naming film developer Raymond Guthrie as the strongest possibility.
When Monroe was only a few weeks old, her mother placed her with evangelical Christian foster parents Albert and Ida Bolender in Hawthorne, California, as she was unable to quit working to take care of her. She paid for Monroe's upkeep and, according to Banner, lived with them to take care of the child herself until longer working hours forced her to move back to Hollywood in 1927, after which she visited her daughter weekly. Monroe lived with the Bolenders until the age of seven in 1933, when she was able to move in with her mother. Soon after, Gladys bought a small house on Arbol Drive near the Hollywood Bowl, which they shared with lodgers, English actors George and Maude Atkinson. However, only some months later in early 1934, Gladys had a mental breakdown and was hospitalized. She was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and was institutionalized at the State Hospital in Norwalk in 1935, spending the rest of her life in and out of hospitals.
Following her mother's hospitalization, Monroe was declared a ward of the state, and her mother's friend, Grace McKee Goddard, took responsibility over her and her mother's affairs, later becoming her legal guardian. She was however often unable to foster Monroe herself, and placed her in foster families, most of them her friends and family members, although she would visit her often. In September 1935, she was placed in the Los Angeles Orphans Home Society and began attending nearby Vine Street Elementary School.[note 1] Biographers disagree on how long she spent at the orphanage, with accounts varying from nine months to two years. Spoto and Banner agree that after briefly staying with Grace and her husband Erwin "Doc" Goddard, she lived for several months from November 1937 onwards with her maternal uncle's wife Olive Monroe and their children in North Hollywood, and for over two years from September 1938 onwards with Grace's aunt, Ana Atchinson Lower, in West Los Angeles. Lower introduced Monroe to her faith, Christian Science, which services she began to attend weekly. She was enrolled in the Emerson Middle School, where she wrote for the school's newspaper and was elected "the Oomph Girl" by her classmates. Due to elderly Lower's health issues, Monroe moved to live with the Goddards in Van Nuys in either late 1940 or early 1941, although they still remained close, and after graduating from Emerson began attending Van Nuys High School.
As an adult, Monroe spoke publicly about having been sexually abused during her childhood. It is unclear when this occurred and who the perpetrator was; biographers have named George Atkinson, Doc Goddard and one of Monroe's cousins as possibilities. Due to lack of evidence to either prove or disprove the claims, biographers have been divided in their opinions: Summers, Guiles and Carl Rollyson have deemed them fabrication, while Spoto, Banner, Gloria Steinem, and Barbara Leaming have accepted them as truthful. In her analysis of the debate, Sarah Churchwell has stated that biographers' opinions on both sides have been "predetermined by what they already believe" about Monroe's personality and sexual abuse in general, and that "we simply don't know what happened".
In early 1942, the company that Doc Goddard worked for named him the head of sales at their plant in West Virginia. California laws prevented the Goddards from taking fifteen-year-old Monroe out of state, and she faced the possibility of having to return to the orphanage. As a solution, it was decided that she would marry the neighbors' 21-year-old son, James "Jim" Dougherty, a worker at the Lockheed Corporation. Biographers disagree on whether he and Monroe had already been dating before the Goddards knew they were moving or whether the marriage was entirely arranged by Grace. They married on June 19, 1942, just after Monroe had turned 16, and she subsequently dropped out of high school. She disliked being a housewife and later stated that the "marriage didn't make me sad, but it didn't make me happy, either. My husband and I hardly spoke to each other. This wasn't because we were angry. We had nothing to say. I was dying of boredom." In 1943, Dougherty enlisted in the Merchant Marine. He was initially stationed on Santa Catalina Island off California's coast, where she lived with him for several months until he was shipped out to the Pacific in April 1944, where he would remain for most of the next two years. Monroe then moved in with Dougherty's parents, and began working at the Radioplane Munitions Factory as part of the war effort, mainly spraying airplane parts with fire retardant and inspecting parachutes.
Modeling and first film roles (1945–1949)
In late 1944, photographers from the U.S. Army Air Forces' First Motion Picture Unit were sent to the Radioplane factory to shoot morale-boosting photographs of young women helping the war effort. One of the photographers, David Conover, took notice of Monroe, and although none of the pictures that he took of her at the factory were used, he offered her work as a model. She quit working at the factory in January 1945, and spent the following months modeling for him and his photographer friends. Conover also encouraged Monroe to apply to the Blue Book Model Agency, run by Emmeline Snively, which signed her in August 1945. She began to occasionally use the name Jean Norman when working, and at the suggestion of the agency had her curly brunette hair straightened and dyed blond. As her figure was deemed more suitable for pin-up than fashion modeling, she was employed mostly for advertisements and men's magazines, posing for photographers such as Andre de Dienes, Joseph Jasgur and Bruno Bernard as well as the illustrator Earl Moran. Monroe quickly became one of the agency's most successful models, to the extent of losing work due to becoming overexposed.
Impressed by her success, Snively arranged a contract for Monroe with talent agency National Concert Artists Corporation in June 1946. Through the agency, she met Ben Lyon, a 20th Century-Fox executive, who arranged a screen test for her. Darryl F. Zanuck, the head executive of the studio, was unenthusiastic about her, but was persuaded to give her a standard six-month contract in August 1946, after Hedda Hopper wrote in her gossip column that Howard Hughes was interested in signing her for RKO after seeing her in a bikini on a magazine cover. Deciding that Norma Jeane Dougherty was not a suitable screen name, Lyon and Monroe chose her the name Marilyn Monroe. The first name was his suggestion as she reminded him of Broadway star Marilyn Miller, and the last was her mother's maiden name. In September 1946, Monroe was also granted divorce from Dougherty, allowing her to concentrate fully on her acting career.
Monroe had no film roles in the first months of her contract and instead dedicated her days to acting, singing and dancing classes as well as to learning about different aspects of filmmaking. Her contract was renewed in February 1947, and during that spring she was given her first two film roles: a one-line appearance in the comedy Scudda Hoo! Scudda Hay! (1948), and minor role as a waitress with nine lines of dialogue in the drama Dangerous Years (1947).[note 2] The studio also paid for her to attend acting classes at the Actors' Laboratory Theatre, an acting school teaching the techniques of the Group Theatre. However, her contract was not renewed for a second time and she was let go in August 1947.
Following her dismissal, Monroe returned to modeling, and was also aided financially by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's (MGM) talent executive Lucille Ryman and her husband, actor John Carroll, whom she had befriended during her contract. She was able to continue taking classes at the Actors' Lab, and in October appeared as a blonde vamp in the play Glamour Preferred at the Bliss-Hayden Theater, but it was not reviewed by any major publication.
Monroe landed her second film contract, with Columbia Pictures for six months with a salary of $125 per week, in March 1948. According to Spoto, Summers and Banner, it was arranged for her by Fox executive Joseph M. Schenck, whose mistress she was at the time. At Columbia, Monroe began working with the studio's head drama coach, Natasha Lytess, who would remain her mentor until 1955, and had some modifications made to her appearance: her hairline was raised by electrolysis and her hair was bleached even lighter, to platinum blond. She appeared in only one film during the contract, the low-budget musical Ladies of the Chorus (1948), but was cast in its main role of Peggy Martin, a burlesque artist who is courted by a wealthy socialite. During the production, she began an affair with her vocal coach, Frederick M. Karger, who also paid for her to have her slight overbite corrected. Despite the starring role, Monroe's contract was not renewed in September 1948. Ladies of the Chorus was released the following month and was not a success.
After leaving Columbia, Monroe became a protégé of Johnny Hyde, vice president of the William Morris Agency. He began representing her and their relationship soon became also sexual, although she refused his proposals of marriage. To advance her career, he paid for her to have a silicone prosthesis implanted in her jaw and possibly a rhinoplasty, as well as arranged for her a bit part in the Marx Brothers film Love Happy (1949). Despite Hyde's aid, Monroe struggled financially, and in May 1949 posed for an advertisement for Pabst Blue Ribbon beer as well as in nude photos shot by photographer Tom Kelley. Although her role in Love Happy had been very small, she was chosen to participate in the film's promotional tour in New York in the summer, although its general release did not take place until 1950.
Monroe appeared in six films released in 1950. Four of them –Love Happy, A Ticket to Tomahawk, Right Cross and The Fireball– were unremarkable films in which she had minor roles, but she also had supporting roles in two critically acclaimed films: John Huston's film noir The Asphalt Jungle and Joseph Mankiewicz's drama All About Eve. In the former, Monroe played Angela, the young mistress of an aging criminal. Although her on-screen time was only five minutes, she gained a mention in Photoplay and according to Spoto "moved effectively from movie model to serious actress". In the latter, Monroe played Miss Caswell, a naïve young actress. The same year she also appeared in a television advertisement for Royal Triton motor oil.
Following Monroe's success in these roles, Hyde negotiated for her a seven-year contract with the starting salary of $500 per week (subject to annual increase) with 20th Century-Fox in December 1950. He died of a heart attack only some days afterwards, leaving her devastated. Despite her grief, 1951 turned out to be a year during which she started gaining more visibility. In March 1951, she presented an award at the 23rd Academy Awards ceremony and in September, Collier's became the first national magazine to publish a full-length profile of her. She had supporting roles in four low-budget films released in 1951, in the drama Home Town Story, which she had filmed for MGM before her contract with Fox, and in three moderately successful comedies as part of her new contract, As Young as You Feel, Love Nest, and Let's Make It Legal. Although all four films featured her "essentially [as] a sexy ornament", she received some good notices from the critics, with Bosley Crowther of The New York Times describing her as "superb" in As Young As You Feel and Ezra Goodman of the Los Angeles Daily News calling her "one of the brightest up-and-coming [actresses]" for Love Nest. To further develop her acting skills, she began taking classes with Michael Chekhov in addition to her usual ones with Lytess. Her popularity with the audiences was also growing: she was receiving several thousand letters of fan mail a week, and was declared "Miss Cheesecake of 1951" by the army newspaper Stars and Stripes, reflecting the preferences of soldiers in the Korean War. In her private life, Monroe was in a relationship with director Elia Kazan, and also briefly dated several other men, including director Nicholas Ray as well as actors Yul Brynner and Peter Lawford.
The second year of the contract saw Monroe become a celebrity and a top-billed actress. In early 1952, she began a highly publicized romance with retired baseball player Joe DiMaggio, one of the most famous sports personalities of the era. In March, a scandal broke when she revealed in an interview that she had posed for nude pictures in 1949, which were featured in popular calendars. The studio had learnt of the photographs some weeks earlier, and in order to contain their potentially disastrous effects on her career, they and Monroe had decided to talk about them openly while stressing that she had only posed for them in a dire financial situation. The strategy succeeded in gaining her public sympathy as well as increasing her popularity: the following month, she was featured on the cover of Life as "The Talk of Hollywood". Monroe added to her reputation as a new sex symbol with other publicity stunts that year, such as by wearing a dress which neckline was cut down to her navel when acting as Grand Marshal at the Miss America Pageant parade, and by stating to gossip columnist Earl Wilson that she usually wore no underwear.
The nude photo scandal ensured that all five films in which Monroe appeared in 1952 became popular with the audiences. The first of these was the drama Clash by Night, directed by Fritz Lang and released in June. Monroe was loaned to RKO for the film, in which she was featured in an atypically unglamorous role as a fish cannery worker, allowing her to show more of her acting range. It gained her positives notices, with the Hollywood Reporter stating that "she deserves starring status with her excellent interpretation," and the Daily Variety writing that she "has an ease of delivery which makes her a cinch for popularity." In July, Monroe starred in two films, as a beauty pageant contestant in the comedy We're Not Married! and as a mentally disturbed babysitter in the thriller Don't Bother to Knock. According to its writer, Nunnally Johnson, the former role was created solely to "present Marilyn in two bathing suits", but the latter film was intended as a vehicle for her to show that she could act in heavier dramatic roles. It received mixed reviews from critics, with Bosley Crowther deeming her too inexperienced for the difficult role, and Variety blaming the script for the film's problems. Her next role as an attractive secretary in the screwball comedy Monkey Business was one of the first to feature her as a "dumb, childish blonde, innocently unaware of the havoc her sexiness causes around her", marking the beginning of typecasting in her career. Monroe's final film of the year was O. Henry's Full House, in which she appeared in a minor role as a prostitute.
It was during this period that Monroe also gained "a reputation for being difficult on film sets", which would only get stronger as her career progressed: she was often late to work or did not show up at all, could not remember her lines, and would demand several re-takes before she was satisfied with her performance. Her reliance on her acting coaches, first Natasha Lytess and later, Paula Strasberg, also often irritated her directors, and biographers disagree on whether their advice improved her acting. Monroe's problems and need for support have been attributed to a combination of perfectionism, low self-esteem, stage fright, and her gradually escalating use of barbiturates and amphetamines, which most likely began during this period, initially to aid with her general anxiety and chronic insomnia. The use of medications to assist sleeping and to provide energy for long working days was not unusual in the 1950s, and was very common in the film industry. They would however provide only temporary aid and as her use of them increased, her insomnia and anxiety worsened, in addition to her depressive moods. She would also sometimes use alcohol to manage her problems, often combining it with medications, although she was able to keep her use of it under control for several years.
Establishment as a star (1953)
Monroe starred in three films released in 1953, which established her as one of the most bankable Hollywood stars as well as one of the biggest sex symbols of the 1950s. The first of these was the Technicolor film noir Niagara, in which she played Rose Loomis, a femme fatale scheming to murder her husband, played by Joseph Cotten. By Niagara, Monroe and her make-up artist Allan "Whitey" Snyder had developed the iconic make-up look that would henceforth be associated with her. Rose was the most overtly sexual role of her career, and the film included scenes in which her body was covered only by a sheet or a towel, which contemporary audiences considered shocking. However, its most famous scene was a long shot of Monroe shown from behind walking down a street with her hips swaying; it was used heavily in the film's marketing and gained her the nickname "the girl with the horizontal walk". Niagara became a box office hit upon its release in January. Reviews of the film dwelled on her sexually suggestive performance, with many finding it "indecent". Monroe also continued to attract attention with her revealing outfits in publicity events, most famously when she appeared in a skin-tight gold lamé dress at the Photoplay awards in January 1953, where she won the "Fastest Rising Star Award", prompting veteran star Joan Crawford to describe her behavior as "unbecoming an actress and a lady" to the press.
If Niagara had made Monroe one of the biggest Hollywood sex symbols and established her "look", her second film of the year, musical comedy Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, established her star image as a "dumb blonde". Based on Anita Loos' bestselling novel and its subsequent Broadway and film versions, the film focused on show girls Lorelei Lee and Dorothy Shaw, played by Monroe and Jane Russell, who are looking for rich husbands. The role of Lorelei was originally intended for Betty Grable, who had been 20th Century-Fox's most popular "blonde bombshell" in the 1940s; Monroe was now fast eclipsing her as a star who could appeal to both male and female audiences. The film included one of the most famous scenes of her career, a performance of "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" in a shocking pink dress. As part of the film's publicity campaign, she and Russell pressed their hand- and footprints in wet concrete in the forecourt of Grauman's Chinese Theatre in June. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes was released shortly after and became one of the biggest box office successes of the year, earning back more than double its production costs.
In September, Monroe made her television debut in the Jack Benny Show, playing Jack's fantasy woman in the episode "Honolulu Trip". In November, her third film of the year, How to Marry a Millionaire, was released. Repeating the successful formula of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, it featured her in the role of nearsighted and naïve beauty Pola Debevoise, who together with her friends, played by Betty Grable and Lauren Bacall, rents a penthouse from Manhattan for the summer in order to find rich husbands for all three. It was the first film filmed in and second film ever released in CinemaScope, Fox's newest asset in their attempt to win back audiences who had cut down on their cinema-going after the popularization of television. The film was another smash hit, earning even more than Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and prompting the statement that "in 1953, Fox's two greatest assets were CinemaScope and Marilyn Monroe, in that order". In both 1953 and 1954, she was listed in the annual Top Ten Money Making Stars Poll, which was compiled from the votes of movie exhibitors throughout the United States for the stars that had generated the most revenue in their theaters over the previous year.
Monroe's position as a leading sex symbol was further strengthened in December, when Hugh Hefner, who had bought the rights for her nudes from the 1949 Kelley session, featured one of the images, previously unreleased "Golden Dreams", as the centerfold and a photograph of her in a low-cut dress at the Miss America Pageant parade in 1952 as the cover in the first issue of Playboy.
Conflicts with 20th Century-Fox and marriage to Joe DiMaggio (1954–1955)
Although Monroe had become one of 20th Century-Fox's biggest stars, her contract had not changed since 1950, meaning that she was paid far less than other stars of her status and could not choose her projects or the people she worked with. She was also tired of being typecast, and her attempts to be cast in films other than comedies or musicals had been thwarted by Zanuck. In December 1953, she was slated to begin filming yet another musical comedy, The Girl in Pink Tights, with Frank Sinatra. In protest, she did not show up on set when filming was due to start, which resulted in the studio suspending her on January 4, 1954.
The suspension was front page news and Monroe immediately began a campaign of self-promotion to counter any negative publicity and to strengthen her position in the conflict. On January 14, she and Joe DiMaggio, whose relationship had been subject to constant media attention since 1952, were married at the San Francisco City Hall. They then traveled to Japan, combining a honeymoon with his business trip. From there, she traveled alone to Korea, where she performed songs from her films as part of a USO show for 60–70,000 American marines over a four-day period. After returning to Hollywood in February, she was awarded Photoplay's "Most Popular Female Star" prize. She reached a settlement with the studio in March: it included a new contract to be made later in the year, and a starring role in the film version of Broadway hit play The Seven Year Itch, for which she was to receive a bonus of $100,000.
The following month saw the release of the Western River of No Return, in which Monroe appeared opposite Robert Mitchum. She called it a "Z-grade cowboy movie in which the acting finished second to the scenery and the CinemaScope process", although it was popular with the audiences. The first film she made after returning to the studio was the musical There's No Business Like Show Business, which she strongly disliked but which the studio required her to do in exchange for dropping The Girl in Pink Tights. During the filming, she had an affair with her vocal coach, Hal Schaefer. The musical flopped upon its released in December. Monroe's performance, although she played only a supporting role, was in particular singled out for negative notices: Ed Sullivan described her performance of the song "Heat Wave" in the film as "one of the most flagrant violations of good taste" he had witnessed, while Bosley Crowther of The New York Times called her performance "embarrassing to behold".
In September 1954, Monroe began filming The Seven Year Itch in New York. Directed by Billy Wilder and co-starring Tom Ewell, the story focused on a man (Ewell), who begins to fantasize about his attractive neighbor (Monroe) after his wife and children leave him alone in New York for the summer. Although most of the film was going to be shot in a sound stage in Hollywood, the studio decided to generate advance publicity by shooting one of the film's most famous scenes, in which Monroe is standing on a subway grate with the air blowing up the skirt of her white dress, also on location on Lexington Avenue. The filming lasted for several hours as the scene was re-taken multiple times, and attracted a crowd of nearly 2,000 spectators, including professional photographers.
While the publicity stunt placed Monroe on the front pages of newspapers all over the world, it also marked the end of her marriage to DiMaggio, who was furious about it. Their union had been troubled from the start. He was jealous and controlling, disliked her working or being more popular than him and resented her wearing of revealing clothes. Some biographers have also asserted that he was physically abusive. After returning to Hollywood, she hired famous defense lawyer Jerry Giesler and announced that she was filing for divorce, citing "grievous mental suffering and anguish", in a press conference on October 5, 1954. The divorce received additional media attention after DiMaggio and his friend Frank Sinatra were sued by a woman into whose apartment they had broken in an attempt to catch Monroe and Schaefer together.
After filming wrapped in November, Monroe began a new battle for control over her career and left Hollywood for the East Coast, where she founded her own production company, Marilyn Monroe Productions (MMP), with photographer Milton Greene – an action that has later been called "instrumental" in the collapse of studio system.[note 3] They announced the new company with a press conference in early January 1955, and proclaimed that she was no longer under contract with Fox, as the studio had not fulfilled its duties, such as paying her the promised bonus for The Seven Year Itch. This began a year-long legal battle between her and the studio. The press largely ridiculed Monroe for her actions and she was also parodied in Itch writer George Axelrod's stage hit, Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1955), in which her lookalike Jayne Mansfield played a dumb actress who starts her own production company.
In addition to negotiating with the studio and starting her own company, Monroe dedicated 1955 to studying her craft. After staying for a while with Greene and his family in Connecticut, she moved to New York, where she began taking acting classes with Constance Collier and attending workshops on method acting at the Actors Studio, run by Lee Strasberg. She became close to Strasberg and his wife Paula, receiving private lessons at their home due to her shyness and soon becoming "like a family member". She dismissed her old drama coach, Natasha Lytess, and replaced her with Paula, who were to remain an important influence in her career henceforward. Following Strasberg's teachings, Monroe also started undergoing psychoanalysis, as according to the principles of method acting, an actor must construct their performance by using their own life experiences. From 1955 until her death in 1962, she was treated by several psychotherapists, Margaret Hohenberg (1955–1957), Anna Freud (1957), Marianne Kris (1957–1961), and Ralph Greenson (1960–1962).
In order to remain in the public eye, Monroe arranged publicity for herself throughout the year, such as riding an elephant at the Ringling Brothers Circus Charity Gala in Madison Square Garden, appearing with Greene and his wife Amy in the television program Person to Person, and attending the centennial celebrations of Bement, Illinois, the site of the Lincoln-Douglas debates. The Seven Year Itch was released in June, and became one of the highest-grossing films of the summer. Despite the divorce proceedings, Monroe and DiMaggio had continued their relationship, and he accompanied her to the premiere. She also occasionally dated actor Marlon Brando and began an affair with playwright Arthur Miller, whom she had first been introduced to by Kazan in the early 1950s. By the time her divorce from DiMaggio became final in October 1955, Miller had left his wife, Mary Grace Slattery, and their relationship had become serious. The studio urged Monroe to end the affair, as he was being investigated by the FBI for allegations of communism and had been subpoenaed by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), and hence she risked becoming blacklisted. The FBI also opened a file on her. Despite the considerable risk to her career, Monroe refused to end the relationship, later calling the studio heads "born cowards".
By the end of the year, Monroe and Fox had come to an agreement. It was clear that MMP was not going to be able to finance films alone, and the studio was eager to have Monroe working again. Under the new seven-year contract, she would be required to make four films for Fox, for each of which she would be paid $100,000. She would now also have the right to choose her projects as well as directors and cinematographers, and to make one film with MMP per each completed film for Fox.
Critical acclaim and marriage to Arthur Miller (1956–1959)
Monroe began 1956 by announcing her win over 20th Century-Fox, which prompted Time to call her a "shrewd businesswoman", and the first projects of her company, film adaptations of the plays Bus Stop, to be co-produced with Fox, and The Sleeping Prince, which was to be directed and co-starred by Laurence Olivier. She also changed her name officially to Marilyn Monroe in March. Her relationship with Miller became public knowledge that spring, prompting some negative comments from the press, as exemplified by Walter Winchell's statement that "America's best-known blonde moving picture star is now the darling of the left-wing intelligentsia." Miller announced their intention to marry at a press conference he held in June 1956 to declare that he was refusing to co-operate with the HUAC. Eight days later, on June 29, they were married at the Westchester County Court in White Plains, New York, and two days later had a second, Jewish ceremony at his agent's house near Katonah, New York. With the marriage, Monroe converted to Judaism, which led to Egypt banning all of her films. The media saw the union as mismatched given her star image as a "dumb blonde" and his position as an intellectual, as demonstrated by headlines such as Variety's "Egghead Weds Hourglass".
The first film that Monroe made under the new contract was Bus Stop, released in August 1956. She played Chérie, a talentless saloon singer whose dreams of becoming a star are complicated by a naïve cowboy (Don Murray) who falls desperately in love with her. For the role, she learnt an Ozark accent, chose costumes and make-up that lacked the glamour of the costumes of her earlier films, and provided deliberately mediocre singing and dancing. Broadway director Joshua Logan was employed to direct, despite his initial doubt of her ability to act and knowledge of her reputation for being difficult on set. The filming took place in Idaho and Arizona between March and May 1956, and proceeded well after Logan adapted to her tardiness and perfectionism, and allowed her to run the production the way she wanted it. Bus Stop became a box office hit, and received mainly favorable reviews, with Bosley Crowther of The New York Times proclaiming: "Hold on to your chairs, everybody, and get set for a rattling surprise. Marilyn Monroe has finally proved herself an actress." She also received a Golden Globe nomination for her performance.
In August 1956, Monroe began filming MMP's first independent production, The Sleeping Prince, now renamed The Prince and the Showgirl, at Pinewood Studios in England. It was a period film set in 1911, in which she played a show girl who has an affair with the fictional Prince Regent of Carpathia (Laurence Olivier). Its filming was troubled due to conflicts between her and director/co-star Olivier. He was frustrated by the state of his career, and angered Monroe by being patronizing to her, telling her "All you have to do is be sexy", and by trying to make her play the lead role exactly like Vivien Leigh had done in the stage version. He also disliked the constant presence of Paula Strasberg, her acting coach, on set. In retaliation to Olivier's treatment of her, Monroe started arriving late to work and became difficult to work with. Her drug use also increased during the production and according to Spoto, she had a miscarriage. Other conflicts also took place: she argued with Greene over the running of MMP and whether Miller should join it, and Greene and Olivier disagreed on who should be named executive producer in the credits. Despite the difficulties, the film was completed on schedule by the end of the year. It was released in June 1957, receiving mixed reviews and proving unpopular with the audiences in the United States. It was however better received in Europe, where she received the Italian David di Donatello and the French Crystal Star awards, and was nominated for a BAFTA.
After completing The Prince and the Showgirl, Monroe took an 18-month hiatus from work to concentrate on married life on the East Coast. She and Miller split their time between a rented apartment in New York and a farmhouse in Roxbury, Connecticut, and spent the summer in Amagansett, Long Island. She became pregnant in the summer of 1957, but it turned out to be ectopic and had to be terminated. Her gynecological issues were most likely caused by endometriosis, a chronic disease from which she suffered throughout her adult life.[note 4] During the hiatus, she dismissed Greene from MMP and bought his share of the company as they could not settle their disagreements.
Monroe returned to Hollywood in July 1958 to play the female lead, singer Sugar Kane, in Billy Wilder's comedy Some Like It Hot, about two men (Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis) who dress as women and join her all-female orchestra after needing to go into hiding after witnessing the Valentine's Day Massacre. In the film, she performed one of her most famous songs, "I Wanna Be Loved by You". Although the role was another "dumb blonde", she accepted it due to Miller's encouragement and the offer of receiving 10% of its profits in addition to her standard pay.
The difficulties of the film's production have since become "legendary". Wilder, Curtis and Lemmon found her difficult to work with: she would demand dozens of re-takes, and could not remember her lines or act as directed – Curtis famously stated that kissing her in a romantic scene was "like kissing Hitler" due to the number of times it had to be re-taken. Many of the issues stemmed from a power struggle between Wilder, who also had a reputation for being difficult on set, and Monroe on how she should play the role, which stupidity she disliked. Banner has stated that she triggered Wilder's anger by asking him to alter many of her scenes, which in turn made her stage fright worse, and Churchwell has suggested that she deliberately ruined several scenes in order to act it her way. In the end, he was happy with her performance, stating: "Anyone can remember lines, but it takes a real artist to come on the set and not know her lines and yet give the performance she did!" Monroe also encountered difficulties in her private life that autumn, as she had become pregnant again during the production but miscarried soon after filming ended in November. Despite the difficulties of its production, when Some Like it Hot was released in March 1959, it became one of the most successful films of the 1950s, and earned Monroe a Golden Globe.
Final films and personal difficulties (1960–1962)
After Some Like It Hot, Monroe took another hiatus from working until late 1959, when she returned to Hollywood to star in the musical comedy Let's Make Love, about an actress whose theater company stages a satire about a billionaire, who by accident ends up being cast playing himself, for 20th Century-Fox. Truman Capote also lobbied for her to play Holly Golightly in Paramount's film adaptation of Breakfast at Tiffany's, but the role went to Audrey Hepburn as the studio feared that she would complicate its production. Monroe chose George Cukor to direct Let's Make Love and Miller re-wrote portions of the script, which she considered weak; she had only accepted the part because she had so far only made one film out of the four stipulated by her contract with the studio. Fox had difficulties in finding a male star for the role of the billionaire, eventually casting French star Yves Montand, who had not previously acted in American films. The filming was again complicated by Monroe's behavior, and her absences caused delays in its production schedule. While working on the film, she and Montand had an affair, which was widely reported by the press and used by the studio in the film's publicity campaign. Let's Make Love flopped upon its released in September 1960.
The last film that Monroe completed was The Misfits, based on a short story that Miller had developed into a screenplay with the idea of providing her with a role in a drama, and for which her company paid him $250,000. Directed by John Huston, it was filmed in the Nevada desert, and focused on the friendship between a recently divorced woman (Monroe) and three aging cowboys, played by Clark Gable, Eli Wallach and Montgomery Clift, who capture mustangs for a living. Its filming between July and November 1960 was difficult. Monroe and Miller's marriage was effectively over by this time, and he began a relationship with photographer Inge Morath, who had been hired to document the filming. Monroe resented her character, which she thought was "less nuanced" than the male roles, and disliked that he had included elements of her life in it. She also struggled with his habit of re-writing scenes the night before filming, forcing her to rehearse through the night. In addition, her health was failing: she was in pain from gall stones, and her drug addiction was severe by this point, to the extent that her make-up had to usually be applied while she was still asleep under the influence of barbiturates. In August, filming was halted for her to spend a week detoxing in a Los Angeles hospital. Other cast and crew members also struggled: the Nevada heat made filming difficult, Huston spent nights drinking and gambling with the result of sometimes falling asleep on set, and Gable suffered a fatal heart attack only days after completing the film. Monroe and Miller separated after filming wrapped, and she was granted a quick divorce in Mexico in January 1961. The Misfits was released the following month, receiving mixed reviews and failing at the box office.
There were plans for Monroe to next play Sadie Thompson in a television adaptation of W. Somerset Maugham's short story Rain for NBC, but the project fell through as the channel did not want to hire her choice for director, Lee Strasberg. Instead of new film projects, she spent a large part of 1961 preoccupied by her health problems, undergoing surgery for her endometriosis and a cholecystectomy, and spending four weeks in hospital care to overcome her depression. At the suggestion of her psychiatrist Marianne Kris, she first admitted herself to the Payne Whitney Psychiatric Clinic in New York. Kris later stated that her choice of hospital was a mistake: Monroe was placed on a ward meant for severely mentally ill people with psychosis, where she was locked in a padded cell and was not allowed to move to a more suitable ward or to leave the hospital. In desperation, she reached out to the Strasbergs, but they were unable to secure her release as they were not family members. Finally, after spending three days at the ward, she was released with the help of her ex-husband Joe DiMaggio and moved to the more suitable Columbia University Medical Center, where she spent further 23 days. They had not been in contact since the finalization of their divorce in 1955, but now rekindled their friendship. In spring 1961, Monroe moved back to Los Angeles, where she began a relationship with Frank Sinatra, and in early 1962 purchased a house on 12305 Fifth Helena Drive in Brentwood.
Monroe returned to the public eye in 1962, receiving a "World Film Favorite" Golden Globe award in March and beginning to shoot a new film for 20th Century-Fox, Something's Got to Give, a re-make of My Favorite Wife (1940), in late April. It was to be co-produced by MMP, directed by George Cukor and co-starred by Dean Martin and Cyd Charisse. Monroe was absent for the first two weeks of filming due to the flu; biographers have also attributed her absence to sinusitis or her ongoing drug addiction. On May 19, she took a break from filming to sing "Happy Birthday" on stage at president John F. Kennedy's birthday celebration at the Madison Square Garden in New York, attracting attention with her costume: a beige, skintight dress covered in rhinestones, which made her appear nude. Most biographers agree that she had an affair with Kennedy at some point in the last two years of her life, although they disagree on its length and timing. There is however no consensus on whether she was also involved with his brother, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy.
After returning to work, Monroe filmed a scene in which she swam naked in a swimming pool. To generate advance publicity, the press were invited to take photographs of the scene, which were later published in Life; this was the first time that a major star had posed naked while at the height of their career. When she was again absent from filming for several days, the studio fired her on June 7 and sued her for breach of contract, demanding $750,000 in damages. She was replaced by Lee Remick, but after Martin refused to make the film with anyone other than Monroe, Fox sued him as well and shut down the production.
The studio publicly blamed Monroe's drug addiction and alleged lack of professionalism for the demise of the film, even claiming that she was mentally disturbed. Their version remained largely uncontested until 1990, when the surviving footage from Something's Got to Give was released, showing that unlike the studio had claimed, when Monroe had shown up on set, she had been coherent and able to film several scenes. According to a later statement by the film's producer Henry Weinstein, her dismissal was linked to 20th Century-Fox's severe financial problems, resulting from loss of audiences due to television and the production of Cleopatra (1963), as well as the inexperience of head executive of Peter Levathes, rather than solely caused by her being difficult to work with.
To counter the negative publicity, Monroe engaged in several publicity ventures after her dismissal. They included an interview with Richard Meryman for Life, a photo shoot by George Barris for Cosmopolitan, and her first photo shoot for Vogue. For the latter publication, Monroe and photographer Bert Stern collaborated for two series of photographs, one a standard fashion editorial, and another of her posing nude, which were both later published posthumously with the title The Last Sitting. She was either in negotiations to be re-hired or had already made a new deal with the studio for Something's Got to Give in the final weeks of her life, and was also in talks about other possible film roles.[note 5]
Monroe spent the last day of her life, August 4, at her Brentwood home. In the morning, she met with photographer Lawrence Schiller to discuss the possibility of Playboy publishing the swimming pool photos from Something's Got to Give. Her publicist Patricia Newcomb, who had stayed overnight, was also present in the house during the day, and had an argument with Monroe, who was irritated due to insomnia. In the afternoon, her psychiatrist Dr. Ralph Greenson came to the house to conduct a therapy session with her and stayed until 7 PM. He asked her housekeeper, Eunice Murray, to stay overnight to keep company for her. Monroe retired to her bedroom afterwards, and at 7:15 received a call from Joe DiMaggio, Jr., with whom she had stayed close since her marriage to his father. He told her that he had broken up with a girlfriend whom she did not like, and detected nothing alarming in her behavior. She then telephoned Greenson to tell him the good news, and Peter Lawford to cancel her attendance at his dinner party that evening. According to Lawford, she called him again at 8:15, sounding like she was under the influence of drugs, and told him to "Say good-bye to the president and say good-bye to yourself, because you're a good guy", before ending the call. Concerned, he unsuccessfully tried to call her back and then called his manager, who contacted her lawyer, Milton A. Rudin. Rudin called Murray at around 8:30, and she assured him that Monroe was fine.
At around 3 AM, Murray woke up "sensing that something was wrong", and saw light from under Monroe's bedroom door, but was not able to get a response and found the door locked. She telephoned Greenson, on whose advice she looked in through a window and saw Monroe lying prone on her bed, covered by a sheet and clutching a phone. He arrived shortly after and entered the room by breaking a window, finding Monroe dead. He called her physician, Dr. Hyman Engelberg, who arrived at the house at around 3:50 AM and pronounced her dead. At 4:25 AM, they notified the Los Angeles Police Department.
Her autopsy was conducted later that morning by deputy coroner Dr. Thomas Noguchi. The Los Angeles County Coroners Office was assisted by a team of experts from the Los Angeles Suicide Prevention Center, who interviewed Monroe's doctors and psychiatrists on her mental state. Based on her advanced state of rigor mortis at the time she was found, it was estimated that she had died between 8:30–10:30 PM. The toxicological analysis concluded that the cause of death was an acute barbiturate poisoning, as she had 8 mg of chloral hydrate and 4.5 mg of pentobarbital (Nembutal) in her blood, and a further 13 mg of pentobarbital in her liver – dosages several times over the lethal limit. Empty bottles which had contained these medications, prescribed by her doctors and refilled in the previous week, were found next to her bed by the police. Monroe's doctors and psychiatrists stated that she had been prone to depression, and had overdosed several times in the past, possibly intentionally. Due to these facts and the lack of any indication of foul play, her death was classified a probable suicide.
Monroe's death was front-page news in the United States and Europe. According to Lois Banner, "it's said that the suicide rate in Los Angeles doubled the month after she died; the circulation rate of most newspapers expanded that month". Her funeral was held at the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery, where her foster parents Ana Lower and Grace McKee Goddard had also been buried, on August 8. It was arranged by Joe DiMaggio and her business manager Inez Melson, who decided to invite only around thirty of her closest family members and friends, excluding most of Hollywood. Police were also present to keep the press away and to control the several hundreds of spectators who crowded the streets around the cemetery. The funeral service, presided over by a local minister, was conducted at the cemetery's chapel. The eulogy was delivered by Lee Strasberg, and a selection from Tchaikovsky's Sixth Symphony as well as a record of Judy Garland singing "Over the Rainbow" were played. Monroe was afterwards interred at crypt No. 24 at the Corridor of Memories.[note 6] She was wearing a green Emilio Pucci dress and holding a bouquet of small pink roses; her longtime make-up artist and friend, Whitey Snyder, had done her make-up. DiMaggio arranged for red roses to be placed in a vase attached to the crypt for the next 20 years.
Several conspiracy theories about Monroe's death have been proposed in the decades afterwards, including murder, medical malpractice, and accidental overdose. The murder speculations first gained mainstream attention with the publication of Norman Mailer's Marilyn: A Biography in 1973, and in the following ten years became widespread enough for the Los Angeles County District Attorney John Van de Kamp to conduct a "threshold investigation" in 1982 to see whether the claims of murder were credible enough for the opening of a criminal investigation. However, no evidence pointing to foul play was found.
Administration of estate
In her will, Monroe left several thousand dollars to her half-sister Berniece Baker Miracle, her secretary May Reis, and for the education of her friend Norman Rosten's daughter, as well as founded a $100,000 trust fund to cover the costs from the care of her mother and the widow of her acting teacher Michael Chekhov. From the remaining estate, she granted 25% to her former psychiatrist Marianne Kris "for the furtherance of the work of such psychiatric institutions or groups as she shall elect", and 75%, including her personal effects, film royalties and real estate, to Lee Strasberg, whom she instructed to distribute her effects "among my friends, colleagues and those to whom I am devoted". Due to legal complications, "no beneficiaries were paid until 1971".
When Strasberg died in 1982, his inheritance of Monroe's estate went to his widow, Anna, who claimed Monroe's publicity rights and began to license her image to companies. In 1990, she unsuccessfully sued the Anna Freud Centre, which had inherited Kris, in an attempt to gain full rights to Monroe's estate. Six years later, she hired CMG Worldwide to manage the licensing rights. In 1996, she also successfully prevented Odyssey Group, Inc. from auctioning Monroe's effects that her business manager Inez Melson had obtained when she died. Against Monroe's wishes, Lee Strasberg had never distributed her effects amongst her friends, and instead they were auctioned by Christie's in 1999, netting $13.4 million. In 2000, Anna Strasberg founded Marilyn Monroe LLC.
Marilyn Monroe LLC's claim to exclusive ownership of Monroe's publicity rights became subject to a "landmark [legal] case" in 2006, when the heirs of three freelance photographers who had photographed her, Sam Shaw, Milton Greene, and Tom Kelley, successfully challenged the company in courts in California and New York. In May 2007, the courts determined that Monroe could not have passed her publicity rights to her estate, as the first law granting such right, the California Celebrities Rights Act, was not passed until 1985. Soon after, in October 2007, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Senate Bill 771, for which Anna Strasberg and the Screen Actors Guild amongst others had lobbied for, and which established that non-family members may inherit rights of publicity through the residuary clause of the deceased's will, provided that the person was a resident of California at the time of death. However, it did not help the estate, as the United States District Court in Los Angeles ruled in March 2008 that Monroe was a resident of New York at the time of her death, citing the statement of the executor of her estate to California tax authorities, and a 1966 affidavit by her housekeeper. The decision was reaffirmed by the United States District Court of New York in September 2008. Anna Strasberg was subsequently fined $200,000 and ordered to pay $30,000 by a New York court "for delaying the handing over of documents showing that Monroe was legally a New Yorker on her death."
In 2010, the estate terminated their business relationship with CMG Worldwide. The same year, Monroe's Brentwood home was sold for $3.8 million, and a selection of her writings found in the effects that she had left for Strasberg were published as a book, Fragments: Poems, Intimate Notes, Letters. The following year, the estate sold the licensing rights to Authentic Brands Group.
Monroe has been portrayed by:
- Misty Rowe in Goodbye Norma Jeane (a highly fictionalized telling of Marilyn's early years) (1976)
- Catherine Hicks in Marilyn: The Untold Story (1980)
- Linda Kerridge plays a Monroe look-alike in the horror film Fade to Black (1980)
- Theresa Russell in Insignificance, where an unnamed Monroe goes to a fictional meeting with Albert Einstein, Joseph McCarthy, and husband Joe DiMaggio (1985)
- Susan Griffiths is a Marilyn Monroe impersonator who has either portrayed Monroe or a look-alike, in the biopic Marilyn & Me (1991), in the 1994 film Pulp Fiction, and in the TV series Quantum Leap, Dark Skies, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Timecop
- Melody Anderson in Marilyn & Bobby: Her Final Affair (1993)
- Ashley Judd as the younger Marilyn, and by Mira Sorvino as the older Marilyn in the film Norma Jean & Marilyn (1996)
- Barbara Niven in The Rat Pack (1998)
- Kerri Randles in Introducing Dorothy Dandridge (1999)
- Poppy Montgomery in Blonde (2001)
- Holly Beavon in James Dean (2001)
- Sophie Monk in The Mystery of Natalie Wood (2004)
- Samantha Morton plays a Marilyn Monroe impersonator in Mister Lonely (2007)
- Michelle Williams in My Week with Marilyn (2011)
Monroe has been portrayed by:
- Constance Forslund in This Year's Blonde (1980)
- Suzie Kennedy impersonated Marilyn Monroe in the episode Who Killed Marilyn Monroe? (2003) of the TV series Revealed and in the Italian movie Io & Marilyn (2009)
- Charlotte Sullivan in The Kennedys (2011)
- Megan Hilty, Uma Thurman and Katharine McPhee play actresses who portray Monroe in the TV series Smash (2012–13).
- Kelli Garner in The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe (2015)
Monroe has been portrayed by:
- Laura Aikin in Robin de Raaff's opera Waiting for Miss Monroe (2012)
- Sunny Thompson in the one woman production Marilyn: Forever Blonde
- Eivør Pálsdóttir in Gavin Bryars' opera Marilyn Forever
- Willem de Kooning: Marilyn Monroe, 1954
- James Gill: Marilyn Triptych, 1962
- James Rosenquist: Marilyn Monroe I, 1962
- Mimmo Rotella: Marilyn Monroe, 1962
- Wolf Vostell: Marilyn Monroe, 1962
- Andy Warhol: Marilyn Diptych, 1962
- Richard Hamilton: My Marilyn, 1966
- Salvador Dalí: Mao Monroe, 1967
- Robert Rauschenberg: Test Stone #1, 1967
- George Segal: The Film Poster, 1967
- Richard Lindner: Marilyn was here, 1970
- Ray Johnson: Dear Marilyn Monroe, 1972–1994 and Dear Marilyn Monroe, To Chuck Close, 1980–1994
- Audrey Flack: Marilyn: Golden Girl, 1978
- Richard Serra: Marilyn Monroe–Greta Garbo, 1981
- Gottfried Helnwein: Boulevard of Broken Dreams, 1984
- Peter Blake: Marilyn Monroe Over a Painting No 1, 1989–1990,
- Douglas Gordon: As Kurt Cobain, as Andy Warhol, as Myra Hindley, as Marilyn Monroe, 1996
- Barbara Kruger: Not Stupid Enough, 1997
- Mel Ramos: Peek-a-boo Marilyn, 2002
- Gina Lollobrigida: My Friend Marilyn Monroe, 2003
Monroe has been portrayed by:
- Lorenzo Ferrero in the opera Marilyn (1980)
- Madonna in the Material Girl music video (1985)
- Mariah Carey in her music video "I Still Believe" (1998)
- Mariah Carey in her music video "Don't Forget About Us" (2005). She portrays Marilyn Monroe from the pool scene of the unfinished 1962 film Something's Got To Give.
- Lana del Rey in "National Anthem" (2012)
The asteroid 3768 Monroe was named after her.
|Year||Film title||Song title||Notes|
|1948||Ladies of the Chorus||"Every Baby Needs a Da-Da-Daddy"|
|"Anyone Can See I Love You"|
|"Ladies of the Chorus"|
|1950||A Ticket to Tomahawk||"Oh, What a Forward Young Man You Are"|
|1953||Gentlemen Prefer Blondes||"Two Little Girls from Little Rock"|
|"When Love Goes Wrong"|
|"Bye Bye Baby"|
|"Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend"|
|1953||Recordings for RCA||"She Acts Like A Woman Should"|
|"You'd Be Surprised"|
|"A Fine Romance"|
|"Do It Again"|
|1954||River of No Return||"I'm Gonna File My Claim"|
|"One Silver Dollar"||Covered by Vaya Con Dios (album track)|
|"Down in the Meadow"|
|"River of No Return"|
|1954||There's No Business Like Show Business||"Heat Wave"|
|"After You Get What You Want"|
|"A Man Chases a Girl"|
|1956||Bus Stop||"That Old Black Magic"|
|1957||The Prince and the Showgirl||"I Found a Dream"|
|1959||Some Like It Hot||"Runnin' Wild"|
|"I Wanna Be Loved By You"|
|"I'm Through With Love"|
|"Some Like It Hot"|
|1960||Let's Make Love||"My Heart Belongs to Daddy"|
|"Let's Make Love"|
|1962||–||"Happy Birthday, Mr. President"|
"When I Fall In Love"
Contrary to popular belief, Monroe did not ever record the song "When I Fall In Love". The version widely attributed to her and included on many compilation CDs was actually recorded in 1960 by actress Sandra Dee.
Awards and nominations
- 1951 Henrietta Award: The Best Young Box Office Personality
- 1952 Photoplay Award: Fastest Rising Star of 1952
- 1952 Photoplay Award: Special Award
- 1952 Look American Magazine Achievement Award: Most Promising Female Newcomer of 1952
- 1953 Golden Globe Henrietta Award: World Film Favorite Female.
- 1953 Sweetheart of the Month (Playboy)
- 1953 Photoplay Award: Most Popular Female Star
- 1954 Photoplay Award for Best Actress: for Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and How to Marry a Millionaire
- 1956 BAFTA Film Award nomination: Best Foreign Actress for The Seven Year Itch
- 1956 Golden Globe nomination: Best Motion Picture Actress in Comedy or Musical for Bus Stop
- 1958 BAFTA Film Award nomination: Best Foreign Actress for The Prince and the Showgirl
- 1958 David di Donatello Award (Italian): Best Foreign Actress for The Prince and the Showgirl
- 1959 Crystal Star Award (French): Best Foreign Actress for The Prince and the Showgirl
- 1960 Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame 6104 Hollywood Blvd.
- 1960 Golden Globe, Best Motion Picture Actress in Comedy or Musical for Some Like It Hot
- 1962 Golden Globe, World Film Favorite: Female
- 1995 and 2012 (re-dedication) Palm Springs, California, Golden Palm Star – Palm Springs Walk of Stars
- 1999 she was ranked as the sixth greatest female star of all time by the American Film Institute in their list AFI's 100 Years...100 Stars.
- As a star, Monroe would often portray the orphanage as a grim, overpopulated place where the children were forced to work. In reality, it was considered a modern and well-managed institution, and housed only approximately fifty or sixty children, none of whom were made to work for their upkeep.
- It has sometimes been erroneously claimed that Monroe appeared as an extra in other Fox films during this period, including Green Grass of Wyoming, The Shocking Miss Pilgrim, and You Were Meant For Me, but there is no evidence to support this.
- Monroe and Greene had first met and had a brief affair in 1949, and met again in 1953, when he photographed her for Look. She told him about her grievances with the studio, and Greene suggested that they start their own production company.
- It also caused her to experience severe menstrual pain throughout her life, necessitating a clause in her contract allowing her to be absent from work during her period, and required several surgeries. It has sometimes been alleged that Monroe underwent several abortions, and that unsafe abortions made by persons without proper medical training would have contributed to her inability to maintain a pregnancy. However, no evidence exists of her ever having had an abortion, and no scar tissue consistent with damage from an unsafe abortion was found in her reproductive organs in her autopsy.
- The terms of the alleged new contract included a larger salary and Cukor, with whom Monroe had had problems with since Let's Make Love, replaced with Jean Negulesco, the director of How to Marry a Millionaire. In exchange, she was to dismiss Paula Strasberg, whose involvement on film sets had often been a source of strife. The biographers to assert this are Peter Harry Brown and Patte Barham in The Last Take (1992) and Donald Spoto (1993); the documentaries Marilyn: Something's Got to Give (1990) and Marilyn Monroe: The Final Days (2001). According to earlier biographer Anthony Summers (1985), she was negotiating about resuming filming, but no contract had been made at the time of her death. The other film projects which Monroe was considering included a biography of Jean Harlow, Irma la Douce, What a Way to Go!, Kiss Me, Stupid, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and an unnamed World War I-themed musical co-starring Gene Kelly.
- In 1992, Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner, who never met Monroe, bought the crypt immediately to the left of hers. In August 2009, the crypt space directly above that of Monroe was placed for auction on eBay. Elsie Poncher planned to exhume her husband and move him to an adjacent plot. She advertised the crypt, hoping "to make enough money to pay off the $1.6 million mortgage" on her Beverly Hills mansion. The winning bid was placed by an anonymous Japanese man for $4.6 million, but the winning bidder later backed out "because of the paying problem".
- She obtained an order from the City Court of the State of New York and legally changed her name to Marilyn Monroe on February 23, 1956.
- Tricia Strayer. "Marilyn Monroe's Official Web site .::. Fast Facts". Cmgww.com. Retrieved November 9, 2012.
- "Marilyn Monroe Biography". Biography.com. Retrieved May 13, 2015.
- Obituary Variety, August 8, 1962, page 63.
- "February 20, 2003: IN THE NEWS". North Coast Journal. Retrieved November 9, 2012.
- Hall, Susan G. (2006). American Icons: An Encyclopedia of the People, Places, and Things that Have Shaped Our Culture. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 468. ISBN 978-0-275-98429-8.
- Rollyson, Carl (2005). Female Icons: Marilyn Monroe to Susan Sontag. iUniverse. p. 2. ISBN 978-0-595-35726-0.
- Churchwell, Sarah (2005). The Many Lives of Marilyn Monroe. Metropolitan Books. ISBN 978-0-8050-7818-3.
- "Film's Sexiest Women of All Time". TV Guide Network. 2009.
- Churchwell, pp. 150–51.
- Riese and Hitchens, p. 33; Banner, p. 22
- Miracle and Miracle, see family tree
- Churchwell, p. 150
- Spoto, pp. 7–8
- Banner, pp. 24–25; Churchwell, citing Spoto and Summers, p. 150
- Churchwell, p. 150, citing previous biographers Summers, Spoto and Guiles.
- Spoto, p. 17
- Churchwell, p. 149.
- Churchwell, citing Guiles, p. 152; Banner, pp. 26
- Churchwell, pp. 154–155
- Spoto, p. 13
- Spoto, pp. 16–17; Banner, pp. 22–32; Churchwell, p. 164
- Banner, pp. 32–33; Spoto, pp. 17–26
- Spoto, p. 26
- Spoto, pp. 26–28; Banner, pp. 36–39
- Churchwell, pp. 155–156
- Banner, pp. 39–40; Churchwell, pp. 155–156
- Churchwell for consensus on becoming ward of state, p. 165; Spoto, pp. 40–49; Banner, pp. 40–62 for information on Goddard.
- Churchwell, pp. 165–166; Banner, pp. 40–65; Spoto, pp. 33–49
- Churchwell, pp. 165–166; Spoto, pp. 44–45.
- Banner, pp. 62–63; Spoto, pp. 44-45
- Churchwell, pp. 165–166
- Spoto, pp. 51–67; Banner, pp. 62–86
- Banner, p. 71; Spoto, p. 58
- Spoto, p. 68; Banner, pp. 69–75
- Spoto, pp. 67-69; Banner, p. 86
- Churchwell, p. 166
- Churchwell, pp. 166–173
- Banner, pp. 48–58
- Churchwell, p. 173
- Spoto, pp. 70–75; Banner, pp. 86–90
- Spoto, p. 78
- Spoto, p. 83; Banner, p. 91
- Spoto, p. 83–86; Banner, pp. 91–98
- Spoto, p. 86; Banner, p. 98
- Churchwell, p. 176; Spoto, pp. 90–91
- Churchwell, pp. 176–177; Spoto, pp. 90–93
- "YANK USA 1945". Wartime Press.Com. Retrieved January 13, 2012.
- Churchwell, p. 176; Spoto, pp. 93–94
- Spoto, pp. 95–95; Banner, pp. 105–108
- Spoto, pp. 95–107
- Spoto, p. 96; Banner, p. 101
- Banner, p. 117
- Spoto, pp. 110–111; Banner, p. 118
- Spoto, p. 112; Banner, p. 119 for Hughes
- Spoto, p. 114
- Spoto, p. 109
- Spoto, pp. 118–119
- Spoto, pp. 120–121
- Spoto, p. 122
- Spoto, p. 121
- Spoto, p. 126; Banner, p. 133
- Banner, p. 133; Spoto, pp. 122–129
- Spoto, pp. 133–134
- Churchwell, pp. 204–216, citing Summers and Spoto; Banner, pp. 141–144
- Churchwell, p. 59
- Spoto, pp. 141–144
- Summers, p. 43.
- Spoto, pp. 145–146; Banner 2012, pp. 149, 157
- Spoto, p. 146; Banner, pp. 148–149
- Spoto, pp. 151–153
- Summers, p. 45.
- Churchwell, pp. 59–60
- Spoto, pp. 159–162
- Spoto, pp. 168–170
- Spoto, p. 170
- Spoto, p. 182; Riese and Hitchens, p. 228.
- Spoto, pp. 175–177; Banner 2012, p. 157
- Spoto, p. 183 and 191
- Churchwell, p. 60; Evans, pp. 98–109
- Churchwell, p. 60; Spoto, pp. 179–187
- Spoto, pp. 188–189
- Spoto, pp 192
- Spoto, pp. 180–181; Banner 2012, pp. 163–167, pp. 181–182 for Kazan and others
- Summers, p. 67.
- Spoto, pp. 210–213; Summers, p. 58
- Spoto, pp. 210–213; Churchwell, pp. 224–226; Banner, pp. 194–195
- Spoto, p. 213
- Spoto, pp. 224–225
- Churchwell, p. 61
- Spoto, pp. 194–195; Churchwell, pp. 60–61
- Spoto, pp. 194–195; "Clash By Night". American Film Institute. Retrieved 8 August 2015.
- Spoto, p. 200
- Spoto, pp. 196–197
- Churchwell, p. 61; Banner, p. 180; "Don't Bother to Knock". The New York Times. July 19, 1952. Retrieved August 8, 2015.; "Review: Don't Bother to Knock". Variety. December 31, 1951. Retrieved August 8, 2015.
- Churchwell, p. 62
- Churchwell, p. 238
- Spoto, p. 195
- Banner, pp. 211–213
- Banner, pp. 213–214
- Churchwell, p. 233.
- Churchwell, p. 62; Banner, pp. 195–196
- Churchwell, p. 234.
- Churchwell, p. 64; Spoto, p. 231; Banner, p. 200
- Spoto, p. 219–220; Banner p. 177
- Spoto, p. 242; Banner, pp.208–209
- Churchwell, p. 63
- Spoto, p. 250
- Churchwell, pp. 64–65; Spoto, p. 238
- Churchwell, p. 65
- "The 2006 Motion Picture Almanac, Top Ten Money Making Stars". Quigley Publishing Company. Retrieved August 25, 2008.
- Churchwell, p. 45; Banner, p. 217; Summers, p. 59
- Churchwell, p. 68
- Spoto, pp. 254–255
- Spoto, pp. 258–259; Summers, p. 92
- Spoto, p. 260
- Spoto, pp. 262–263
- Churchwell, p. 241
- Spoto, p. 267
- Spoto, p. 271
- Churchwell, pp. 66–67
- Spoto, pp. 274–279; Banner 2012, pp. 220–222
- Churchwell, p. 66
- Spoto, p. 277
- Riese and Hitchens, p. 338.
- Riese and Hitchens, p. 440.
- Spoto, pp. 283–284
- Banner, pp. 8–9; Spoto, pp. 284–5
- Spoto, pp. 208, 222-223; 262–267, 292; Churchwell, pp. 243–245; Banner 2012, p. 204
- Spoto, p. 262; Banner, pp. 219–221
- Banner 2012, pp. 224-225; Spoto, pp. 290–295; Summers, p. 103-105
- Spoto, pp. 294–295; Banner 2012, pp. 225–226
- Spoto, pp. 295–298; Churchwell, p. 246
- Spoto, pp. 158–159, 252–254
- Spoto, pp. 302–303
- Spoto, pp. 301–302
- Spoto, p. 338
- Spoto, p. 302
- Spoto, p. 327
- Spoto, p. 350
- Spoto, pp. 310–313
- Spoto, pp. 312–313, 375, 384–385, 421, 459 on years and names.
- Spoto, p. 321, 334–335
- Spoto, p. 331
- Spoto, pp. 319–332
- Churchwell, p. 253 for Miller; Banner 2012, p. 285 for Brando
- Spoto, pp. 337 for divorce finalization; pp. 458–459 for 1961
- Summers, p.157; Churchwell, pp. 253–254; Spoto, pp. 318–320
- Spoto, pp. 336–345
- Churchwell, pp. 253–254; Summers, p. 157
- Spoto, pp. 339–340
- Spoto, p. 341
- Spoto, p. 345
- Spoto, pp. 343–345
- Churchwell, pp. 253–254
- Spoto, pp. 364–365
- Meyers, pp. 156–157
- Meyers, p. 155; Churchwell, pp. 253–257
- Spoto, pp. 352–357
- Spoto, pp. 352–354
- Banner, p. 310 for Logan; Spoto, pp. 354–358 for location and time
- Churchwell, p. 69; Spoto, pp. 358–359
- Spoto, p. 372
- Churchwell, pp. 258–261
- Churchwell, pp. 258–261; Spoto, pp. 370–379; Banner, pp. 310–311
- Olivier, pp. 211–12; Churchwell, pp. 258–261
- Spoto; Banner, pp. 311–312
- Spoto pp. 368–373; Banner, pp. 310–314
- Banner, p. 314 for being on time; Churchwell, p. 69
- Churchwell, p. 69
- Spoto, pp. 381–382
- Spoto, pp. 392–393
- Churchwell, pp. 274–277
- Churchwell, pp. 271– 274
- Spoto, pp. 389–391
- Banner, p. 325
- Churchwell, p. 626
- Churchwell, p. 262; Spoto, pp. 399–407
- Churchwell, pp. 262–266; Banner, p. 325–327
- Spoto, p.406
- Spoto, pp. 406–407
- Churchwell, p. 71
- Banner, p. 335
- Spoto, pp. 410–415
- Churchwell, p. 71; Summers, p. 183
- Churchwell, p. 72
- Riese and Hitchens, p. 270; Churchwell, p. 266
- Churchwell, p. 266
- Spoto, pp. 429–430
- Churchwell, pp. 266–267; Spoto, pp. 431–435; Banner, p. 352
- Churchwell, pp. 266–267; Spoto, pp. 431–435
- Spoto, pp. 435–441; Banner, pp.353
- Spoto, pp.443–445; Banner, pp. 355–356
- Spoto, pp. 438–439, 450; Banner, p. 353
- Spoto, pp. 450–455
- Spoto, p. 456; Summers, p. 196; Banner, p. 361
- Spoto, pp. 453–454
- Spoto, p. 453 for a new role, 466–467 for operations, 456–464 for psychiatric hospital stays; Summers, p. 202.
- Spoto, pp. 456–459
- Spoto, pp. 464–465,483, 594–596, Churchwell, p. 291
- Spoto, pp. 465–470; 484–485
- Churchwell, pp. 74–75; Spoto, pp. 495–496
- Churchwell, p. 258 for the involvement of MMP.
- Churchwell, pp. 284–285
- Churchwell, pp. 284–285; Spoto, pp. 520–521
- Churchwell, pp. 291–294
- Spoto, p. 523
- Churchwell, p. 74
- Churchwell, p. 75
- Spoto, pp. 535–356
- Churchwell, pp. 285–288
- Spoto, p. 535.
- Churchwell, p. 285
- Spoto, pp. 538–543
- Banner, p. 401
- Summers, p. 301.
- Spoto, p. 566; Churchwell pp. 296–7; Banner, pp. 410–411
- Banner, p. 410–411
- Spoto, p. 570–1; Banner, p. 410–411
- Banner, pp. 410–411
- Banner, pp. 410–411; Spoto, pp. 570–573
- Banner, pp. 410–411; Spoto, pp. 574–577
- Spoto, pp. 580–583; Banner, pp. 411–412
- Banner, p. 411
- Banner, pp. 411–412
- Banner, p. 427
- Spoto, pp. 594–597; Banner, pp. 427–428
- "Monroe 'burial plot' up for sale". BBC News. August 16, 2009. Retrieved August 17, 2009.
- "eBay: Crypt Above Marilyn Monroe For Sale". eBay. Retrieved August 17, 2009.[dead link]
- Dillon, Nancy (August 24, 2009). "Winning bid for tomb above Marilyn Monroe at $4.6 million". Daily News (New York). Retrieved March 2, 2010.
- See Churchwell, pp. 297–318 for different theories proposed by Spoto, Summers, Brown & Barham, and Donald Wolfe.
- Churchwell, pp. 88 and 300; Spoto, pp. 605-606;
- Spoto, p. 606
- Spoto, p. 454
- Churchwell, pp. 247–248
- "Selling the dead". Telegraph. February 3, 2012. Retrieved August 30, 2015.
- "Strasberg v. Odyssey Group, Inc. (1996)". Justia. Retrieved August 30, 2015.
- "The Mentor and the Movie Star". Vanity Fair. June 2003. Retrieved August 30, 2015.
- "A Battle Erupts Over the Right To Market Marilyn". Wall Street Journal. April 10, 2006. Retrieved August 30, 2015.
- "Long-Dead Celebrities Can Now Breathe Easier". The New York Times, October 24, 2007. Retrieved December 31, 2008.
- "Marilyn Monroe Estate Takes a Hit" The Wall Street Journal, April 1, 2008. Retrieved December 31, 2008.
- "Indiana Company Loses Marilyn Monroe Lawsuit". Inside Indiana Business, September 4, 2008. Retrieved December 31, 2008.
- "Marilyn Monroe Images Prompt New Legal Dispute". The Hollywood Reporter. March 23, 2012. Retrieved August 30, 2015.
- "Home where Marilyn Monroe died is sold". The Los Angeles Times. September 18, 2010. Retrieved September 2, 2015.
- Kashner, Sam (November 2010). "Marilyn and Her Monsters". Vanity Fair. Retrieved March 16, 2011.
- Shirley Apthorp (2012-06-12). "Waiting for Miss Monroe, Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam". Financial Times. Retrieved 2015-01-09.
- November-18-Following-A-UK-Tour-20090817 "'MARILYN: FOREVER BLONDE' Will Play Leicester Square Theatre October 20 – November 18 Following A UK Tour". Broadwayworld.com. Retrieved January 5, 2013.
- Kevin Bazzana (2013-09-15). "Thread of melancholy runs through Marilyn Monroe opera". Times Colonist. Retrieved 2015-01-09.
- Schaufenster Neue Galerie: „Marilyn Monroe“ von Wolf Vostell. Website of the Hessen Kassel Museum. Retrieved November 10, 2013.
- "1113 TROY TALTON". Retrieved 27 December 2013.
- "Record Details". 45cat.com. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
- "Candle in the Wind by Elton John | Song Stories". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 27, 2013.
- Dome, Malcolm (2011). "The Story Behind...Danzig". Metal Hammer (Future plc) (May 2011): 70–72.
- "Marilyn Monroe – When I Fall in Love". Last.fm.
- "Songs Marilyn Never Sang". marilynmonroe.ca.
- Hollywood Walk of Fame Marilyn Monroe dedicated February 8, 1960
- Golden Palm Star dedicated on December 1, 1995 Palm Springs Walk of Stars by date dedicated
- Banner, Lois (2012). Marilyn: The Passion and the Paradox. Bloomsbury. ISBN 978 1 4088 31335.
- Churchwell, Sarah (2004). The Many Lives of Marilyn Monroe. Metropolitan Books. ISBN 0-8050-7818-5.
- Clayton, Marie (2004). Marilyn Monroe: Unseen Archives. Barnes & Noble Inc. ISBN 0-7607-4673-7.
- Evans, Mike (2004). Marilyn: The Ultimate Book. MQ Publications. ASIN B000FL52LG.
- Kouvaros, George. ""The Misfits": What Happened Around the Camera". Film Quarterly (University of California Press) 55 (4): 28–33. doi:10.1525/fq.2002.55.4.28. JSTOR 1213933.
- Gilmore, John (2007). Inside Marilyn Monroe, A Memoir. Ferine Books, Los Angeles. ISBN 0-9788968-0-7.
- Goode, James (1986). The Making of "The Misfits". Limelight Editions, New York. ISBN 0-87910-065-6.
- Guiles, Fred Lawrence (1993). Norma Jean: The Life of Marilyn Monroe. Paragon House Publishers. ISBN 1-55778-583-X.
- Harris, Warren G. (2002). Clark Gable, A Biography. Aurum Press, London. ISBN 1-85410-904-9.
- Jacke, Andreas: Marilyn Monroe und die Psychoanalyse. Psychosozial Verlag, Gießen 2005, ISBN 978-3-89806-398-2, ISBN 3-89806-398-4
- Jewell, Richard B.; Harbin, Vernon (1982). The RKO Story. Octopus Books, London. ISBN 0-7064-1285-0.
- Meaker, M. J. Sudden Endings: 13 Profiles in Depth of Famous Suicides Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, NY: 1964 p. 26–45: "Marilyn and Norma Jean: Marilyn Monroe"
- Meyers, Jeffrey (2009). The Genius and the Goddess: Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe. University of Illinois Press.
- Miracle, Berniece Baker; Miracle, Mona Rae (1994). My Sister Marilyn. Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books. ISBN 0-595-27671-7.
- Monroe, Marilyn; Hecht, Ben (2000). My Story. Cooper Square Press. ISBN 0-8154-1102-2. Retrieved August 5, 2008.
- Olivier, Laurence (1982). Confessions of an Actor. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0-14-006888-0.
- Riese, Randall; Hitchens, Neal (1988). The Unabridged Marilyn. Corgi Books, London. ISBN 0-552-99308-5.
- Russell, Jane (1986). An Autobiography. Arrow Books, London. ISBN 0-09-949590-2.
- Server, Lee (2001). Robert Mitchum, Baby I Don't Care. St. Martin's Press, New York. ISBN 0-571-20994-7.
- Spoto, Donald (2001). Marilyn Monroe: The Biography. Cooper Square Press. ISBN 0-8154-1183-9.
- Staggs, Sam (2000). All About "All About Eve". St. Martin's Griffin, New York. ISBN 0-312-27315-0.
- Summers, Anthony (1985). Goddess, The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe. Guild Publishing, London. ISBN 0-575-03641-9.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Marilyn Monroe.|
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Marilyn Monroe|
- Official website by the Estate of Marilyn Monroe LLC
- Marilyn Monroe at the Internet Movie Database
- Marilyn Monroe at the TCM Movie Database
- Marilyn Monroe at Playboy Online
- Works by or about Marilyn Monroe in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Monroe's file at the Federal Bureau of Investigation website
- Marilyn Monroe at Find A Grave
- Galleries: Marilyn Monroe: Life magazine covers & articles & Marilyn Monroe: Rare Early Photos, 1950 —Life magazine
- "Marilyn Monroe: Still Life" A website containing clips and essays related to PBS's American Masters documentary on Monroe