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Norma Jeane Mortenson, famously known as Marilyn Monroe, was an American actress and model that became one of the most popular icons in America. She was famous for her top grossing films and signature blond hair.
See the fact file below for more information on the Marilyn Monroe or alternatively, you can download our 20-page Marilyn Monroe worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
EARLY AND PERSONAL LIFE
- Norma Jeane Mortenson, famously known as Marilyn Monroe, was born on June 1, 1926, in Los Angeles, California.
- In 1924, Marilyn’s mother, Gladys, married her second husband, Martin Edward Mortensen, and eventually separated before she became pregnant with Marilyn by a different man.
- Marilyn never knew her father. Hence, she used her mother’s surname from her second husband.
- Marilyn’s early childhood was unstable. She was placed with foster parents Albert and Ida Bolender in Hawthorne as her mother was financially unprepared. Gladys visited Marilyn every weekend when she was not at work.
- By 1933, Gladys bought a small house in Hollywood and was able to live there with Marilyn.
- By 1934, Gladys was diagnosed with schizophrenia and was eventually placed in a mental institution.
- Marilyn had experienced a difficult childhood as she spent most of it in orphanages and foster homes.
- In one of her foster homes, Marilyn experienced being sexually abused by one her guardians.
- Later on in her childhood, she was adopted by Grace and Erwin “Doc” Goddard. By 1942, Doc Goddard was required to relocate to West Virginia due to his work.
- To prevent relocation outside of California with the Goddards, Marilyn married James “Jim” Dougherty on June 19, 1942, at the age of 16. Jim was their neighbor’s son and a 21-year-old factory worker.
- In 1943, Dougherty enlisted in the Marines and was eventually stationed on Catalina Island. Marilyn lived with him until he was shipped out to the Pacific in 1944.
- Marilyn moved in with Jim’s parents and was working at the Radioplane Munitions Factory in Van Nuys, California to earn her own income. Eventually, she was discovered by a photographer.
- When Jim returned in 1946, Marilyn was already a successful model. She acquired a screen name, Marilyn Monroe, and dreamt of becoming an actress. Furthermore, she eventually dyed her hair blonde.
CAREER AND ACHIEVEMENTS
- Marilyn and Jim filed for divorce in 1946 as she focused more on her career. That same year, Marilyn signed her first movie contract.
- Her acting career only took off in the 1950s. She played a small part in John Huston’s crime drama The Asphalt Jungle (1950). That same year, she impressed the film industry as well as the people by playing Claudia Caswell in All About Eve, which also starred Bette Davis.
- In 1953, Monroe starred in Niagara. She played the role of a young married woman who’s out to kill her husband assisted by her lover.
- Later on, she also starred in the musical comedy Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953). She starred together with Jane Russell.
- Eventually, Marilyn became a successful Hollywood actress and starred in How to Marry a Millionaire with Betty Grable and Lauren Bacall, There’s No Business like Show Business in 1954 with Ethel Merman and Donald O’Connor, and The Seven Year Itch in 1955.
- Marilyn suffered pre-performance anxiety which became the cause of her tardiness. It infuriated her co-stars as well as the crews and directors.
- Marilyn moved to New York City and studied acting at the Actors’ Studio with Lee Strasberg.
- In 1956, Marilyn returned to the screen and starred in the dramatic comedy Bus Stop. She played the role of a saloon singer kidnapped by a rancher who eventually fell in love with her.
- In 1957, Monroe starred in The Prince and the Showgirl with Laurence Olivier. He was also the director and producer of the film.
- Marilyn had faced controversies filming The Prince and the Showgirl for being absent and displaying erratic behavior which created a tense relationship with the crew. The film became a hit movie in Britain but not in the United States.
- In 1959, Marilyn starred in the comedy Some Like It Hot, with Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis. The film earned her the honor of “Best Actress in a Comedy” at the Golden Globe Awards in 1959. She played the role of a singer who hopes to marry a millionaire. Marilyn, together with Lemmon and Curtis, who pretended to be women, are on the run after witnessing the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.
- Marilyn’s last completed film was The Misfits in 1961 with John Huston. She starred together with Clark Gable and Montgomery Clift.
- Marilyn was dismissed from Something’s Got to Give in 1962 for being absent due to illness. Dean Martin, her co-actor, declined to make the film without her hence, the film being shelved by the studio.
- Marilyn, at the time, faced professional and personal turmoils.
- On May 19, 1962, Marilyn made her famous performance at John F. Kennedy’s birthday celebration wherein she sang “Happy Birthday, Mr. President.”
- Marilyn had a string of unsuccessful marriages and relationships. She married baseball player Joe DiMaggio in 1954 which lasted only nine months. In 1956 to 1961, Marilyn wed playwright Arthur Miller.
- Marilyn is also remembered for her romantic relationships with Frank Sinatra, Yves Montand, Marlon Brando, and director Elia Kazan.
DEATH AND CONTROVERSY
- At the age of 36, Marilyn Monroe died at her Los Angeles home on August 5, 1962. There was an empty bottle of sleeping pills found by her bed.
- There were some rumors that Marilyn was murdered and that she was involved with President John F. Kennedy or his brother Robert prior to his death.
- Marilyn was interred at Crypt No. 24 at the Corridor of Memories in Westwood Memorial Park. Lee Strasberg delivered a eulogy and for the next twenty (20) years her ex-husband, Joe DiMaggio, had red roses delivered to her resting place.
- In a toxicology report by the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office, it was revealed that Marilyn’s death was due to acute barbiturate poisoning. Eventually, accidental overdose was ruled out. The coroner classified her death as a probable suicide.
Marilyn Monroe Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Marilyn Monroe across 20 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Marilyn Monroe worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Norma Jeane Mortenson, famously known as Marilyn Monroe, who was an American actress and model that became one of the most popular icons in America. She was famous for her top grossing films and signature blond hair.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Marilyn Monroe Facts
- Hollywood’s Star
- Name the Film
- Facing Controversies
- Picture Legacy
- Marilyn in Letters
- Marilyn’s Truth
- Iconic Women
- Fascinating Marilyn
- In the Spotlight
- Who’s Iconic?
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Use With Any Curriculum
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