Biography of Movie Star and Sex Symbol Marilyn Monroe Part 1

About the famous movie star and sex symbol Marilyn Monroe, history and biography of the actress.


MARILYN MONROE (1926-1962)

Norma Jean Baker was 13 months old, living in Hawthorne, Calif., and just learning to talk when she looked up from her bath one night and called the lady beside the tub Mama. "I'm not Mama, I'm Aunt Ida. The lady with the red hair is your mama." But the lady with the red hair lived far away in Hollywood, a place Norma Jean would later come to know intimately, when she became Marilyn Monroe.

Gladys Baker Mortenson gave birth to Norma Jean on June 1, 1926. She had her baptized Norma Jean Baker (after a previous husband) by Sister Aimee Semple McPherson at her Four-Square Gospel Church. The supposed father, C. Stanley Gifford, never rose to claim the child. Unwed and unstable, as her own mother had been, Gladys placed Norma Jean in a succession of boarding homes. Unable either financially or emotionally to care for the little girl herself, she spent the majority of her adult life drifting in and out of bad marriages and sanatoriums.

Norma Jean was an attractive, healthy child who, despite her misfortune, was able to present a pretty picture to the world. She offered nothing less than herself in her search for people to care for her. She would spend hours in Grauman's Chinese Theater, perhaps dreaming of becoming a star whom the world world cherish, as her parents had been incapable of doing.

Her first marriage, at 16 to James Dougherty, lasted until Jim sailed off to war in the Pacific. Soon Norma Jean was discovered by a photographer at the plant where she was working. He asked her to do a promotional layout, which turned out so well that her face and figure became known among photographers. Her success led to modeling and a screen test, in which her luminescence was noted by Hollywood's high and mighty. By the time Jim returned from his military stint, Norma Jean had moved out of his parents' home into a different world, where a starlet was better off unattached and where Marilyn sounded better than Norma Jean.

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