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Remembering Marilyn Monroe on her 49th death anniversary

August 04, 2011First Published: 18:02 IST(4/8/2011)
Last Updated: 19:46 IST(4/8/2011)

Tribute to Marilyn Monroe

more photos »It is the 49th death anniversary of Marilyn, a Golden Globe Award-winning American-Norwegian actress, who had become one of the most popular Hollywood movie stars of the 1950s and early 1960s. Born as Norma Jeane Mortenson on June 1, 1926 in Los Angeles, California, she was later baptized Norma Jeane Baker.

Norma Jeane spent most of her childhood in foster homes and orphanages until 1937, when she moved in with family friend Grace McKee Goddard. Unfortunately, when Grace's husband was transferred to the East Coast in 1942, the couple couldn't afford to take 16-year-old Norma Jeane with them.

On June 19, 1942 she wed her 21-year-old neighbor Jimmy Dougherty, whom she had been dating for six months. By all accounts Norma Jeane loved Jimmy, and they were happy together until he joined the Merchant Marines and was sent to the South Pacific in 1944. After Jimmy left, Norma Jeane took a job on the assembly line at the Radio Plane Munitions factory in Burbank, California. Several months later, photographer David Conover saw her while taking pictures of women contributing to the war effort for Yank magazine. He couldn't believe his luck.

She was a "photographer's dream." Conover used her for the shoot and then began sending modeling jobs her way. The camera loved Norma Jeane, and within two years she was a reputable model with many popular magazine covers to her credit. She began studying the work of legendary actresses Jean Harlow and Lana Turner, and enrolled in drama classes with dreams of stardom. However, Jimmy's return in 1946 meant Norma Jeane had to make another choice- this time between her marriage and her career. Norma Jeane divorced Jimmy in June of 1946, and signed her first studio contract with Twentieth Century Fox on August 26, 1946. She earned $125 a week.

Soon after, Norma Jeane dyed her hair blonde and changed her name to Marilyn Monroe (borrowing first name after the famous actress Marilyn Miller and last name from her grandmother). The rest was history. Marilyn's first movie role was a bit part in 1947's 'The Shocking Miss Pilgrim'. She played a series of inconsequential characters until 1950, when John Huston's thriller 'The Asphalt Jungle' provided her with a small but influential role. Later that year, Marilyn's performance as Claudia Caswell in 'All About Eve' earned her further praise. From then on Marilyn worked steadily in movies such as: ‘Let's Make It Legal’, ‘As Young As You Feel’, ‘Monkey Business’ and ‘Don't Bother to Knock’.

It was her performance in 1953's ‘Niagara’, however, that delivered her to stardom. Marilyn's success in ‘Niagara’ was followed with lead roles in the wildly popular ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’ and ‘How to Marry a Millionaire’. On January 14, 1954, Marilyn married baseball superstar Joe DiMaggio at San Francisco's City Hall.

Unfortunately, Marilyn's fame and sexual image became a theme that haunted their marriage. Nine months later on October 27, 1954, Marilyn and Joe divorced. Marilyn was ready to shed her "shallow blonde" image by 1955. It had gotten her into the spotlight, but now that she had the opportunity and experience, Marilyn wanted to pursue serious acting. She took a hiatus from Hollywood and moved to New York City to study under Lee Strasberg at his Actors' Studio.

In 1956, Marilyn started her own motion picture company, Marilyn Monroe Productions. The company produced ‘Bus Stop’ and ‘The Prince and the Showgirl’. Marilyn received further recognition for 1959's ‘Some Like It Hot’, winning a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Comedy. On June 29, 1956, Marilyn wed playwright Arthur Miller. While they were married, Arthur wrote the part of Roslyn Taber in 1961's ‘The Misfits’ especially for Marilyn. Sadly, the marriage between Marilyn and Arthur ended on January 20, 1961, and ‘The Misfits’ was to be Marilyn's last completed film.

At the 1962 Golden Globes, Marilyn was named female World Film Favorite, once again demonstrating her widespread appeal. Sadly, in a shocking turn of events on an early morning, 36-year-old Marilyn died in her sleep at her Brentwood, California home. The world was stunned. During her career, Marilyn made 30 films and left one, ‘Something's Got to Give’, unfinished. It has been claimed that Monroe was involved with the US president John F Kennedy and his brotehr Robert Kennedy. Today, the name "Marilyn Monroe" is synonymous with beauty, sensuality and effervescence. Even today she is the undoubted love goddess who never found the right match in her life despite having swung from sportsmen to politician at the highest echelons of American society.

Rare photos of a teenage Marilyn Monroe are set to be auctioned during a memorabilia sale next month in Beverly Hills. The model shots taken by Joseph Jasgur are among the items that will be going under the hammer at the Julien's Auctions event Dec 1-4. Text: IANS.
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