Marilyn Monroe's life

The childhood, growing up, her men and her career.
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Marilyn Monroe

I wanted to write an essay of Marilyn Monroe, because I think she is on of this century’s most outstanding person. This glamorous diva queen was everything, but not happy. She had a dramatic life without a father, a mentally ill mother, raised in different foster homes, many bad relationships, the success in Hollywood and her drug addiction.


The Childhood

Norma Jean was born 1st june 1926. Gladys Baker, her mother, was a beautiful woman. She was left alone by the father when she got pregnant. The father was a Norwegian sailor who did not want to have anything to do with her. Norma Jean was handed over to foster parents from the day she was born. Norma Jean lived with Albert and Ida Bolender until she was seven years old.




Gladys Barker came occasionally to visit her daughter, and when little Norma Jean was about 7 years old she moved in with her mother for a short period. Unfortunately her mother got more and more depressed and was put in a rest home in Santa Monica.


When Norma Jean was older, she told that a respected and powerful man molested her sexually. She was so frightened and terrified that she stuttered when she told it. This stuttering could suddenly appear later in her life, especially if she was criticised or nervous. It seems that this dramatic experience could make her cry all night and only wishing to die, if someone didn’t believe her.


Grace McKee was a near friend of Gladys Barker and a contact person for Norma Jean. Grace was careful and kind with her. She was also a huge admirer of Jean Harlow and encouraged her to read and perform scripts from famous movies. Grace told Norma Jean one day she felt depressed that some day she was going to be an important and famous woman, a movie star. At the age of nine, Norma Jean’s life was turned upside down. Grace got married with her husband and they could not afford to have Norma Jean anymore. She was abandoned and taken back into foster care. This was an awful experience. The world was falling down. Norma Jean was so depressed with this change that she escaped into her own mind. She created a perfect world where she could escape and deny her emotions.


Grace took often the time to visit Norma Jean. They went to cinemas together and Grace bought her new clothes and make-up. At the age of eleven, Norma Jean was taken out of foster care and placed with a 62-year old woman, named Ana Lower. She was a great woman who believed that a determined mind could achieve anything. Norma Jean loved her.


Ana Lower became a role model for Norma Jean and the most important person in her life. They lived in a poor neighbourhood near Los Angeles in a tumbledown bungalow. Norma Jean was often teased for her ugly clothes and house. She often dreamed to be famous and rich, and hoped that her father could see her successful and regret that he abandoned her.


Sweet Sixteen Bride

Some sources claim that Grace husband did sexually offend Norma Jean while under her care. Grace got herself a new husband and decided to move to the east-coast. Grace believed that Ana Lower was too old at the age of 67 to take care of little Norma Jean, who was 16 at the time. Norma Jean was forced to get married so she couldn’t be taken back into foster care. Grace decided that Jim Dougherty would marry her, a 21-year old boy from the neighbourhood. Once again Norma Jean was unwanted and now forced to marry a man because nobody would take care of here.




Escaping the childhood   

Norma Jean married Jim, the 19th.june 1942. Six foster care employees who were attending the ceremony, cried. Norma Jean and Jim had a boring marriage, and none of them were in love. Jim was jealous person, but still he applied to work for shipping industry. He was stationed in Shanghai.




Norma Jean worked at the Radio-Plane Factory, in Burbank, as a parachute controller. A photographer from the military photocenter in Hollywood took pictures of the employees to strengthen the moral. He also took pictures of Norma Jean, witch he showed to Miss Snivly who owned the biggest model agency in Hollywood. She believed that Norma Jean had a talent for modelling, and she got the opportunity to become a model.


Norma Jean didn’t have any success as a fashion model, because her enormous sex-appeal took away the attention from the clothes. Later she tried as a Badin suit model and made great success. In 1945 she was already known as a “photographer’s dream”, and been on the cover of 33 magazines.




Jim Dougherty was often out travelling even tough Norma Jean hated to be alone. Norma Jean was almost physically mature at the age of twelve, but not mentally. She protested against her marriage with Jim, but Grace only answered her that she only was too young of age, not in mind. Ana Lotwer gave her a book that was supposed to teach her house making, but she was often criticised by Jim for her lack of house making. She tried the best she could even tough it wasn’t easy for a sixteen year old girl. Jim also hated her dreams to make a photo and acting career, and tried everything to ruin this. At the age of 20, Norma Jean was happy to finally file for divorcee. She was now officially a free woman.


The Career

The 23rd of July 1946 Norma Jean signed a contract with Twentieth Century Fox Studios. The producer felt that Norma Jean was not appropriate name for an actress and she took her mothers family name, Monroe. From this day she was known to all her fans as Marilyn Monroe. It wasn’t just her name that was changed. The also made her hair blonder and shorter. The producer also said that she had a nose that looked as a “baked potato”, and she got her nose fixed.




Marilyn became obsessed with her career. All she wanted was to be a famous and popular actress. She didn’t care for money, material things or power.


Marilyn got here first job as an actress in the movie,”ScuddaHo! ScuddaHay”. The directors where overwhelmed with people’s interest in Marilyn. They were wondering who this beautiful blonde who was gloving with her appearance. Marilyn did perform as a singer for the first time at the age of 22 (1948) in the movie Ladies of The –Chorus.


Marilyn’s agent, Johnny Hyde, was almost thirty years older. Marilyn loved him as a father figure and he gave a lot of attention to her career. Johnny knew he didn’t have much time, since he had heart troubles. He hoped and pleaded that Marilyn would marry him, so she could inherence his possessions. Marilyn wouldn’t marry him under these conditions. Johnny was the only person Marilyn could thrust at the time and she felt it would be wrong, even tough she had financial problems. The movie company took advantage of her and paid her normal actress fee, when she really should be paid as the star she was.


Before she became a great star, she had only three dresses that she washed by hand and used over and over again. She could only afford fast-food and ate peanut butter and raw meat when she had little energy. Marilyn spent the little she earned as a raising star, on drama teaching sessions. When she was broke as a photo model, she sometimes had to exchange sex for money.


Marilyn was against nude photography and had many times denied offers to pose nude, but she was now so desperate that it became her last resort. Marilyn once said that “A girl virtue in Hollywood is much less worth than the cut of her hair”, and “In Hollywood you are worth what you look like, not what you are”.


Marilyn got her first serious job as an actress in 1950. She played a small but important role in the film, ”The Asphalt Jungle”, who made a great impression. A famous film reviewer, named Alton Cook, said that se was Hollywood’s new star. “Her role may not be big, but she does it excellent!”


Her first film with the leading role, “Don’t Bother to knock”, came in 1952. As a raising star, her beloved friend Johnny Hyde passed away, and she became so depressed that she tried to commit suicide. Marilyn lived with her song teacher, Natasha Lytess, in this difficult period. Natasha saved Marilyn from an early death. Natasha helped Marilyn with challenges as “Cherry Garden” and Cordelia in “King Lean”. Marilyn Monroe reached full status as a Hollywood star, as the dumb blonde Lorelei Lee, in”Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”. She thrived she sang and danced. She also played a wilderness version of this sexy blonde against Robert Mitchum in”River of No return”.


Joe Dimaggio

The famous baseball player Joe Dimaggio (37) had a strong wish to meet Marilyn. He did meet her, and there love grew strong. They got married even tough Joe disliked Marilyn’s sex-image. Two of Marilyn’s biggest dance and song shows were made fun of. New York Times wrote also that her hip movements were all too much. Joe was very embarrassed by this. Marilyn hoped that her next role in”The seven Year each” with director Billy Wilder would be classier. This did not happen and she was once again the dumb blonde. Their marriage began to collapse, and they separated in 1954. One of Marilyn’s most known photo’s may the cause of this. The picture is of Marilyn in a white dress being lifted by the wind.




Marilyn became ill after the separation and got bronchitis and anomie. The sleeping pills she was subscribed made her very emotional and torpid. She often cried at the set and where often late for job and meetings. She was obsessed to have a perfect appearance at all times, and used many hours on make up and clothes.


Arthur Miller

Marilyn was 29 when she in 1955 moved away from Hollywood to New York to attend Actors Studio. She met Arthur Miller was a theatrical man who represented an intellect that she was drawn to. Marilyn was a rare talent and very unconventional. Marilyn and Arthur married in 1956 and were divorced in 1961. He admired Marilyn as a star, but not personally. In this period she played in movies with known actors as Clark Gable, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis.




Marilyn went to counselling with the psychoanalyst Dr.Greenson as her physician, in 1960. Dr.Greenson treatment was mainly different medications for different illnesses. Marilyn took pills to sleep, calm her nervous system or to get awake when she needed. The misuse of medication increased dramatically.


Marilyn never had any real female role model. Her mother lived in a mental institution almost all her life and Marilyn had to pay for her treatment. Ana Lowter died from stroke because of malnutrition, and Grace McKee committed suicide. These were the persons who stood closest to Marilyn, and now they were gone. She luckily had to good friends, Patricia Newcomb and Jean Keeman.


Marilyn had always had a special relationship with children, and strongly wanted her own. She did understand them, and wanted to give someone the opportunity she never had, but this was not possible with her life situation.




The President

President John F. Kennedy was a great admirer of Marilyn. They had an affair which was not so popular among the Kennedy family. They were afraid that she could destroy John F. Kennedy’s marriage, since she was so unstable. There have been many speculations surrounding Marilyn’s suicide. Many believe that the Kennedy family staged her suicide. Marilyn had no wish to take her life at this time, and the Kennedy family had a lot to loose. Marilyn had gone back together with Joe Dimaggio, and was determined to finish “Something’s got to Give”. Her salary was tripled and she had no reason to kill herself, but Marilyn dies on the 5th of August 1962, from an overdose of sleeping pills. She had planned to marry Joe Dimaggio three days later.

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