Check Out the Career Highlights of Marilyn Monroe!
Marilyn Monroe and feminism are rarely spoken together due to decades of sexist preconceptions. But a closer examination of her life reveals an intelligent, forward-thinking individual decades in advance. In fact, she once engaged Hollywood in a titanic conflict, breaking down barriers and reshaping American cinema in the process.
Early in the 1950s, during the height of Hollywood's Studio System, Monroe achieved stardom. The only way to succeed as an actor back then was to contract with one of the “Big Five” studios (MGM, Paramount, Warner Brothers, RKO, or, in the case of Marilyn Monroe, Twentieth Century Fox) and prepare for years of glitzy slave service.
Today, we'll speak about Marilyn Monroe's early years and her long, successful career. So follow along with us till the article's conclusion.
Marilyn Monroe's Early Years
At the Los Angeles County Hospital, Marilyn Monroe was born on June 1, 1926, to her mother Gladys Pearl Baker. Her birth name, Norma Jeane Mortenson, wouldn't change until she started to gain notoriety in the public eye.
According to sources, Monroe had a generally happy upbringing. Even though Monroe‘s mother struggled financially to sustain the little family, she continued to visit and participate in her daughter's development, placing Monroe with Christian foster parents in a small town when she was a newborn.
Gladys bought a little house in Hollywood when Monroe was seven years old, and they all moved in with her daughter and a few boarders.
Her Successful Career Journey
In 1944, she met photographer David Conover, who was dispatched to the factory by the U.S. Army Air Forces' First Motion Picture Unit to promote worker morale. In January 1945, she quit her manufacturing job and began posing for Conover and his associates.
In August 1945, she defied her deployed husband and signed with Blue Book Model Agency. Monroe‘s body was more suited for pin-up than high fashion modeling, therefore she appeared largely in ads and men's magazines.
Monroe spent her first six months at Fox learning acting, singing, dancing, and filmmaking. The studio also enrolled her in Actors' Laboratory Theatre, which taught Group Theatre techniques; she later said it was “my first taste of genuine acting in a real drama, and I was hooked.”
Natasha Lytess, the studio's head drama coach, became her mentor. Her lone film at the studio was Ladies of the Chorus (1948), in which she played a chorus girl courted by a rich guy. Monroe had small roles in various films, including All About Eve and The Asphalt Jungle (1950). As Young as You Feel, Love Nest, and Let's Make It Legal were somewhat popular Fox comedies in 1951.
Monroe caused a scandal in 1952 when she admitted to posing for a nude calendar in 1949. The studio knew about the images and that she was rumored to be the model weeks before, so Monroe chose to admit to them while underlining that she was broke at the time.
The tactic won her public sympathy and raised interest in her films, which were now top-billed. Monroe was the “Talk of Hollywood” after the controversy, and Hedda Hopper called her the “cheesecake queen” turned “box office hit.”
Monroe wanted to show off her acting range despite her sex icon status. She started acting with Michael Chekhov and Lotte Goslar. Monroe's three other 1952 films showcased her sex appeal in comic roles. She played a 19th-century streetwalker in O. Henry's Full House alongside Charles Laughton.
She detested her lack of control on film sets but never had problems during photo assignments, when she had more say and could be more spontaneous. To relieve her anxiety and insomnia, she used barbiturates, amphetamines, and alcohol, which compounded her issues.
Women's clubs denounced Niagara's immorality in 1953, but audiences loved it. Niagara established Monroe as a sex symbol and her “look,” but Gentlemen Prefer Blondes cemented her “dumb blonde” image. Monroe played Jack Benny's fantasy woman in “Honolulu Trip” How to Marry a Millionaire was her third film of the year.
According to Fox historian Aubrey Solomon, Monroe was the studio's “greatest asset” along with CinemaScope. Hugh Hefner featured Monroe on the cover and as a centrefold in the first issue of Playboy in December 1953; Monroe did not consent.
Zanuck, under pressure from studio owner Spyros Skouras, decided Fox should focus exclusively on entertainment to maximize profits and canceled ‘serious films'
In January 1954, Monroe refused to film The Girl in Pink Tights. Monroe responded quickly to the negative publicity. Otto Preminger's western River of No Return was Monroe's last film before the suspension.
She called it a “Z-grade cowboy movie where the acting came second to the scenery and CinemaScope,” but audiences liked it. Monroe filmed The Seven Year Itch with Tom Ewell in September 1954. Although the film was shot in Hollywood, the studio decided to generate advance publicity by filming a scene with Monroe on a subway grate in Manhattan. The several-hour shoot drew 2,000 spectators.
Monroe's first film under her new contract was Bus Stop. She played Chérie, a bar singer who falls in love with a naive cowboy. Monroe began filming The Prince and the Showgirl at Pinewood Studios in England in August. Monroe privately compared the production to a sinking ship and said, “Why should I worry? I have no phallic symbol to lose.”
Monroe's performance earned her a Golden Globe for Best Actress and dubbed her “a comedienne with sex appeal and timing that can't be beat.” BBC, AFI, and Sight & Sound voted it one of the best films ever made.
Career Decline, 1960–1962
Let's Make Love flopped in 1960. Crowther said Monroe was “untidy” and lacked “old Monroe dynamism.” Miller wrote Monroe a dramatic role in John Huston's The Misfits.
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Monroe lived in Brentwood, Los Angeles, during her final months. On August 4, 1962, her housekeeper Eunice Murray stayed overnight. Murray sensed something was wrong at 3 a.m. on August 5. She saw light under Monroe's bedroom door but found it locked. Monroe died between 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. on August 4, of acute barbiturate poisoning.
Frequently Asked Questions
Marilyn Monroe had kids, right?
No, is the response. Despite having three different husbands—James Dougherty, Joe DiMaggio, and Arthur Miller—Marilyn never had children before her death in 1962.
Who got Marilyn Monroe's money?
What can happen when you don't have control over who gets your estate is illustrated by Marilyn Monroe's plan. In August 1962, the well-known actress and model passed unexpectedly, leaving most of her inheritance to Lee Strasberg, her acting teacher.
Marilyn Monroe had stepchildren, right?
Sadly, Marilyn was never able to have children of her own, but she adored and spoiled her stepchildren Joe Jr., Jane, and Bobby Miller.