Actresses Marilyn Monroe

Published on July 6th, 2009 | by Yellow Magpie

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Marilyn Monroe: The Original Blonde Bombshell

Marilyn Monroe The Original Blonde Bombshell

Marilyn Monroe was a highly intelligent woman who played the role of the naive girl incredibly well. However, the problem for Marilyn was that she also adopted the same persona off-screen blonde bombshell persona.

This would come back to haunt her in later years when she would struggle to shirk off the image of an attractive but rather dim woman. In many ways she became a victim of her own image and acting ability.

Marilyn Monroe’s thespian talents were rarely displayed on screen. However, real life was an entirely different matter as Monroe perfected her character, a character which she started when she chose to adopt a new name.

Troubled Early Life

Marilyn Monroe or Norma Jean Mortenson, was born in Los Angeles on June 1, 1926, to Gladys Pearl Baker. As the identity of her father was undetermined, she was baptised Norma Jean Baker.

Norma Jean had a sad and lonely childhood, living in a series of foster homes and finally ending up in an orphanage as this insightful video from 1964 shows.

As the video shows, Marilyn Monroe was adopted by a friend of her mother  Grace Goddard. However, when the Goddard’s moved to another part of the country, Marilyn had two choices, move back to the orphanage, or marry twenty-one year old neighbour, Jimmy Dougherty. Norma was just 16 years old.

Marilyn Monroe The Blonde Bombshell And Jane Russel 1953

Marilyn Monroe The Blonde Bombshell And Jane Russel 1953

Norma Jean and Jimmy, lived happily together until Jimmy, who had joined the merchant marines, was sent to the South Pacific in 1944. While Jimmy was away, Norma went to work at Radio Plane Munitions factory in Burbank, California. It was there she caught the eye of photographer David Conover.

Conover had been commissioned to take uplifting pictures of pretty girls, who were contributing to the war effort. When he spotted Norma, he was captivated by her luminous quality combined with a certain fragility. Just two years after Conover took the first picture of  Norma Jean, she had become the ‘it girl‘, or blonde bombshell, and graced the front cover of numerous popular magazines.

Norma Jean Dougherty (Marilyn Monroe) Photo By David Conover

Norma Jean Dougherty (Marilyn Monroe) Photo By David Conover

Divorce, Hollywood And The Birth Of Marilyn Monroe

It was around that time that Norma began to study acting, and enrolled in drama classes. She divorced Jimmy in 1946, changed her name to Jean Norman, and signed her first contract with Twentieth Century Fox.

Norma, had big ambitions, she dyed her hair blonde and developed the famous signature pout, but she knew her the name was all wrong, so she adopted the name of her maternal grandmother, Monroe, and paired it up with the first name of the twenties starlet Marilyn Miller and Marilyn Monroe, the blonde bombshell was born.

Robert Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe In Blonde Bombshell Mode And John F. Kennedy

Robert Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe In Blonde Bombshell Mode And John F. Kennedy

From Starlet To The Blonde Bombshell Star

Marilyn’s first movie role was a bit part in the The Shocking Miss Pilgrim, followed by a number of other insignificant bit-parts. In 1950 she received accolades for her role as Claudia Causwell  in the hit  film All About Eve, which starred Bette Davis.

That gave Marilyn the  recognition she craved and resulted in her receiving numerous other roles. But it was the film Niagra opposite Joseph Cotten that made her star. In the film Marilyn played a beautiful young wife who plans to kill her much older husband with the help of her lover.

One of her most popular roles was with well established blonde bombshell sex symbol Jean Russell in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,during which Marilyn sang ‘Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend’.

Marilyn Monroe in The Prince and the Showgirl

Marilyn Monroe in The Prince and the Showgirl

In 1954, she married baseball great Joe DiMaggio. However, the marriage only lasted nine months. Then in 1956 she married playwright Arthur Miller. During her marriage to Miller, she starred in the all time favourite, Some Like It Hot with Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis. Marilyn played Sugar Kane Kowalczyk, a part that earned her a Golden Globe award.

Her last completed film was in 1961 when she starred opposite heart throb Clarke Gable in the John Huston directed film The Misfits . Meanwhile her marriage to Arthur Miller was on the rocks and they split later that year.

Marilyn Monroe’s High Profile Affairs

Throughout her life Marilyn’s name was linked with several men, including Charlie Chaplin, members of the Rat Pack, and most famously John F. Kennedy and his brother Bobby.

On the President’s Birthday, Marilyn, came on stage in a skin tight dress to sing a breathy and somewhat explicit ‘Happy Birthday, Mr President‘, in her blonde bombshell persona to the delight of the audience.

Her professional career started to mirror her personal life. In 1962 she was dismissed from the film Something’s Got To Give , for repeatedly failing to turn up for shooting. The film was abandoned when Dean Martin refused to continue filming without her.

That same year, Marilyn was found dead in her bed with an empty bottle of sleeping pills beside her. She was just 36. There has been speculation down through the years, that she may have been murdered or died under suspicious circumstances. But it was officially ruled that she died from a drug overdose.

For the rest of his life Joe DiMaggio, who never stopped loving her, sent flowers to her grave every week.

Marilyn still remains popular today, and has never lost her appeal.


Further Recommended Reading

Marilyn Monroe inspired many people, one of which was Madonna. Check out Yellow Magpie’s Madonna: Controversial And Talented Pop Icon to find out about her interesting story.

A recommended book is The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe. For further interesting reading try My Story: Illustrated Edition.

If you would like to watch some of her most popular movies try Marilyn Monroe Special Anniversary Collection DVDs.

Amazon.co.uk
For people living in Ireland or the United Kingdom, you can access The Secret Life Of Marilyn MonroeMy Story: Illustrated Edition and Marilyn Monroe Special Anniversary Collection DVDs here.

Amazon.ca
For those who live in Canada, you can obtain The Secret Life Of Marilyn MonroeMy Story: Illustrated Edition and Marilyn Monroe 80th Anniversary Collection DVDs from here.

Amazon.de
For Germany: The Secret Life Of Marilyn MonroeMy Story: Illustrated Edition and Marilyn Monroe Special Anniversary Collection DVDs.

Amazon.fr
For France: The Secret Life Of Marilyn MonroeMy Story: Illustrated Edition and Marilyn Monroe Special Anniversary Collection DVDs.


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6 Responses to Marilyn Monroe: The Original Blonde Bombshell

  1. Very interesting. Its wierd to see her with her darker hair. And to know what her real name was before she actually changed it.

  2. Pingback: Marilyn Monroe Quotes: An Acting Legacy In Words

  3. Pingback: Jacqueline Kennedy: Wife Of President John F Kennedy

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  5. Pingback: John F Kennedy: The Man Behind The Image

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