Voted 'Sexiest Woman of the Century' by People Magazine.
Was 1947's Miss California Artichoke Queen.
In her autobiography, "My Story", she recounted her guardian told her she was a direct descendant of James Monroe. Her mother's maiden name was Monroe, but there is no evidence she was a descendant of the U.S. President.
Was roommates with Shelley Winters when they were both starting out in Hollywood.
Ranked #8 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list. [October 1997]
Voted Empire's (UK) "sexiest female movie star of all time" in 1995.
She was Playboy's first "Sweetheart of the Month" in December 1953.
When she died in 1962 at age 36, she left an estate valued at $1.6 million. In her will, Monroe bequeathed 75% of that estate to Lee Strasberg, her acting coach, and 25% to Dr. Marianne Kris, her psychoanalyst. A trust fund provided her mother, Gladys Baker Eley, with $5,000 a year. When Dr. Kris died in 1980, she passed her 25% on to the Anna Freud Centre, a children's psychiatric institute in London. Since Strasberg's death in 1982, his 75% has been administered by his widow, Anna, and her lawyer, Irving Seidman.
The licensing of Marilyn's name and likeness, handled world-wide by Curtis Management Group, reportedly nets the Monroe estate about $2 million a year.
Was named the Number One Sex Star of the 20th Century by Playboy magazine in 1999.
Started using the name Marilyn Monroe in 1946, but did not legally change it until 1956.
Appeared on the first cover of Playboy in 1953.
Given a dog she named Tippy by foster father Albert Bolender. In her final, unfinished film Something's Got to Give (1962), the dog was also named Tippy.
Interred at Westwood Memorial Park, Los Angeles, California, USA, in the Corridor of Memories, crypt #24.
Hundreds of items of memorabilia auctioned off in late October 1999 by Christie's, with her infamous 'JFK' birthday-gown fetching over $1 million.
Chosen by Empire magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history (#2).
Hugh M. Hefner owns the closest burial vault next to hers.
She was discovered dead at her home at 12305 Fifth Helena Drive, Brentwood, California. She had a phone in one of her hands, her body was completely nude and face down, on her bed.
Ex-husband Joe DiMaggio put fresh roses at her memorial site, for numerous years after her death.
When putting her imprints at Grauman's she joked that Jane Russell was best known for her large front-side and she was known for her wiggly walk, so Jane could lean over, and she could sit in it. It was only a joke, but she dotted the "I" in her name with a rhinestone, which was stolen within days.
Redheaded actress Tina Louise played the character role of Ginger Grant on the television series Gilligan's Island (1964), was loosely based on her personality, but a different hair color.
Her first modeling job paid only five dollars.
Frequently used Nivea moisturizer.
During the filming of Niagara (1953), she was still under contract as a stock actor, thus, she received less salary than her make-up man. This was also the only film in which her character died. The film was reworked to highlight her after Anne Bancroft withdrew.
Often carried around the book, "The Biography of Abraham Lincoln."
Was an outstanding player on the Hollygrove Orphanage softball team.
Because the bathing suit she wore in the movie Love Nest (1951) was so risque (for the time period) and caused such a commotion on the set, director Joseph M. Newman had to make it a closed set when she was filming.
Fearing blemishes and sweat, she washed her face fifteen times a day.
She was suggested as a possible wife for Prince Rainier of Monaco. But he picked actress, Grace Kelly, to be his wife.
Thought the right side of her face was her "best" side.
The first time she signed an autograph as Marilyn Monroe, she had to ask how to spell it. She didn't know where to put the "i" in "Marilyn".
Born on Tuesday at 9:30 AM, Pacific Standard Time, which is Los Angeles, California's time zone.
Suffered from endometriosis, a condition in which tissues of the uterus lining (endometrium) leave the uterus, attach themselves to other areas of the body, and grow, causing pain, irregular bleeding, and, in severe cases, infertility.
Divorced first husband, James Dougherty, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Divorced last husband, Arthur Miller, in Juarez, Mexico.
On Thursday, February 23rd, 1956, she obtained order from the City Court of the State of New York to legally change her name from Norma Jeane Mortenson to Marilyn Monroe.
Married Arthur Miller twice: the 1st time in a civil ceremony, then in a Jewish (to which she had converted) ceremony two days later.
Won an interlocutory decree from Joe DiMaggio on Wednesday, October 27th, 1954, but, under California law, the divorce was not finalized until exactly one year later.
Offered to convert to Catholism in order to marry Joe DiMaggio in a Church ceremony, but she was turned down because she was divorced. Subsequently, when the divorced DiMaggio married Marilyn in a civil ceremony at San Francisco City Hall, he was automatically excommunicated by the Church; this edict was struck down by Pope John XXIII's Ecumenical Council (Vatican II) in 1962.
Although it's believed that her mother, Gladys Baker, named her after Norma Talmadge, Gladys reportedly told her daughter, Bernice (Marilyn's half-sister), that she named Marilyn after Norma Jeane Cohen, a child she was Nanny to while living in Louisville, KY. while her son Robert Kermit Baker (Marilyn's half brother) was in Hospital, and estranged from the father Jasper Baker. The boy died, and Gladys returned to California.
The first stamp released in the USPS's Legends of Hollywood series, issued on Friday, June 1st, 1995.
Went to Van Nuys High School (Los Angeles) in the early 1940s but never graduated.
In 1973, Elton John released a single in tribute to her entitled "Candle in the Wind". In 1997, it was re-recorded with updated lyrics in memory of Princess Diana, becoming the UK's best-selling single of all time. Def Leppard's single "Photograph" from their "Pyromania" album was also written about Monroe. Glenn Danzig, lead singer of the punk band The Misfits, recorded a song called "Who Killed Marilyn?", inspired by his belief that she had been murdered. She is mentioned in the lyrics of several other songs, including "Celluloid Heroes" by The Kinks, "We Didn't Start the Fire" by Billy Joel, "Vogue" by Madonna, "Lady Nina" by rock band Marillion and "Tell Me It's Not True" from the musical "Blood Brothers".
Her behavior on the unfinished Something's Got to Give (1962) dimmed her reputation in the industry, but she was still big box office at the time of her death. What a Way to Go! (1964) and The Stripper (1963) were being developed for her.
When she was told that she was not the star in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) she verbally said "Well whatever I am, I'm still the blonde.".
The famous nude photo of her by Tom Kelley originally appeared as anonymous on a calendar entitled "Miss Golden Dreams." In 1952, a blackmailer threatened to identify the model as Marilyn, but she shrewdly thwarted the scheme by announcing the fact herself. Hugh M. Hefner then bought the rights to use the photo for $500. She became "The Sweetheart of the Month" in the first issue of Hefner's magazine, Playboy. Neither Kelley or Monroe ever saw a dime of the millions the calendar made for its publisher.
Formed her own production company, Marilyn Monroe Productions, with Milton H. Greene, on December 31, 1955.
Appears on sleeve of The Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album.
Batman writer/artist Bob Kane used Marilyn's likeness as a reference when he drew Vicki Vale.
Her USO Entertainer Identification Card (#129778) listed her name as "Norma Jeane DiMaggio".
She was "discovered" by press photographers during a World War II photo shoot at the Radioplane plant in California owned by actor Reginald Denny. She was one of the plant's employees. She left her job and signed with Emmeline Snively's modeling agency.
Was referenced in the dialogue of La Dolce Vita (1960), in the context of dieting.
The Emily Ann Faulkner/Rita Shawn character (played by Kim Stanley) in the John Cromwell film The Goddess (1958) was based on her.
The first Playboy magazine cover, featuring her, is pictured on one of six stamps issued in a souvenir sheet, issued by Grenada & the Grenadines on Saturday, December 1st, 2003 to celebrate Playboy's 50th and golden anniversary.
When she wasn't acting, she preferred to wear nothing but a bathrobe and occasionally a bikini.
Named 2nd Greatest Movie Star of all time by Premier Magazine, behind #1 Cary Grant and before #3 Tom Cruise.
The punk band The Misfits created or picked their name from the last movie title she acted in, The Misfits (1961).
Featured on a 1.11 euro postage stamp issued by French Post Office on Saturday, November 8th, 2003.
The very popular version of "Santa Baby" (also found in the film, Party Monster (2003)) thought to be sung by her was instead recorded by Cynthia Basinet for Jack Nicholson as a Christmas gift.
Ten days in advance, on Saturday, May 19th, 1962, she performed for U.S. President John F. Kennedy at his 45th birthday tribute in his honor at Madison Square Garden. She sang "Happy Birthday". (Kennedy's real birthday was May 29th).
After discovering her dress was torn, at the 1950 Academy Awards, she burst into tears.
Was named #6 Actress on The American Film Institute's 50 Greatest Screen Legends.
The dress Marilyn Monroe wore to serenade John F. Kennedy, on May 19, 1962 at his birthday celebration was so tight, that it had to be sewn onto her. She had to sit still for approximately an hour.
In 1999, a make-up kit that she personally owned, sold for $266,500.
One of the first Los Angeles natives to become a major movie star.
Aside from her birth name of Norma Jeane Mortenson, she was baptized and mainly known throughout her life as Norma Jeane Baker. During her modeling days she was also known as Norma Jeane Dougherty (her first marriage name), and also as Jean Norman. When she signed with 20th Century-Fox, studio casting executive Ben Lyon had first chosen the name Carol Lind as her stage name, although she disliked that. Eventually she chose her mother's maiden name of Monroe. Three names were drawn up as possible stage names. The first was Norma Jeane Monroe, although that sounded awkward; the second was Jean Monroe, and the third was Marilyn Monroe, the latter first name being chosen by Lyon who thought Norma Jeane resembled famed stage actress Marilyn Miller. Norma Jeane liked Jean Monroe, for it preserved some of her name, but Lyon convinced her that Marilyn Monroe sounded more alliterative and so it was chosen.
She took acting lessons from Michael Chekhov.
Sergei Parajanov made collages of Monroe, Charles Chaplin, Mona Lisa, and other famous personages and many were featured in Mikhail Vartanov's Parajanov: The Last Spring (1992).
A 1982 review into the original inquest of Marilyn's death, conducted on its 20-year anniversary, concluded that the actress committed suicide or accidentally overdosed, and was not murdered--rumors that were fueled by the sloppy handling of evidence, the delay in securing the scene and the disappearance of tissue samples.
The ADR stage at Twentieth Century Fox is named after her.
In 1972, actress Veronica Hamel and her husband became the new owners of Marilyn's Brentwood home. They hired a contractor to replace the roof and remodel the house, and the contractor discovered a sophisticated eavesdropping and telephone tapping system that covered every room in the house. The components were not commercially available in 1962, but were in the words of a retired Justice Department official, "standard FBI issue." This discovery lent further support to claims of conspiracy theorists that Marilyn had been under surveillance by the Kennedys and the Mafia. The new owners spent $100,000 to remove the bugging devices from the house.
Was good friends with Dorothy Dandridge and Ava Gardner when they were all young, struggling actresses in Hollywood.
When budding actresses Shelley Winters and Marilyn were roommates in the late 1940s in Hollywood, Shelley said that one day she had to step out and asked Marilyn to "wash the lettuce" for a salad they were to share for dinner. When Shelley got back to the apartment, (Marilyn was apparently new to the art of cooking) had the leaves of lettuce in a small tub of soapy water and was scrubbing them clean. She had not heard of the phrase before either, or did not know it's true meaning.
Her real father was Charles Stanley Gifford. From his side, she was descended from the founder of Rhode Island, Roger Williams, and religious leader Anne Marbury-Hutchinson, from whom she is related to Lucretia Rudolph (wife of President James A. Garfield), Grover Cleveland, William Howard Taft, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, George Bush, and George W. Bush.
In How to Marry a Millionaire (1953), her character Pola is reading a book called "Murder By Strangulation" on the plane. Coincidentally, this is how her character was murdered in Niagara (1953).
Friend of James Haspiel.
Don't Bother to Knock (1952) (her 18th film) was an attempt to prove to critics that she could act successfully. Because some earlier films took numerous takes and much longer time to complete. Especially, The Seven Year Itch (1955) which took numerous extra takes, for her character role, alone.
In Italy, her films were dubbed at the beginning of her career by Miranda Bonansea. As she matured she was dubbed by the marvellous and prolific Rosetta Calavetta with immense success, particularly in Some Like It Hot (1959). Zoe Incrocci lent her voice to Monroe once: in All About Eve (1950).
Her lifelong bouts with depression and self-destruction took their toll during filming The Seven Year Itch (1955). She frequently muffed scenes and forgot her lines, leading to sometimes as many as 40 takes of a scene before a satisfactory result was produced. Her constant tardiness and behavioral problems made the budget of the film swell to $1.8 million, a high price for the time. The film still managed to make a nice profit. The classic shot of her dress blowing up around her legs as she stands over a subway grating in this film was originally shot on Manhattan's Lexington Avenue at 52nd St., On Wednesday, September 15th, 1954, at 1:00 a.m. Five thousand onlookers whistled and cheered through take after take as Marilyn repeatedly missed her lines. This occurred in presence of an increasingly embarrassed and angry Joe DiMaggio (her husband at the time; the nine-month-old marriage officially ended during the shooting of this film). The original footage shot on that night in New York never made it to the screen; the noise of the crowd had made it unusable. Director Billy Wilder re-shot the scene on the 20th Century-Fox lot, on a set replicating Lexington Avenue, and got a more satisfactory result. However, it took another 40 takes for Marilyn to achieve the famous scene. Amazingly, her very narrow spike heels don't get stuck or break in the subway grating, although this was a universal problem at the time for the countless women wearing that very popular style heel in New York City in that era. An important promotional campaign was released for this mainstream motion picture, including a 52-foot-high cutout of Marilyn (from the blowing dress scene) erected in front of Loews State Theater, in New York City's Times Square. The movie premiere was on June 1, 1955, which was also her 29th birthday.
Was originally set to play Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961), but Audrey Hepburn played the role instead.
What a Way to Go! (1964) initially intended as a vehicle for her, Shirley MacLaine played Louisa May Foster instead. Producer Arthur P. Jacobs was her publicist and J. Lee Thompson was on her list of approved directors.
She resided at the Hollywood Roosevelt while she was breaking into the acting business.
Her "Happy Birthday Mr. President" dress sold for $1,267,500.00, a world record for the most expensive piece of clothing ever sold, and is in the Guinness Book of World Records.
She left Hollywood to pursue serious acting by studying under Lee Strasberg at his Actors' Studio in New York City.
Her classic shape, according to her dressmaker, is actually measured at 37-23-36.
In 1946, she signed her first studio contract with 20th Century Fox and dyed her hair.
Spent most of her early childhood in foster homes and orphanages because her mother was committed to a mental institution. Later, she lived with her mother's best friend, Grace McKee, and her family. McKee, a big fan of Jean Harlow, allowed her to wear make-up and curl her hair and, when she was 15, it was McKee who pierced her ears for her using a sewing needle. At 16, when McKee could no longer take care of her, she got married to avoid returning to the orphanage.
Producer Keya Morgan owns her Bible.
When she married Joe DiMaggio, the couple moved into a home at 508 N. Palm Drive in Beverly Hills, that was next door to Jean Harlow's last home.
She tried 9 different shades of blonde hair color before settling on platinum blonde.
Her personal library contained over 400 books on topics ranging from art to history, psychology, philosophy, literature, religion, poetry, and gardening. Many of the volumes, auctioned in 1999, bore her pencil notations in the margins.
There are over 600 books written about her.
Nearly 11 years after her death, she appeared on the cover of the Tuesday, July 17th, 1973 edition of "Time Magazine" in a full-color portrait taken by Bert Stern, from the last photographic sitting before her death. The cover-story heralds the publication of "Marilyn," the biography of her by Norman Mailer. On the cover, her image dwarfs a black & white photo of Mailer. Mailer reportedly was displeased that "Time" chose to play up Monroe and diminish him, visually on the cover. The publication of the coffee table biography, which contained many photographs including several by Stern, was a major event of that publishing season. The book retailed for $19.95, which is approximately $100 in 2008 money, when factored for inflation.
"Time Magazine" reported in 1973 that Los Angeles County coroner Thomas Noguchi, the doctor who performed Monroe's autopsy, said that contrary to rumors, Monroe's stomach was never pumped after her death. The level of Nembutal in her bloodstream was 4.5 milligrams per 100, which is the equivalent of 40 or 50 capsules indicating suicide.
In 1961, after her divorce from Arthur Miller, she purchased a 2900 square foot hacienda style house in Brentwood, for $77,500.
Featured in "Femme Noir: Bad Girls of Film" by Karen Burroughs Hannsberry (McFarland, 1998).
Her last film Something's Got to Give (1962), was finally released in 2003. In the swimming pool scene, Marilyn reveals much more to the camera than she did in her then controversial calendar photo from the early 1950s.
Was in consideration for the part of Adelaide in Guys and Dolls (1955), but Vivian Blaine was cast instead.
Although she was perhaps the most famous actress of the 1950s decade, she never made more than $100,000 per picture upfront. Actresses such as Elizabeth Taylor and Barbara Stanwyck were earning significantly more.
Former stepmother of Robert A. Miller.
Half-sister of Berniece and Robert Kermitt Baker (but she never knew him, because he died at 14) by her mother's side. Sister-in-law of Paris Miracle, aunt of Mona Rae Miracle.
Became pregnant twice (in July 1957 and November 1958) during her marriage to Arthur Miller; on both occasions she suffered miscarriages.
Although she was an avid buyer of books and owned over 400 of them at her death, third husband Arthur Miller said, "Aside from Colette's Cheri and a few short stories, I had never known her to read anything all the way through. She felt she could get the idea of a book, and often did, in just a few pages.".
Read and wrote poetry.
Ranked #3 in Men's Health 100 Hottest Women of all Time (2011).
Good friends with Milton H. Greene.
Was a lifelong liberal Democrat.
Was close friends with singer Ella Fitzgerald and helped her rise in her musical career by arranging for her to sing in many upscale nightclubs some of which were segregated during the time of their friendship.
Monroe was a stutterer, a little known fact that was easily covered thanks to studio vocal coaches who provided her with dictation lessons.
Learned to play the guitar for her role in River of No Return (1954) and the ukulele for her role in Some Like It Hot (1959).
She had the same birthday (June 1) as her former sister-in-law Joan Copeland, the younger sister of her third husband Arthur Miller.
Film editor Dann Cahn recommended a young woman he was dating for the part of a beautiful young woman in Your Show Time (1949). Producer Stanley Rubin auditioned her and turned her down because she did not have enough experience. The young woman's name was Marilyn Monroe.
She was scheduled for The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing (1955), but she was thought too old at 30 when the character was supposed to be 17 so she was replaced with Joan Collins.
According to Adam Curtis' "The Century of Self", Monroe was in the later years subjected to an experimental kind of therapy where she was forced to attend the rituals of an average family and then expected to model her self upon the experience. Arthur Miller commented in the same documentary "I don't think suffering is always a mistake".
Ayn Rand wrote a powerful tribute to her, compiled in "The Voice of Reason".
Although Monroe's famous nude calender grossed $750,000, the actress only got $50 and a bad cold out of it.
After working with Monroe in As Young as You Feel (1951) jealous co-star Constance Bennett wisecracked, "Now there's a broad with a future behind her!".
Among roles that Monroe turned down under her Fox contract: "Pink Tights," "How To Be Very, Very Popular," "The Revolt of Mamie Stover," "The Girl in the Red velvet Swing,' "The Jean Harlow Story," "The Blue Angel," and "Can-Can.".
She campaigned to play the Maria Schell role in "The Brothers Karamazov," but she was never seriously considered.
According to the book "Flesh and Fantasy" Monroe perfected a Vaseline-based lip gloss.
"Goodbye, Charlie" with Debbie Reynolds and "The Stripper" with Joanne Woodward were originally slated by Fox as Monroe projects.
Director Billy Wilder was quoted as saying, "The great success of Monroe... was that she did not infuriate the female.".
Was good friends with Judy Garland.
Played by Mary Hanson in Hollywood Mouth 2 (2014). The director of that film, Jordan Mohr, had portrayed Marilyn's rival Simone Signoret in the stage play "Two Simones: de Beauvoir and Signoret in Hollywood".
Richard Widmark on co-starring with Monroe in "Don't Bother to Knock": "She was a vulnerable kid. Murder to work with because she was scared to death of acting - even when she became a big movie actress. We had a hell of a time getting her out of the dressing room. When it was five o'clock , it got irritating: 'C'mon, Marilyn, we want to go home!' She was a movie animal. Something happened between the lens and the film. Nobody knew what the hell it was. On the set, you'd think: 'Oh, this is impossible; you can't print this.' You'd see it, and she's got everyone backed off the screen. Olivier said the same thing. She had that phenomenal something! Nobody knows what it is, but she had it. She certainly was never a professional actress. She always had a coach with her, lurking in the background, giving her signals. And she could never remember three words in a row - so it was all piece-work. Beyond all the technical deficiencies, she was a nice girl. We got along fine.".
Is one of 20 actresses who did not receive an Oscar nomination for their Best Actress in a Comedy/Musical Golden Globe-winning performance; hers being for Some Like It Hot (1959). The others, in chronological order, are: June Allyson for Too Young to Kiss (1951), Ethel Merman for Call Me Madam (1953), Jean Simmons for Guys and Dolls (1955), Taina Elg and Kay Kendall for Les Girls (1957), Rosalind Russell for A Majority of One (1961) and Gypsy (1962), Patty Duke for Me, Natalie (1969), Twiggy for The Boy Friend (1971), Raquel Welch for The Three Musketeers (1973), Barbra Streisand for A Star Is Born (1976), Bernadette Peters for Pennies from Heaven (1981), Kathleen Turner for Romancing the Stone (1984) and Prizzi's Honor (1985), Miranda Richardson for Enchanted April (1991), Jamie Lee Curtis for True Lies (1994), Nicole Kidman for To Die For (1995), Madonna for Evita (1996), Renée Zellweger for Nurse Betty (2000), Sally Hawkins for Happy-Go-Lucky (2008), and Amy Adams for Big Eyes (2014).
Egypt banned all her films after her conversion to Judaism in 1956.
One of Hajime Sorayama's "Gynoids" is based on her iconic pose from "The Seven Year Itch".
In order to fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer she often mixed champagne with sleeping pills.
Became friends with Exotic Animal Trainer Ralph Helfer while working together in the movie River of No Return (1954).