Much has been said and written about it, yet a form of mystery still surrounds it. The one who appeared alternately as a bright blonde, sex symbol, naive actress, but also as a melancholy, cultured, perfectionist young woman. She showed courage and determination that allowed her to climb all the ladders. Model, actress, singer, muse of the greatest… Portrait of a fatal beauty, a tormented woman with many faces – Marilyn Monroe.

Table of Contents:

Pop culture icon

Marilyn Monroe remains a true Hollywood myth. Her career fascinates as much as her personal life, so much so that it has made her a charming and mysterious figure who has left an indelible mark on popular culture. Actress, singer, fashion icon, art object…. Marilyn Monroe continues to capture the imagination (especially the male imagination…). Destiny composed of success, love, but also mystery. Behind the zircons and sequins lies a dark side, Norma Jeane Baker. Marilyn Monroe’s tortured alter ego, who helped build – even after her disappearance – the myth we know today.

Pin-up the road to fame

After a chaotic childhood in various foster families, where she was the victim of several sexual abuse attempts, punctuated by stays in shelters, orphanages and visits to her mother in a psychiatric hospital, Norma Jeane Baker quickly rose to fame. She was spotted by a military photographer. She went on to become the face of government campaigns promoting women’s involvement in the war effort, and appeared as a “Mmmmm girl,” a pin-up that appeared in more than 30 magazines in just a few months. These propaganda shots about the war effort elevated it to the front pages of all magazines. Encouraged, she began working in modeling and took the opportunity to divorce James Dougherty, whom she had married at a young age, treating the relationship as a remedy for her previous life situation.

Modeling allowed her to go through her first film trials and sign a six-month contract with 20th Century Fox. Her bleached blonde hair wreaked havoc on men’s hearts, and it was in 1946, on the advice of Ben Lyon, director of 20th Century Fox, that the budding actress took the mythical name Marilyn Monroe. However, it wasn’t until 1950 and her meeting with Johnny Hyde that her career explodes. A staff of specialists has since worked on her image. The blond color has become a trademark of the passionate Marilyn. A true American sex symbol was born.

The revolution is underway. Marilyn catalyzes all the fantasies of the time, yet distinguishes herself from the fateful beauty of the 1950s to offer a sensual yet sympathetic image to the public. This reversal of codes allows her to get noticed and begin her career as an established actress. First in Eve (1950), then in Demon Awakened by Night (1952).

She shared fame with stars of the time, such as Ginger Rogers and Cary Grant, Jane Russell in the mythical Men Prefer Blondes (1953) or Lauren Bacall in How to Marry a Millionaire (1953). She also appeared in Seven Years of Reflection (1955) – which recorded the actress’ most emblematic scene, in which her white dress floated through the air of a subway gate – directed by Billy Wilder, whom she met again in 1959 in the cult American comedy Some Like It Hot. The one in which she performed the song I Wanna Be Loved by You , for which she won the Golden Globes for Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical.

Many husbands

At the height of her career, she filmed The Billionaire (1960). The following year on the set she met French actor Yves Montand, with whom she had an affair. However, her greatest love affair remains the one with the president, John F. Kennedy, after marriages to painter James Dougherty, baseball player Joe DiMaggio and playwright Arthur Miller.

Her much-talked-about rendition of Happy Birthday Mister President has become one of the most mythical images of the 20th century. Proof of Marilyn Monroe’s glory, but also of the controversy she has always aroused.

The subject of a 1950 fantasy, the actress has always conveyed a sexual and glamorous image of the girl next door. Her poses in magazines, nudity presented in erotic calendars, male gazes from filmmakers and complex loves fueled her publicity, creating controversy.

Norma Jeane Baker
Marilyn Monroe husband - unhappy despite the limelight 4

Beauty, but not natural

Blonde hair, doe eyes, charming smile at will…. Marilyn Monroe, embodied the canon of beauty and femininity. However, she enlisted the help of surgery to achieve this. A necessary makeover to make a place for herself in Hollywood. Her medical records support the claim that the actress benefited from the scalpel. In 2013, the myth of naturalness collapsed when auction house Julien’s Auctions put up for sale letters written between 1950 and 1962 by Dr. Michael Gurdin, with whom Monroe was treated. Attached are six X-rays, including the nose bones and jaw bones of the actress, who was a patient under the pseudonym Joan Newman. An excerpt from medical records reveals that at the age of 24, in 1950, Marilyn Monroe underwent plastic surgery on her chin. The notes mention complaints from the actress, who points to a “chin deformity” after the placement of the cartilage implant, which was quickly absorbed. She also had the tip of her nose modified with light nasal plastic surgery. X-rays show a small crack in this area. The radiologist’s notes state that the actress’ nose was not damaged by the fall.

Martin Nolan, director of auction house Julien’s Auctions, explained at the time: “No one really thought Marilyn Monroe had plastic surgery. These were speculations, rumors. It was believed to embody the natural beauty of… It was impossible to believe“. And to clarify: “At that time, in 1950, cosmetic surgery was very rare, it was in its infancy. In the 1950s. People have not resorted to plastic surgery. It was very, very new.”

These X-rays are dated June 7, 1962, two months before his death from a barbiturate overdose at age 36.

Editorial recommends: Coco Chanel – French chic and elegance

Marilyn’s romance and the hidden side of the Hollywood starlet

Behind the makeup and plastic surgery was a mysterious woman, trapped in her beauty, who quickly sank into depression. This is the paradox of Marilyn Monroe. Despite her popularity and brilliant career, the actress was tormented, seeking a freedom she would never find. Miscarriage, stays in psychiatric hospitals – like her mother – and regular barbiturates are the other side of her personality. The actress was pregnant with playwright Arthur Miller. While the famous couple was flying to Amagansett, New York, where they planned to celebrate their second honeymoon, Marilyn was hit by violent stomach pains. Quickly taken to a hospital 160 kilometers away, the star miscarried. A real drama in the life of an actress who will never have children. To explain this miscarriage, the media of the time would write that Marilyn had an ectopic pregnancy.

In the 1960s, Marilyn was at the height of her popularity, but she began to have health problems and visited a psychiatrist almost daily. She continued to tour, but her health regularly prevented her from playing. She began consuming sleeping pills and alcohol and became increasingly addicted. In January 1961, she divorced Arthur Miller and ended up in a psychiatric clinic. After three weeks, she was discharged from the hospital and went to California to rest. On March 5, 1962, the foreign press awarded her a second Golden Globe to an international star, but she was drunk when receiving the award, and the images were not broadcast. It was a descent into hell, and Marilyn Monroe found herself on the edge of a precipice.

In April 1962, Marilyn Monroe began shooting her final film, which she owed to Fox, but fainted in the studio. In May, she attended John Fitzgerald Kennedy’ s birthday party in New York, during which she performed the famous Happy Birthday, Mister President. Resuming filming, she shows great nervousness and cannot learn her lines; the studio eventually chose a new actress and sued Marilyn, but actor Dean Martin refused to resume shooting without her. Negotiations allowed Marilyn to finally get a new contract with Fox. In late July 1962, Marilyn reportedly confided to her hairdresser that she had just had an abortion. She was under the influence of sedatives at the time, and several doctors prescribed sleeping pills. On the night of August 4, 1962, at the age of 36, she overdosed. Authorities then cite a “probable suicide,” while rumors of a sponsored assassination have surfaced: FBI, CIA and Kennedy family would try to silence the actress. A version that has never been tested, but which still retains its aura today.

Marilyn a pop culture icon
Marilyn Monroe husband - unhappy despite the limelight 5

How did Monroe die – suicide or homicide?

According to journalist James Spada, who spoke to Vanity Fair, Marilyn Monroe was wiretapped. She was already saddened by the end of her affair with John F. Kennedy, and would have broken down when she discovered that her other lover, Bobby Kennedy, had no intention of marrying her. She allegedly harassed the prosecutor with phone calls days before her death and threatened to expose their history. “Marilyn was upset and heartbroken. She felt as if the Kennedys were treating her like a piece of meat” – said her agent Rupert Allan. Bobby Kennedy’s attempt to silence the actress, ready to reveal state secrets he entrusted to her, and even a murder ordered by the Mafia. The disappearance of Marilyn Monroe will not stop feeding everyone’s theses, thus consolidating her myth.

Pop art

In just ten years of her career, Marilyn Monroe marked the golden age of Hollywood. Even today its mark on cinema remains indelible. Her career and destiny have also marked pop culture, to the point where she has become the ultimate symbol. This fascination is expressed in many tributes. First, on the artistic side, with many photos of the actress, but especially with the eye of Andy Warhol.

In 1964, the pop art boss made a legendary portrait of the actress titled Shot Sage Blue Marilyn, sold at auction for $195 million. Then in music, thanks to songs by Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin, Norma Jeane Baker(1983), Vanessa Paradis in Marilyn and John (1987) or Nicki Minaj and Pharrell Williams. Tributes to the actress have never been more present – the dress worn by Kim Kardashian at the 2022 Met Gala or the premiere of the biographical film Blonde on Netflix, following My Week With Marilyn(2011).

Norma Jeane Mortenson, continues to fascinate crowds. Whether it is about her beauty , unparalleled acting, or the various romances that characterized her short life, there were many reasons why the public was interested in the icon. And this interest continues to this day.

Marilyn Monroe actress
Marilyn Monroe husband - unhappy despite the limelight 6

Happiness according to Marilyn Monroe

When I can achieve certain things in my work, I’m closest to happiness, but it’s only moments. Overall, I am not satisfied. I am rather unhappy. But since I am only 33 years old and have a few years left to live, I hope to have time to develop and be happy in my profession and personal life. This is my only ambition. It may take me a long time to get there, I’m pretty slow. I won’t say it’s the best method, but it’s the only way I know. It gives me the feeling that life is not hopeless after all” (Marie-Claire, 1959).

Read also: Natalia Janoszek – who is she and what is her story?


Używamy plików cookie, aby zapewnić najlepszą jakość korzystania z Internetu. Zgadzając się, zgadzasz się na użycie plików cookie zgodnie z naszą polityką plików cookie.

Close Popup
Privacy Settings saved!
Ustawienie prywatności

When you visit any web site, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. Control your personal Cookie Services here.

These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems.

Technical Cookies
In order to use this website we use the following technically required cookies
  • wordpress_test_cookie
  • wordpress_logged_in_
  • wordpress_sec