” I am not interested in money. I just want to be wonderful”
Marilyn Monroe was born Norma Jeane Baker on June 1, 1926. Her mother’s name was Gladys Baker Mortensen. Baker being the name of her other two children and Mortensen the name of her last husband who disappeared just months after their marriage in 1924. Although Edward Mortensen was Gladys’ husband at the time of Norma’s birth, he was not her father. No one knows for sure who her father was, but it was believed that it was Gladys’ lover C. Stanley Gifford .
At just six months old, Norma Jeane was placed in a foster home because her mother was placed in an insane asylum for her mental breakdowns. In 1935, at age nine, she entered an orphanage and stayed there for two years. On the whole her childhood appears to have been passed in the care of people with comfortable homes and surroundings (Andersen 1994).
Her teenage ambition were set on becoming a starlet or pin-up that she saw in magazines. She did not think she has pretty enough face to become a real movie star. She soon learned, however, that she had the figure to make a successful pin-up. She was about fourteen when she began noticing the reactions of the boys at Van Nuys High School to her figure hugging sweaters
She was wed to Jimmy Dougherty when she was only sixteen. When Jimmy was sent to war, Norma decided to get a job and got one at the aircraft plant in Los Angeles. When an army photographer, David Conover, from the First Motion Picture Unit came to the factory to take pictures of women doing war work he noticed Norma and her uniqueness and asked her if he could take more pictures of her. She agreed and without knowing it, Norma Jeane Dougherty was on her way (Andersen 1994).
“All little girls should be told they are pretty, even if they aren’t.”
She was pretty all right and graced the covers of thirty-three magazines in 1945. When her husband returned from war in 1946, he found that there was no room for him and his wife divorced him in Reno in June of 1946. That same year she began doing pin-up and cheesecake pictures for covers of magazines. She had a photo session with Andre de Dienes and he asked Norma Jeane to marry him, but she was recently divorced, free, and independent. Nevertheless, he got her on covers of major magazines. Shortly after this, in July 1946, she got a short contract with Twentieth Century-Fox. Then she changed her name to Marilyn Monroe. Marilyn for the musical star Marilyn Miller and Monroe from her mother’s maiden name.
After six months of acting classes and dance lessons, she was finally told to report for work on a film. This film being The Shocking Miss Pilgrim which was released in 1947. After that, Marilyn played many small and unimportant roles. When Marilyn’s contract came up for renewal in August 1947, the studio decided they did not want to sign her. It was said that her relationship with seventy-year-old Joseph Schenck, co-founder of T.C.F. had something to do with the studio’s resigning Marilyn. Schenck also got her an interview with Columbia Pictures and resulted in a six- month contract for Ladies of the Chorus. On the set of this movie, Marilyn met musical director Fred Karger and was said to have had a relationship with him. Columbia also got Monroe an acting coach, Natasha Lytess.
After filming, she returned to pin-up and cheesecake modeling. At one point in 1949, she was so short of money she could pay neither her car payment or her rent. She then posed nude in order to earn fifty bucks and used the money to retrieve her car.
Soon after that Marilyn began doing her small roles in many movies. Then she got cast in John Huston’s The Asphalt Jungle. She played the “niece ” of a crooked lawyer and began to get a lot of fan mail and although her name was originally omitted from the credits, her name was then inserted. She then starred in All about Eve, her second good film that won six Oscars.
Then her agent Johnny Hyde had fallen in love with her. They made an odd couple because he was thirty years older and suffered from a diseased heart. His wife divorced him, citing Marilyn. When the divorce finalized, Hyde asked Marilyn to marry him. She refused, she had told him that she did care for him, but was not in love with him.