60 Photos of Marilyn Monroe Like You've Never Seen Her Before
By Sarah Norman | May 3, 2023
Monroe underwent serious plastic surgery in 1949
Marilyn Monroe has long been considered an American icon, known for her captivating beauty, her sultry performances, and her magnetic personality. However, beneath the surface of her glamorous image, there were deeply dark realities that were often kept hidden from the public eye. These eerie photos, taken throughout her career and personal life, capture a side of Marilyn that is rarely seen, revealing the struggles and pain she experienced behind the scenes.
From her tumultuous relationships to her battles with addiction and mental health, these photos offer a glimpse into a life that was marked by both triumph and tragedy. These eerie photos will make you to look at the iconic Monroe in a different way, and make you to question the idea of fame, beauty, and the price of it.
While she was known for her natural beauty, it is believed that Monroe underwent several cosmetic procedures, including plastic surgery, during her lifetime.
One of the most well-known procedures that Monroe is rumored to have undergone is a rhinoplasty, or a nose job. This procedure involves reshaping the nose in order to change its appearance. It was rumored that Monroe also had a silicone prosthesis implanted in her jaw in 1949. Later in the year, she posed for cheesecake photographer Tom Kelley under the name "Mona Monroe."
There was a disturbing side to Monroe's life that was not often seen by the public
While it's true that Marilyn Monroe was a dazzling star in Hollywood's golden era, her life off the screen was anything but glamorous. Behind the public persona of the carefree blonde bombshell lay a dark and troubled reality. Marilyn struggled with depression, anxiety, and addiction, seeking solace in drugs and alcohol to cope with the pressures of fame. Her relationships were tumultuous and fraught with instability, leaving her feeling isolated and vulnerable. Despite her immense talent and undeniable charisma, Marilyn was often exploited and mistreated by those in the industry, who saw her as nothing more than a commodity to be bought and sold. It's a tragic story, one that reminds us that even the brightest stars can have the darkest shadows.
Future film star Marilyn Monroe, on the beach as a toddler with her mother Gladys Baker, circa 1929
Marilyn Monroe (Norma Jeane Mortenson) was born on June 1, 1926 in Los Angeles to Gladys Pearl Baker. The young Monroe's father was out of the picture long before her birth, leaving Baker to work as a film cutter at Consolidated Film Industries to make ends meet. While Baker would remain a peripheral figure in her daughter's life, she put the girl up for adoption two weeks after giving birth.
Marilyn Monroe, born Norma Jeane Baker sitting pretty as an adorable baby in 1927
Baker's mental instability became so bad that Baker showed up at the Bolender home and began a tirade about wanting to take her daughter back, she even allegedly locked Ida in her backyard before trying to, quite literally, run away with her daughter.
Even as a child Monroe's life was chaotic
Even as a child, Monroe's life was a whirlwind of chaos. Monroe once said that one of her earliest memories of her mother was when she tried to smother her in her crib with a pillow.
In 1929, the young Monroe began bouncing around homes in Los Angeles
Because of Gladys' mental and financial instability, Monroe was placed with foster parents, Albert and Ida Bolender where they raised her as an Evangelical Christian. Their deeply conservative rules kept Monroe from experiencing everything from basic childhood joys to going to the movies.
By 1930, Monroe's relationship with her mother was a mess
At first, Gladys lived with Monroe's foster parents, but after taking longer work shifts, she was forced to move back to the city of Los Angeles. Gladys would visit her daughter on weekends where they would go sightseeing. It wasn't a perfect setup, but it allowed Monroe to have a vague semblance of normalcy in an otherwise topsy-turvy life.
Monroe knew she wanted to be a star by 1931
Even though Monroe wasn't allowed to see films in the theater, she still carried an innate desire to perform. While speaking with Life Magazine later in her career she explained:
When I was five, I think, that’s when I started wanting to be an actress. I loved to play. I didn’t like the world around me because it was kind of grim, but I loved to play house. It was like you could make your own boundaries.When I was five, I think, that’s when I started wanting to be an actress. I loved to play. I didn’t like the world around me because it was kind of grim, but I loved to play house. It was like you could make your own boundaries.
Little Norman Jean Baker she sits on a Model A Ford, proving herself to hardly be camera shy
After caring for Monroe for long enough, the Bolenders officially decided to adopt Marilyn. Not only did they enjoy having her around, but they even saw her as their own daughter. What a different road this would have been for the young starlet, but Baker was on the road to recovery and decided to give motherhood another shot.
Marilyn Monroe with golden curls, circa 1933 or 1934
By this time Baker claimed that she was stable enough to take care of her daughter, and she even purchased a small house in Hollywood for the two of them. This should have been a brand new start for Monroe, but she was thrown back into the cycle of trauma. A few months after moving in with her mother, Baker had a mental breakdown and was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.
Monroe's mother was institutionalized, leaving her to fend for herself at a young age
After her mother was committed to the Metropolitan State Hospital, the two were rarely in contact with one another as Baker spent the rest of her life in and out of different hospitals. This incarceration left Monroe a ward of the state, and sadly there were still worse things to come.
In 1936, Monroe was made a ward of the state
After Monroe was declared a ward fo the state, she spent the next year with actors George and Maude Atkinson, and it's alleged that this is when she first experienced sexual abuse in her tenure as an orphan. Soon after, Grace McKee Goddard became her legal guardian following a stint in foster care.
Monroe faced sexual abuse as far back as 1937
While living with the Goddard family, Monroe became the target of Erwin 'Doc' McCee's constant molestation. After months of grabbing Monroe told Grace about her experience in the home, which led to her being sent away to live with a new set of relatives. Upon hearing Monroe's claim, Grace Goddard allegedly said:
I can't trust anything or anyone.
Monroe only had a normal home life for a brief period of time
Monroe started staying with various members of Grace's family in the Los Angeles area, but she finally found a permanent home with Ana Atchinson Lower, Grace's aunt in the Sawtelle district. Monroe's time with Lower proved to be one of the most stable times in her life, but it was far too short lived.
In 1939, Monroe found a home at her school newspaper
While living with Lower, Marilyn enrolled in Emerson Junior High School where she excelled in writing while working for the school's newspaper. Her grades were nothing to write home about, but she was living somewhere stable for the first time, and it's likely if she had continued this trajectory things would have turned around for her eventually.
It's important to note that while Marilyn Monroe achieved her dreams of becoming a beloved and highly influential figure in the entertainment industry, her life was also marked by tragedy and turmoil. Despite her glamorous facade, Monroe struggled with mental health issues and was plagued by personal demons that ultimately contributed to her untimely death when she should have been in the prime of her life.
Teenage Marilyn, 1940
Unfortunately, Lower was an elderly woman who suffered with many health issues. She was unable to take care of her young charge for long, which meant that Monroe had to return to live in the nightmare that was the Goddard home sometime between 1940 and 1941.
A teenaged dark-haired Norma Jeane Baker, 1941, right around when she dropped out of high school
After she graduated from Emerson Junior High, she attended the Van Nuys High School, a place where she proved to be a shy and introverted student. She struggled academically and had a difficult time fitting in with her classmates. Despite this, Monroe was described as a hardworking and determined student who was passionate about acting. She participated in school plays and talent shows, and even took acting lessons outside of school before dropping out completely.
Norma Jeane Baker on the beach at Avalon, Santa Catalina Island, circa 1943. Her first husband James Dougherty was stationed on the island's boot camp at the time
Doc Goddard and his family made plans to relocate to West Virginia, but state laws prevented them from taking the young Monroe out of state. Rather than become a ward of the state again she married her neighbor's son James 'Jim' Dougherty to avoid going back to the orphanage at age 16. Soon after, she dropped out of high school to become a housewife.
Monroe's marriage to Dougherty was reportedly arranged by her mother, who believed it would provide Monroe with a stable home life.
Marilyn and her first husband, Jimmy, 1943
Less than a year into their marriage, Marilyn's husband enlisted in the Merchant Marine where he was stationed on Catalina Island before being shipped to the Pacific and would remain for the next two years. It's during her husband's absence that Monroe began to blossom into her own person and find her way to the spotlight that was calling her name.
An early portrait of Monroe's modeling work, 1944
After her husband left for the Pacific in 1944, Marilyn moved in with her in laws and started working the day shift at the Radioplane Munitions Factory in Van Nuys, California, where she assembled parts for airplane and artillery shells. The factory was owned by actor Reginald Denny. Monroe was just one of many women who worked in munitions factories during the war, contributing to the war effort by producing the weapons and supplies needed for the military.
Blue Book Model Norma Jeane Mortenson poses for a hair products advertisement in 1945
Monroe started taking photos for the U.S. Army Air Force First Motion Picture Unit to encourage female workers working in factories. None of the pictures were used and after quitting, she began modeling for photographer David Conover. While it would be truly fascinating to see these photos in person, they were likely destroyed shortly after the war.
Norma Jeane Mortenson poses for a portrait in 1946 in Los Angeles, California, shortly before changing her name to Marilyn Monroe
After signing a contract with Blue Book Model Agency in late 1945, she straightened and dyed her hair blonde to became more employable. She mostly did advertisements in men's magazines, but in order to break into the world of film she had to change her name to something more marketable.
Marilyn Monroe's new name was a combination of her mother's maiden name (Monroe) and her grandfather's first name (Marilyn). She chose this name because she felt that it was more glamorous and would help her stand out.
Newly signed 20th Century-Fox contract girl Marilyn Monroe poses for a portrait in 1947 in Los Angeles, California.
Monroe stunning in "Ladies Of The Chorus," 1948
In March, 1948, Harry Cohn of Columbia Picture signed Monroe. After raising her hairline and bleaching her hair even lighter to platinum blond to turn her into more of a Rita Hayworth type, she stared in a low budget musical titled Ladies of the Chorus before leaving the studio in October of that year to return to modeling.
Monroe's career exploded in 1950
1950 is really the year that turned things around for Monroe. After befriending - and allegedly beginning an affair - with the Vice President of the William Morris Agency, Johnny Hyde, she landed small roles in beloved films like All About Eve and The Asphalt Jungle. Her roles may have been small, but she proved to be impossible to forget.
Marilyn Monroe presented with roses, 1951
Marilyn gain more visibility in 1951. She was a presenter of the Academy Awards, and she had supporting roles in multiple indies and Fox Studio comedies. Audiences had an almost visceral response to Monroe, and she was especially popular with members of the armed forces. She was so popular with the troops that she was named Miss Cheesecake of 1951 by Stars and Stripes army newspaper.
Monroe's career nearly came to a hault in 1952
All of this focus on her sex appeal led Monroe to suffer from chronic insomnia and anxiety for which she began using barbiturates and amphetamines.
Marilyn Monroe stuns, 1953
Marilyn starred in three films that were released in 1953 making her one of the most famous actresses of that year. With films like Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, How to Marry a Millionaire and Niagara, she solidified her place in Hollywood. Even though she was one of the biggest stars of the moment, Monroe couldn't catch a break. In 1962, she said that she was basically treated like an indentured servant on the set of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes:
I couldn't even get a dressing room. I said, finally—I really got to this kind of level—I said, 'Look after all, I am the blonde and its Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Because still they always kept saying, 'Remember you are not a star.'
Red is definitely Monroe's color, circa 1954
Even though her personal life was a mess at best, Monroe signed a $100,000 deal with Fox and started filming The Seven Year Itch, a film which produced Marilyn's most iconic photo to date.
Monroe resting her head on a white fur coat while lying on a carpet in a red brocade evening gown and long black gloves, 1955
In 1954, Monroe's lawsuit alleged that they had breached their contract with her by failing to provide her with the roles and opportunities that they had promised. Monroe also claimed that Fox had not paid her the full amount of bonuses owed to her from the box office of The Seven Year Itch. Aside from breaking things off with Fox, she also filed for divorce from DiMaggio before she started dating playwright Arthur Miller.
Marilyn Monroe Blowing Out Candle on 30th Birthday Cake, 1956
Monroe and Miller first met in 1950 and began a relationship a few years after their initial introduction. They were married on June 29, 1956, at the home of Elia Kazan, a film and theater director. The marriage was Monroe's third and Miller's first.
Miller was a successful playwright, known for works such as Death of a Salesman and The Crucible. Monroe was already a major Hollywood star at the time of their marriage, and the couple was often in the public eye.
1957, Marilyn Monroe on the set of The Prince and the Showgirl, directed and produced by Laurence Olivier
In 1957, Monroe's dependence on barbiturates grew out of control. Her drug dependency was only deepened following an ectopic pregnancy that year, and a miscarriage in 1958. At the same time, Monroe's career was in a brief lull following the languid performance of The Prince and the Showgirl. Even though the film failed to perform as well as Monroe hoped, her costar Dame Sybil told director and costar Lawrence Olivier:
Larry, you did well in that scene but with Marilyn up there, nobody will be watching you. Her manner and timing are just too delicious. We need her desperately. She’s really the only one of us who knows how to act in front of a camera.
Monroe's Fox headshot, 1958
Following her miscarriage in 1958, Monroe returned to Hollywood where she was cast in the Billy Wilder film Some Like It Hot. Even though the actress felt that this was another "dumb blonde" role, she took it on for 10% of the film's profits on top of her regular payday. The production was troubled in several ways. One major issue was the casting of Marilyn Monroe, who was known for her unreliable behavior on set. Monroe frequently arrived late to rehearsals and filming, and often needed multiple takes to get her lines right. This caused delays and increased the budget of the film.
In spite of the numerous interruptions and problems with the production, Wilder admitted that he was happy with Monroe's performance:
Anyone can remember lines, but it takes a real artist to come on the set and not know her lines and yet give the performance she did!
Monroe making her way down the stairs, 1959
You’ve read there was some actor that once said about me that kissing me was like kissing Hitler? If I have to do intimate love scenes with somebody who really has these kinds of feelings toward me, then my fantasy can come into play. In other words, out with him, in with my fantasy. He was never there.
Marilyn Monroe shows off her fashion onscreen in "The Misfits," 1960
In 1960, Monroe and Miller's marriage was over, leaving her without an anchor for the first time in years. Even without Miller in her corner, Monroe's final film, The Misfits, was written for the actress by her ex-husband.
While filming The Misfits, Monroe suffered from gallstone pain and her drug addiction often interfered with filming, leaving production to work around her tempestuous schedule. In August, filming was halted due to Marilyn needing detox in a LA Hospital. Even though Monroe was dealing with numerous health and drug issues, director John Huston noted that she was stellar when she was on camera. He stated:
[She] was not pretending to an emotion. It was the real thing. She would go deep down within herself and find it and bring it up into consciousness.
Marilyn Monroe Performing For GIs in Korea
In February 1954, the iconic Hollywood actress Marilyn Monroe made a memorable visit to U.S. troops stationed in Korea during the Korean War. The starlet performed a set of 10 songs, including her signature tune, "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend," to thousands of soldiers at the 24th Infantry Division's Camp Henry in South Korea. Despite the freezing weather, Monroe wore a skimpy dress and high heels, wowing the audience with her sultry voice and stunning beauty. The visit was a morale-boosting effort by the U.S. government to entertain troops fighting in the war. Monroe's performance became an instant sensation and cemented her status as one of the most beloved and glamorous entertainers of her time.
One of the final photos taken of Marilyn Monroe, 1962
In the final year of Monroe's life she was deeply embroiled in conflict. Not only was she falling deeper into depression and drug abuse, but she was carrying an alleged affair with President Kennedy. After signing up for the Dean Martin film Something's Gotta Give, Monroe had to take an immediate break after being diagnosed with sinusitis.
On May 19, 1962, she popped up on stage at President John F. Kennedy's early birthday celebration at Madison Square Garden in New York to sing "Happy Birthday Mr. President," which drove audiences wild and made Fox furious.
Months later, on August 4, Monroe passed away from acute barbiturate poisoning. While conspiracy theories continue to swirl around Monroe's death, her final moments were ruled a suicide by the Los Angeles County Coroners Office.
Marilyn Monroe leaves the home she briefly shared with Joe DiMaggio in a car driven by her attorney, Jerry Giesler. Monroe had just announced her intent to divorce DiMaggio on grounds of "mental cruelty"
Marilyn Monroe's divorce from Joe DiMaggio was a searing expose of the darker side of celebrity romance, a tale of passion and betrayal played out on the front pages of the tabloids. The marriage, like many in Tinseltown, had been a sham from the start, a desperate attempt by Monroe to escape the demons that haunted her.
DiMaggio, the all-American hero, was no match for the siren song of Hollywood, and his jealousy and possessiveness only served to drive Marilyn deeper into the abyss. The famous "subway grate scene," a moment of cinematic magic film as a publicity stunt for The Seven Year Itch, was the nail in the coffin, the final straw in a relationship that had been doomed from the start. And so, with tears in her eyes, Marilyn returned to Hollywood, determined to take control of her life and her career. The divorce was a bitter pill to swallow, but in the end, it was the first step on the long and winding road to redemption.
Arriving at the premiere of the film 'There's No Business like Show Business', 1954
The story of Marilyn Monroe's tumultuous relationship with Hollywood is a familiar one, but her work on the 1954 film There's No Business Like Show Business stands out as a particularly poignant chapter. After being suspended for refusing to film the Fox production The Girl in Pink Tights, Monroe was backed into a corner. She knew that she had to make a film, but she was determined to hold out for something better. And so it was that she initially refused to work on There's No Business Like Show Business, just as she had for the previous project. But Monroe was a shrewd negotiator, and she knew how to play hardball. In the end, Fox agreed to give her a pay increase of $3,000 a week, and they promised her that her next vehicle would be The Seven Year Itch. It was a victory, of sorts, but one can only imagine the toll that this constant battle for respect and recognition took on one of Hollywood's brightest stars.
Reading 'The Poetry and Prose of Heinrich Heine', 1951
Marilyn Monroe was the quintessential blonde bombshell of Hollywood's Golden Age. She was the ultimate fantasy woman, an icon of desire and beauty. But beneath the platinum hair and the iconic curves, there was so much more to Marilyn than met the eye. Despite being typecast by the studios as a daffy dame, she was a well-read person who was always trying to break out of the image that had been decided on for her. Marilyn knew that she was more than just a pretty face, and she yearned to be taken seriously as an actress. Her iconic image may have defined her for many, but those who knew her saw a woman who was complex, intelligent, and always pushing against the constraints that had been placed upon her. Marilyn Monroe was more than just a blonde bombshell – she was a force of nature, a true Hollywood legend.
Marilyn Monroe performs for American troops in Korea in February 1954
Marilyn Monroe's trip to Korea in 1954 was a momentous occasion, one that underscored her status as a true American icon. Fresh off her marriage to baseball legend Joe DiMaggio, Marilyn traveled to Korea to entertain the United States military. Over a four-day period, she sang songs from her films for over 60,000 U.S. Marines, bringing a touch of glamour and beauty to a war-torn landscape. For many of the soldiers who saw her perform, Marilyn represented a beacon of hope, a symbol of all that they were fighting for. And yet, even as she brought joy and comfort to those around her, Marilyn was wrestling with her own demons, struggling to come to terms with the complexities of fame and success. Her trip to Korea was a moment of triumph, but it was also a moment of profound introspection, one that would shape the rest of her life and her legacy as an American icon.
Laying on the grass in 1954 in Palm Springs
By 1954, Marilyn Monroe had become one of Hollywood's biggest stars. She was a household name, an icon of beauty and glamour. And yet, despite her success, she remained trapped in a system that undervalued her talents and limited her potential. Her contract with 20th Century-Fox had not changed since 1950, leaving her paid far less than other stars of her stature and unable to choose her projects. Marilyn longed to break free from the pin-up image that had been thrust upon her, but her attempts to appear in more substantial roles had been thwarted by Darryl F. Zanuck, the powerful studio head who had a personal dislike of her and was convinced that she could not earn the studio as much revenue in other types of roles. Marilyn was a woman caught between two worlds – a symbol of the American dream, but also a victim of the very system that had made her a star.
Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio, circa 1954
Marilyn Monroe's brief marriage to Joe DiMaggio in 1954 was a story of passion and heartbreak. From the moment they met, the two were drawn to each other, their shared fame and success creating an immediate bond. But their relationship was doomed from the start, a victim of the pressures and expectations that surrounded them. Despite their obvious love for one another, they could not escape the glare of the public eye, the constant scrutiny of the press. Their long-distance relationship was a struggle, with Marilyn on the West Coast and DiMaggio on the East, and their efforts to keep their romance private were eventually overwhelmed by the media. In January of 1954, they were married in a simple ceremony at San Francisco City Hall, but even this moment of joy was marred by the presence of fans and paparazzi. Marilyn and Joe's love was genuine, but in the end, it was not enough to overcome the forces that were pulling them apart.
Marilyn Monroe after her arrival at Idlewild Airport from the west coast. Shortly after her 30th birthday, 1956
n 1956, Marilyn Monroe was at the height of her fame and power, having recently achieved a major victory over the oppressive system of Hollywood. After legally changing her name to "Marilyn Monroe," the actress had successfully renegotiated her contract with Fox Studios, winning a level of creative control that was unprecedented for a female star at that time. In a bold move, she had signed a seven-year deal that gave her the right to choose her own projects, directors, and cinematographers, as well as a guaranteed salary of $400,000 for four films. This was a huge win for Marilyn, and a sign that she was not willing to be held back by the limitations that had been placed upon her in the past. It was a new era for the iconic actress, one in which she would finally be able to fully realize her talents and ambitions.
Marilyn Monroe and husband Arthur Miller in car at Idlewild Airport after arriving from Kingston, Jamaica
Marilyn Monroe's marriage to playwright Arthur Miller was the subject of much scrutiny and criticism. The union between the sex symbol and the intellectual was seen as a mismatch by the media, who eagerly reduced Monroe to nothing more than an "hourglass" figure. Critics like Walter Winchell were quick to pounce on the relationship, calling Monroe the "darling of the left-wing intelligentsia" and insinuating that her connection to Miller was nothing more than a ploy for attention.
But to see Monroe solely as a symbol of beauty and Miller solely as a symbol of intellect was a gross oversimplification of their respective talents and personalities. Despite the judgment of others, Monroe and Miller were deeply in love, and their relationship was a meaningful and important part of both of their lives. The negative comments that surrounded their union only served to highlight the narrow-mindedness and superficiality of the media and society as a whole.
Monroe leaning over the balcony of the Ambassador Hotel in March 1955 in New York City, New York
In 1955, Marilyn Monroe was unapologetically blazing her own trail, much to the chagrin of the film industry. Monroe founded her own production company, Marilyn Monroe Productions (MMP), which was met with ridicule and skepticism from Hollywood power players. Undeterred, she also relocated to Manhattan to study acting with Lee Strasberg, determined to become more than just a pretty face.
Despite ongoing divorce proceedings with Joe DiMaggio, Monroe continued her relationship with him while also exploring other romantic interests, including Marlon Brando and Arthur Miller. Her relationship with Miller drew particular attention, as he was being investigated by the FBI for alleged communist ties and had been subpoenaed by the House Un-American Activities Committee. Monroe's refusal to end her relationship with Miller led to the FBI opening a file on her, making her a target of scrutiny and suspicion. But Monroe refused to be silenced or held back by the judgments of others, and continued to follow her own path, regardless of the consequences.
Marilyn Monroe Cries As The Paparazzi Snap Photos
Marilyn Monroe's divorce from Joe DiMaggio was one of the most painful experiences of her life. The split was highly publicized, and Monroe's every move was scrutinized by the press. The once happy couple's tumultuous relationship had reached its boiling point, and Monroe's emotional state was so fragile that she had to be sent home from filming The Seven Year Itch.
The paparazzi hounded her relentlessly, and the pressure became too much to bear. Director Billy Wilder famously quipped that “She couldn't see any comedy in life today”, a testament to the actress's fragile emotional state. The divorce marked the end of one of Hollywood's most famous relationships and sent Monroe into a downward spiral that would take years to overcome.
American movie actress Marilyn Monroe entertains a group of soldiers in Korea.
Marilyn Monroe's decision to visit U.S. marines in Korea in 1954 was a significant one. At the time, she had just married Joe DiMaggio, and many people thought that she should have been focusing on her personal life instead of entertaining the troops. However, Monroe was determined to show her support for the soldiers, and she put her career on hold to make the trip. Her performances for the troops were some of the most memorable of her career, and they brought a glimmer of joy to the soldiers fighting in a foreign land. Monroe's visit to Korea also showed her determination to use her fame and influence for good causes, which further cemented her status as an icon of her generation.
Marilyn Monroe tries some cake in the Enlisted Men's Mess Hall at Headquarters Company, 2nd Infantry Division, near Seoul, South Korea, during her wartime entertainment tour of Korea, 1954
Marilyn Monroe's visit to the U.S. marines serving in Korea in 1954 was a momentous occasion, one that would be etched in the annals of history. At that time, she was on the brink of becoming a global sensation, her star power soaring to stratospheric heights. Yet, it was her unwavering dedication to her country and the troops that drove her to embark on this noble mission, an act that would forever alter the lives of those brave soldiers. Monroe's presence among the troops was a ray of hope, a beacon of light that brought joy and comfort to the hearts of the warriors who had been fighting a gruesome war. Her visit was not just a gesture of goodwill, but a testament to the enduring spirit of the American people, a spirit that refused to be broken, even in the darkest of times. Monroe's visit to the troops was a triumph of the human spirit, an affirmation of the enduring bond that connects all Americans, a bond that would inspire generations to come.
Monroe Fixes Her Hair, 1951
In 1951, Marilyn Monroe was a diamond in the rough, a rising star who was yet to blaze a trail in the entertainment industry. She had been declared "Miss Cheesecake of 1951" by the Stars and Stripes, a recognition that foretold the allure and magnetism that would make her a cultural icon. Monroe's seven-year contract with 20th Century-Fox was a harbinger of things to come, a testament to her immense potential and the studio's faith in her abilities. Yet, in spite of all her early success, Monroe felt that she was nothing more than a decorative object in the films she starred in.
She yearned for roles that would showcase her range and depth as an actress, roles that would validate her as a serious performer. But, as she navigated the treacherous waters of Hollywood, Monroe was determined to make a name for herself, to carve out a niche that was uniquely hers. Her ambition was matched only by her resilience, and it was this combination that would eventually propel her to the pinnacle of success, a place where she rightfully belonged.
The Millers Ride Out
Marilyn Monroe's relationship with playwright Arthur Miller was a tale of passion and drama, a love story that was destined to capture the imaginations of generations to come. They first met in 1951, when Elia Kazan introduced Miller to Monroe on the set of "As Young As You Feel". But it wasn't until 1955 that their relationship took a romantic turn, after they had both ended their previous marriages.
Monroe's love for Miller was deep and unwavering, and she expressed it in the form of love letters that revealed her undying loyalty to him. She even converted to Judaism for their wedding, a move that spoke volumes about her commitment to the relationship. The ceremony itself was a reflection of their love, with rings inscribed with the words "now is forever". Their marriage, which lasted for six years, was not without its challenges, but it was a testament to the strength of their bond and the power of their love. In the end, their love story was a reflection of the tumultuous times they lived in, a time when love and passion could conquer all, but also a time when the weight of the world could tear even the strongest of bonds apart.
American actress Marilyn Monroe, 1948
Marilyn Monroe's early onscreen career was one of fits and starts, a bumpy road that would eventually lead her to the bright lights of Hollywood. In 1948, she was signed to Columbia, where her look was modeled after the sultry beauty of Rita Hayworth, and her hair was bleached platinum blonde, a style that would become her trademark. But her only film at the studio was the low-budget musical Ladies of the Chorus, a forgettable entry in her filmography that did little to advance her career.
By 1949, Monroe was dropped from her Columbia contract, a setback that could have derailed the careers of lesser talents. But Monroe was made of sterner stuff, and she was determined to make her mark in the entertainment industry. Her journey was just beginning, and although she had stumbled out of the gate, she was already on her way to becoming one of the most iconic figures of her time, a beacon of hope and inspiration for generations to come.
Waving Goodbye After Arriving from London on Pan American Airlines, 1956
Marilyn Monroe's life in 1956 was a tumultuous one, filled with triumphs and tragedies that would come to define her legacy. After marrying Arthur Miller, she began filming The Prince and the Showgirl, the first independent production of her company, MMP, at Pinewood Studios in England. But the production was rife with conflict, as co-star Laurence Olivier, who also directed and starred in the stage play, clashed with Monroe on a number of issues.
Olivier's patronizing remark that "All you have to do is be sexy" only served to exacerbate tensions between the two, and his demand that she replicate Vivien Leigh's stage interpretation of the character only added to the pressure she was under. Monroe's personal problems also came to the fore during this time, as her dependence on pharmaceuticals escalated and she suffered a miscarriage, according to biographer Donald Spoto. But despite these challenges, filming was completed on schedule by the end of 1956, a testament to Monroe's resilience and determination in the face of adversity.
1948, Maybe the Last Time She Did Her Own Makeup
Marilyn Monroe's early foray into Hollywood was one of desperation, ambition, and endless self-doubt. Growing up in the shadows of Tinseltown, Monroe yearned for a life that glittered brighter than her surroundings. She knew that her beauty was a potent weapon, but she also realized that it wasn't enough. So she spent six months at Fox Studios, absorbing every technique, every tip, every shred of knowledge that could potentially catapult her to stardom.
She enrolled in the Actors' Laboratory Theatre, learning the Group Theatre's techniques, trying to unlock a certain something that was missing. But despite her ceaseless efforts, Monroe's producers were unimpressed. She was too shy to act, they said, too lacking in the looks department to be a bona fide star. But Monroe refused to let their criticisms dull her shine. She knew she was destined for greatness, and she was determined to make it happen, no matter what it took.
Marilyn Monroe puckers for photographers in Idlewild Airport after a cross-country flight from Los Angeles. She has arrived in New York to work on The Seven Year Itch.
In 1954, Marilyn Monroe was already a household name, but it was her performance in The Seven Year Itch that transformed her into a global icon. The film was a masterpiece of cinema, but it was Monroe who stole the show with her unparalleled beauty, her sultry voice, and her unforgettable presence. And then there were the photographs. Even if you've never seen the film, you've undoubtedly seen the photographs of Monroe standing over a subway grate, her skirt billowing up in the breeze.
It was an image that captured the imaginations of millions and catapulted Monroe to the pinnacle of celebrity. But as with all things in Hollywood, there was a dark side. The immense fame and scrutiny that followed The Seven Year Itch marked the beginning of Monroe's slow descent into the void, a descent that would ultimately claim her life. The glitz and glamour of fame can be seductive, but they can also be deadly. And for Marilyn Monroe, they were both.
Movie star Marilyn Monroe gets fitted for her costume in a dressing room before riding a pink elephant in Madison Square Garden for a circus charity event, 1955
In 1955, Marilyn Monroe rode a pink elephant in front of 18,000 fans at the opening night of the Ringling Brothers Circus. It was a charity event held at Madison Square Garden, and Monroe was the star attraction. With Milton Berle as the ringmaster, Monroe proved that she not only knew how to capture the public's attention, but she also knew how to use her burgeoning celebrity for good.
The event was a smashing success, raising money for a number of worthy causes and showcasing Monroe's boundless generosity and compassion. For a brief moment, she was able to put aside the pressures of fame and revel in the simple pleasures of giving back to the community. It was a reminder that even amidst the chaos and glamour of Hollywood, there is still hope for humanity, still a chance to use our talents and influence to make a positive impact on the world around us. And in that sense, Marilyn Monroe was more than just a starlet, she was a true hero.
Marilyn Monroe relaxes on a couch in her hotel room at the Ambassador Hotel on March 24, 1955 in New York City, New York
In 1955, Marilyn Monroe had reached the pinnacle of fame and success, but her life was anything but a fairy tale. She was one of the most famous and critically acclaimed actresses of her time, but her personal life was in shambles. Her marriage to Joe DiMaggio had fallen apart, and she was trying to reinvent herself in New York, away from the bright lights of Hollywood. She was fighting with Fox Studios over her contract, her image, and her artistic vision, and the strain was taking its toll.
Even though she had made it in Hollywood, it was hardly the dream come true she had hoped for. Beneath the glitz and glamour of fame, there was a deep well of pain and sorrow, a constant battle against the demons that haunted her from within. And yet, even in the midst of all this turmoil, Monroe remained a beacon of hope and inspiration, a symbol of strength and resilience in the face of adversity. For all her flaws and imperfections, she was still a shining star, a true icon of the American dream.
A rare laugh in the front seat of a car during the filming of 'The Misfits' on location in the Nevada Desert.
Marilyn Monroe's time filming The Misfits was a dark chapter in her already tumultuous life. She was struggling with addiction, consuming copious amounts of alcohol and prescription drugs to cope with the overwhelming pressures of fame and heartbreak. The fact that she was working with her ex-husband Arthur Miller only added to the already high stakes of the film. And yet, amidst the chaos and pain, there were moments of respite, moments when Monroe was able to just be herself and enjoy the simple pleasures of life.
It's these fleeting moments of levity that make The Misfits all the more heartbreaking. For even as Monroe's star shone brighter than ever before, her life was spiraling out of control, her demons consuming her from the inside out. And in the end, it was these demons that would claim her life, leaving behind a legacy that will never be forgotten.
Marilyn Monroe on the Set of The Misfits, 1960
The filming of The Misfits was a production plagued by trouble and turmoil, with tensions running high on and off the set. Filmed in the blistering heat of the northern Nevada desert, the movie coincided with the breakdown of Marilyn Monroe's marriage to writer Arthur Miller, and the actress was soon consumed by a dangerous cocktail of alcohol and prescription drugs. Director John Huston was forced to shut down production in August 1960 when Monroe was hospitalized for relaxation and depression treatment, leaving the film in limbo and the cast and crew on edge. In 1981, Huston said:
There was evidence right before me almost every day. She was incapable of rescuing herself or of being rescued by anyone else. And it sometimes affected her work. We had to stop the picture while she went to a hospital for two weeks.
Monroe's frequent lateness and occasional no-shows only added to the mounting sense of chaos and disarray, and her struggles with learning lines led her to spend her nights studying with her drama coach, Paula Strasberg. Despite these setbacks, The Misfits would go on to become a beloved classic, a testament to the enduring legacy of one of the most iconic figures in Hollywood history.
Marilyn Monroe On 'The Misfits' Set
Marilyn Monroe's life in 1960 was marked by a number of significant challenges. Despite her success, she found herself struggling with her work on The Misfits, which was written by her husband, Arthur Miller. Although the film was designed to showcase Monroe's dramatic abilities, she was unhappy with the role and found it difficult to work with Miller's constantly evolving script. Additionally, her health was failing, with severe pain from gallstones and a worsening drug addiction.
During filming, her makeup was frequently applied while she was asleep from taking barbiturates. Matters came to a head in August, when she was hospitalized for a week to detox, halting production on the film. Monroe's life in 1960 was a difficult one, marked by her ongoing struggles with her health and her marriage, as well as her attempts to maintain her status as a Hollywood icon. In spite of these issues, director John Huston said:
Monroe was not pretending to an emotion. It was the real thing. She would go deep down within herself and find it and bring it up into consciousness.