“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” – Marilyn Monroe
These Marilyn Monroe facts provide a glimpse into the fast and furious life she led that was cut short far too soon!
Marilyn Monroe was poorly paid relative to her peers. Jane Russell was paid 10 times more than Marilyn when they co-starred in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Marilyn earned only $100,000 for her unfinished role in Something’s Got to Give. Around the same time, Elizabeth Taylor was paid one million dollars for Cleopatra.
41. Death before riches.
In 1962, Marilyn was fired by Twentieth-Century Fox from the production of Something’s Got to Give because of her chronic lateness and no-shows (she didn’t appear for the first two weeks of filming). On August 1, she was rehired by Fox on a $1million, two-picture deal, which would have been her highest earning contract. She died four days later.
40. Line please, Sugar.
She found it almost impossible to learn lines, and took 60 takes to deliver the line “It’s me, Sugar” in Some Like it Hot.
39. Love of children.
The paradox in Marilyn’s life was that although she never had a child of her own, she absoluitely adored children and always yearned for a baby. She had close relationships with her stepchildren from her marriages to Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller. Though Marilyn was pregnant several times, she miscarried her children because she suffered from endometriosis and ectopic pregnancies.
38. The somewhat-creepy allure of Marilyn’s grave.
Several of the burial vaults near to Marilyn’s have been put on sale. Elsie Poncher, the widow of the man in the vault above Marilyn’s, sold her husband’s spot for $4.5 million.
37. Well, compared to the last guy, at least Hugh got a bargain.
Hugh Hefner owns the burial vault next to Marilyn. He bought it in 1992 for £50,000.
36. A rose by any other name…
On her birth certificate, her name is Norma Jeane Mortenson. She was baptised Norma Jeane Baker. She modelled under the names Jean Norman and Mona Monroe. Her initial idea for a screen name was Jean Adair. She signed into hotels as Zelda Zonk and into a psychiatric clinic as Faye Miller.
She only legally changed her name to Marilyn Monroe in March 1956, when she was already a star. At that time, the name was so unfamiliar to her that the first time she signed an autograph as Marilyn Monroe, she had to ask how to spell it.
35. Hardship for young Norma Jean.
She was placed with 11 sets of foster parents after her mother, Gladys, was institutionalised. She also spent almost a year in the Children’s Aid Society Orphanage in Los Angeles.
Marilyn and her mother.
34. Brains and Beauty.
Although she was typecast as a dumb blonde (a persona she hated), she was actually extremely intelligent. She had an IQ of 168.
33. Weight woes.
Her weight went up and down so dramatically during the filming of The Prince and the Showgirl that the costume designer, Beatrice Dawson, had to create facsimile dresses in different sizes. “I have two ulcers from this film,” she said, “and they’re both monogrammed MM.”
32. Kind to her coaches.
Her first acting coach, Natasha Lytess, worked with her for six years and 22 films. Marilyn paid her a generous wage and settled her £11,000 debt at the dentist.
Later, Paula Strasberg took on the acting coach role. To coach Marilyn in The Prince and the Showgirl, she was paid $25,000 – as much as some of the featured actors were getting.
Paula Strasberg and Marilyn Monroe in 1962.
31. In solemn memory…
For 20 years after Marilyn’s death, Joe DiMaggio sent roses to her crypt three times a week.
30. The grand white piano.
At the 1999 auction of Marilyn’s effects, her white baby grand piano was bought by Mariah Carey for $662,500. The piano had been bought by Marilyn’s mother, and sold after she had her breakdown, but Marilyn eventually found it and bought it back, keeping it with her until her death.
29. The casket.
There was an open casket at her funeral. She wore an apple green dress made of nylon jersey and a platinum wig because her head had been partially shaved during the autopsy.
28. A wedding that never came.
She was thought to have been planning to remarry Joe DiMaggio at the time of her death. After the failure of their first marriage, DiMaggio had undergone therapy, stopped drinking alcohol and expanded his interests beyond baseball. He and Marilyn read poetry together in her final years.
27. Happy Birthday, Mr. President.
The beaded gown Marilyn wore when she sang Happy Birthday to President Kennedy sold in 1999 for £820,000. At the time, it was the record price for a single item of clothing.
She broke her own record when her billowing white Seven Year Itch dress was put up for sale in 2011, where it made £2.8 million.
26. Eyes off the merchandise, James.
Before her marriages to Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller, Marilyn married James Dougherty when she was only 16 years old. Dougherty, who later became a detective in the LAPD, was forbidden by his second wife from going to see any of Marilyn’s films.
25. The golden fuzz.
Marilyn whitened her skin with hormone cream. One side effect was that the treatment encouraged the growth of blonde down on her face. Marilyn refused to remove this peach fuzz because she believed it gave her face a soft glow on camera.
24. Nip and tuck.
In 1950, Johnny Hyde, her agent, paid for her to have two plastic surgeries: a tip rhinoplasty (reshaping the soft cartilage at the end of her nose) and a chin implant.
Marilyn and Johnny Hyde.
23. Woof, woof.
Marilyn owned many dogs throughout her lifetime. Her final four-legged companion was a Maltese terrier given to her by Frank Sinatra, which she named Maf (short for Mafia Honey). In 1999, two Polaroids of Maf sold for £220,000.
22. The estate.
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. She left a trust fund for her mother with $5,000 a year.
She was an early devotee of yoga! Marilyn was taught by Indra Devi, a Swedish-Russian Bollywood film star who also taught Greta Garbo and Gloria Swanson.
20. Standing up for what’s right.
In the 1950s, American jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald was barred from performing at Los Angeles nightclubs because color bar was still in force. Marilyn went out of her way to land Ella a gig—she convinced the management to let Fitzgerald play by promising to sit in the front row for a week.
19. Papa Clark.
Marilyn had a fixation on Clark Gable, her co-star in The Misfits. as a young girl, Marilyn dreamed that he was her father. When he died, she said that she cried for two days.
18. In the nude.
Among female studio employees–wardrobe mistresses, hairdressers, make-up artists–she often preferred to walk around naked. She also gave interviews in the nude and often went out wearing anything under the black mink that Joe DiMaggio had given her.
17. Honest Abe.
Marilyn’s hero was Abraham Lincoln: “I used to read everything I could find about him,” she wrote in her (ghosted) autobiography, My Story. “He was the only famous American who seemed most like me, at least in his childhood.”
16. Untimely reading.
At the time of her death, she was reading Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and Captain Newman MD, a novel by Leo Rosten based on the life of Monroe’s psychiatrist, Ralph Greenson.
15. Claims of paternity.
Two men claimed paternity of Marilyn on their deathbeds: C Stanley Gifford, a man who both Marilyn and her mother believed was her father, although he refused to meet Marilyn when she was alive; and Edward Mortensen, the man who was married to her mother at the time of her birth. Edward’s name appears on Marilyn’s birth certificate.
14. Athletic prowess.
As a young married woman on Catalina Island in the early Forties, she studied weightlifting with a former Olympic champion named Howard Corrington. She also later went tandem surfing with a boyfriend, Tommy Zahn, balancing on his shoulders as they cut through the waves.
13. The cost of tardiness…
During the filming of Let’s Make Love, Marilyn’s no-shows added 28 days to the shooting time and $1 million to the budget.
12. Humble beginnings.
Her career in front of the camera began when she was discovered working on the assembly line at Radioplane, a munitions factory, by a photographer called David Conover.
11. Arthur’s Marilyn?
Arthur Miller’s play After the Fall is thought to be a thinly veiled portrayal of his marriage to Marilyn. The writer James Baldwin walked out of the play because he thought that “Maggie,” the Monroe character, was written so cruelly.
10. Her own piece of real estate.
She only owned one home: the house she died in at 12305 Fifth Helena Drive, Brentwood.
9. The birth of the name.
In her autobiography, “My Story”, she recounted that 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.
8. Marilyn’s health.
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.
7. Candle in the Wind.
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.
Sir Elton John performing Candle in the Wind at Princess Diana’s funeral.
6. The tight-fitting dress.
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.
Marilyn’s death was ruled a “probable suicide,” but toxicology tests were only carried out on her liver. When the deputy coroner tried to obtain her other organs for testing, he was told they’d been destroyed.
4. The murder conspiracy.
Marilyn’s death remains controversial and many sources believe she was murdered because she threatened to reveal details about her love affairs with John F. Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy. Several journalists have published unverified claims that Bobby Kennedy, Ralph Greenson (her psychiatrist), and the CIA conspired to murder her with a fatal dose of pentobarbitol and an enema filled with broken-down Nembutals.
As of 2016, these remain conspiracies: not proven statements.
3. It does look suspicious though…
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. There was no odor of drugs on her mouth, as would be consistent with suicidal pill ingestion. There was also no report of alcohol or water near the bed where she was found, as would also be typical.
Life Magazine photojournalist Leigh Wiener bribed the county morgue staff with a bottle of whiskey to get inside and photograph Monroe hours after her death. Her body showed cyanosis, blue or purple coloration of the skin which is consistent with needle injection.
2. Quite suspicious…
Veronica Hamel, an actress, bought Marilyn’s house in 1972. She claimed that when she was renovating the house she discovered an extensive system of wire-taps. PI Fred Otash later confirmed that the FBI and the CIA had bugged Marilyn’s home.
1. Case closed?
Due to prevalence of murder conspiracy theories in the media, the office of the Los Angeles County District Attorney reviewed the Marilyn case in 1982. They found no evidence to support murder and did not disagree with the findings of the original investigation.
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