"In the beginning"


The views expressed in this blog are not necessarily the views of the blog management, (on the other hand, they are not necessarily not the views of the blog management).

No effort has been made to stay within the bounds of the truth in this blog as it has always been the view of the management that the truth should never be allowed to stand in the way of a good story.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Marilyn Monroe

My favourite Marilyn Monroe Image, one of the worlds first
"Beautiful People"

52 years on, and still some of the best known images in the world.
How about those sexy knickers in the first one!!!

Marilyn would be an 80 year old if she were alive today, I can't help but wonder how the years would have treated her, some, like Sophia Loren who is 72, have aged with grace and very little damage, others, who it is kinder not to mention by name, have not been so fortunate.

I would like to think that Marilyn would have done it well, her generous figure, which varied between size 14 and 16 would no doubt have expanded a bit but in my minds eye I still see those curves, not at all like the stick thin "super models" of today.

Biography of the worlds favorite blonde Marilyn Monroe.

Born as Norma Jean Mortenson on June 1, 1926 in Los Angeles General Hospital, her mother, Gladys, listed the fathers address as unknown. Marilyn would never know the true identity of her father.

Due to her mother's mental instability and the fact that she was unmarried at the time, Norma Jean was placed in the foster home of Albert and Ida Bolender. It was here she lived the first 7 years of her life.

"They were terribly strict...they didn't mean any harm...it was their religion. They brought me up harshly."

In 1933, Norma Jean lived briefly with her mother. Gladys begins to show signs of mental depression and in 1934 was admitted to a rest home in Santa Monica. Grace McKee, a close friend of her mother took over the care of Norma Jean. Grace was captivated by Jean Harlow, a superstar of the twenties, and Marilyn would later say..."and so Jean Harlow was my idol."

Grace was to marry in 1935 and due to financial difficulties, Norma Jeane was placed in an orphanage from September 1935 to June 1937. Grace frequently visited her, taking her to the movies, buying clothes and teaching her how to apply makeup at her young age.

"The world around me then was kind of grim. I had to learn to pretend in order to...I don't know...block the grimness. The whole world seemed sort of closed to me...(I felt) on the outside of everything, and all I could do was to dream up any kind of pretend-game."

In September 1941 Norma Jean was again living with Grace when she met Jim Dougherty, 5 years her senior. Grace encouraged the relationship and on learning that she and her husband would be moving to the East Coast, set in motion plans for Norma Jean to marry Dougherty on June 19, 1942.

"Grace McKee arranged the marriage for me, I never had a choice. There's not much to say about it. They couldn't support me, and they had to work out something. And so I got married."

Dougherty joined the Merchant Marines in 1943 and in 1944 was sent overseas. Norma Jean, while working in a factory inspecting parachutes in 1944, was photographed by the Army as a promotion to show women on the assembly line contributing to the war effort. One of the photographers, David Conover, asked to take further pictures of her. By spring of 1945, she was quickly becoming known as a "photographers dream" and had appeared on 33 covers of national magazines.

In the fall of 1946 she was granted a divorce...later saying, "My marriage didn't make me sad, but it didn't make me happy either. My husband and I hardly spoke to each other. This wasn't because we were angry. We had nothing to say. I was dying of boredom."

On July 23, 1946 she signed a contract with Twentieth Century-Fox Studios. She selected her mother's family name of Monroe. From this point on she would be known as Marilyn Monroe to all her fans.

Johnny Hyde, of the William Morris Agency, became her mentor and lover in 1949. Also, in 1949, Marilyn agreed to pose nude for a calendar. A fact that was to stir controversy later in her career as a superstar.

"Hollywood is a place where they'll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss and fifty cents for your soul"

Monroe's first leading part in a serious feature was to be in "Don't Bother to Knock", filmed in 1952.

Marilyn met Joe DiMaggio in early 1952, she was 25 and he was 37. DiMaggio, recently retired from baseball, had expressed a desire to meet this famous star. By February the romance was in full bloom.

"I was surprised to be so crazy about Joe. I expected a flashy New York sports type, and instead I met this reserved guy who didn't make a pass at me right away! He treated me like something special. Joe is a very decent man, and he makes other people feel decent, too!"

In 1952 Marilyn began filming "Niagara" with Joseph Cotten...a film that was to establish her stardom. After her next big film, "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes", she and Jane Russell signed their names and placed their hands and feet in the wet cement in front of the Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard...the same place she had visited with Gladys and Grace years earlier as a child.

"I want to be a big star more than anything. It's something precious"

On January 14 Joe and Marilyn were married. The wedding captured the headlines worldwide. Joe was an extremely jealous type of guy and resented her popularity among other men. He desired a housewife, not a star of such magnitude...the marriage was in trouble from the beginning.

"I didn't want to give up my career, and that's what Joe wanted me to do most of all."

On May 29, Marilyn began filming "There's No Business Like Show Business". Throughout the summer she was ill with bronchitis and anemia. For the first time, Marilyn began showing serious side-effects of the many sleeping pills she had been taking for the last few years...often groggy, lethargic and crying on the set.

The famous "skirt blowing" scene from the "Seven Year Itch" , filmed in 1954 was to be a hit with both amateur and professional photographers. Several hundred, along with 2000 spectators gathered outside the Trans-Lux Theater in New York City in the early morning hours of September 15th to see and record her as she posed for over two hours for her adoring fans.

In the fall of 1954 Marilyn and Joe separated...later to divorce.

"When I married him (Joe), I wasn't sure of why I married him, I have too many fantasies to be a housewife."

There is a whole lot more of this story to come so I'm going to break it up into a two parter like my mate Wazza does, give us all a chance to catch our breath.

Marilyn was quite a witty person and is credited with some pretty smart quotes, but she was also subject to fits of depression and self doubt as can be seen by her comment below.

Everyone's just laughing at me. I hate it. Big breasts, big ass, big deal,
Can't I be anything else ? Gee, how long can you be sexy?

"I want to grow old without face-lifts...

I want to have the courage to be loyal

to the face I have made. Sometimes I

think it would be easier to avoid old

age, to die young, but then you'd never

complete your life, would you? You'd

never wholly know yourself."


Merle said...

Hi Peter ~ Good post about Marilyn.
Thanks for your comments. Tonight's
post went all funny after I did it in usual colors. Think the story Tammy sent was in Hotmail. Anyway it is readable and that's about all.
Take care, Merle.

JunieRose2005 said...


I am enjoying reading about MM.

...And that song by Elton John is just so beautiful it makes me cry every time I hear it!

I'll be back!


Hale McKay said...

"It seems to me you lived your life like a candle in the wind..."

I don't think I can say it better than the lyrics of Elton John.

Good post, Peter.

Anonymous said...

She was a beauty. Still enjoy watching her movies.

kenju said...

I loved Marilyn, Peter, and I think she was used and abused by most in the movie business and surely by some politicians!

Jeanette said...

Hi Peter
Im back again! Nice research on Marilyn Monroe. Love your music this is one of my favorite pieces.

Donna'has decided to join the blogging world.

Cliff Morrow said...

I liked her so much I married Marilyn Morrow. That's as close as I could get. And not a bad substitute it turns out.
A very informative and readable post. Thanks! I'll be back for more.

wazza said...

Peter, no words can say enough of the beauty and wit (yes she had a great sense of hunour) of Marilyn. You know of my "love" of Marilyn. She was loved and hated by some, but looking at her body of work, she certainly knew how to "work" the camera and this shows through her photos and movies.

Katherine said...

She was definitely one of a kind. I also always wonder "what if" about her and how she really died.

Joy Des Jardins said...

An amazing story...isn't she Peter? One of the true legendary ladies of our time. Thanks for this great post.

Lee said...

Monroe was both brilliant and beautiful. Her intelligence and acting ability were ignored and she tried so hard to be recognised for these abilities over and beyond her physical appearance. For 14 years I worked within the fashion industry when I was living in Brisbane. The compnay used to have what we called "production nights'in our showrooms where we would introduce to retailers our new products. A lot of the planning, orchestration, organising the models, choreography of what they had to do etc.,(and the catering) was part of what my job entailed, even though originally I had been hired as 'secretary'. One such launching of a new line was based around Monroe. I begged, stole and borrowed from Bris radio stations copies of Marilyn's songs. I had that memorable photo(as shown here by you, Peter) from 'The Seven Year Itch" of her standing over the air vent in the pavement enlarged and backed by stiff cardboard to the size of around 6 feet in height. I kept one of the cut-outs for myself, but stupidly in a moment of weakness when I was leaving Brisbane I gave it to one of my neighbours! Things one does and then regrets later on!

The Marilyn Monroe theme night was a huge success.

Have you seen the photos taken of Monroe by Milton Greene, Peter....they are called 'the black and white' series. There was a wonderful documentary on the ABC a couple of years ago, showing these magnificent pics. Do a check on Greene through Google and you will see what I mean. They are absolutely magnificent. Natural...not the Hollywood glamour-type shots. He captured her soul.

Puss-in-Boots said...

My 36-year-old daughter, as a teenager, absolutely loved Marilyn Monroe to the extent that she sent away to the States for the album that was released of Marilyn's songs. Now, she has passed that love and admiration of Marilyn onto her 15-year-old daughter (her birthday's today). It's rather nice to think that Marilyn is still thought of and admired. Such a tragic lady...