American actress and singer Marilyn Monroe is a symbol of 20th century pop culture. Her not-so-glamorous life before fame is lesser known.
Before becoming famous, Marilyn Monroe worked in a munitions factory in Van Nuys. Here, she was discovered by a photographer, and quickly signed a modeling contract. She completed various jobs as a pin-up model before eventually signing with 20th Century Fox as an actress. It is from here that she rose to fame, starring as a symbol of sexual awakening in the 20th century.
Monroe worked various jobs before she was established as a successful actress. Learn about them below.
Life Growing Up
Marilyn Monroe reportedly had a tumultuous childhood rather different from the glamorous life she went on to create for herself.
Her birth name was Norma Jeane Mortenson, and her mother was admitted to a mental institution for paranoid schizophrenia. Monroe’s father’s identity was unknown.
She was subsequently left in the hands of foster care. Monroe spoke of being sexually abused while living with foster families as a child.
With his help, she became a pin-up model, signing a contract in 1945 with the Blue Book Model Agency despite her husband being against it. She appeared in over 33 magazines during her time as a model.
While Monroe was a pin-up model, she also posed for nude pictures. This information was leaked later in her career, but helped spark interest in her movies rather than serving as a deterrent.
In fact, her nude photos were later presented on the cover of Playboy magazine. immortalizing her as a symbol of pop culture and sexuality.
Monroe eventually signed a long-term contract with 20th Century Fox, and divorced her husband at the time.
This was when she adopted the stage name Marilyn Monroe and dyed her naturally brown hair her signature blonde color.
Climb To Fame
Monroe quickly became seen as a rising symbol representative of changing attitudes towards sexuality.
For a decade, between the 1950s-1960s, she was the top-billed actress and was hugely famous.
Monroe married baseball star Joe DiMaggio, who was allegedly unhappy with Monroe’s sexually charged public image.
The couple divorced 9 months later, although they stayed friends.
She died at the young age of 36, when she was found unconscious in her home, having overdosed on barbiturates, but left behind a lasting legacy.
Marilyn Monroe won several Golden Globe awards for Best Actress after starring in hit films such as Some Like It Hot in 1959.
She was seen as a figure of beauty and sexuality in her century and is now possibly one of the most iconic symbols in American history.
Her brand is widespread across every industry, and she could possibly be “the most photographed person of the 20th century” despite her humble beginnings.