Marilyn Monroe is one of the most iconic people to have ever walked the earth. The actress passed away from a drug overdose at the young age of 36, but there’s no doubt that she would have continued to stun the masses with her talent and beauty if she’d stuck around a little longer. Luckily, we have plenty of photos to remember her by.
Here are 12 different photos from different years of Marilyn’s life that prove that she was flawless through all of it, starting off from her childhood when she still went by the name of Norma Jeane.
12. Young Norma Jeane
Marilyn Monroe was born Norma Jeane Mortenson on August 5th, 1962. Her mother was a woman named Gladys Pearl Baker, and it’s actually unknown who her father was due to the fact that the couple separated before Norma was born. But things were not great at home for Marilyn and Norma.
11. Marilyn Had A Rough Childhood
Although Marilyn was born into a single parent household, she was actually put into foster care since her mother suffered from mental instability. When Gladys was institutionalized, Marilyn grew up in an orphanage and had eleven different sets of foster parents throughout the years. It’s hard to imagine that the future star had much stability in that sort of childhood environment.
10. Her Interest In Acting Came Early
Marilyn has said that she first considered becoming an actress at the age of five. In an interview with Life magazine she once said that “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…”
9. Marilyn’s School Career Was Brief
In middle school Marilyn attended Emerson Junior High School. She wasn’t said to be the best student around, but she was a good writer and wrote for the school’s newspaper. After middle school she started to going to Van Nuys High School, but her high school career didn’t last long before she had to drop out.
8. Marilyn’s First Marriage Was Out of Need
When Marilyn was 16, her foster family had plans to move to West Virginia, but as a minor she couldn’t go with and would have to return to an orphanage. To avoid that fate, she married her neighbor’s son James Dougherty. As a dutiful new wife, the young woman gave up her educational career to become a housewife.
7. But The Marriage Didn’t Last Long
A year into Marilyn’s marriage, her husband enlisted in the Merchant Marines, which ultimately led to him being shipped off to the Pacific. Marilyn stayed behind and moved in with Jim’s parents, at which point she went to work at the Radioplane Munitions Factory to earn herself an income in his absence.
6. Marilyn Soon Started Modeling
Marilyn’s first modeling photos were actually taken for the U.S. Army Air Force First Motion Picture Unit, with the intention of trying to encourage other women to start working in the factories as well. Those photos were never used, however, and the next time modeled was for photographer David Conover.
5. Marilyn Went Blonde in 1945
In 1945 Norma signed with the Blue Book Model Agency, and upon doing so she dyed her hair blonde and straightened it in an effort to book more jobs. Book jobs she did, and she started to do a lot of advertisements in men’s magazines. It was in 1946 that she started going by her stage name Marilyn Monroe. But she almost went with a different name as you’ll see in item number four.
4. Marilyn Almost Wasn’t Marilyn
Marilyn Monroe was actually almost Jean Adair. Jean was the name that she first considered when she was choosing a stage name, but ultimately she went with Marilyn. However, she did not actually change her name legally to Marilyn Monroe until Feb. 23, 1956. Jean Adair is a pretty good name too, but history could have been changed by the different decision.
3. By 1950 Her Career Was Taking Off
Marilyn’s first two film roles were small ones, and the budding actress enrolled in acting school to work on her craft. It took a few years for things to take off, but by 1950 she had six film releases and signed a seven-year contract with 20th Century Fox.
2. In 1952 Marilyn Made Her Mark
In 1953 Marilyn had the release of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, How to Marry a Millionaire, and Niagra, which was when she really came into her fame. The following year she starred in The Seven Year Itch, and the year after that she broke her contract with Fox over a money dispute.
1. She Was Ultimately Rewarded for Her Work
In 1959, Marilyn won a Golden Globe award for Some Like it Hot. She was awarded the honor for Best Actress. The American Film Institute has called the film one of the best movies that has ever been made. She was already struggling with drug abuse at that time, and in 1962 she passed away from an overdose of barbiturates.
It’s easy to see that Marilyn was lovely from day one and each day forward, even with a bit of changing looks. It’s been suggested that she had a significant amount of plastic surgery, and of course, she had a major hair transformation that ended up being one of the most iconic things about her. Even her silhouette is still recognizable today, and her likeness is used over and over on a variety of products. Not to mention the fact that people still liberally enjoy her films. Not surprisingly, Marilyn’s estate continues to make plenty of money today.