Marilyn Monroe   

Birth Name: Norma Jean Mortensen
Born: June 1, 1926
Died: August 5, 1962

No other figure has become more iconic of Hollywood glamour than Marilyn Monroe. From her tiny part in Joseph Mankiewicz's classic All About Eve, in which she stole a scene from no lesser talents than Bette Davis and George Sanders, it was apparent that the girl once called Norma Jean would become a star. A string of successful vehicles followed at Fox, and her fame inevitably rose. She became the first Playboy Playmate in December 1953 (thanks to some acquired pictures from a nude calendar shoot early in her career), and then married baseball legend Joe DiMaggio the following January. But it was her film work that got the most attention. She represented a new kind of sexuality on the screen, a vulnerable kitten who could use her surprisingly sharp claws to keep her leading men under control. A wave of Marilyn imitators came out of Hollywood in the mid-1950s, but the original only became more popular, and more respected by directors like Billy Wilder for her comedic talent, which the other blonde bombshells clearly lacked. After DiMaggio couldn't take the whole world lusting after his wife, Marilyn found a more stable relationship with renowned playwright Arthur Miller. But this love would fade as Marilyn plummeted into the cycle of depression and drug addiction. Her last completed film was The Misfits in 1961, which was also the last film for fellow legend Clark Gable. While filming Something's Got to Give in 1962 with George Cukor (who directed her in Let's Make Love two years earlier), she died from a drug overdose -- an apparent suicide despite being loved by the world. Now, she remains forever young, an eternal flame on the screen that has only burned brighter over time.
    -- by Matt Heffernan <>

For more information, go to the Internet Movie Database

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