Marilyn Monroe was born Norma Jeane Mortenson on June 1, 1926 in the Los Angeles County Hospital. Her mother Gladys Pearl Baker was a film negative cutter at Consolidated Film Industries.
Marilyn’s father’s identity is unknown. She had two half-sisters, Berniece Miracle and Ana Lower. In 1935, Gladys married Martin Edward Mortensen but they divorced in 1942. Marilyn took her surname from her mother’s second husband.
Here are ten fun facts about Marilyn Monroe:
1. Marilyn Monroe was a natural blonde but she dyed her hair dark brown or black for most of her films because the studio thought it made her look more attractive on screen.
2. Monroe originally wanted to be a singer but after being told by several people that she couldn’t sing, she decided to pursue acting instead.
3. One of Monroe’s first jobs was as a model for art classes at The New School for Social Research in Greenwich Village where she met photographer Ben Ross who took some of the now iconic pictures of her.
4. In 1945, while working in a radio plane factory during World War II, Marilyn had part of her left leg amputated due to an accident with one of the planes.
5. After the war ended, Marilyn began studying acting under Natasha Lytess and signed a contract with 20th Century Fox in 1947.
6. Joe DiMaggio famously arranged for 2 dozen red roses to be delivered to Marilyn’s grave 3 times a week…for 20 years!
7. Although best known for playing ‘dumb blondes’ on screen, Monroe actually had an IQ of 168 which placed her in the top 2% of the population!
8. During filming for The Seven Year Itch (1955), director Billy Wilder had to stop production when passers-by started gathering around to watch Monroe stand over a subway grate as her white dress billowed up around her thanks to the rushing air below!
9. On February 6th 1962, aged just 36 years old, Marilyn died from an overdose of barbiturates at her home in Brentwood California leaving behind unfinished film projects including Something’s Got To Give which would have marked her return to comedy after starring in Bus Stop (1956).
10. Even though ‘Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend’ is one of Marilyn’s most memorable songs/scenes – she hated diamonds in real life apparently finding them “showy”!