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 Marilyn (Norma Jean Baker) Monroe  (1926 - 1962)

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Lived/Active: California      Known for: watercolor floral, botanical

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Ad Code: 3
Marilyn (Norma Jean Baker) Monroe
from Auction House Records.
Marilyn Monroe Artwork Inscribed to JFK
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Marilyn Monroe is famous the world over as a stunning blond actress, but less known is that she also produced some paintings. Her most notable work is a watercolor botanical of a red rose, inscribed to President John F. Kennedy for his birthday.

Born on June 1, 1926 in Los Angeles, California, to Gladys Baker (previously Mortenson), Marilyn never knew the true identity of her father and was baptized Norma Jeane Baker.

Norma Jeane spent most of her childhood in foster homes and orphanages until 1937, when she moved in with family friend Grace McKee Goddard. In 1942, a teenager, she married Jimmy Dougherty, a neighbor, who in 1944 was shipped out to China with the Merchant Marines.

Norma Jeane, while working in a Radioplane Corporation factory in 1944, was photographed (holding a propeller) by the Army in a promotion to show pretty women on the assembly line contributing to the war effort. One of the photographers, David Conover, asked to take further pictures of her. After the shoot Conover began sending modeling jobs her way. The camera loved Norma Jeane, and within two years she was a model with many popular magazine covers to her credit. She began studying the work of legendary actresses and enrolled in drama classes with dreams of stardom.

When Jimmy returned in 1946 Norma Jeane chose career over marriage, and they were divorced in June of 1946. She signed her first studio contract with Twentieth Century Fox on August 26, 1946, earning $125 a week. Soon after, Norma Jeane dyed her hair blonde and changed her name to Marilyn Monroe, borrowing her grandmother's last name.

"Photoplay" magazine voted Marilyn the Best New Actress of 1953, and at 27 years old she was undeniably the best-loved blonde bombshell in Hollywood.

In 1954, Marilyn married baseball superstar Joe DiMaggio at San Francisco's City Hal, and the marriage lasted only six months.

Marilyn was eager to shed her 'shallow blonde' image by 1955. She moved to New York City to study under Lee Strasberg at his Actors' Studio. In 1956, Marilyn started her own motion picture company, Marilyn Monroe Productions.

In 1956, Marilyn wed playwright Arthur Miller, whom she had met through Lee Strasberg. That marriage ended in 1961.

At the 1962 Golden Globes, Marilyn was named female World Film Favorite, once again demonstrating her widespread appeal, but that same year, 36-year-old Marilyn died at her Brentwood, California home.

Interest in Marilyn Monroe has not waned, as evidenced by interest in the June 2005 auction by Julien's Auction house (Los Angeles) of a vast array of Marilyn memorabilia, including her rose painting for JFK.


Sources include:
jimdougherty.com (website of Norma Jeane's first husband)
ellensplace.net
marilynmonroe.com

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