ByCharley-Hannah, writer at
I became so addicted to film, I decided to do a degree in it. Twitter: @Charley_Hannah

Marilyn Monroe — actress, model, singer and sex icon. Marilyn Monroe is perhaps one of the most iconic women to have ever lived. She became the biggest sex icon of the '50s, and still is to this day. Monroe had an unconventional start in life, and it was these troubles she carried her whole life. Monroe died tragically in 1962 after a self-administered overdose. June 1st marks the blonde bombshell's birthday. To remember Monroe, take a look at my 10 facts I bet you didn't know about

1. Monroe Wrote An Autobiography Before Her Death

Her autobiography, titled My Story, was written at the height of Monroe's fame, but was not published until over a decade after her death in 1962. The actress poignantly recounts her childhood as an unwanted orphan, her early adolescence, and her rise to fame in the film industry. Her close friend and photographer — Milton H. Greene — chose the pictures for the illustrated edition with Rick Rinehart.

2. She Spent Her Childhood In A Series Of Foster Homes

Marilyn Monroe's mother, Gladys, was mentally unstable. When Monroe was a child, her mother was sent to Norwalk Mental Hospital. This was the same place where her mother's father and grandmother had been taken previously.

In her autobiography, Monroe recalls being:

Taken from the newly painted house to an orphan asylum and given a blue dress and a white shirtwaist to wear and shoes with heavy soles.

For a while, Monroe went to live with her mother's close friend, Grace. Before long, Aunt Grace could no longer look after Monroe for financial reasons. Thus, she arranged for her to enter the Orphan Asylum — the Los Angeles Children's Home Society.

3. Her Car Was Repossessed

'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes' [Credit: 20th Century Fox]
'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes' [Credit: 20th Century Fox]

Before Monroe made it big in the movies, she struggled with money and went from job to job. She mentions about being unable to make her payments on a small secondhand car:

The second month I received a letter saying if I didn't make the fifty dollar payment the company would have to repossess the car [...] the third month a man knocked on my door, showed me a document, and repossessed my car.

I think a common misconception people have — particularly of celebrities or icons — is that they were "born famous." Monroe's money struggles reflects this assumption to be untrue.

4. Her First Marriage Was A Loveless One

In order to leave the orphanage, Monroe's aunt Grace suggested she get married. In 1942, Monroe married a man named Jim Dougherty. Monroe said that her marriage brought her neither happiness nor pain, and she and her husband hardly spoke to one another. They divorced in 1946.

She went on to marry baseball player Joe DiMaggio in January 1954, but later divorced in October 1954. Monroe accused DiMaggio of “mental cruelty.” She later married playwright Arthur Miller in 1956, but their marriage also ended in divorce in January 1961.

5. The Name 'Marilyn Monroe' Was Suggested To Her

'How to Marry a Millionaire' [Credit: 20th Century Fox]
'How to Marry a Millionaire' [Credit: 20th Century Fox]

When Marilyn Monroe was employed by 20th Century Fox, she needed to change her name. Born as Norma Jeane Mortenson, a man at the studio suggested the name Marilyn. The actress liked that name. Aunt Grace suggested Norma Jeane's mother's maiden name, Monroe, to accompany Marilyn.

6. Marilyn Monroe Never Said This Quote

"Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it's absolutely better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring."

This quote has become extremely popular over the last decade or so. There is no source that records Marilyn Monroe saying this quote. It's highlight unlikely that she would have commented "madness is genius" considering she grew up with a mother who was schizophrenic and feared mental illness.

7. She Had Over 400 Books In Her Home Library

'The Seven Year Itch' [Credit: 20th Century Fox]
'The Seven Year Itch' [Credit: 20th Century Fox]

Monroe loved to read. In her apartment she had her own private library with over 400 books. Among her collection there were books such as The Great Gatsby, Ulysses, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Life And Work of Sigmund Freud and The Portable Poe.

Marilyn enjoyed a range of books, from American literature and plays, to music, politics and psychology.

8. She Had An IQ Of 168

Despite being type-cast as the "dumb blonde" in films such as Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Some Like It Hot, she was extremely intelligent, boasting an IQ of 168. The average person's IQ tends to be between 90 and 110.

9. She Was One Of The First Women To Own Her Own Production Company

Marilyn Monroe was one of the first women to own her own production company. It was called Marilyn Monroe Productions. The company released only one movie — The Prince and the Showgirl in 1957.

10. One Of Monroe's Closest Friends Was Her Photographer

Milton H. Greene was one of Monroe's closest friends. He met her in the fall of 1953 on an assignment for Look magazine. A close and endearing friendship quickly grew from this day. He is mentioned a great deal throughout the actresses autobiography. The book itself was trusted with Greene, who penned the last lines of the book:

This is where Marilyn's manuscript ended when she gave it to me.

Marilyn Monroe was and still is wildly misunderstood. She wasn't the "dumb blonde" or simplistic "blonde bombshell" people thought her to be. She had many layers, like most human beings. She didn't have a particularly good start in life, and in my opinion, that's what led to her downfall and ultimately suicide.

According to her autobiography, at the height of her fame, Norma Jeane looked through the eyes of Monroe and saw the rejected and vulnerable young girl she used to be. She also mentions her thoughts of "wanting to die" at such a young age. She also boldly states that she was the kind of girl they found dead in a hall bedroom with an empty bottle of sleeping pills in her hand. This inevitably foreshadows Monroe's tragic death in 1962.

Do you know any other facts about Marilyn Monroe?


Latest from our Creators