Everybody knows who Marilyn Monroe (born Norma Jeane Mortenson; June 1, 1926 – August 5, 1962) is, because she is the premiere Hollywood sex symbol of all time. Virtually unknown at the start of the decade, she became the top female star of the 1950s.
|If by any chance you have that ID badge Marilyn is wearing, well, now you're rich.|
She grew up in foster homes, and during World War II worked in the new aircraft factory (built in 1941) in Long Beach. Robert Mitchum recalled that he met her while they were both working there, when she was just plain old Norma Jeane.
|Marilyn looks fabulous, she could make it today.|
After the war, Marilyn decided to try her hand at modelling. Her first shoot was a dog commercial, shown above. She had no experience, but then, when you look like Marilyn Monroe, you don't really need any. Bikinis, incidentally, were not very common in the 1940s.
The dog commercial attracted some notice because Norma Jeane was a pretty girl. She began to get some bit parts in Hollywood B movies.
|Nice monogrammed shirt!|
Marilyn needed a better, catchier name. Mickey Rooney later claimed that Marilyn was in his, ahem, office one day when the subject of her stage name came up. A writer he knew was named Monroe Manning, and he simply told her "You're definitely a Marilyn."
|Marilyn Monroe 1946|
It is a good story, but the reality appears to be more mundane: her mentor Ben Lyon named her Marilyn after Marilyn Miller, and Monroe was Norma Jeane's mother's maiden name. Mickey was a great storyteller.
|Marilyn definitely did cheesecake|
Norma Jeane was not a shy girl. She was determined to get ahead, and she did. She shot what we would call "Cheesecake" photos early in her career, some of which were promptly lost and forgotten. However, many have turned up long after her untimely death in 1962. The beautiful shots below were found in a garage sale in New Jersey in the 1980s.
Marilyn broke through to prominence in 1950, with some well-received performances in films like "The Asphalt Jungle." This led to starring turns in films such as "Niagara," one of the underrated classics of the 1950s due to Marilyn's unexpected insouciance as a troublemaking record lover.
|Marilyn and her 1952 Pontiac on what appears to be a Hollywood backlot. It appears to have the police-mount spotlights, so it was probably a studio car.|
Right up until her breakthrough, though, she was cheerfully posing half- or all-nude for folks like Hugh Hefner.
Marilyn later went on to film timeless classics such as "Some Like it Hot," "How to Marry a Millionaire" and "The Misfits." She changed her look, became a platinum blonde, and became the iconic legend. However, her best look of all is when she was a fresh-faced ingenue, eager to make a good impression and happy to please.
PAGEANT MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 1952
How I Stay in Shape
By Marilyn Monroe
“Frankly, I’ve never considered my own figure so exceptional; until quite recently, I seldom gave it any thought at all. My biggest single concern used to be getting enough to eat. Now I have to worry about eating too much. I never used to bother with exercises. Now I spend at least 10 minutes each morning working out with small weights. I have evolved my own exercises, for the muscles I wish to keep firm, and I know they are right for me because I can feel them putting the proper muscles into play as I exercise.”
She Doesn’t Like To Feel Regimented
“EXERCISE. Each morning, after I brush my teeth, wash my face and shake off the first deep layer of sleep, I lie down on the floor beside my bed and begin my first exercise. It is a simple bust-firming routine which consists of lifting five-pound weights from a spread-eagle arm position to a point directly above my head. I do this 15 times, slowly. I repeat the exercise another 15 times from a position with my arms above my head. Then, with my arms at a 45-degree angle from the floor, I move my weights in circles until I’m tired. I don’t count rhythmically like the exercise people on the radio; I couldn’t stand exercise if I had to feel regimented about it.”
How to Feel Blond All Over
“SPORTS. I have never cared especially for outdoor sports, and have no desire to excel at tennis, swimming or golf. I’ll leave those things to the men. Despite its great vogue in California, I don’t think sun-tanned skin is any more attractive than white skin, or any healthier, for that matter. I’m personally opposed to a deep tan because I like to feel blond all over.
By nature, I suppose I have a languorous disposition. I hate to do things in a hurried, tense atmosphere, and it is virtually impossible for me to spring out of bed in the morning. On Sunday, which is my one day of total leisure, I sometimes take two hours to wake up, luxuriating in every last moment of drowsiness. Depending on my activities, I sleep between five and ten hours every night. I sleep in an extra-wide single bed, and I use only one heavy down comforter over me, summer or winter. I have never been able to wear pajamas or creepy nightgowns; they disturb my sleep.”
A Set of Bizarre Eating Habits
“BREAKFAST. I’ve been told that my eating habits are absolutely bizarre, but I don’t think so. Before I take my morning shower, I start warming a cup of milk on the hot plate I keep in my hotel room. When it’s hot, I break two raw eggs into the milk, whip them up with a fork, and drink them while I’m dressing. I supplement this with a multi-vitamin pill, and I doubt if any doctor could recommend a more nourishing breakfast for a working girl in a hurry.
DINNER. My dinners at home are startlingly simple. Every night I stop at the market near my hotel and pick up a steak, lamb chops or some liver, which I broil in the electric oven in my room. I usually eat four or five raw carrots with my meat, and that is all. I must be part rabbit; I never get bored with raw carrots.
P.S. It’s a good thing, I suppose, that I eat simply during the day, for in recent months I have developed the habit of stopping off at Wil Wright’s ice cream parlor for a hot fudge sundae on my way home from my evening drama classes. I’m sure that I couldn’t allow myself this indulgence were it not that my normal diet is composed almost totally of protein foods.”