American actress, model, and singer, who became a major sex symbol, starring in a number of commercially successful motion pictures during the 1950s and early 1960s. She was the subject of a lush nude calendar, photographed on 27 May 1949.
Marilyn was born in the charity ward of the Los Angeles General Hospital. Both her mom and her grandmom suffered from mental illness, probably manic depression. She maintained that one of her earliest memories was that of her mom trying to smother her with a pillow. Her mom paid a couple $25 a week to take care of her and she lived with these foster parents until she was seven. After her mom was hospitalized with a breakdown, Norma Jeane was placed in an orphanage and a series of foster homes, where she was sexually assaulted several times. She later said she had been raped when she was 11.
She left school with a youthful and short marriage at the age of barely 16 to merchant marine James E. Dougherty, on 19 June 1942. Only 5' 1" (1.55 m) tall, she matured early into a shapely 110 lbs (50 kg). Deeply insecure about her abilities, she was chronically late. When astrologer Richard Ideman remarked that New York was a lonely town, she said, "Any town is lonely when you don't know who you are." She had, nonetheless, a sly wit; once asked by a reporter what she wore to bed, she replied "Chanel No.5." Her drug and alcohol dependency was long-standing and well known among her intimates.
Marilyn made a second marriage to baseball player Joe DiMaggio, then to writer Arthur Miller (a NY Times article gave 29 June 1956, 7:21 PM in White Plains, New York). She was romantically involved at one time or another to Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, Yves Montand and director Elia Kazan.
Hundreds of biographies have been written about her by everyone from her lovers to her plumber. One lesbian relationship was related in a biography by her maid.
Historians find no documented evidence that Marilyn had an affair with Robert Kennedy, though there is credible evidence that she was intimate with John Kennedy, starting sometime in the 1950s. By the '60s, the relationships was so obvious that aides warned him to be more discreet. During the Thousand Days of his administration they continued to meet, though not at the White House, and she told her friends about the trysts.
She met Robert Kennedy in February 1962 and many reports state that he soon shared her favors. By early summer she was telling friends that he would marry her. They were together at the home of Peter Lawford in late June and then, suddenly, both brothers cut her off and she was told to not contact either of them again. She began trying, without success, to reach Bobby by phone. She slumped into a deep depression, survived a drug overdose and told friends she had had an abortion. A close friend later recalled that "she looked like death."
The gossip continued for years that she was intimate with both Kennedy men and that they were involved in her death. She possessed handwritten notes from Bobby and had kept a diary. She was privy to numerous secrets about the Kennedys and their underworld connections. Moreover, she was unstable and might talk at any time. A world-famed celebrity, the actress had the power to do incalculable damage to the Kennedy image.
Monroe died of a drug overdose on 5 August 1962 in Hollywood, California. The prior night she had called Lawford about 10:00 PM, expressing fear that she had taken too many sleeping pills. She died sometime that night and about 3:00 AM, her housekeeper called her psychiatrist. She was found in her bed, nude, with a telephone in her hand. At 4:25 AM the housekeeper called the police. Her diary and personal notes were never found.