On June 1, 1926, in Los Angeles, California, Norma Jeane Mortenson—better known across the globe as the gorgeous actress and sex icon Marilyn Monroe—is born. Monroe would go on to become a household name - one that has shaped fashion and pop culture incessantly.
After a turbulent upbringing in which both her maternal grandparents and mother were committed to mental facilities, she was raised in a series of foster homes. While working in a California munitions factory, a photographer "found" the naturally breathtaking Norma Jeane, and she was quickly propelled into a lucrative modelling career.
Norma Jeane changed her name and dyed her dark hair blonde at the start of her acting career, renaming herself Marilyn Monroe. With leading parts in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and How to Marry a Millionaire, both released in 1953, Monroe was at the top of Hollywood's A-list. In January 1954, she married baseball icon Joe DiMaggio in San Francisco's City Hall after a two-year engagement. Despite the press hailing their romance as the quintessential All-American love tale, issues arose almost immediately. DiMaggio was apparently concerned with his new wife's sexual public image and wild popularity, as evidenced by a near-riot among US troops stationed in Korea at a performance she gave in the middle of the couple's honeymoon. They split in October after only nine months of marriage but remained great friends.
Of course, it is practically impossible to talk about Marylin Monroe without commenting on the glamour and style that she embodied during her entire life. It is clear that when talking of fashion icons, Monroe stands high on the pedestal due to her iconic moments and impeccable flair. Her attire ranged from dazzling red carpet ensembles to casual denim, and she looked sophisticated and fashionable in both settings. And that is why Monroe has always been regarded as one of the most prominent fashion icons of the 1950s and 1960s, and she continues to be regarded as such. Her style contributed to the development of the Hollywood actress's image.
During the span of her career, Monroe was and still is being labelled as the classic stereotype of the ‘dumb blonde.’ She was always being given roles of the same calibre, which forced her to conform to what society expected of her talents and not their actual potential. Monroe studied acting at New York's renowned Actors' Studio in an attempt to segue to more serious roles. Her subtler performances in films like Bus Stop (1956), The Prince and the Showgirl (1957), and, most notably, Some Like It Hot (1958) earned her critical recognition (1959). Monroe's mental instability had worsened by 1961, when difficulties in her personal life–her third marriage, to the renowned writer Arthur Miller, had terminated after four years–had led to her admittance to two psychiatric hospitals for monitoring and recovery.
Her life, although glamorous in the public eye, was full of troubles that burdened her. Amongst her three separate marriages, Monroe encountered issues in both the relationships and the overwhelming fact that her life was constantly displayed in the media. Monroe had wished for a child more than anything else in the world, but she was unable to have one. Prior to losing this baby, she had three miscarriages, all of which were documented in the media.
It is becoming abundantly clear that despite the talk of elegance that was present within the classic Hollywood society, things for actresses such as Monroe did not reflect such glamour; as actresses especially suffered from having their lives displayed in the media and their acts heavily sexualized and influenced. Although Marylin was depicted as the carefree and elegant woman that people remember her as, her life was tumultuous, tricky, and lonely - such as her death was caused by an overdose of depression pills that she frequently took.