Before she became one of the sexiest women ever, Marilyn Monroe was simply Norma Jeane Mortenson. If you think that her adulthood was full of tragedies, wait until you hear about her childhood.
The beautiful brunette was born on June 1, 1926, in Los Angeles, and she would spend her whole life in the City of Angels.
Here is how the most celebrated sex symbol's life drove her into premature death and why she was terrified of asylums and sanatoriums.
Norma Jeane Mortenson's Early Years
Gladys Baker was 26 when she gave birth to Norma Jeane Mortenson in 1926. When the future Queen of Hollywood was only three weeks old, she ended up in foster care.
Despite the rocky start, young Norma's girlhood was, according to many, stable. These formative years were the closest to the normal life she had ever experienced.
Gladys Baker's third child had contact with her mother for the first eight years. Yet, Baker struggled with paranoid schizophrenia, and in 1934 she had a nervous breakdown. Since Norma Jeane Mortenson's father was not in the picture, 8-year-old Norma became an orphan.
This was a turning point for the world's most treasured actress, as her teenage years would be a nightmarish experience.
Only a year before Baker's breakdown, she was ready to adopt Marilyn. But, she had just learned that her 13-year-old son Jackie, taken from her as an infant, had died of kidney disease.
A short while later, Gladys' grandpa committed suicide by hanging. Kicking and screaming, Monroe's mother was institutionalized in a hospital in Norwalk. She would spend most of her life in and out of institutions.
Norma Jeane Mortenson's First Marriage Was A Way To Get Away From Abuse
The birth certificate said that her name was Norma Jeane Mortenson. She was baptized as Norma Jeane Baker, and at 16, she already had a new name - Norma Jeane Dougherty.
Young Norma Jeane Mortenson never met her first husband, but he was her ticket to get away from being molested and assaulted while jumping from one foster family to another.
The sexual abuse preteen suffered was so intense that Monroe started to stutter. In her third foster home, she was molested by Erwin Goddard, whose wife was Baker's friend.
Yet, when the Goddard family decided to move from California to West Virginia, her foster mom came up with a plan. To keep Norma Jeane Mortenson out of the foster system, she married Goddard's neighbor, 21-year-old James Dougherty.
The couple married in 1942, and a year later, Dougherty became a Merchant Marine and was shipped off to the Pacific.
Dougherty was thirled with his new bride, but Marilyn later said she was "was dying of boredom." And this feeling only grew once she was alone and broke.
So, she took a job at the factory, as the role of a typical 50's housewife did not sit well with the teen.
Norma Jeane Mortenson Becomes A Pin-up Girl
Working in a factory was no picnic in a park, but Norma became a self-sufficient young woman. Though not exciting, her life was calm, and her mother was back in her life.
Norma Jeane Mortenson and her mother had a complex relationship, but it was not due to a lack of trying. In 1946, Norma and Baker lived under the same roof at Aunt Ana.
Monroe's first marriage was falling apart, so she spent time with her mom and half-sister Berniece and worked on taking over the world.
While working in an army factory, Norma caught the eye of photographer David Conover. She left her job and was signed to Blue Book Model Agency. The pin-up girl got a hair dye and started working on a dream to become an actress.
In late 1946, Baker announced she was moving to Oregon. She was not well by any means. When she disappeared, the studios, interested in Marilyn Monroe, saw it as a perfect PR opportunity to present a new bombshell with a tragic childhood with no parents in sight.
Norma Jeane already had 33 magazine covers by the end of this year. She became ambitious and learned to hide her insecurities and troubles, at least for the time being.
How Marilyn Monroe Buried Norma Jeane Mortenson
Barely out of her teens, Norma Jeane Mortenson was ready to become the world's most desirable woman. With Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) and The Seven-Year Itch (1955), she became a national treasure, but the past would come to haunt her.
Scandals followed the starlet as her mother reappeared in May 1952.
During the same time, nude photos from the past emerged, and PR damage control was in full swing.
Norma Jeane Mortenson tried to reach out to her mother once again. However, she refused and went to Goddard's house instead. In a manic episode, Baker was, once again, taken to hospital, this time in Rock Haven Sanitarium in La Crescenta.
Monroe's mother never liked that her daughter became an actress. She mentioned this in her letters while pleading for her daughter to get out of the sanitarium.
But, as her star was shining brighter than ever, Marilyn tried to move on without looking back. She only saw her mother once more before her suicide at 36.
Mother And Daughter Eventually Shared A Similar Faith
In the 50s, Monroe was untouchable. She was followed everywhere, admired, worshiped, and yet, tragically sad. Additionally, she was the most wanted model, and advertisers could not get enough of her.
Marilyn was slipping into alcohol and addiction to barbiturates. Her marriages only brought her short-term happiness, and by the time the 60s came knocking, she was spent.
Norma Jeane Mortenson confessed her suicidal thoughts to the therapist in 1961. She was placed in Payne Whitney Clinic in New York, but her stay was brief because of her celebrity status. After all, she was Marilyn Monroe, and her life had to appear perfect.
The mother and daughter were last seen together in Rock Haven after Baker's attempted suicide in 1962. The last words her mother told her were, allegedly, "You're such a good girl, Norma Jeane."
Monroe's lifeless body was found on August 5, 1962. Baker's last years were somewhat ordinary, as she was out of the institution. Her mother had outlived her for 22 years.
There was some truth to Baker's last words to her successful, gorgeous daughter. She lived a Cinderella's life on the outside. But, inside, she was still Norma Jeane Mortenson - abandoned, repeatedly sexually assaulted, searching for love and approval.
Behind the world's sexiest woman was a lot of sorrow, as she stated in numerous interviews:
"Being a sex symbol is a heavy load to carry, especially when one is tired, hurt, and bewildered."
Monroe despised Hollywood and was not afraid to say it:
"Hollywood is a place where they'll pay you $1,000 for a kiss and 50¢ for your soul."
Though she won a Gloden Globe and was remains one of the biggest stars ever, she was ever that her lifestyle was draining:
"If I close my eyes and think of Hollywood, all I see is one big varicose vein."
But she never got away.
Rare Images Of Marilyn Before Hollywood Stardom
This year marks 60 years since she died, but MM is forever.
Though she played a ditzy blonde, Marilyn was quite intelligent.
Born Norma Jeane Mortenson, Monroe was a victim of circumstances, but she cleverly crafted her career.
Merilyn was always the beauty, and she knew how to cash in on her looks.
Her first pin-up photos were a major success. Marilyn played a significant role in the sexual revolution a few years later.
She loved animals. Frank Sinatra gave her a puppy Maf, who stayed with her until the end.
The New York Times wrote that on the same day people learned about Monroe's destiny, the city suffered a minor suicide epidemic.
Hugh Hefner loved her so much that he spent 50,000 dollars to be laid to rest next to MM.
It remains unknown if the Hollywood legend ever met her father.
The star warned the world about the "casting couch." The MeToo movement came over six decades later.
She was the first choice for Breakfast At Tiffany's.
Becoming institutionalized was one of Marilyn's biggest fears. She saw what it did to her mother, yet it could have saved Marilyn's life.
Colorized photo from 1946.
Marilyn Monroe at 19.
This is one of Monroe's first covers.
20th Century Fox erased her complicated family history.
Marilyn Monroe was named Castroville's first Artichoke Queen in 1948.
Monroe was a surname from her mother's side. The name Marilyn came from Broadway star Marilyn Miller.
Apart from stuttering, she also had rashes when under stress.
Norma Jeane Mortenson (Norma Jeane Baker) was a big Fitzgerald fan and enjoyed reading.
In 1955 Monroe formed her production company Marilyn Monroe Productions since Hollywood studios did not want her to get more dramatic parts.
Per her will, 25% of Marilyn Monroe's estate earnings were given to her therapist, Dr. Marianne Kris. She left it to a British psychiatric center for children.
MM at a13.