Originally born, Norma Jeane Mortenson, in 1926, in Los Angeles, California, Marilyn Monroe is an American actress and model who achieved extraordinary fame in Hollywood. Monroe never knew her biological father and had a sister and brother that she didn’t know about until she was 12-years old.
Monroe’s mother suffered a mental breakdown in 1934 and was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. She was in and out of mental institutions for the rest of her life and Monroe had become a ward of the state, moving in and out of foster homes for the next several years, where she was sexually abused, became withdrawn and also developed a stutter.
In 1936, her mother’s family friend, Grace McKee Goddard, became her legal guardian, but she was molested by Goddard’s husband, Doc. She was in and out of homes again subsequent to that and eventually attended Van Nuys High School, but dropped out in 1942 at the age of 16-years old, marrying the son of a neighbor in order to stay in the state after the Goddard’s had to leave to West Virginia.
In 1946, after a stint of appearances on the covers of 33 magazines, she secured a contract with an acting agency, and ultimately, a 6-month contract with 20th Century Fox. During that time, she procured no work, and instead focused on taking dancing, acting and singing lessons while also spending time in the studio to observe others acting. Her contract wasn’t renewed when it came to an end, but she was determined to make things work.
However, in 1948, at the age of 22-years old, she was signed to Columbia Pictures, and starred in a low-budget movie called, Ladies of the Chorus. Still, her contract at Columbia was also not renewed. Later that same year, she signed with the William Morris Agency, with the persistent attitude to never give up.
Still, her big breakthrough didn’t come until 1950, when she had appearances in a couple of critically-acclaimed films. Since then, her films went on to gross over $200 million, and subsequently turning her into a pop culture icon and sex symbol.