Norma Jeane Mortenson, aka Marilyn Monroe, was born on 1 June 1926 in Los Angeles and christened Norma Jeane Baker. When she was just a few weeks old, her mother gave her up for adoption. Norma Jeane spent all her pre teen years with foster families; she suffered badly, feeling unwanted and unloved.

In Hollywood, the unhappy child found refuge in the world of cinema. The desire to become an actress began to grow, and she found an idol in Jean Harlow, the most celebrated Hollywood actress of the 1930s. Her future guardian, Grace Goddard ‑ a friend of her birth mother ‑ strongly encouraged her to follow her dreams as an actress.

The onset of adolescence changed her life overnight. For the first time, Norma Jeane discovered her charisma and the effect she had on people around her; she learned, especially, to use her precocious feminine charms with aplomb.


Marilyn increasingly distanced herself from the sex symbol role that had been foisted on her ‑ and that she herself had knowingly used ‑ to choose the parts that she wanted instead. Working with her own production company, MMP, she produced and starred in Bus Stop (1956) and The Prince and the Showgirl (1957). These roles earned her several international film awards and a Golden Globe nomination. She finally won a Golden Globe award as “1959 Best Actress in a Comedy” for her starring role in her next film, the classic Some Like it Hot.

A second Golden Globe, this time as “World Film Favorite – Female 1961”, followed in March 1962. The same year, she received the prestigious invitation to sing for the President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, at Madison Square Garden in New York, which catapulted her into high society. Her breathy rendition of “Happy Birthday” fuelled rumours of a relationship between her and the President that were never confirmed.