The Early Years

She was born illegitimate on June 1, 1926, in the charity ward at Los Angeles General Hospital. Her mother, Gladys Baker (nee Monroe) would call her Norma Jeane Mortenson but she would later use the name Baker too. The identity of her father was uncertain. Gladys entered on Norma Jeane’s birth certificate that the father was Edward Mortenson, a variation on her ex husband Edward Mortensen’s name, spelled with an ‘e’. As time went on it is thought to have been a man who worked with Gladys named Charles Stanley Gifford. Both men were long gone before Norma Jeane put in an appearance. She was a beautiful infant, but unlike most children, she was placed into foster care when she was thirteen days old. She had a very tough childhood, had little connection with her mother until a few years later when Gladys had saved up enough money to mortgage a small house for them both to live. This would not last as Gladys could not cope with her mounting debts, and her frail state of mind got her certified paranoid schizophrenic and she ended up institutionalized.

Once again Norma Jeane, by this time a very pretty child, ended up in various foster homes. Among the many things she would be faced with would be sexual abuse and exploitation by the people who were supposedly looking after her. At 9 she was placed in the Los Angeles Orphans Home by her guardian Grace Mckee, who had recently married “Doc” Goddard. Norma Jeane had a strong spirit and made the most of what she had. One of the other kids remembered her as being a very generous person who would never say no to you if you asked her for something. She lost herself in movies and would watch films with Jean Harlow, Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford and her favourite, Clark Gable. Outside her window she could see RKO Studios and would cry as she knew her mother had worked there. She would also lose herself in daydreams of what it must be like to work there & having people know you and love you. In 1937 Norma Jeane was rescued by Gladys’ best friend Grace McKee Goddard when she took Norma Jeane out of the orphanage to live with her and Doc Goddard.

She grew into a popular teenager; the boys gave her the attention she had craved all her life. And the girls took note too. She excelled at English and did well at sports. For the next 5 years Norma Jeane would have the security that had eluded her until this time. She also lived with and bonded deeply with Grace’s Aunt Ana Lower. Marilyn would later refer to Aunt Ana as the first person she truly loved. By Christmas 1941 Grace and Doc Goddard decided to move to West Virginia the following year without her. It was a difficult time as without Grace, Norma Jeane would have to move back to the orphanage. However, Grace came up with the idea of Norma Jeane marrying the handsome boy next door, James Dougherty. In December 1941, Grace asked Jim to escort Norma Jeane to a company Christmas dance. By March 1942 they were going steady and by May they were engaged. In June, Norma Jeane Baker became Mrs James Dougherty, less than three weeks after she turned 16.

As Jim went overseas for the war effort, Norma Jeane did her bit by working in a plane parts factory spraying fuselages. It was there that an US Army photographer named David Conover, taking photos of the working women back home for the Army, discovered Norma Jeane. These would be the first professional photos ever taken of Norma Jeane, which almost immediately led to her being signed to The Blue Book Model Agency. With a new career and a husband overseas, Norma Jeane grew restless and requested a divorce from Dougherty with dreams of stardom in her head. By 1946, Norma Jeane had made the cover of several national & international magazines and was one of the most popular models. By now she had desires to act. She caught the attention of 20th Century Fox head of talent, Ben Lyon and signed a 6-month contract. He changed her name to Marilyn after actress Marilyn Miller and she choose Monroe, her mother’s maiden name.

Phenomenon Marilyn Monroe

As Marilyn Monroe, Norma Jeane took on a new life and identity but when someone stopped her to ask for her autograph she couldn’t spell the name Marilyn, but in a few years the whole world would know how to spell the name… Success would not come so easy for Marilyn Monroe though. After a year at Fox and two lack-lustre films and very little interest in her, they dropped her. Picked up by Columbia she made the low-budget ‘Ladies of the Chorus,’ a musical in which Marilyn was able to show off her singing and dancing skills. She was good but the film bombed and Marilyn found herself out of work once more. Hungry and with little money coming in, she found herself in rent arrears. She’d been asked before to pose nude by photographer Tom Kelley and had said no but swallowing her pride and about to be evicted she decided to do it, as long as his wife could be present. Sprawled out on red velvet, a naked Marilyn would pose for what would be perhaps the most important photographs she ever did, for they would eventually become (unbeknown to her at the time), the photographs that would make her the undisputed sex symbol of the 20th century. History was made that day. She was paid $50.

By the end of 1949 Marilyn was now involved with agent Johnny Hyde, who fell head over heals in love with her. He introduced her to the legendary film director John Huston who cast her in ‘The Asphalt Jungle.’

Then she won the part of Miss Caswell in the multi-Oscar-winning ‘All About Eve.’ It was 1950 and now the name Marilyn Monroe was being heard all over Hollywood. She got great reviews for her brief appearances in these two movies. Her star was on the rise and she signed a new seven year contract with 20th Century Fox. Over the next 18 months, still unsure of her talent, Fox cast her in every film that required a pretty blonde. Her best work was made outside the studio for RKO, the melodrama ‘Clash By Night,’ and gave Marilyn her greatest role to date. But it was not Marilyn’s acting that drew the crowds to the theatres. It was the news that she had posed nude for a calendar, that was now on display all over America. As news broke that Hollywood’s new star was indeed the unidentified model on the Miss Golden Dreams calendar, the studio heads pleaded with Marilyn to deny it was her as her career would be over as the public would not accept this. Marilyn decided to tell the truth, that she was starving and needed the money and her little-girl-lost, vulnerable personality won the publics sympathy. She appeared on the cover of Life magazine, who published the controversial image for all America and the world to see, and from that moment the public took her to their hearts as their own.

Every film that Marilyn appeared in was now a major box-office hit and Fox decided to put her in ‘Niagara’ – her first starring role. This was followed by ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’ and ‘How To Marry A Millionaire,’ the biggest box-office hit of Marilyn’s career and the second film to be released in Cinema Scope.

By the end of 1953 Marilyn would be the biggest draw at the box-office. She was now romantically involved with baseball legend Joe DiMaggio and in January 1954 they would be wed in San Francisco. They spent their honeymoon in Japan, where they were greeted by hysterical fans, all trying to get close to Marilyn. Marilyn was asked if she would like to entertain the G.I’s in Korea. How could she refuse as they had made her their favourite pin-up the previous year. Marilyn spent 10 whirlwind days entertaining the troops and visiting the hospitals. She would later describe it as the best time of her life. By the end of their honeymoon, Joe’s contempt for Marilyn’s success and sexy image was beginning to cause a strain on their relationship and Marilyn rushed back to Hollywood to make a movie that she did not particularly care for, ‘There’s No Business Like Show Business.’

Her next film would make her a legend but it would end her marriage. ‘The Seven Year Itch’ would be the most talked about movie that year. The scenes filmed on location in New York gained maximum crowds as the skirt of Marilyn ’s dress was blown up over her head. In the crowd stood Joe DiMaggio, his face like thunder as Marilyn did the scene over and over again and the crowd cheered her on. He could not contain his fury as he made his exit and the world waited for the next scene in Marilyn’s troubled life. A tearful Marilyn would face the press and announce that she was leaving Joe after only nine months of marriage. They would be re-united briefly for the films premier as Marilyn asked Joe to be her date.

By now Marilyn was fed up with Fox and tired of the dumb blonde roles they were offering her. After refusing another such role, they suspended her and she moved to New York.

Our Immortal Marilyn

She had made new friends in photographer Milton Greene and Actor’s Studio guru Lee Strasberg. They gave her a new perception of herself and believed in her talent but most of all gave her the respect that Hollywood never did.

As Marilyn took to New York like a fish to water and studied acting with Strasberg at his studio, Fox feared that they may have lost their hottest asset, with no new Monroe films in the pipeline and no sign of Marilyn’s return. Fox soon negotiated a new deal with Marilyn as she set up her own production company, Marilyn Monroe Productions. In a TV interview Marilyn would discuss her disenchantment with her work up ‘til now and how she hoped to change it, and how much she loved her ‘‘new’’ life in New York.

After her year at Strasberg’s Actor’s Studio Marilyn returned to Fox to film ‘Bus Stop’. The film won Marilyn some of the best reviews of her entire career, with director Joshua Logan saying “Monroe is as near genius as any actress I ever knew.” Marilyn shocked the world when it was discovered that she was involved with playwright, Arthur Miller. They had secretly dated for a year as Miller was married. When his divorce was granted in the middle of June 1956, he announced his forthcoming wedding to Marilyn, and the story broke in the press that they would marry before she traveled to England to film ‘The Sleeping Prince.’

As the pair were barraged with reporters, a female reporter from Paris Match was accidentally killed in pursuit of them so they decided to put the spectacle to rest and were married in two ceremonies, one civil and one Jewish on 29 June and July 1. Marilyn and Arthur then went to England to begin filming ‘The Prince And The Showgirl,’ as it was now called, with Sir Laurence Olivier. Marilyn would produce the film and Olivier would direct.

The pair battled on the set and critics would say that Marilyn stole every scene from the great Olivier. During filming Marilyn dissolved her relationship with partner Milton Greene as Miller took control of her business affairs. The film would do poorly at the box-office.

Anxious to create a real family, Marilyn took time off from acting during 1957/58 and focused on trying to have a baby, which was her greatest desire. The Miller’s moved into relative obscurity. After suffering an ectopic pregnancy, Marilyn was urged to return to work – the Miller’s needed the money.

She accepted the role of Sugar Kane in ‘Some Like It Hot.’ As filming wrapped, Marilyn miscarried yet again. The film would become one of the biggest hits of 1959 and the second biggest box-office hit of her entire career. Marilyn’s next venture would not fair so well. Back at Fox for the first time since ‘Bus Stop,’ she began filming ‘Let’s Make Love’ with Yves Montand.

Marilyn’s marriage to Miller was beginning to fall apart and she embarked on an affair with her French co-star. It was a disaster for Marilyn as Yves finished it when filming wrapped. Despite media interest in the carrying-on of the two stars, the film was a flop. As filming on ‘Let’s Make Love’ finished, Marilyn, without little time off went on to make possibly her most ambitious project yet.

Written by Arthur as a gift to Marilyn, ‘The Misfits’ starred her childhood idol Clark Gable, Montgomery Clift and Eli Wallach. It was the closest Marilyn came to playing herself on the screen. Clark Gable would die of a massive heart attack ten days after filming his final scene. The film was not a hit at the box-office, but many film scholars regard it as one of the finest American films ever made. The strain of making the picture turned out to be the death of the Miller’s marriage as well. They divorced in early 1961. Marilyn suffered a difficult year, spending time in hospital for a “rest,” and then gallbladder surgery in June. She made very few public appearances during the rest of the year but renewed her friendship with Joe DiMaggio.

In early 1962, Marilyn bought a modest home in Brentwood. She went to Mexico and bought some furnishings. She started another film for Fox in the spring, ‘Something’s Got To Give.’ Marilyn was frequently absent on the set due to sinusitis. Fox’s financial state was in near bankruptcy as filming of ‘Cleopatra’ in Rome was well over budget and showing no signs of ending. With all other films cancelled Fox kept Marilyn’s picture running in hope that they could have another hit and reap the rewards they so desperately needed. Marilyn looked fit and had lost 15lbs for the film and did a nude bathing scene, the first by a major star in an American film.

With the film now weeks behind schedule, she flew to New York to perform for President Kennedy’s birthday Gala on May 19, 1962. The people at Fox didn’t take it well. On her return to LA, she fell ill again. Frustrated, Fox fired Marilyn shortly after her 36th birthday, her last day on the set. It was a blow to Marilyn but she kept herself involved in other projects. As before she was able to negotiate a new deal with Fox and on August 1, she signed a $1 million two-picture deal. Filming was to resume towards the end of October. On August 4, 1962, Marilyn died in her home of a drug overdose. Her death remains a question to this day. She was laid to rest in a small private ceremony at Westwood Memorial Park.

Timeline By Month

JANUARY

January 1934: Norma Jeane’s mother Gladys is admitted to a rest home in Santa Monica, having suffered a mental breakdown.

January 1935: Gladys is committed to a Metopolitan State Hospital in Norwalk, LACounty, with a diagnosis of paranoid
schizophrenia.

January 1947: Fox renews Marilyn’s contract for another six months.
First week of January 1949: Johnny Hyde buys Marilyn’s contract & devotes his entire professional time to furthering Marilyn’s
career.

January 5, 1950: Started shooting “The Fireball”.

January 1953: The famous nude picture of Marilyn is republished as “Miss Golden Dreams” on the January page of a new calendar.

January 21, 1953: “Niagara” released, Marilyn is a star.

January 4, 1954: Fox suspends Marilyn for failing to appear for filming.

January 14, 1954: Marries Joe DiMaggio at San Francisco City Hall.

January 7, 1955: Marilyn and Milton Greene hold press conference announcing the creation of Marilyn Monroe Productions.

January 10, 1955: Marilyn returns briefly to Hollywood to film one scene of additional dialogue for “The Seven Year Itch”.

January 15, 1955: Marilyn then moved to the East coast and was once again suspended by Fox.

January 4, 1956: Announcement of reconciliation between Marilyn and Fox studios.

January 28, 1958: Marilyn attends the annual March of Dimes fashion show at the Waldorf-Astoria, New York.

January 1960: On the recommendation of Marianne Kris, her New York analyst, Marilyn begins seeing Dr. Ralph Greenson on an
irregular basis.

January 1961: Marilyn & Lee Strasberg propose a television dramatization of Rain to NBC & end up walking away when Strasberg is
not chosen as director.

January 20, 1961: Mexican divorce from Arthur Miller granted.

January 31, 1961: Premiere of The Misfits.

Late January 1962: At Greenson’s suggestion Marilyn buys a small Spanish hacienda at 12305 Fifth Helena Drive in Brentwood. She
also hires Eunice Murray as her companion & housekeeper on Dr. Greenson’s urging.

 

FEBRUARY

February 26, 1936: Papers are legally filed to allow Grace McKee Goddard  to become Norma Jeane’s legal guardian.

February 1945: Norma Jeane quits Radioplane – she believes she has a future as a professional model.

February 1947: Twentieth Century – Fox renews Marilyn’s contract for six months. Several days later she receives her first casting call, for Scudda Hoo! Scudda Hay!

February 1948: Marilyn meets Twentieth Century – Fox mogul Joseph M. Schenck at a Hollywood party. He is sixty-eight. Marilyn twenty-one. He becomes a friend and benefactor, and the general consensus is there was an affair.

February 20, 1948: Marilyn is crowned Miss California Artichoke Queen.

Late February 1948: Schenck asks poker friend Harry Cohn, head of Columbia Pictures, to consider Marilyn for work at his studio.

February 1949: Marilyn films a part in Love Happy, and is mentioned in Louella Parsons’ gossip column.

February 26, 1952: Marilyn begins filming Monkey Business.

Winter 1952: Arrangements are made for sports hero Joe DiMaggio to meet Marilyn at the Villa Nova restaurant, 9015 Sunset Blvd. Marilyn is twenty-five at the time; Joe is thirty-seven. They have dinner together almost every night for two weeks. (The Villa Nova was renamed The Rainbow Bar and Grill.)

February 9, 1953: Gladys Baker is transferred to Rockhaven Sanatorium at Marilyn’s expense.

February 2, 1954: Honeymoon couple mobbed by thousands of fans as they arrive in Tokyo. Marilyn is invited to entertain the American troops in Korea.

February 16, 1954: Marilyn started entertaining troops in Korea traveling to ten different locations. She entertained over one hundred thousand soldiers and marines.

February 1955: Marilyn visits Lee Strasberg, who makes ongoing psychoanalysis a condition of her becoming a student at the Actors
Studio.

February 9, 1956: A press conference with Laurence Olivier to announce joint project, The Prince and the Showgirl  is held at the Plaza Hotel, 768 Fifth Ave. Marilyn wears a low cut black velvet dress with thin shoulder straps, one of which breaks. It is suspected this is a publicity stunt on Marilyn’s part, which she adamantly denied.

February 17, 1956: Marilyn performs the barroom scene from Eugene O’Neill’s Anna Christie at the Actors Studio.

February 25, 1956: Returns to Hollywood after more than one year away in exile in New York. The reporters were at Los Angeles airport to cover her return. She is asked about her “high necked” outfit she is wearing, “Is this the new Marilyn?”, she replied, “No, I’m the same person – but it’s a different suit.”

February 18, 1957: Arthur Miller is indicted by a federal grand jury on two counts of contempt of Congress.

February 27, 1957: Frank Sinatra testifies at an investigation into the “Wrong Door” raid carried out by Joe DiMaggio in 1954.

February 9, 1960: Marilyn was awarded her Star on the Walk of Fame.

February 1961: Marilyn reads that Clark Gable’s widow blames her for his death. Marilyn tells friend/masseur Ralph Roberts how close she came to committing suicide.

February 1, 1961: United Artists releases The Misfits, this will be Marilyn’s last completed film.

February 7, 1961: Marilyn’s analyst Marianne Kris is alarmed by Marilyn’s suicidal behavior. She persuades Marilyn to enter the Payne Whitney Psychiatric Clinic, on New York’s Upper East Side. Marilyn goes willingly, but does not realize she will be treated as a disturbed patient, even locked in a padded room. After three days of panic, she is able to contact Joe DiMaggio, who comes to her rescue.

February 11, 1961: Joe DiMaggio arranges for Marilyn to be transferred to the much less intimidating Columbia Presbyterian Hospital.

February 1, 1962: Dinner in honor of Robert Kennedy.

February 1962: Moves to 12305 5th Helena, Brentwood, CA.

February 1962: With her housekeeper Eunice Murray, Marilyn flies to Mexico to buy furniture and artifact’s for her new home.

 

MARCH

March 9, 1948: Marilyn is signed to a standard six month contract at $125 a week with Columbia Pictures. She auditions for the low budget musical “Ladies of the Chorus”, and wins co-starring role.

March 27, 1950: Marilyn lands the part of a starlet in “All About Eve”.

March 1951: After catching the eye of Spyros Skouras, president of Fox, Marilyn secures the renewal of her contract.

March 29, 1951: Presenter at The Academy Awards.

March 13, 1952: Nude calendar story broken to the public.

March 15, 1952: Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn meet for the first time.

March 1952: Marilyn and Joe DiMaggio go out on a first date.

March 1953: Photoplay features an article by Jim Dougherty, “Marilyn Monroe Was My Wife”.

March 6, 1953: Filming on “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” is completed.

March 9, 1953:  Photoplay magazine names Marilyn “Fastest Rising Star of 1952” and Joan Crawford’s prudish sensibilities are offended as Marilyn (in the infamous gold lame gown designed by Travilla) picks up her award.

March 5, 1954: Marilyn arrives back in Los Angeles from entertaining the troops in Korea.

March 14, 1954: Marilyn is voted “Best New Actress” of 1953 by Photoplay magazine.

March 31, 1954: Charles Feldman at Famous Artists Agency officially becomes Marilyn’s agent.

March 1955: Photographed through the month by Ed Feingersh for Redbook magazine.

March 9, 1955: At the premiere of “East of Eden” in NYC, Marilyn acts as an usherette in aid of the Actors Studio.

March 30 or 31, 1955: At the opening of the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus, Marilyn appears riding a pink elephant at Madison Square Garden for the New York  Arthritis & Rheumantism Foundation.

March 1, 1956: Marilyn receives the key to Warner Brothers.

March 3, 1956: Filming begins on “Bus Stop”.

March 12, 1956: Norma Jeane Mortenson legally becomes Marilyn Monroe.

March 22, 1956: Darryl Zannuck left Fox.

March 29, 1959: Premiere of “Some Like it Hot” at Loew’s Capitol Theater on Broadway.

March 8, 1960: Receives Golden Globe Award for “Best Actress in a Comedy”, for Some Like it Hot.

March 1961: Margaret Parton interviews Marilyn for the Ladies Home Journal, but the interview is never published as it is deemed
“too sympathetic” by the editor.

March 5, 1961: Discharged from Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital.

March 5, 1962: Marilyn wins Golden Globe Award, “Worlds Favorite Female Star”.

 

APRIL

April 1935: Gladys Baker’s finances are assessed as she in no longer able to manage her affairs.

Spring 1937: Grace McKee Goddard becomes Norma Jeane’s legal guardian.

April 1944: Norma Jeane starts work at the Radio Plane Munitions Factory while living with her in-law’s the Dougherty’s.

Spring 1945: Spotted by Army photographer David Conover on a job for the forces’ magazine Yank.

April 26, 1946: First national magazine cover in Family Circle with a photo by Andre deDienes.

April 1948: Marilyn meets Natasha Lytess, head drama coach at Columbia, who later becomes her personal drama coach for some years.

April 1948: Filming of Ladies of the Chorus begins.

April 14 or 26, 1948: Scudda Hoo! Scudda Hay! is released.

April 1950: Johnny Hyde takes Marilyn to meet director Joseph L. Mankiewicz at Twentieth Century-Fox. She is signed for small but perfectly-formed part of Miss Caswell in All About Eve.

April 8, 1950: Release of Love Happy.

April 21, 1950: A Ticket to Tomahawk is released.

April 18, 1951: Shooting starts on Love Nest.

April 7, 1952: Marilyn appears on LIFE magazine cover for the first time.

April 28, 1952: Marilyn’s appendix is removed at the Cedars of Lebanon hospital.

April 1953: Start of fliming on How to Marry a Millionaire.

April 14, 1954: Fox lifts suspension they had on Marilyn, and she returns to the studio.

April 30, 1954: Release of River of No Return.

April 8, 1955: Edward R. Murrow interviews Marilyn live on “Person to Person”, broadcast live from Milton Greene’s Connecticut home.

April 12, 1956: Suffering from bronchitis, Marilyn spends four days in St. Vincent Hospital, Los Angeles.

April 11, 1957: A statement is released, accussing Milton Greene of mismanaging Marilyn Monroe Productions.

April 11, 1957: Marilyn & Arthur Miller attend the April in Paris Ball at the Waldorf Astoria.

April 4, 1958: After prevaricating, Marilyn signs the contract for Some Like It Hot.

April 23, 1962: Begins work on Something’s Got to Give.

 

MAY

May 27, 1949: Marilyn signs a release form for Tom Kelley, as “Mona Monroe”, and poses nude on a red velvet drape for calendar photos. She is paid $50.

May 19, 1950: Release of “A Ticket to Tomahawk”.

May 23, 1950: World premiere of “The Asphalt Jungle” at Grauman’s Egyptian Theater.

May 11, 1951: Marilyn’s short-term contract with Twentieth Century-Fox is extended to a new seven-year contract. This is the result of her appearance at an exhibitors’ party in the studio commissary, at which studio president Spyros Skouras is present. Marilyn shows up late making her usual electrifying entrance. “The excited exhibitors want to know what movies she will be in, and soon she is in every movie that has a part for a blonde. Twentieth Century-Fox launches a full scale star-making operation on Marilyn. Now she is really on her way.
May 11, 1951: Release of “Hometown Story”.

May 11, 1951: Films a part in “Let’s Make it Legal” for Fox.

May 3, 1952: Studio publicity about Marilyn had presented her as an orphan, but after it is discovered that her mother is still alive, she releases a short statement to the Press.

May 1953: Marilyn is featured on the cover of Cosmopolitan magazine.

May 28, or 29, 1954: Began filming “There’s No Business Like Show Business”.

May 3, 1956: Bus Stop starts shooting.

May 14, 1956: Time magazine features Marilyn on the cover for the first and only time in her lifetime.

May 12th, 1957: Marilyn appeared at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, New York, for a soccer game between Israel and the United States. She was to make the first kick of the game.

May 14, 1957: After being called to Washington, Arthur Miller is put on trial for contempt of Congress; Marilyn accompanies him but stays out of sight.

May 13, 1959: Marilyn receives Italy’s version of Hollywood’s Oscar, the David di Donatello Award, as Best Actress in a Foreign Film, for The Prince and the Showgirl. The ceremony is held at the Italian Consulate, at 686 Park Avenue, New York City.

May 1961: Marilyn enters the Cedars of Lebanon Hospital for a minor operation.

May 17, 1962: Marilyn leaves for New York, to sing for the President, at a fund-raising birthday celebration at Madison Square Garden.

May 18, 1962: In New York, Marilyn receives a breach-of-contract notice from Twentieth Century-Fox, charging her with failure to work and a stern warning of dire consequences to follow. She is outraged.

May 19, 1962: Marilyn sings “Happy Birthday” and “Thanks for the Memory” at the JFK birthday gala at Madison Square Garden.

May 23rd, or 28th, 1962: Marilyn films a swimming sequence, wearing a flesh colored bikini. She suggests that she should be photographed nude, for publicity.

 

JUNE

June 1, 1926: Norma Jeane Mortenson born at LA General Hospital.

June 13, 1926: Gladys turns her newborn daughter over to a foster family, Albert & Ida Bolender, where she remains for the next seven years.

June 1, 1935: Grace McKee becomes the court-appointed guardian to Gladys & the legal guardian of Norma Jeane.

June 1935,(some sources say June 1): Grace McKee marries Ervin Silliman Goddard aka “Doc”.

June 26, 1937: Norma Jeane leaves the orphanage to live with Grace McKee Goddard.

June 19, 1942: Married her neighbor Jim Dougherty.

June 26, 1946: Photographed by David Connover for “Yank Magazine”.

June 1, 1952: On her birthday she learns she is to be Lorelei Lee in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

June 26, 1953: Marilyn and co-star Jane Russell leave their prints outside Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.

June 1, 1955: The Seven Year Itch premieres.

June 3, 1956: Returns to New York after finishing filming of Bus Stop.

June 29, 1956: Marries Arthur Miller in a civil ceremony.

June 13, 1957: The Prince and the Showgirl premieres.

June 1960: Begins seeing psychoanalyst Ralph Greenson on a daily basis.

June 1, 1962: Marilyn’s thirty-sixth birthday, her last day at work for Fox & her final public appearance.

June 7, 1962: Fox fires Marilyn for breach of contract.

June 8, 1962: A meeting is held at which Dr. Greenson assures Fox executives that he can get Marilyn back to the studio. It’s all academic since she was fired the day before.

June 9, 1962: The Saturday newspapers show director George Cukor with actress Lee Remick, hired as Marilyn’s replacement.

June 22, 1962: Appeared on cover of “Life” magazine for the last time during her life.

June 23, 1962: Bert Stern begins first of three photo sessions for Vogue “The Last Sitting”.

June 28, 1962: Negotiations resumed with Fox about Something’s Got to Give.

June 29, 1962: George Barris spends three days shooting Marilyn for Cosmopolitan.

 

JULY

July 17, 1946: First interview at 20th Century Fox with Ben Lyon.

July 19, 1946: First Screen Test for 20th Century Fox.

July 23, 1946: Norma Jeane is offered a standard six-month contract at $75 a week, with an option to renew at $125. Grace McKee signs contract as Norma Jeane’s legal  guardian, NJ is still under age (she’s only twenty). Ben Lyon and Norma Jeane decide on a new name. Marilyn Monroe it is.

July 29, 1946: First mention in a Hedda Hopper’s gossip column, a fabrication tying her with Howard Hughes.

July 24, 1949: First interview with Earl Wilson.

July 1, 1956: Marries Arthur Miller in a Jewish ceremony.

July 14, 1956: Arrives in London to begin work with Olivier in The Prince and The Showgirl.

July 1957: Marilyn announces to Miller that she’s pregnant. He has never seen her happier or more confident.

July 18, 1960: Shooting starts on The Misfits.

July 4, 5, 7, and 9, 1962: Begins extensive interview, her last, with Richard Meryman.

July 6, 1962: Allan Grant shoot for Life Magazine.

July 1962: Finishes three photo sessions with photographer Bert Stern for Vogue magazine.

July 1, 1962: Last day of photo sessions with George Barris for Cosmopolitan magazine.

July 1962: Marilyn continues to see Dr. Greenson daily. Dr. Hyman Engelberg visits Marilyn almost daily, to give her “youth shots” which often make her speech rapid and disjointed.

July 12, 1962: Meets Fox studio chiefs.

July 20, 1962: Allegedly enters Cedars of Lebanon hospital for abortion. According to Marilyn’s autopsy report evidence shows she was just ending a menstrual cycle at time of death so an abortion could not have taken place so soon before.

July 28, 1962: Weekend at Cal-Neva Lodge.

 

AUGUST

August 2, 1945: Norma Jeane applies to Blue Book Modeling Agency in the Ambassador Hotel.

August 26, 1946: First studio contract with Fox, Norma Jeane changed her name to Marilyn Monroe (Marilyn was after actress Marilyn Miller and Monroe was her mothers maiden name).

August 25, 1947: Fox contract not renewed, Marilyn is dropped by Fox.

August 15, 1949: Starts shooting “A Ticket To Tomahawk”.

August 31, 1952: Marilyn makes her live radio debut, on NBC’s Hollywood Star Playhouse, playing a murderess in the episode “Statement in Full.”

August 1956: Marilyn learns she is pregnant, but fears she will lose the baby. In the first week of September, she does.

August 1, 1957: It’s an ectopic pregnancy, and she loses the baby. Marilyn takes an overdose of pills. Arthur Miller realizes what is happening and calls for medical help in time.

August 4, 1958: Starts work on “Some Like it Hot”.

August 26, 1960: Flies to LA because of nervous breakdown during filming of The Misfits.

August 1, 1962: Twentieth Century-Fox agrees to hire Jean Negulesco to replace George Cukor as director of “Something’s Got to Give”. Marilyn is delighted: Negulesco directed her in the hit “How to Marry a Millionaire”.
Twentieth Century-Fox signs Marilyn to a new contract with a salary of $250,000 per picture, more than twice her current salary.

August 3, 1962: The new issue of Life magazine with Richard Meryman interview, “Marilyn Lets Her Hair Down About Being Famous” hits the stands.

Songwriter Jule Styne calls from New York, to propose a screen musical version of the play and film “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.”

Publicist Arthur Jacobs calls to set up a meeting with director J. Lee Thompson.

Marilyn has dinner with personal publicist Pat Newcomb and Peter Lawford at LaScala restaurant in Beverly Hills.

August 4, 1962: Marilyn’s last day alive includes a 6hr session with Greenson.
Many believe this is the true date of Marilyn’s death, probably sometime between 9 and 11pm.

August 5, 1962: Police called to Marilyn’s home. Official day of death. Autopsy performed.

August 8, 1962: Funeral at Westwood Memorial Park Cemetery.

August 28, 1962: Marilyn’s death certificate is signed.

 

SEPTEMBER

September 13, 1935: Norma Jeane enters an orphanage in Los Angeles as orphan number 3463.

Autumn 1944: Photographers from the army’s First Motion Picture Unit arrive at Radioplane in Burbank to take photos and movies of women in the assembly line, to show their contribution to the war effort. Photographer David Conover asks eighteen-year-old Norma Jeane to pose for him. One of the photos of hers appears on the cover of Yank magazine in 1945.

September 13, 1946: Divorce granted from James Dougherty.

September 8, 1948: Dropped by Columbia.

September 8, 1951: In the September 8, 1951, issue, Collier’s magazine features the first full-length national magazine story on Marilyn, entitled “Hollywood’s 1951 Model Blonde” by Robert Cahn.

September 2, 1952: Marilyn is grand marshall for the Miss America Pageant parade in Atlantic City, New Jersey ~ and many others are shocked by her revealing clothing.

September 13, 1953: Marilyn makes her live television debut on Jack Benny’s CBS-TV comedy series show, singing “Bye Bye Baby” from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and successfully performing a comedy sketch with Jack.

September 15, 1954: As a publicity stunt for the New York filming of  The Seven Year Itch, Marilyn stands over a subway grating at Lexington Avenue and 52nd Street, the breeze billowing up her white pleated dress. Two hundred photographers record the scene, as thousands of ogling spectators watch. Joe DiMaggio is furious.

September 16, 1954: Marilyn and Joe return to Los Angeles. Two weeks later, Marilyn files for divorce.

 

OCTOBER

October 1933: Gladys hears that her grandfather, Tifford Hogan, has committed suicide.

Fall 1933: Moves in with mother, Gladys Baker.

October 1949: MGM signs Marilyn for role in of Angela Phinlay in John Huston’s The Asphalt Jungle. She is listed only in the end
credits, eleven of fifteen names in this major production.

October 14, 1950: Release of All About Eve.

Fall 1951: Marilyn tries to contact C. Stanley Gifford, the man she believed was her father, but he refuses to see her.

Marilyn enrolls to study acting with coach Michael Chekov.

Filming of Clash by Night.

Filming of Don’t Bother to Knock.

Oct 10, 1951: Release of Love Nest.

October 23, 1951: Marilyn appears on the cover of Look magazine for the first time.

October 16th, 1952: Release of O’ Henry’s Full House.

October 26th, 1952: Marilyn is heard on ventriloquist Edgar Bergen’s radio show.

October 1953: Meets Milton Greene at a party given by Gene Kelly.

October 1953: Marilyn signs recording contract with RCA.

October 5, 1954: Officially separates from Joe DiMaggio.

October 27, 1954: First divorce hearing held.

October 5, 1955: Marilyn attends opening night of Diary of Anne Frank at Cort Theater, Broadway, starring Susan Strasberg as Anne.

October 31, 1955: Final divorce decree is granted dissolving the marriage of Marilyn & Joe.

October 31, 1955: Lawyers for Twentieth Century-Fox and Marilyn Monroe Productions agree on a contract.

October 29, 1956: Presented to Queen Elizabeth II at the royal command film performance.

October 1958: Marilyn is pregnant again and filming Some Like it Hot at the Del Coronado near San Diego, CA.

October 14, 1959: Although Marilyn is due to begin rehearsing in New York for The Billionaire – later released as Let’s Make Love – she fails to show.

Late October 1960: Marilyn & Arthur Miller agree to divorce, he leaves their Beverly Hills Hotel bungalow at her request.

October 2nd or 3rd, 1961: Marilyn meets Robert Kennedy at a dinner party held at Peter Lawford’s beach house.

October 1995: Marilyn is voted UK’s Empire magazine Sexiest Female Movie Star of All Time.

October 1997: Marilyn is listed No.8 in the UK’s Empire magazine The Top Movie Stars of All Time.

Fall 1998: Marilyn is voted Playboy magazine’s Sexiest Female Star of the Twentieth Century.

October 1999: Marilyn’s personal property went on auction at Christie’s in NY, the gown in which she sang “Happy Birthday” to JFK sold for over $1 million.

 

NOVEMBER

November 10th 1917: Robert “Jackie” Baker, Marilyn’s half-brother, is born to Gladys Baker.

November 1938: Goes to live with “Aunt” Ana Lower.

November 1952: Marilyn does a guest stint on the Edgar Bergen – Charlie McCarthy radio program and announces that she and the precocious wooden celebrity are engaged to be married.

November 12th 1952: Marilyn shot costume test for several scenes of “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.”

November 4th, 5th 10th, or 11th November 1953 (depending which source you believe): “How to Marry a Millionare” premieres.

November 5th 1954: Joe and Frank Sinatra go on “Wrong Door Raid”.

November 6th 1954: Hollywood party at Romanoff’s held in Marilyn’s honor.

November 7th 1954: Marilyn is admitted to Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Los Angeles.

November 8th 1954: Marilyn undergoes surgery at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Los Angeles. The surgery was of a “corrective female nature.”

November 20th 1956: Returns to US from filming “The Prince &Show Girl” in UK.

November 6th 1958: Finishes “Some Like it Hot”.

November 5th 1960: Last day of filming “The Misfits”.

November 11th 1960: Public announcement that Marilyn and Arthur to divorce.

November 16th 1960: Clark Gable dies of heart attack.

November 19th 1961: Attends a dinner at Peter Lawford’s house with President Kennedy.

 

DECEMBER

December 1948: Her first film to be released is Dangerous Years, four months before Scudda-Hoo! Scudda-Hey!

December 31, 1948: Met Johnny Hyde, her agent, who dedicated himself to promoting her.

December 10 1950: Signed seven-year contract with Fox.

December 18, 1950: Johnny Hyde dies.

December 15, 1953: Marilyn fails to turn up for the first day of shooting on the Girl in the Pink Tights.

December 31, 1954: Formed Marilyn Monroe Productions with Milton Greene.

December 31, 1955: The big new Fox contract.

December 4, 1956: Marilyn was a star usherette at the premier of Baby Doll, held at the Victoria theater on Broadway.

December 18, 1956: Radio show from the Waldorf-Astoria.

December 17, 1958: Another miscarriage.

Research and information by Fraser Penney.