Norma Jeane Mortenson hadn’t the faintest idea that one day she’ll not only be revered as a pop culture icon, but also as a vivacious talented actress who would charm her way to stardom.
Jean began her career as a model. But, after a few bumpy months, she went from a curly brunette to a straight, blonde dyed diva in order to cash in more contracts. This change coupled with her curvaceous figure made her one of the most desired fashion models in the industry earning her spots on countless commercials and magazine covers.
It’s believed that a movie studio executive chose the name Marilyn. A name inspired from a Broadway star. Although, the name Monroe was picked by Jean from her mother’s maiden name.
Glammed up with a new look and a new name, she was ready to take the first steps to stardom.
In 1953, Monroe made her mark in Hollywood by starring in Niagara, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and How to Marry a Millionaire. The success of these films established her not only as a major sex symbol but also as Hollywood’s most bankable performers. In just a few months, Monroe became the biggest star in the world.
If Niagara established her as a sex symbol then the satire Gentlemen Prefer Blondes set her up as the “dumb blonde”. Her alluring seductive moves and captivating voice in the jazz song Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend heralded her arrival as the biggest Hollywood celebrity.
In 1955, Monroe starred in the romantic comedy, The Seven Year Itch. Monroe shined as the character who is fantasised by her married neighbour. The iconic scene: Her white halter dress billowing while she stands on a subway grate, not only blew audiences away, but also etched itself in history. From there she gave scintillating performances in classic hits like There’s No Business Like Show Business, River of No Return, The Prince and the Showgirl, Misfits and Bus Stop.
Released in 1959, Some Like It Hot was declared a critical and commercial success, earning Marilyn her first Golden Globe for the Best Motion Picture Actress in a Comedy or Musical.
On August 5, 1962, Monroe, 36, was found dead of a barbiturate overdose at her California home. Eleven year later, Elton John wrote and composed Candle in the Wind in the memory of the Hollywood’s brightest star. The lyrics of the song are a sympathetic reflection of the life and times of the one and only, Marilyn Monroe.