Marilyn Monroe Quotes, Biography, and Facts
Published June 21, 2019. Updated April 2, 2021.
Marilyn Monroe, born Norma Jeane Mortenson (June 1, 1926 – August 4, 1962), was an American actress and pop culture icon. Movies with Marilyn Monroe include some of the most popular of the studio era. For Marilyn Monroe death came too quickly, but she still managed to become one of the most enduring American icons of all time.
While the big question is “how did Marilyn Monroe die?”, it’s important to start at the beginning: who was Marilyn Monroe? Marilyn Monroe daughter of Gladys Pearl Baker, was born in Los Angeles, California in 1926. The identity of her father is actually unknown: she used the surname “Baker” from her mother’s first husband (and the father of Monroe’s siblings) John Baker, but at the time of Monroe’s birth, Gladys was married to Martin Edward Mortensen, so the assumption was that Mortensen was Monroe’s father. For the most part, she used “Baker” as a surname, and when she shifted to her more famous screen name, she used her mother’s maiden name “Monroe.”
Sadly, Marilyn Monroe didn’t have a typical childhood. Gladys was unfit to care for her, so Monroe went into the foster care system. When her mother was institutionalized, Monroe was placed in an orphanage and then with a series of families, including at least two who abused her. During her school years, she was an average student, although she excelled in writing and even worked on the school newspaper.
Monroe’s life took another turn during her teenage years. When she was sixteen, the husband in the family that was taking care of her got a job out of state, but the family was legally prohibited from taking her with them across state lines. More than anything, Monroe feared being forced back to the orphanage, where she felt desperately lonely. As a solution, she married the neighbor’s son, Jim Dougherty, who was 21 years old. She dropped out of school and became a housewife. The following year, Dougherty enlisted in the Merchant Marines, and Monroe moved with him to his posting on Santa Catalina Island.
Marilyn Monroe quotes and fast facts
Looking for Marilyn Monroe quotes or famous lines from movies with Marilyn Monroe? This guide is for you. Plus, find fast answers to queries from “Marilyn Monroe date of birth” to “Marilyn Monroe age at death” and everything in between.
Quotes by Marilyn Monroe
Looking for a Marilyn Monroe quote direct from Monroe herself? We’ve got it covered. Ahead are a handful of quotes from Marilyn Monroe herself, detailing some of her most famous observations.
“Keep smiling, because life is a beautiful thing and there’s so much to smile about.”
“Fame is like caviar, you know — it’s good to have caviar but not when you have it at every meal.”
“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring. “
“I don’t forgive people because I’m weak, I forgive them because I am strong enough to know people make mistakes.”
“After all, all we demanded was our right to twinkle.”
“A wise girl knows her limits, a smart girl knows that she has none.”
Marilyn Monroe movie quotes
Marilyn Monroe movies are some of the most iconic emblems of mid-century Hollywood during the golden age of the studios. The actress starred mostly in comedies that cemented her “dumb blonde” image and made use of her talents as a comic actress. What follows are some of the most well-known lines from Marilyn Monroe movies spoken by her in her most famous roles.
“It’s not how long it takes, it’s who’s taking you.” – Some Like It Hot
“Don’t you know that a man being rich is like a girl being pretty? You wouldn’t marry a girl just because she’s pretty, but my goodness, doesn’t it help?” – Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
“I always say a kiss on the hand might feel very good, but a diamond tiara lasts forever.” – Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
““I think it’s just elegant to have an imagination. I just have no imagination at all. I have lots of other things, but I have no imagination.” – The Seven Year Itch
“Better luck next time, only not with me, of course.” – The Prince and the Showgirl
Marilyn Monroe facts
- When was Marilyn Monroe born?: Marilyn Monroe real name Norma Jeane Baker was born on June 1, 1926.
- Where was Marilyn Monroe born?: Her mother gave birth to her in Los Angeles, California.
- How did Marilyn Monroe become famous?: Her acting career took off during the Golden Age of Hollywood, and her looks made her into an instant icon.
- Did Marilyn Monroe have kids?: No. Monroe was reportedly pregnant multiple times, but miscarried; she suffered from endometriosis.
- What size was Marilyn Monroe?: Monroe’s measurements were around 35-22-35, which was around a dress size 12 in her era but would not correspond to a modern size 12.
- Marilyn Monroe height: Monroe was 5’5”
- Marilyn Monroe weight: Her weight famously fluctuated, but typically, her weight was between 117 and 120 pounds.
- What year did Marilyn Monroe die?: She died in 1962.
- How old was Marilyn Monroe when she died?: She was only 36 years old at the time of her death.
- When did Marilyn Monroe die?: Her housekeeper found Marilyn Monroe dead on the morning of August 4, 1962; she likely died the night before.
- How did Marilyn Monroe die?: The Marilyn Monroe autopsy revealed she died from an overdose of barbiturates. Although some at the time wanted to find out who killed Marilyn Monroe, the investigation concluded that, in the case of Marilyn Monroe cause of death was most likely suicide.
- How old is Marilyn Monroe?: For Marilyn Monroe death claimed her at the age of 36; if she had lived, she would be nearing 100 years old by now.
Marilyn Monroe information
The secret life of Marilyn Monroe: Biography and career
Monroe began modeling towards the end of WWII, against her husband’s wishes. She was signed to a film contract with 20th Century Fox in 1946 and divorced her husband that same year. Although she didn’t get roles right away, she spent a lot of time enthusiastically learning about the film industry and taking classes. Her contract at Fox expired with only a few bit parts, and she shifted to Columbia for her first starring role in Ladies of the Chorus.
Monroe returned to Fox in 1950 after garnering praise for her supporting roles in All About Eve and The Asphalt Jungle. Soon, she shifted into the mold which she would be best known for: the “cheesecake” pin-up girl and comic actress. She was marketed as a pin-up and a sex symbol, rather than a “girl next door,” and developed the image she became famous for.
Although her career was taking off, she found herself in a constant struggle. Bullied and condescended to, she retaliated by becoming very particular and difficult to work with; she also started self-medicating to try to deal with scheduling demands, anxiety, and insomnia. In 1953, she starred in both the noir film Niagara and her iconic “dumb blonde” role in the musical Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. The latter, as well as the similar How to Marry a Millionaire, became her biggest successes to date.
Monroe’s looks were a key part of her career; her image was iconic and inspired many to copy her look and style. Marilyn Monroe hairstyles became popular, with her signature waves; everyone wanted to be “Marilyn Monroe size” or have “Marilyn Monroe hair” or makeup. A “Marilyn Monroe piercing” even developed: a facial piercing designed to imitate her famous beauty mark.
Within a few years, Monroe’s career took a turn as she attempted to assert more control over her own career and criticized Fox for not living up to parts of her contract. She moved to New York and began intensely studying the craft of acting. By 1956, she returned to Fox victorious, with the studio agreeing to meet her demands. The following period included some of her most acclaimed work, including the drama Bus Stop and the comedy Some Like It Hot.
After Some Like It Hot, Monroe’s professional life declined, as did her personal life. The golden Marilyn Monroe age had passed, but she continued to work, despite battling a slew of health problems. In her final years, she went back and forth with Fox over her erratic behavior, but by the time of her death, they were working on repairing the professional relationship and bringing Monroe back on board. A long future, however, was not to be.
Marilyn Monroe died on August 4, 1962, and she was found by her housekeeper the following morning. How did Marilyn Monroe die? The investigation revealed that she died of an overdose, which could have been intentional or accidental. In the case of Marilyn Monroe death was most likely the result of an intentional overdose. And how old was Marilyn Monroe when she died? Sadly, she was only 36 years old. This is another great resource to find out more, or you can click here for the official Monroe website.
In addition to the movies she starred in, there have been multiple movies about Marilyn Monroe. One of the more in-depth ones was 2015’s The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe, which narrated her story over a miniseries. There is no definitive “Marilyn Monroe The Movie,” but she’s been a favorite subject of imagination for years; major titles have included HBO’s Norma Jean and Marilyn and the 2011 feature film My Week with Marilyn. A slew of other, more meta, works imagine the process of telling stories about Marilyn: for instance, the NBC TV series Smash focused not on a fictional “Marilyn Monroe the Movie” but a fictional “Marilyn Monroe the Musical” imagining a Marilyn Monroe song and dance Broadway show. All these works tended to focus on one question: who is Marilyn Monroe? It’s a question that never was answered in her life, nor is it likely to be answered easily today.
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Marilyn Monroe husbands and romances
Marilyn Monroe was as famed for her personal life as she was for her film career; indeed, many of the movies about Marilyn Monroe tend to focus heavily on her romances. The Joe DiMaggio Marilyn Monroe romance created plenty of fans rooting for them, while the JFK Marilyn Monroe affair was a scandal. Here’s what to know about her personal life.
Monroe’s first husband was Jim Dougherty, a factory worker five years her senior who she married at age sixteen to avoid going back into an orphanage. Their marriage was one of convenience, and they divorced in 1946 because he was against her starting an acting career.
Her second marriage was her first public romance. Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio met in 1952. Despite her initial misgivings, fearing that he was just another self-absorbed athlete, the two fell in love and eloped in 1954. For Marilyn Monroe children were not in the cards, although the couple reportedly wanted them. Their marriage disintegrated in the fall of 1954, with DiMaggio furious over her famous publicity photoshoot for The Seven Year Itch. In her final years, though, the couple struck up a fresh friendship; ultimately, the 1962 Marilyn Monroe funeral was arranged by DiMaggio along with her then-manager.
Her third and final marriage was from 1956-1961 to playwright Arthur Miller. The two collaborated on films, notably The Misfits, but working together only exacerbated the problems already present in their marriage, especially as this period coincided with a spike in Monroe’s drug use and health problems.
You probably know about Monroe’s other high-profile romance. Six words: Marilyn Monroe “Happy Birthday Mr. President.” That famous Marilyn Monroe Happy Birthday rendition was sung to President John F. Kennedy, who had a fling with the actress in her final years. JFK and Marilyn Monroe were, according to most reports, not involved in a long-term or emotionally significant affair. They may have had a few encounters, and both Marilyn Monroe and JFK were famed for their romances, but contrary to popular belief, the Marilyn Monroe JFK affair was probably pretty minor in reality. It’s really best known for being the source of the Marilyn Monroe birthday song performance, more than anything. Even long after her death, Monroe’s personal life continues to intrigue fans all over the world.
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Banner, Lois. Marilyn: The Passion and the Paradox. Bloomsbury, 2012.
Churchwell, Sarah. The Many Lives of Marilyn Monroe. Granta Books, 2004.
“Marilyn Monroe.” Biography, //www.biography.com/actor/marilyn-monroe.
Spoto, Donald. Marilyn Monroe: The Biography. Cooper Square Press, 2001.
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