Top 30 Images of Marilyn Monroe

This blog contains some of my favourite images of Marilyn from childhood through to the end of her life. I've included lesser known photographs that reveal the person behind the public image as well as popular iconic shots.

Norma Jeane Mortenson was born on 1 June 1926 in Los Angeles. Her mother mispelled her husband's surname which was actually Mortensen. However, Marilyn didn't know who her real father was.

Baby Marilyn Monroe in 1927

Gladys struggled to cope and Marilyn was placed in a foster home shortly after she was born. Initially Gladys was able to live with the foster family but her job meant that she had to move closer to her workplace in the city. She left Marilyn with the family and visited her at weekends. In 1934 Gladys had a mental breakdown and was diagnosed with paranoid schozophrenia. 

Marilyn Monroe as a toddler with her mother

These unfortunate circumstances meant that Marilyn spent her childhood moving in and out of foster homes and orphanages.

This photo booth picture is from 1938 when she was 12 years old. 

Mailyn Monroe circa1938

Marilyn's first marriage was to Jimmy Dougherty when she was 16. She married him a few days after her birthday to avoid being sent back to an orphanage, dropping out of school to become a housewife.

Marilyn Monroe with first husband Jimmy Dougherty

Jimmy served in the Merchant Marine during World War II while Marilyn worked in a munitions factory. In 1944 she was discovered by Army photographer David Conover who went to the factory to take morale-boosting pictures of female workers. 

Marilyn Monroe working in a muntions factory in 1945

Marilyn gave up the job in 1945 and embarked on the modelling career that was the catalyst to changing her name (Gladys' maiden name was Monroe.)

These images show a brunette Norma Jeane who hasn't yet morphed into the blonde superstar.

Mailyn Monroe modelling in the 1940s.

Marilyn Monroe modelling in the 1940s

Marilyn Monroe in the 1940s

Andres de Dienes' shots from 1946 show a different side to Marilyn. She was photographed at Malibu beach without any make up.

Marilyn Monroe in 1946 by André de Dienes

Marilyn Monroe in 1946 by André de Dienes

Marilyn Monroe in 1946 photographed by André de Dienes

He also took these photographs of Marilyn in 1949 at Tobay Beach, Long Island.

Marilyn Monroe in 1949 by Andre de Dienes

Marilyn Monroe in 1949 by Andre de Dienes

Marilyn Monroe in 1949 by Andre de Dienes

Marilyn's modelling work led to some minor film roles until she got her big break with 20th Century Fox in 1951. This photograph from the same year shows the emergence of the blonde bombshell.

Marilyn Monroe in 1951

Phillipe Halsman took this shot of Marilyn in 1952 - the metamorphosis into a sex symbol was complete!

Marilyn Monroe in 1952 by Phillipe Halsman

By 1953 she was a popular movie star with leading roles in Niagra, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and How to Marry a MillionaireThis lovely picture is from the set of Niagra.

Marilyn Monroe in Niagra, 1952

The classic 'Diamond are a Girls' Best Friend' scene from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

Marilyn Monroe singing 'Diamonds are a girl' best friend in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, 1953

With How to Marry a Millionaire co-star Lauren Bacall.

Marilyn Monroe and Lauren Bacall in 1953

Marilyn was briefly married to former baseball player Joe Di Maggio in 1954. The ceremony took place at San Francisco Ciy Hall. 

Marilyn Monroe and Joe Di Maggio on their wedding day in 1954

In September of 1954 Marilyn filmed a scene for The Seven Year Itch on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan. The subway air blowing up her dress created one of the most iconic images of the twentieth century, but sadly for Marilyn it was the final nail in the coffin of her marriage. Always prone to jealousy, Di Maggio flew into a rage about the stunt and left her a month later.

Marilyn Monroe in The Seven Year Itch subway scene in 1954

I love the photographs that Milton Greene took of Marilyn in 1955 which show a playful personality.

Marilyn Monroe in 1955 in Connecticut by Milton Greene

Marilyn Monroe in 1955 in Connecticut by Milton Greene

Marilyn Monroe in 1955 in Connecticut by Milton Greene

These favourites of mine were also taken in 1955 by Eve Arnold. She's reading James Joyce's Ulyssess - so much for the dumb blonde stereotype!

Marilyn Monroe in 1955 reading James Joyce's Ulysees. Taken by Eve Arnold.

Marilyn Monroe in 1955 reading James Joyce's Ulysees. Taken by Eve Arnold.

Marilyn Monroe in 1955. Taken by Eve Arnold.

The playwright Arthur Miller was Marilyn's third husband between 1956 and 1961. The disparaging Variety headline was 'Egghead Weds Hourglass'. 

Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller on their wedding day in 1956

In 1958 Marilyn made Some Like It Hot, gaining a Best Actress Golden Globe for the role when it was released in 1959. 

Marilyn Monroe at the Golden Globes in 1959

Marilyn died at the age of 36 in August 1962. This relaxed photograph was taken by George Barris just two months before her death.

One of the last photos of Marilyn Monroe. Taken by George Barris in 1962.

 

 

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