Shocking Facts About Marilyn Monroe We Never Got to Know

Would you ever believe that someone could remain the most beautiful woman ever to grace the silver screen, even decades after her death? Well, believe it or not, Marilyn Monroe is one such celebrity who continues to rule hearts and make her presence felt in the industry although she is not alive anymore. There’s little doubt that Ms. Monroe is still one of the most beautiful women in the world. Such is her aura and charisma.

But looks aside, there are many such things about a celebrity that the world, particularly their fans, want to find out. The notion that everything about our favorite celebrities’ lives is out there in the public domain is a mere myth. There are many such aspects that stay hidden from the public eye until their departure from the world. So many secrets got revealed after the legendary Norma Jeane, aka Marilyn Monroe, breathed her last. The shocking tidbits keep arriving even to this day. Today, we have gathered the 25 most shocking facts about Marilyn Monroe that most of us still don’t know. 

Marilyn Wasn’t a Natural Blonde.

Although the iconic performer, Marilyn Monroe, established herself as the ultimate blonde bombshell, it may surprise you that she wasn’t a natural blonde. She was a natural brunette, and reportedly, she experimented with several different hair dyes to determine her signature look. Eventually, she settled for the platinum blonde color that we all associate with her.

According to several reports, Marilyn was quite concerned about her looks and appearance. Famous for her hourglass figure, the late actress preferred drinking a glass full of raw eggs stirred into milk. This was her favorite breakfast. She used to call herself a “part rabbit,” as she ate at least a ton of raw carrots daily and preferred to cook her own meals.

She was Far From Dumb

It is unfortunate that people often associate the term dumb blonde with Marilyn Monroe, while it is far from reality. There’s no doubt that Ms. Monroe had a troubled life and suffered from mental illness and depression. Some even claim that she was schizophrenic. But this doesn’t mean she was dumb. Sarah Churchwell, American Literature and Public Understanding of the Humanities’ professor at the School of Advanced Studies, University of London, UK, analyzed Marilyn in her book titled The Many Lives of Marilyn Monroe, in which she debunked several myths associated with the century’s biggest bombshell. Churchwell categorically stated that the biggest myth surrounding the late actress is that she was dumb, the second is that she was a fragile lady, and the third is that Marilyn couldn’t act.

“She was far from dumb, although she was not formally educated, and she was very sensitive about that. But she was very smart indeed – and very tough. She had to be both to beat the Hollywood studio system in the 1950s. She was very witty, with an acidic sense of humor. The dumb blonde was a role – she was an actress, for heaven’s sake! Such a good actress that no one now believes she was anything but what she portrayed on screen.”

Sarah Churchwell

She got Married at 16

Norma Jeane was born on 1 June 1926. She was the daughter of Charles Stanley Gifford and Gladys Baker, who used to work together and later got married. Norma’s mother was a complicated woman; she had married twice, still, when she gave birth to Norma, she was single. Gladys was in no mood to look after the baby, and therefore, just two weeks after giving birth to Norma, she gave her to her mother, Della Monroe’s neighbors Ida and Wayne Bolender. 

From then onwards, Norma found herself caught in the never-ending cycle of foster homes and foster parents. The poor child had a difficult time growing up in strange households. Eventually, she found a way to get some stability in her life when a sailor Jim Dougherty proposed to her. At the time, Norma was 16. Today, it may seem like too early to get married, but considering the situation faced by Norma, it must have appeared as the best way forward. However, this marriage ended a few years later, when Norma became Marilyn Monroe and signed a contract with an acting agency.

When Marilyn Sang for JFK

Marilyn created history by crooning “Happy Birthday” to the then-US President John F. Kennedy on his 44th birthday. The birthday party for the president was held on 19 May 1962. It was a star-studded event held at New York’s Madison Square Garden. It was a high-profile event, the tickets for which had sold for $1,000, which would be equivalent to $8,500 today.

However, more than anything else, what appealed to the audience the most was her sensuous dressing and her impeccable figure. Years later, the dress that she wore at the event was sold for a record-breaking USD1.2 million. The skintight dress was so well-made that it appeared as if it was sewn onto her. The gold rhinestone gown was designed by the Oscar-nominated designer Jean Louis and cost $12,000 at the time. In 2016 Ripley’s Believe It or Not! bought it at an auction for over $5 million, making it the world’s most expensive dress.

Her Bizarre Diet and Hygiene

Marilyn Monroe was the ultimate beauty icon of the twentieth century, but not many know that a lot of hard work was involved in maintaining her youthfulness and health. Reportedly, Marilyn was obsessed with washing her face and hands. She used to was her face fifteen times a day to avoid breakouts. And, it is also reported that she never waxed her face as she believed her peachy fuzz made her look more photogenic.

In Pageant Magazine’s September 1952 edition, Marilyn revealed a lot about her strange diet routine in an article titled “How I Stay in Shape.” In it, she explained that she already knew that her eating habits were pretty bizarre. 

 “I’ve been told that my eating habits are absolutely bizarre, but I don’t think so. … It’s a good thing, I suppose, that I eat simply during the day, for in recent months, I have developed the habit of stopping off at Will Wright’s ice cream parlor for a hot fudge sundae on my way home from my evening drama classes. I’m sure that I couldn’t allow myself this indulgence were it not that my normal diet is composed almost totally of protein foods.”

Marilyn Monroe

She Didn’t Get Along with her Mom.

Gladys Baker gave up the custody of her two-week-old daughter Norma Jeane and left her at the foster home of Ida and Wayne Bolender in Hawthorne, Calif. There is still doubt about the real father of Norma as before her birth, Gladys was in a relationship with two men, Edward Mortensen, and Stanley Gifford. 

Going by the looks of Marilyn, it can be assumed that she resembles Gifford the most. Nevertheless, the late actress could never build a solid bond with her mother as she literally gave her up for adoption at such a young age. The two shared a rather troubled relationship, and even after becoming famous, Marilyn didn’t want to meet her mother. Gladys had mental health issues and was often placed in hospitals, due to which she couldn’t take care of her daughter Norma. Still, she outlived her daughter by 22 years.

Most Iconic Scene of her Career

There are many scenes that could be dubbed iconic as Marilyn had such a flourishing and successful career. But, the most memorable moment that is etched in everyone’s mind even today is from the movie The Seven Year Itch. You must remember that sequences where a subway vent blows up Marilyn’s skirt.

This wasn’t an easy sequence to shoot. Originally, the director wanted to capture it on a real subway in Manhattan, but due to the frequent disruptions from cheering bystanders, the crew was forced to shoot this scene in a studio. Reportedly, Marilyn’s then-husband Joe DiMaggio didn’t approve of this famous skit scene and was viciously jealous. A few months later, the two got divorced. The unforgettable sex symbol of all time still remains popular among the masses. In fact, the Curtis Management Company that owns the rights to her likeness makes up to $2 million a year through Marilyn’s legacy.

She Had Few Loyal Friends

There is little doubt that Marilyn yearned to have some stability in her life. She had lived a life full of uncertainties and disillusionment. After making a career in the entertainment industry and gaining financial stability, she still had no family, and her love life was equally tormenting as none of her marriages worked. In such a troubling scenario, Monroe had the support of a few good people whom she considered her true friends. 

Retired baseball player Joe DiMaggio is one of them. The pair got married in 1952, but nine months later, they divorced. They continued to remain good friends. In fact, DiMaggio was one of the few people who held her back during the final years of her life when she dealt with a series of health issues. Even after her death, DiMaggio used to come to her grave to place a fresh bouquet of roses on her grave.

The Author’s First Choice for Breakfast at Tiffany’s

If author Truman Capote could, he would have roped in Ms. Monroe to play the lead in the movie adaptation of his novella Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Capote, reportedly, had Marilyn Monroe in his mind to play the role of Holly Golightly and his first choice. The role was eventually played by the graceful Audrey Hepburn, which disappointed Capote and even claimed that the studio had “double-crossed” him and cast Audrey Hepburn.

However, the author of Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s,’ Sam Wasson, stated that Marilyn refused the role on the advice of her acting coach.  “Another thing you may not know: Marilyn didn’t take the part in part because Paula Strasberg, her advisor and acting coach, said she should not be playing a lady of the evening,” Wasson said. Nonetheless, the Belgian actress Audrey Hepburn went on to play the immortal role of Holly, which became the most memorable performance of her career.

She COULD Act and Sing

Contrary to what Marilyn’s critics claim, she was a talented actress and a gifted singer. In fact, Ms. Monroe was a multi-talented star. When she was alive, critics ripped her apart by criticizing her acting technique and skills, but she shut them all up by giving one hit after another and eventually won a Golden Globe for her hilarious acting in Some Like It Hot in 1960.

Marilyn was no less than a cultural icon and inspired a number of hit songs, too, such as Elton John’s Candle In The Wind and Def Leppard’s song Photograph was written for her. But Monroe herself proved her singing skills on several occasions, one of which is when she sang for president JFK.

Hugh Hefner Paid $75,000 to be Buried Next to Her.

Marilyn Monroe was buried in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery, in Westwood Village, California. Westwood Village which is where U.C.L.A. is a small town and the cemetery is also a small one very close to the university. It is reported that Hugh Hefner, Playboy founder, with whom Marilyn shared a sweet bond as she was the one who appeared on the first-ever cover of the raunchy magazine, purchased the plot next to Monroe’s grave.

While speaking to the LA Times, Hefner said that “spending eternity next to Marilyn is too sweet to pass up” and revealed that he had shelled out $75,000 for the space. This cemetery has become a high-profile one since many other celebs are buried here, including Truman Capote, Eva Gabor, Mel Torme, Rodney Dangerfield, Natalie Wood, Dean Martin, and Jack Lemmon.

Marilyn’s Death Is Still a Mystery

Marilyn Monroe breathed her last at the age of 36. She died possibly due to a barbiturate overdose on the evening of Saturday, 4 August 1962. Her body was found the next day at her 12305 Fifth Helena Drive home in LA, California. According to media reports, the actress had spent the previous year dealing with her various health problems. 

Although it is said that a lethal combination of pills killed Monroe and the most likely explanation is a suicide, however, conspiracy theorists insist that the actress was murdered to protect president John F. Kennedy’s reputation. In 2009, the coroner who performed an autopsy on Monroe’s mortal remains back in 1962, Dr. Thomas Noguchi, told The Daily Telegraph that he never analyzed Monroe’s internal organs and only performed toxicology tests.  “I am sure that this could have cleared up a lot of the subsequent controversy, but I didn’t follow through as I should have. I think that was a great shame,” Noguchi added.

She Found Solace in Judaism

Marilyn Monroe surprised everyone by marrying playwright Arthur Miller on 29 June 1956. Their marriage lasted five years. However, more than their union, what interested the media the most was that Monroe converted to Judaism after her marriage. While many speculate that the reason behind her conversion was Miller, that’s only half the truth. 

That’s because even after their divorce, Monroe didn’t give up her Jewish identity and used to describe herself as a Jewish Atheist. Her private life was deeply troubled even when she was at the pinnacle of success. At such as time, the only thing that comforted her was Judaism. It eventually became an integral part of her identity. The starlet reportedly kept a brass-plate menorah, which played Israel’s national anthem and her favorite Jewish song Hatikvah, on her mantle. She kept this menorah until her death, and so did an annotated siddur from her ex-husband’s synagogue and a mezuzah.

Marilyn Monroe is a Moniker

The baby born as Norma Jeane Mortenson later adopted the name Marilyn Monroe, but in reality, it was just a fictional moniker, and legally, the starlet remained Norma Jeane. According to those who were close to her, Norma considered Marilyn Monroe a completely different personality. According to one source, the late actress was strolling down a street in New York with a friend and suddenly asked her, “Do you want me to be her?” She removed her coat and began swaying. Within minutes, she was surrounded by photographers who hadn’t noticed her before while she was walking. Sarah Churchwell, a UK-based professor, noted that Marilyn Monroe was an invented persona, but this doesn’t mean that she was a fake person.

“She wasn’t artificial – she was made. Made things can still be real – a table isn’t a natural tree, but it’s still a real table. It’s been sculpted… I have a great deal of respect for what she accomplished, against the greatest odds, and for how hard she tried to improve herself and her art. It could make a stone weep, the cruelty of people who continue to sneer at how hard she tried.”

Sarah Churchwell

She Was a Lesbian?

Monroe was married thrice. However, none of her marriages worked. According to numerous sources, Marilyn Monroe was also interested in women and had a brief liaison with the drama teacher and her acting coach Natasha Lytess. In fact, the two lived together for some time. In 1954, Marilyn wrote in her autobiography My Story that a man once told her that she could be a lesbian. “A man who had kissed me once had said it was very possible that I was a lesbian because apparently, I had no response to males… Now, having fallen in love, I knew what I was. It wasn’t a lesbian,” Marilyn wrote.

Later, many stories about her alleged association and sexual links with actresses emerged. These include Joan Crawford, Marlene Dietrich, Barbara Stanwyck, and Elizabeth Taylor. She was also involved with another acting coach of hers, Paula Strassberg, said Jean Negulesco, who worked directed Monroe in How To Marry A Millionaire. “She told me once she had never had an orgasm with a man in her entire life,” Negulesco said.

Marilyn, too, Went Under the Knife.

Marilyn Monroe was blessed with beautiful features. Therefore, it seems rather unlikely that such a perfect beauty could have ever thought about or even needed to go under the knife. However, surprisingly, Ms. Monroe also gave in to the lure of plastic surgery. In 1950, the actress underwent two procedures, a chin implant and a nose tip rhinoplasty, for which her agent Johnny Hyde paid. 

In 2013, her doctor’s notes were put up for auction, which further validated that claims that Marilyn had indeed gotten plastic surgery done on her face. In 2010, the X-Rays of the actress taken in 1954 were auctioned for $45,000, which included three chest x-rays, frontal facial bones x-rays, and composite left and right x-rays of her nasal bones along with x-rays of the roof of her mouth. 

The Paparazzi Ruined her Marriage

Monroe got married to baseball player DiMaggio in 1954, and it was touted to be the wedding of the year. However, the bride wanted to keep this event a private affair and didn’t want to create media hype. Until then, she had successfully kept her relationship with the player a secret and hence, didn’t want any unwanted attention for her wedding too.

Unfortunately, someone at her studio leaked her wedding plans, which prompted a fleet of photographers and fans to land at the wedding venue on the couple’s big day. Marilyn was not just surprised but rather disappointed over this. Eventually, the unnecessary media intrusion led to the couple parting ways. Monroe remained the object of media attention until the time of her death and even afterward. Famous photographer Leigh Wiener allegedly bribed morgue officials to gain access to the deceased actress’s body to take exclusive snaps. Thankfully, most of these photos remained a secret.

She Loved to Cook

Monroe was a disastrous cook initially, and on one occasion, when her friend asked her to wash some lettuce, the starlet started scrubbing the leaves using a Brillo pad. However, since she loved cooking, the actress worked on her skills, and as she got older, Monroe improved tremendously. Eventually, the late star invented many delicious recipes. In 2010, The New York Times tried her Thanksgiving stuffing recipe and praised it for its perfection. 

According to one of Marilyn’s interviews, she never liked to dine out, and instead of opting for a good restaurant, she would buy steak, liver, or lamb chops. She took the ingredients to her hotel or wherever she was staying, broiled them using an electric oven, and enjoyed her meal. When she wanted to have a cheat day, an ice cream sundae would be her go-to dessert. 

She Posed Nude Out of Desperation

Before gaining fame and fortune, Marilyn Monroe posed nude for as low an amount as $50. She did it out of desperation as she was in dire need of money. Later on, she tried her best to prevent those photos from leaking. However, she couldn’t prevent them from surfacing in the media. When these photos were made public, the actress stood up for herself and confirmed the news despite that 20th Century Fox denied that it was her photos. 

But, Marilyn said that she wasn’t ashamed of what she did when she was struggling to find work. A critic once wrote that Marilyn would look better in a potato sack. So, instead of feeling offended, the actress actually did a photo shoot wearing a makeshift dress and still managed to look stunning.

Her Controversial Notebook

Reportedly, the actress didn’t lead a very blissful life at any given phase. Her marriage to Miller couldn’t last after Monroe discovered some notes written by her husband expressing that he was unhappily married. Later, Miller claimed that this was a draft for a play he was writing. But, Monroe realized and wrote about the incident in her diary. In 2010, Marilyn Monroe’s notebook entries became the talk of the town. Her notes introduced the world to the sad aspect of her life and the despair she often felt. The passages in her notebook were quite unsettling. One of the many sad passages the late star wrote read:

 “I can’t really stand human beings sometimes – I know they all have their problems as I have mine – but I’m really too tired for it. Trying to understand, making allowances, seeing certain things that just weary me.”

“I guess I have always been deeply terrified to really be someone’s wife since I know from life one cannot love another, ever.”

Marilyn Monroe

When Marilyn Met her Half-Sister

Marilyn’s half-brother, Robert, died at a young age due to a kidney infection, and therefore, the late starlet could never meet him in her lifetime. But, she did get to meet her half-sister Berniece in 1938. Reportedly, their mother Gladys sent Berniece a letter in which she told her about Marilyn’s relation with her. Until then, Berniece believed that her mother was dead and was also unaware that she had a half-sister. Eventually, the two sisters met and remained good friends until Monroe was alive. Marilyn often sent gifts to Berniece and her daughter Mona because she longed to have a family and considered her half-sister as a way to get that emotional stability in her life. In 1962, Marilyn told Life magazine that when she was young, the world around her was so grim that she found happiness in the fictional world of movies.

“When I was five, I think, that’s when I started wanting to be an actress… I didn’t like the world around me because it was kind of grim, but I loved to play house… When I heard that this was acting, I said, ‘That’s what I want to be.”

Marilyn Monroe

Her Ex-Husbands Didn’t Attend her Funeral

Two of Marilyn Monroe’s former husbands James Dougherty and Arthur Miller chose not to attend her funeral. In fact, her mother also couldn’t attend the funeral as she was confined to a sanitarium and didn’t know that he daughter had died. By that time, Gladys had even forgotten about her daughter Norma due to her illness.  However, Miller later revealed that contrary to popular perception, it wasn’t out of malice that he avoided Marilyn’s funeral. The playwright wrote a lengthy essay to explain what led to his decision not to attend his ex-wife’s last rites. 

“Instead of jetting to the funeral to get my picture taken, I decided to stay home and let the public mourners finish the mockery. Not that everyone there will be false, but enough. Most of them there destroyed [Marilyn], ladies and gentlemen.”

Arthur Miller

She Left Most of her Wealth to her Psychoanalyst

This fact may surprise you to no end that Marilyn Monroe left most of her fortune for her psychoanalyst. That’s right! Though the official cause of her death still remains suicide, her niece Mona claims that she isn’t sure about it. In 2012, Mona spoke to the Daily Mirror, stating that:  “I do not subscribe to any of these murder or suicide theories or [Monroe’s] supposed affair with President Kennedy. None of it is true. It was an accident. She had so many appointments booked. The day after she died, she was going to see producers and then a lawyer to change her will.”

Nevertheless, Monroe was dead, and nothing could change it. However, what shook everyone later was that she left a handsome portion of her wealth for her acting coach Lee Strasberg and her half-sister Berniece so that she could look after her mother. The late actress left around 25% of her assets to Dr. Marianne Kris, her psychoanalyst, despite that the pair’s trust was broken in 1961 when Kris sent Marilyn to a mental health institution.

The Mysterious Box 39 

If you are a true Marilyn Monroe fan, you must be eagerly awaiting the year 2039, as this is when the mystery enclosed in Box 39 will be revealed. Reportedly, Box 39 is the name of a box containing a set of Monroe’s private documents. This box is stored in a special section of the UCLA library. It is speculated that when Box 39 is opened, it may answer some of the most crucial questions surrounding Marilyn Monroe’s life and death.

Private detective Becky Altringer told Sun Online that she was “100 percent positive Marilyn Monroe did not commit suicide – not if you go by all the facts of the case.” So, we might know whether the beautiful actress took her life or not when this box is unveiled. This box belongs to Monroe’s personal psychiatrist Dr. Ralph Greenson. He was the first person who found Marilyn dead at her residence. Also, he was suspected of having injected Marilyn with the fatal dose of pentobarbital that resulted in the death of the actress. 

She Loved Kids and Books

Sources close to Monroe and some of her friends claim that the starlet’s biggest dream was to become a mother and have children. In a 2018 documentary, Marilyn Monroe For Sale, her colleague Marion Collyer said that Marilyn yearned to have a baby. “All that Marilyn ever wanted in her life was to have a baby,” Collyer said.

It is tragic that the legendary actress suffered from endometriosis. Due to this condition, Monroe had several miscarriages. Furthermore, her friends revealed that another one of her passions was reading. Contrary to her public image, which was of a ditzy blonde, Monroe loved to read, and her home in California had a library comprising 400 books. She read books on diverse genres, from classics to gardening manuals. In the final days of her life, Marilyn was reading Leo Rosten’s Captain Newman, M.D. and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.

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