It seems to me you lived your life like a candle in the wind
Never knowing who to cling to when the rains set in
And I would've liked to know you, but I was just a kid
Your candle burned out long before your legend ever did
— Elton John, Candle in the Wind
“To have survived, she would have had to be either more cynical or even further from reality than she was. Instead, she was a poet on a street corner trying to recite to a crowd pulling at her clothes."The most famous of the "Blonde Bombshells".Born Norma Jeane Mortenson in June 1, 1926 to a mentally unstable mother and a missing father, she was placed with foster parents and lived there until she was seven. Her mother was bizarre and once tried to kidnap her from her foster parents by stuffing her in a bag. A few years later her mother bought a house and they lived together, but a few months later her mother had a mental breakdown (the first of many). She was then moved into foster care as a ward of the state and her later guardian Grace McKee was the one who got her into movies. However her guardian got married and she was sent to an orphanage, and then to a string of foster homes (it is unclear how many).Several families wanted to adopt her but she ended up going back with Grace. Grace's new husband repeatedly attempted to sexually assault her and she was sent to her great-aunt Olive's. This didn't last long either because one of Olive's sons sexually assaulted her. She was moved to her aunt Ana's, who she had a good relationship with, but Ana had health problems and went back to live with Grace. This was also short since Grace's husband found a job elsewhere and wanted to move without her, and they ended up approaching her current boyfriend's mother so she could get married.At 16 she married, but her husband was a Marine and was shipped to the Pacific, so she moved in with his mother.Norma Jeane was working in a factory during World War II when someone took a picture of her for a magazine. This small event would eventually lead to her fame as the actress "Marilyn Monroe".Before then, she took up a successful modeling career after having dyed her brunette hair to blonde. She got some small acting jobs, but nothing big, although she did agree to change her name, which included taking on her grandmother's surname. At one point she posed nude for photos when she had no other jobs. These photos would end up on a calendar, and eventually the first issue of Playboy. Marilyn headed off a scandal by admitting she posed, because she had no other way to pay her bills.Her career took off over a number of films, but she also suffered from stage fright which eventually led to taking pills and booze to relax her.She was briefly married to Baseball star Joe DiMaggio and later to playwright Arthur Miller. Allegedly, she had an affair with John F. Kennedy. Her singing "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" in a slinky dress in 1962 is commonly referenced/parodied. She was also romantic penpals with Portuguese dictator Antonio De Oliveira Salazar.Behavior aside, she was also noted to be far more intelligent than people gave her credit for, and made sure she learned drama (she studied acting at The Actor's Studio). The Dumb Blonde persona she had on film was, in fact, acting.During her marriage to Arthur Miller, she converted to Judaism, and may have continued her religious observance after the divorce.She died in 1962 from an overdose of barbiturates. Her death was officially classified as a "probable suicide", but it would spark Conspiracy Theories for years to come.See also: actress Jayne Mansfield.Do NOT confuse her with Marilyn Manson. Although, funny story, he DID actually take his first name from her.
— Arthur Miller, Marilyn's third husband
- Love Happy (1949)
- All About Eve (1950)
- The Asphalt Jungle (1950)
- Clash by Night (1952)
- Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)
- How to Marry a Millionaire (1953)
- The Seven Year Itch (1955)
- The Prince and the Showgirl (1957)
- Some Like It Hot (1959)
- The Misfits (1961)
"Tropes Are A Girl's Best Friend":
- Alliterative Name: When she was advised to change her name upon becoming an actress, she chose her mother's maiden name of Monroe, and although she wanted to base her first name on her actual first names, Norma Jeane, 20th Century Fox head of production Ben Lyon suggested "Marilyn Monroe", partly in homage to early 20th century Broadway actress Marilyn Miller and partly because he felt an alliterative name was more attention-grabbing.note
- Aroused by Their Voice: Marilyn intentionally invoked this in all of her movies, and occasionally mocked at the time as being over the top. Nowadays, when a character speaks in a breathy, low voice, they're mimicking Marilyn whether they know it or not.
- Beauty Mark
- Conspiracy Theory: Her death is seen as a suicide, or in more extreme cases, i.e. Norman Mailer, a hit ordered by the Kennedy brothers. The sane consensus is that she died as a result of her dependancy on sleeping pills which she had taken as part of her acting regiment and she overdosed by mistake.
- Everything's Sparkly with Jewelry: "Diamonds are a girl's best friend".
- '50s Hair: Essentially the Trope Codifier for the short and wavy hairstyle.
- Fur Bikini: Modeled in an ermine bikini as publicity for the film Love Happy.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: A radio interview asked "What do you have on when you go to bed?" Monroe: "The radio." (This quote is also attributed to her description of her nude photo shoot; see below.) She would also sometimes respond, "Chanel No. 5", when asked similar questions.
- Gentleman Snarker: Female version; as proof of her Hidden Depths, she'd sometimes give a quick and witty send-up of her sexualized public image.
- Marilyn Maneuver: The Trope Namer, courtesy of The Seven Year Itch.
- Ms. Fanservice: Often cast as such.
- Nice Girl: Aside from her personal issues and troubling behavior on sets, she was a genuinely kind person. Likewise, she also played nice girls in movies, her only villainous role being Niagara and she generally played sweet Innocent Fanservice Girl in films like Some Like it Hot, Let's Make Love, The Misfits.
- The Nicknamer: She gave affectionate nicknames to her platonic friends. Sam Shaw was "Sam Spade", Norman Rosten was "Claude-Claude" and Eli Wallach was "Teacake".
- Opera Gloves: The "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend" production number in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is, along with Rita Hayworth's turn in Gilda, probably the most famous example of this trope in live-action film.
- Platonic Life Partners: She was close friends with Eli Wallach and would babysit his children.
- Pretty in Mink: Wore several furs in her films.
- Real Women Have Curves: As Cybil Shepherd famously said about her:"She had curves in places most other women don`t even have places."
- Sexy Backless Outfit: Several costumes, including in Some Like It Hot and the famous "Happy Birthday" dress (you know, the one in the Smithsonian...).
- Sexy Walk: Her swaying walk was renowned (see her first scene in Some Like It Hot for a particularly good example). There's a pretty well-substantiated story that she would sometimes cut a small piece off the tip of one of her high-heeled shoes to accentuate that sexy wobble.
- There is another story that Monroe and a friend were walking down a street one day in a crowded city and Monroe was going completely unnoticed, despite not being particularly disguised. The friend pointed this out, and Monroe replied with amusement that she could turn it on and off at will — and promptly started to do her Sexy Walk. Cue requests for autographs, etc.
- Stage Name: Although Norma Jeane now has a glamorous connotation because of her.
- The Woobie: How Ray Davies describes her in "Celluloid Heroes""But please don't tread on dearest Marilyn
'Cos she's not very tough,
She should have been made of iron or steel,
But she was only made of flesh and blood."
- Eli Wallach, her friend for several years, noted that she had this quality about her in her film roles: "As an actress she has lots of imitators - but only Marilyn survives. Why? Because people sense something real and helpless from her on that screen; they want to protect this girl and she makes them ashamed for having thought any dirty thoughts about her."