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Probably the most celebrated of all actresses, Marilyn Monroe was born Norma Jeane Mortenson on June 1, 1926, in Los Angeles General Hospital. Prior to her birth, Marilyn's father bought a motorcycle and headed north to San Francisco, abandoning the family in Los Angeles. Marilyn grew up not knowing for sure who her father really was. Her mother, Gladys, had entered into several relationships, further confusing her daughter as to who it was who fathered her. Afterward, Gladys gave Norma Jeane (Marilyn) the name of Baker, a boyfriend she had before Mortenson. Poverty was a constant companion to Gladys and Norma. Gladys, who was extremely attractive and worked for RKO Studios as a filmcutter, suffered from mental illness and was in and out of mental institutions for the rest of her life, and because of that Norma Jeane spent time in foster homes. When she was nine, she was placed in an orphanage where she was to stay for the next two years. Upon being released from the orphanage, she went to yet another foster home. In 1942, at age 16, Norma Jeane married 21-year-old aircraft plant worker James Dougherty. The marriage only lasted four years, and they divorced in 1946. By this time, Marilyn began to model swimsuits and bleached her hair blonde. Various shots made their way into the public eye, where some were eventually seen by RKO Pictures head Howard Hughes. He offered Marilyn a screen test, but an agent suggested that 20th Century-Fox would be the better choice for her, since it was a much bigger and more prestigious studio. She was signed to a contract at $125 per week for a six-month period and that was increased by $25 per week at the end of that time when her contract was lengthened.
Marilyn made only 30 films in her lifetime, but her legendary status and mysticism will remain with film history forever.
My portrait of her is very exagerated in color and in a slightly vintage way, but it was a pleasure to do such an enigmatic woman.
Minor digital post processi
November 19th, 2013
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