- Margot A. Henriksen
Monroe, Marilyn (01 June 1926–05 August 1962), film actress and sex symbol, was born Norma Jeane Mortensen (and was also known as Norma Jeane Baker in her youth) in Los Angeles, California, the daughter of Gladys Monroe Baker Mortensen, a film cutter, who was unmarried when she gave birth to Monroe (her father has never been positively identified). Gladys Mortensen was an avid movie fan, but Monroe spent very little time with her often unstable mother. Within two weeks of her birth, Monroe was placed in the first of what would be a succession of foster homes, guardianships, and orphanages. This experience convinced her that she was a “mistake,” a person easily abandoned. Given an insecure childhood that included the trauma of sexual molestation and an early marriage (to James Dougherty in 1942; they were divorced in 1946) arranged in part to prevent her return to an orphanage, it is a testament to Monroe’s tenacity, personal strength, and resilience that she managed to achieve the heights in her career that she did....