“The Original Blonde Bombshell”
Born Norma Jean Mortensen, to a schizophrenic mother and an unknown father, Marilyn spent most of her youth in orphanages and foster homes. Before embarking on a successful modeling career, she married James Dougherty when she was only 16. The 1953 hit “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” catapulted the 27-year-old to great stardom. While briefly married to American baseball icon Joe DiMaggio, she entertained the troops in Korea, and became one of the most sought-after beauties in modern history. Her second marriage to famous playwright Arthur Miller was punctuated by increasing drug use, which earned her the reputation of being unreliable on movie sets. Additionally, she had an alleged long-term affaire with John F. Kennedy, famously singing “Happy Birthday Mr. President” at Madison Square Garden in 1962. Her death at age 36 has been steeped in mystery ever since 1962, when the official cause of death was listed as suicide by a barbiturate overdose.