Celebrating an Icon: Marilyn Monroe

On this day nearly one hundred years ago, one of Hollywood’s most enduring celebrities was born. Marilyn Monroe was born Norma Jeane Mortenson on June 1, 1926. Though her life ended only 36 years later, she lives on in our memories.

On her birthday, let’s take a look back on the icon’s life, and legacy.

Hollywood Sign, Los Angeles

Marilyn was born in Los Angeles, and spent much of her childhood in LA. When she was seven, she and her mother moved into a house in Hollywood. Perhaps it was a foreshadow of things to come that Marilyn was raised in the shadow of the sign representing her future as a Hollywood icon.

Holywood Sign (StreetView)
Holywood Sign

Roosevelt Hotel, Hollywood

The hotel was built in 1927, and named after president Teddy Roosevelt. It has 12 floors, more than 300 rooms, but the most famous guest was probably Marilyn Monroe.

By her teens, Marilyn was already very attractive and was drawn to a career in modeling. Her first print ad photo shoot took place at the hotel’s famous Tropicana pool.

Marilyn lived at the hotel off and on for a few years as her career started to take off. She stayed in a poolside suite, room 1200. Guests can now stay in the suite, which is completed with furnishings from the time Marilyn stayed there.

Some say the ghost of Marilyn haunts the hotel, and that you can catch a glimpse of her gazing at her reflection in the lobby’s full-length mirror.

The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel (Birds Eye)
The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel

Grauman’s Chinese Theatre

Marilyn became a successful actress, and one of her most famous films was “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” with fellow box office bombshell Jane Russell. After her performance of “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” with her hourglass figure highlighted in a form-fitting pink dress, Marilyn was a star.

The two women extended their joint celebrity when they had a joint ceremony to put their hand prints in cement outside Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. On June 26, 1953, the two bombshells laid down side by side to make hand prints, resulting in one of the most famous pictures of the golden age of Hollywood.

Grauman's Chinese Theatre (StreetView)
Grauman's Chinese Theatre

Marilyn and Joe DiMaggio’s House, Beverly Hills, CA

In January, 1954, Marilyn married baseball great Joe DiMaggio. The two were in love, but had a troubled marriage from the start. Joe was violent with Marilyn, and jealous of her success as a sexy celebrity.

The couple stayed at this Beverly Hills home as part of their honeymoon, before renting a house in the Hollywood Hills, during their short marriage.

Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio's house (former) (Birds Eye)
Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio's house (former)

Subway Grate, Manhattan, NY

One of the final fights of their marriage was after Marilyn participated in an attention-drawing filming session for the movie “The Seven Year Itch”. It was mostly a publicity stunt, where Marilyn stood on a Manhattan subway grate, and wind blew her skirt around in a seductive manner.

Fans gathered around the site for hours as they “filmed” the scene. Joe was incredibly jealous and judgemental of her actions, and she filed for divorce very shortly after the trip to New York.

Marilyn Monroe's Subway Grate (StreetView)
Marilyn Monroe's Subway Grate

Bing Crosby’s House, Rancho Mirage, CA

Marilyn was a sex symbol, a bombshell, and people expected her real life to be as sexy as her persona. Rumors about her private life were constant, but in 1961 and 1962, the media reported she had an ongoing affair with President John F. Kennedy.

However, they only ever met four times, and likely only spent the night together once. This encounter likely took place at Bing Crosby’s Palm Desert estate, in March 1962.

The 6,700 square foot home on one-acre was recently sold for more than $5 million. The home has high-end finishings, a theater room, and a living room with full stone fireplace, as well as an attached two-bedroom wing nicknamed the “JKF Wing”.

Bing Crosby's House (Former) / JFK & Marilyn Monroe Affair Location (Google Maps)
Bing Crosby's House (Former) / JFK & Marilyn Monroe Affair Location

Last Residence, Brentwood, CA

For much of her life, Marilyn rented houses or stayed in hotels, but in 1962, she bought a home on her own in Brentwood, California. She went about furnishing the place in a Spanish motif.

The 1929 hacienda had two bedrooms, a pool, and a guest house when Marilyn purchased it. It has since been renovated and has four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a lovely landscaped yard, and a citrus grove. The 23,000 square foot home was sold in 2017 for $7.25 million!

Marilyn bought the home as a way to settle down and try to overcome debilitating depression and self-doubt that had plagued her since her childhood. She met with her therapist every day, sometimes for hours.

Personal writings and statements from friends indicated Marilyn was doing well, with a positive outlook of her future, but in the early hours of August 5, 1962, Marilyn Monroe was found dead in her bedroom by her housekeeper, who had stayed the night. She was declared dead by accidental or intentional overdose of barbiturates and alcohol.

Marilyn Monroe's Last Residence (Birds Eye)
Marilyn Monroe's Last Residence

Westwood Memorial Cemetery, Los Angeles, CA

Marilyn’s death was a shock, and people around the world mourned her loss. Her funeral was held on August 8 at the Westwood Memorial Cemetery, in a private ceremony. Fans gathered nearby to honor the celebrity, and to say goodbye one last time.

She is entombed in crypt 24 in the Corridor of Memories. This area is open to the public. Her former husband, Joe DiMaggio, arranged to place flowers on her crypt every week for twenty years.

Westwood Village Memorial Park (Google Maps)
Westwood Village Memorial Park

Marilyn’s legacy lives on around the world, as one of Hollywood’s brightest stars. On this day, let’s take a moment for Marilyn, and be uplifted by her memory. As she said in 1954, “Keep smiling, because life is a beautiful thing and there’s so much to smile about.”

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