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Marilyn Monroe

A descendant of five Mayflower Passengers, Francis Cooke, John Alden, Priscilla Mullins, William Mullins and Wife Alice. Also a descendant of Henry Howland, father of Mayflower Passanger, John Howland.

William Mullins m. Alice.
  Patricia Mullins m. John Alden
    Elizabeth Alden m. William Pabodie
      Sarah Pabodie m. John Coe
        Sarah Coe m. Samuel Tompkins
          Micah Tomkins m. Sarah Dring
            Uriah Tompkins m. Mary Taylor
              Lydia F. Tompkins m. John Allen Gifford
                Charles Adams Gifford m. Susan Bateman Almy
                  Frederick Almay Gifford m. Elizabeth Easton Tennant
                    Charles Stanley Gifford m. Gladys Pearl Monroe
                      Marilyn Monroe

Francis Cooke m. Hester Mahieu
  Jane Cooke m. Experience Mitchell
    Thomas Mitchell m. Mary Moulton
      Thomas Mitchell m. Margaret Rathbone
        Thomas Mitchell m. Margaret Peck
          Elizabeth Mitchell m. John Franklin
            Robert Maynard Franklin m. Olivia Tillinghast
              Francis Ann Franklin m. John William Easton
                Elizabeth Cutting Easton m. William Congdon Tennant
                  Elizabeth Easton Tennant m. Frederick Almay Gifford
                    Charles Stanley Gifford m. Gladys Pearl Monroe
                      Marilyn Monroe


Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe (June 1, 1926 – August 5, 1962) was a twentieth-century movie star, sex symbol and pop icon. Known for her comedic skills and remarkable screen presence, many now consider her a legendary screen actress.

Early life

Marilyn Monroe was born on June 1, 1926 in the charity ward of the Los Angeles County Hospital. Her registered name was Norma Jeane Mortenson, but her grandmother, Della Monroe Grainger, later had her baptized as Norma Jeane Baker. For a while most biographers believed her biological father was very likely to be Charles Stanley Gifford, a salesman for the studio where Monroe's mother, the late Gladys Pearl Monroe Baker Eley, worked as a film-cutter.

Gladys was unable to persuade her mother Della to look after the baby Marilyn, so Marilyn was placed with foster parents Albert and Ida Bolender of Hawthorne, California, southwest of Los Angeles, where she lived until she was seven years old. In her autobiography My Story, Monroe states she thought Albert and Ida were her biological parents until one day, rather rudely, Ida corrected her. Monroe's book, however, has not been considered a reliable source as it was ghostwritten by Ben Hecht and used as a publicity vehicle. After Monroe's death, Ida claimed that she and Albert had considered adopting her, for which they would have needed her mother Gladys' consent.

Again according to My Story, Gladys visited Norma Jeane every Saturday, but never smiled, hugged or kissed her. At some point, Gladys announced that she had bought a house for herself and her daughter, but a few months after they moved in, she suffered a mental breakdown. Marilyn recalled Gladys "screaming and laughing" as she was forcibly removed to the State Mental Hospital in Norwalk, California, the same hospital where Gladys' mother Della had died in August 1927. Gladys' father, Otis, had also died in a mental hospital (near San Bernardino, California) as a result of syphilis.

Consequently Norma Jeane was declared a ward of state and Gladys' best friend, Grace McKee (later Goddard) became her guardian. After Grace married in 1935, Norma Jeane was sent to the Los Angeles orphanage and then to a long succession of foster homes where it is alleged she was subjected to abuse and neglect. There is little evidence, however, that she lived in as many foster homes as has sometimes been claimed and Monroe herself is known to have given exaggerated information about her childhood during interviews.

In September 1941, Marilyn was reunited with her mother. The Goddard family, however, were moving to the East Coast and felt it would be best if the fifteen-year old Norma Jeane were to marry, as otherwise she would have to return to the orphanage. She had been introduced to a neighbor's son, James Dougherty, who would become her first husband.


While her husband was away fighting in the Second World War, the young Norma Jeane began work in a factory, where she was discovered by photographer David Conover. He immediately saw her potential as a model and she was soon signed by The Blue Book modelling agency. She became one of their most successful models, appearing on hundreds of magazine covers. In 1946 she came to the attention of talent scout Ben Lyon who arranged a screen test for her with 20th Century Fox. She passed and was offered a standard six-month contract with a starting salary of $75 per week. She was given the name Marilyn after the actress Marilyn Miller and suggested her mother's maiden name Monroe as her surname. Thus the twenty-year old Norma Jeane Baker became "Marilyn Monroe".

During her first six months at 20th Century Fox, Monroe was given no acting work but instead learned about hair, make-up, costumes, acting and lighting. After six months Fox decided to renew her contract and in the following six months she was given minor roles in two movies, Scudda Hoo! Scudda Hay! and Dangerous Years, both released in 1947. Both films failed at the box office and Fox decided not to renew her contract again. Monroe returned to modelling work and began to network and make contacts in Hollywood. In 1948 a six-month stint at Columbia Pictures saw her star in one movie, Ladies of the Chorus, but it was not a success and she was dropped. She then met one of Hollywood's top agents, Johnny Hyde, who had Fox re-sign her after MGM had turned her down. Although Fox vice-president Darryl F. Zanuck was not convinced of Monroe's star potential, she began to make her mark with performances in films such as All About Eve and The Asphalt Jungle.

Monroe played her first role as a leading lady in Don't Bother To Knock, portraying a deranged babysitter who, in a rage, attacks the little girl in her care. Although it received mixed reviews, Monroe later claimed it to be one of her favorite performances. Her performance in Niagara (1953), however, left little doubt about her on-screen sex appeal. It was around this time that nude photos of Monroe began to surface, taken by Tom Kelley when she had been struggling for work. Prints were bought by Hugh Hefner and in December 1953 appeared in the first edition of his new magazine, Playboy. To a journalist asking what she had on during the photoshoot, she famously replied: "The radio!" To a journalist asking what she wore in bed, she famously replied: "Chanel No. 5!"

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and How to Marry a Millionaire, both released in 1953, catapulted Monroe into A-list status and she quickly became the world's biggest movie star. Her next two films, River of No Return and There's No Business Like Show Business were not as successful and she began to tire of the "dumb blonde" roles that Zanuck assigned her. After completing work on The Seven Year Itch in 1954, she broke her contract and fled Hollywood to study acting at The Actors Studio in New York. Fox would not accede on her new contract demands and insisted she return to start work on productions she considered inappropriate, such as Heller In Pink Tights and How To Be Very, Very Popular. However, The Seven Year Itch raced to the top of the summer 1955 box office takings and other Fox starlets Jayne Mansfield and Sheree North were not as well-received, so Zanuck agreed to draw up a new contract with Monroe and she returned to Hollywood.

The first film to be made under her new contract was Bus Stop, directed by Joshua Logan. Critics immediately noted a change in Monroe's acting and generally praised her performance as Cherie, a saloon bar singer who falls in love with a cowboy. Monroe, however, was devastated to find that Fox had cut many of what she thought were her best scenes and believed it cost her the chance of an Academy Award and wider critical acclaim.

Practically unheard of at the time, Monroe was the first woman to form her own production company with friend and photographer Milton H. Greene. Marilyn Monroe Productions released its first film The Prince and the Showgirl in 1957 to mixed reviews. As well as producing the film, she starred opposite the acclaimed British actor Laurence Olivier, who directed it. Unfortunately their chemistry was lacking and Monroe's reputation in the film industry for being difficult only grew. Despite this setback, in 1959 she scored another huge hit starring alongside Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon in Billy Wilder's comedy Some Like It Hot, a film now consistently rated as one of the best comedy films ever made.

By 1961, Monroe's third husband, the playwright Arthur Miller, had written and worked on what became her and her co-star Clark Gable's last completed film, The Misfits. She made her last significant public appearance in May 1962, singing Happy Birthday, Mr. President at a televised birthday party for President John F. Kennedy. Monroe returned to Hollywood to resume filming on an already troubled picture, Something's Got to Give. After shooting what was claimed to have been the first ever nude scene by a major motion picture actress, Monroe's attendance became even more erratic due to illness. Already in a financial strain due to production costs of, Cleopatra, Fox used Monroe's absences as an excuse to drop Monroe from the film and replace her. However, a clause in co-star Dean Martin's contract gave him approval over the film's leading lady, so, as he was unwilling to work with anyone else, Monroe was rehired for double her original salary. It was at this time Monroe conducted a lengthy interview with Life Magazine, did a photo shoot for Vogue, and began discussing a future film project with Gene Kelly.

Before shooting resumed, however, Monroe was found dead in her Los Angeles home, on the morning of August 5, 1962. Her death, officially ruled to be probable suicide by drug overdose, has since been found to contain instances of unprofessional handling of the investigation. The death of Marilyn Monroe has become the subject of many conspiracy theories, but these have done little to dent her iconic status as the archetypal sex symbol and movie star.


James Dougherty

Aged sixteen, Monroe married James Dougherty on June 19, 1942. In the books The Secret Happiness of Marilyn Monroe and To Norma Jeane With Love, Jimmie, Dougherty claimed that he and Monroe were in love and would have lived happily ever after had dreams of stardom not lured her away. Monroe, however, always maintained that the marriage was a marriage of convenience foisted upon them by her foster mother Grace Goddard. Marilyn divorced James Dougherty on September 13, 1946.

In the 2004 documentary Marilyn's Man, Dougherty made three significant claims: that it was he who had invented the "Marilyn Monroe" persona; that Fox had forced her to divorce him; and that she had always yearned to return to him. To date, however, no evidence to support these claims has been published, nor any evidence that Monroe and Dougherty remained in touch after their divorce. Monroe was reportedly furious when Dougherty gave an interview to the fan magazine Photoplay in 1953 and claimed that she had threatened to jump off the Santa Monica Pier if he ever left her. Later he later appeared as a contestant on the gameshow To Tell the Truth as "Marilyn Monroe's real first husband".

Dougherty's own actions did not support his claims of being Monroe's Svengali, nor her only true love. He remarried only a few months after Monroe divorced him; when informed of her death, the New York Times reported that he had simply said "I'm sorry" and continued his LAPD patrol; and he did not attend her funeral. In an interview for the A&E Network, Dougherty admitted that his mother had been approached by Grace Goddard and afterward had asked him if he'd be willing to marry Norma Jeane to prevent her from being sent to an orphanage.

James Dougherty remained married to his third wife until her death in 2003. He lived in Maine until his own death from complications due to leukemia on August 15, 2005.

Joe DiMaggio

In 1951 the baseball star Joe DiMaggio saw a picture of Monroe with two Chicago White Sox players, but waited until his retirement from baseball before asking the man who arranged the picture to set up a date. At first Monroe did not want to see him, fearing a stereotypical jock, but after a two-year courtship they eloped and married at San Francisco's City Hall on January 14, 1954. During the couple's honeymoon, Marilyn was asked to take a detour to Korea to entertain the troops. She performed ten shows over a four day tour in freezing temperatures. Her audience consisted of more than 100,000 soldiers and marines.

Unfortunately the marriage would quickly prove to be undermined by DiMaggio's jealousy over Monroe's sexpot image. Although they both claimed to want to settle down, Monroe still longed to perfect her craft and gain respect from her peers. Friends claimed that Joe became posessive and controlling as Marilyn became more and more defiant of his wishes. After filming the notorious skirt-blowing scene in The Seven Year Itch, for example, director Billy Wilder recalled the "look of death" on DiMaggio's face as he watched alongside fans and extras as her panties were revealed over and over again. Marilyn's makeup man, Allan "Whitey" Snyder, also recalled that soon after the skirt scene, Marilyn appeared on set with bruises on her upper arms. Furthermore, DiMaggio's biographer Richard Ben Cramer claims that DiMaggio was so "disgusted" by Monroe's "sloppiness" that he began to abuse her. On October 27, 1954, 274 days after their marriage, Monroe was pressured by 20th Century Fox to obtain a divorce from DiMaggio on the grounds of mental cruelty. Strangely enough, on her 29th birthday, DiMaggio escorted Monroe to the opening of the movie that essentially ended their marriage.

Arthur Miller

On June 29, 1956, Monroe married the playwright Arthur Miller, whom she had first met in 1951, in a civil ceremony. A Jewish ceremony followed two days later, prior to which Monroe had converted to Judaism. After she had finished shooting The Prince and the Showgirl, Monroe and Miller returned to the States from England and discovered she was pregnant. However, Monroe suffered from endometriosis and the pregnancy was found to be ectopic, so it was aborted in order to save her life. A subsequent pregnancy ended in miscarriage.

By 1958, Monroe was the couple's main breadwinner. Not only did she pay alimony to Miller's first wife but Miller reportedly charged her production company for buying and shipping a Jaguar car to the United States. His script for the film The Misfits was meant to be a Valentine gift, but by the time filming started in 1960 their marriage was broken beyond repair. A Mexican divorce was granted on January 24, 1961 and on February 17 Miller married the German-born Inge Morath, one of the Magnum photographers recording the making of The Misfits.

As her marriage to Miller was ending, Joe DiMaggio re-entered Monroe's life. A few days after her divorce from Miller, Monroe's psychiatrist arranged for her to be admitted to the Payne Whitney Psychiatric Clinic in Manhattan, where she was reportedly placed in the ward for the most seriously disturbed. Six days later DiMaggio managed to have her discharged and she joined him in Florida. Their "just good friends" claims did not stop rumors of remarriage and during the 1960 Academy Awards telecast entertainer Bob Hope even dedicated Best Song nominee The Second Time Around to them. According to DiMaggio biographer Maury Allen, on August 1, 1962 DiMaggio quit his job with a military post exchange (PX) to return to California and ask Monroe to remarry him.

Death and aftermath

Monroe was found dead in the bedroom of her Brentwood, California home on August 5, 1962, by her live-in housekeeper Mrs. Eunice Murray. She was thirty-six. Her death was apparently caused by an overdose of barbiturates, although as with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, several theories have sprung up around the circumstances. Most try to make a case for murder due to her connection with the Kennedy family (John F. Kennedy in particular) and there has also been speculation about the relationship between Mrs. Murray, Monroe's psychiatrist Dr. Ralph Greenson – who hired Mrs. Murray – and Monroe's personal publicist, Pat Newcomb, who joined the Kennedy administration a few months after Monroe's death.

A formal reinvestigation in 1982 by the Los Angeles County District Attorney uncovered no evidence of foul play in Monroe's death. Monroe's body was autopsied by County coroner Dr. Thomas Noguchi, who, in his memoir Coroner, states that it was "highly likely" that Monroe's death was suicide. He concedes, however, that no trace of the barbiturates Monroe purportedly took were found in her stomach or intestines. This has led some theorists to suggest that Monroe had been rendered unconscious (for instance via chloral hydrate) and the overdose administered by intravenous injection, or, more likely, by rectal suppository.

On August 5, 2005 the Los Angeles Times published an account of Monroe's death by former Los Angeles County prosecutor John W. Miner, who had been present at Monroe's autopsy. It also published his claim that notes he had taken from tapes supposedly recorded by Monroe for Dr. Greenson shortly before her death indicated that she was not suicidal. The tapes themselves, however, remain lost or destroyed, so there would seem to be no way to verify Miner's story.

Monroe's body was claimed by DiMaggio and he arranged her funeral. According to Monroe's half-sister, Berniece Baker Miracle, DiMaggio took over and she allowed him to do so. For twenty years he had a dozen red roses delivered to Monroe's crypt three times a week. Unlike other men who had known her (or had claimed to have known her) intimately, the highly-private DiMaggio never spoke publicly about Monroe nor wrote a book about his life with her. He died on March 8, 1999.

Gladys, Monroe's biological mother, had been diagnosed as a schizophrenic and between periods in mental hospitals had married her last husband, John Stewart Eley. He died in 1952. In the early 1970s she walked out of a sanitorium and flew to Florida, where Berniece Miracle met her at the airport. She died on March 11, 1984 at a Florida nursing home, refusing to the end to discuss either Norma Jeane or Marilyn Monroe.

Monroe is interred in a crypt at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles, the cemetery where the aunt of her foster mother Grace Goddard was buried and where Monroe in turn had arranged for Grace to be buried.

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