Marilyn Monroe, born June 1, 1926, became one of the most famous and best-loved movie stars of all time. It's been nearly a half century since her death, yet her image is still, in most Americans' view, the ideal of female glamour and beauty.
Her life story, however, falls far short of ideal, and Marilyn to overcame many obstacles to achieve fame. Marilyn was born to a single mom in a time when it was shameful to have children outside of marriage. It was an age when most women did not have jobs outside the home, when women were paid very little for the few jobs that were available, when it was nearly impossible to raise a family on one's own. From the very start, Marilyn's life with her mom was a struggle. Her mother was declared legally insane and was admitted into an insane asylum. Marilyn then spent the next two years in an orphanage before living with a family friend for four years.
But Marilyn's early life had even more serious problems. She suffered greatly because she never knew her father. She longed to hear about this man whose absence drastically affected her whole life.
Marilyn remembered, "There was one object in my mother's room that always fascinated me. It was a photograph on the wall. Whenever I visited my mother I would stand looking at this photograph. One day she lifted me up in a chair so I could see it better. 'That's your father.' she said. I felt so excited I almost fell off the chair. It felt so good to have a father, to be able to look at his picture and know I belonged to him. And what a wonderful photograph it was. He wore a slouch hat a little gaily on the side. There was a lively smile in his eyes and he had a thin mustache like Clark Gable."
"Mother said, 'He was killed in an auto accident in New York.' I believed everything people told me, but I didn't believe this. I asked my mother what his name was. She wouldn't answer. Years later I found out what his name was, and many other things about him -- how he used to live in the same apartment building where my mother lived, how they fell in love and how he walked out and left her while I was getting born, without ever seeing me. The strange thing was that everything I heard about him made me feel warmer toward him. The night I met his picture I dreamed of it when I fell asleep. And I dreamed of it a thousand times afterward."