June 1, 1926 – August 5, 1962 - Born Norma Jeane Mortenson
"I was never used to being happy, so that wasn’t something I ever took for granted. You see, I was brought up differently from the average American child because the average child is brought up expecting to be happy. I was a mistake. My mother didn’t want to have me." - Marilyn Monroe /Norma Jean
Marilyn Monroe Timeline
1. Marilyn Monroe born on June 1, 1926, Los Angeles County Hospital
Third child of Gladys Pearl Baker, born May 27, 1902 – died March 11, 1984. The certificate of live birth shows Edward Mortenson as the father. Marilyn Monroe always claimed that her true father was a man named Charles Stanley Gifford. Monroe's mother Gladys was divorced from Mortenson in Oct 1928.
2. Not able to take care of the child properly, Norma Jeane is placed in the care of foster parents Albert and Ida Bolender of Hawthorne, California. Episodes followed in which Glady's would attempt to force the Bolender's to give Norma Jeane to her, or attempt abductions to take her away.
3. In 1933, Norma Jeane goes to live with mopther Glady's in a new home, but soon Gladys is forced into the Norwalk CA State Mental Hospital. Age 7, Norma Jeane is declared a Ward of the State of California. She lives for a time with family friend Grace McKee, then in several foster homes.
4. In 1937 Norma Jeane is again living with Grace McKee and her new husband, Ervin Silliman "Doc" Goddard, who apparently attempts to rape Norma Jeane on several occassions. Grace McKee sends her to live with relative Olive Brunings, in Compton, California. This arrangement ends when an older son of Brunings sexually assaults Norma Jeane, age 11.
5. Grace McKee sends Norma to stay with another relative, Ana Lower, in Van Nuys, California. Norma Jeane calls Ana Lower "Aunt Ana" and lives with her until Lower's health problems cause Norma Jeane to move back into Grace McKee and Doc Goddard's home in 1942.
6. Norma Jeane marries James Dougherty, a neighbor of the Goddard's, which is a relief to Grace McKee who was soon moving with her husband to Virginia and had no intention of taking Norma Jeane with them. In 1943, Dougherty joins the Merchant Marines and is stationed on Santa Catalina Island, and Norma Jeane soon joins him there. When Doughtery is ordered out to the Pacific, Norma Jeane moves in with Dougherty's mother.
7. Army Photographer David Conover from the U.S. Army Air Forces' 1st Motion Picture Unit is sent to the Radioplane Munitions Factory by Captain Ronald Reagan to make photos for Yank magazine. Conover takes a number of images of Monroe, and advices her to apply to The Blue Book Modeling Agency.
8. Blue Book signs Norma Jeane and she has soon bleached her hair and appears on over a dozen different magazine covers.
9. 20th Century Fox executive Ben Lyon calls for her to make a screen test, and she signs with Fox for a six-month contract at $125 per week. Lyon and his wife Bebe Daniels work with Norma Jeane on a screen name, and 'Marilyn Monroe' is created, combining Glady Baker's maiden name with "Marilyn," the name of a Broadway actress Lyon claimed Norma Jeane reminded him of.
10. Marilyn Monroe appears in a number of Fox films as an extra, with only a few speaking lines at best. In 1947, her contract is not renewed at the end of the six-month period.
11. She gets a six-month contract at Columbia in 1948, but it also is not renewed at the end. She did however have dental work performed through Columbia which fixed an overbite.
Original Page Jan 2013 | Updated June 2016