Although Marilyn was born as Norma Jeane, she legally changed her name to Marilyn Monroe in 1956.
As a child, she was so shy and insecure that she developed a stutter. She still suffered from this as an adult, but learned to cover it up thanks to the dictation lessons by the studio vocal coaches.
According to Marilyn, the first person she ever truly felt loved by was her aunt Ana. Aunt Ana was really her guardian Grace’s aunt and Grace let Marilyn stay with her when she didn’t have time to care for her herself. Ana was the first to encourage Marilyn to become an actress and she introduced her to Christian Science. Unfortunately, Ana died in 1948, but Joe DiMaggio made sure that Marilyn was buried in the same cemetery when she passed away.
Marilyn had a half-brother and a half-sister. Her half-brother died when he was just 14 and she never knew him. She got in touch with her half-sister, Bernice, as a teenager and they developed a great relationship.
Marilyn suffered from endometriosis and it is now widely assumed that this is why she was never able to have a baby.
The publicity department of Fox fabricated a biography for her that stated that she was discovered while babysitting for a Fox talent agent. There were even photos taken to ‘prove’ this.
Although Marilyn’s mother did not recognize her anymore after she was institutionalized, Marilyn visited her sporadically and kept in touch with the staff to see how she was. In her will, she made sure that her mother was taken care of financially.
She owned more than 400 books. Many of the volumes, auctioned in 1999, bore her personal notes in the margins. Ironically, there are now more than 600 books that have been written solely about her.
She was friends with singer Ella Fitzgerald and a big fan of her music. Marilyn helped her career by arranging for her to sing in many upscale nightclubs, even though some of which were segregated at the time.
She washed her face fifteen times a day and liked to use Nivea moisturizer.
Marilyn’s claims that she was being ‘watched’ were dismissed as paranoia. But when actress Veronica Hamel bought Marilyn’s house in 1972, the contractor found out that there was a sophisticated eavesdropping and telephone tapping system throughout the house. According to a retired Justice Department official, these were ‘standard FBI issue’.
She loved champagne and Dom Perignon was her personal favorite.
The dress Marilyn wore when she sang happy Birthday to John F. Kennedy, was so tight that it had to be sewn onto her. The dress was sold for over 1.26 million dollars in 1999, a world record for the most expensive piece of clothing ever sold.
Her ex-husband Joe DiMaggio and her half-sister Bernice arranged her funeral. Joe refused to let any Hollywood colleagues attend, since he felt that Hollywood had treated her so badly. For more than twenty years after her death, Joe had fresh roses delivered to her grave weekly, as this was a promise he had made to her during their marriage.
Marilyn left all of her personal belongings to her friend and acting coach Lee Strasberg. It was stated in her will that these were to be divided among her loved ones. However, Lee failed to do so. In 1999 his widow Anna, who had never known Marilyn, auctioned off Marilyn’s belongings.