When Did Marilyn Monroe Start Her Career? Tracing the Beginnings of a Hollywood Icon

Marilyn Monroe has long been an icon in American popular culture, enchanting audiences with her beauty and talent on the silver screen. But when did Marilyn Monroe start her career? To answer this question, we must dig deep into the history of Hollywood and explore the rise of one of the most famous actresses of all time.

Born Norma Jeane Mortenson in 1926, Marilyn Monroe began her career as a model in the late 1940s, catching the attention of photographers and agents with her striking looks and natural charisma. It wasn’t long before she caught the eye of Hollywood producers, who recognized her potential as an actress. In 1950, she signed a contract with 20th Century Fox and began her ascent to stardom.

Monroe’s early career was marked by small roles in films like “The Asphalt Jungle” and “All About Eve,” but it wasn’t until her breakout role in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” in 1953 that she became a household name. From there, she starred in a string of box office hits, including “The Seven Year Itch” and “Some Like It Hot,” solidifying her status as a Hollywood legend. But even today, more than six decades after her untimely death, fans around the world continue to be captivated by the mystery and allure of Marilyn Monroe.

Early Life of Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe was born Norma Jeane Mortenson on June 1, 1926, in Los Angeles, California. She grew up in a tumultuous environment as her mother was mentally unstable and unable to care for her, leading to a series of foster homes, orphanages, and guardianships throughout her childhood.

Despite the instability in her personal life, Marilyn was a bright student and showed a passion for literature and the arts from a young age. She found solace in movie theaters and dreamed of one day becoming a movie star herself.

Early Life of Marilyn Monroe

  • June 1, 1926: Marilyn Monroe is born as Norma Jeane Mortensen in Los Angeles, California.
  • 1929-1933: Moves between various foster homes and guardian homes due to her mother’s mental instability.
  • 1935-1937: Spends two years at the Hollygrove Orphanage in Los Angeles.

Early Life of Marilyn Monroe

At the age of 16, Marilyn dropped out of school and married her first husband, Jimmy Dougherty, to avoid returning to yet another foster home. During World War II, she worked in a munitions factory while her husband served in the military.

After the war, Marilyn pursued a career in modeling and eventually caught the attention of movie studio executives. She signed her first movie contract in 1946 and began her journey towards becoming one of the most iconic movie stars of all time.

Early Life of Marilyn Monroe

Timeline of Marilyn Monroe’s Early Life:

1926Born as Norma Jeane Mortensen in Los Angeles, California
1929-1933Moves between various foster homes and guardian homes due to her mother’s mental instability
1935-1937Spends two years at the Hollygrove Orphanage in Los Angeles
1942Marries her first husband, Jimmy Dougherty, at the age of 16
1944Works in a munitions factory during World War II while her husband serves in the military
1946Signs her first movie contract and begins her journey towards becoming a movie star

Despite her difficult upbringing, Marilyn Monroe’s early life shows her resilience and determination to pursue her dreams, leading to a legendary career in Hollywood.

First Modeling Jobs of Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe began her modeling career in 1945 when she was discovered by a photographer while working at a munitions factory during World War II. Her first modeling job was for Blue Book Modeling Agency, where she posed for magazine advertisements and fashion catalogs. Her striking looks and captivating personality quickly caught the attention of the modeling industry, and she soon landed other modeling gigs.

  • Monroe’s first national magazine cover was for the June 1946 issue of “The Family Circle”.
  • In 1947, Monroe signed a contract with Blue Book Modeling Agency, and her first job under the contract was modeling for the cover of “True Story Magazine”.
  • That same year, she appeared in advertisements for Royal Triton Oil and Chatham Gloves.

Monroe’s success as a model paved the way for her transition into acting. She caught the eye of talent scouts and landed her first minor film roles in 1948.

Below is a table listing some of Monroe’s earliest modeling jobs:

1945Blue Book Modeling Agency
1946“The Family Circle” magazine cover
1947True Story Magazine cover, Royal Triton Oil, Chatham Gloves

Monroe’s early modeling jobs played a crucial role in launching her career. Her stunning looks and undeniable charm made her a favorite among photographers and clients alike, jumpstarting her journey to becoming one of the most iconic actresses of all time.

First Movie of Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe’s career began in 1946 when she signed a six-month contract with Twentieth Century-Fox. Although she had minor roles in a few films, her first significant appearance was in the movie “The Asphalt Jungle” (1950) directed by John Huston. The film was a critical and commercial success, and Monroe’s performance was praised by critics.

  • “The Asphalt Jungle” (1950)
  • “All About Eve” (1950)
  • “Love Nest” (1951)

Monroe’s breakout role came in the musical comedy “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” (1953), in which she played the lead role of Lorelei Lee. The film was a huge success and marked the beginning of Monroe’s rise to stardom.

Monroe’s other notable films include “Some Like It Hot” (1959), “The Seven Year Itch” (1955), and “Bus Stop” (1956).

Film TitleYearRole
The Asphalt Jungle1950Angela Phinlay
All About Eve1950Miss Casswell
Love Nest1951Robert Wales’ fiancée
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes1953Lorelei Lee
The Seven Year Itch1955The Girl
Bus Stop1956Chérie

Marilyn Monroe’s career in films spanned over a decade, and she remains one of the most iconic Hollywood actresses of all time.

Impact of Marilyn Monroe on Hollywood

Marilyn Monroe started her career in Hollywood in 1946 and quickly became one of the most iconic figures in the film industry. She had a lasting impact on Hollywood and her legacy has continued to inspire actresses and actors to this day.

Contribution to the Film Industry

  • Marilyn Monroe was known for her stunning looks and undeniable talent, which made her a bankable star in Hollywood.
  • She appeared in over 30 films during her career and was nominated for a Golden Globe for her role in Some Like It Hot.
  • Marilyn Monroe’s work in films such as The Seven Year Itch and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes solidified her as a sex symbol and leading lady of the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Impact on Beauty Standards

Marilyn Monroe’s Hollywood career also had a significant impact on beauty standards of the time. Her hourglass figure and blonde bombshell look became synonymous with glamorous Hollywood beauty.

In fact, Marilyn Monroe’s image is still used today as a symbol of beauty and femininity. Her impact on how beauty is perceived is still felt today, and her name is often mentioned in discussions of the changing beauty standards.

Influence on Pop Culture

Marilyn Monroe’s influence on pop culture extends beyond her work in films. Her image has been referenced time and time again in music, fashion, and other forms of entertainment.

Andy Warhol’s artMarilyn Monroe’s image was featured in several of Andy Warhol’s famous pop art pieces.
Madonna’s music video for “Material Girl”The music video for Madonna’s famous hit features her in a recreation of Marilyn Monroe’s performance of “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend.”
Elton John’s song “Candle in the Wind”Originally written about Marilyn Monroe, Elton John’s tribute song to Princess Diana uses the same melody and many of the same lyrics.

Marilyn Monroe’s impact on pop culture is a testament to the lasting power of her image and influence on Hollywood.

Marilyn Monroe’s Rise to Fame

Marilyn Monroe’s journey to becoming one of the most iconic movie stars of all time was filled with highs and lows. From her early days as a model and bit actress to her meteoric rise to fame in the 1950s, Monroe captivated audiences with her beauty, talent, and undeniable star power.

  • Early Career: Monroe’s career began in the late 1940s, when she signed with a talent agency and began modeling and acting in small roles in films like Ladies of the Chorus and Dangerous Years.
  • The Breakthrough: In 1950, Monroe landed her first major film role in the drama The Asphalt Jungle. Although she only appeared onscreen for a few minutes, her performance caught the attention of studio executives and film critics alike.
  • The Rise to Fame: Over the next few years, Monroe’s career skyrocketed as she starred in hit films like Niagara, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and How to Marry a Millionaire. Her iconic looks and irresistible charm made her a fan favorite, and she quickly became one of the most bankable stars in Hollywood.
  • The Public Persona: Monroe’s offscreen life was often as tumultuous as her onscreen roles. Her marriages and relationships with famous men like Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller were often in the tabloids, and her struggles with mental health and addiction were well-documented. Despite this, Monroe remained a beloved figure, captivating audiences with her performances and her undeniable charisma.
  • The Legacy: Monroe’s tragic death in 1962 at the age of 36 cemented her status as a Hollywood legend. Her films and iconic image continue to captivate audiences around the world, and her influence on popular culture is still felt today.

The Importance of Marilyn Monroe’s Rise to Fame

Marilyn Monroe’s rise to fame was important not just for her own career, but for the entertainment industry as a whole. As one of the first female stars to command top billing and negotiate massive salaries, Monroe paved the way for future generations of actresses.

She also challenged traditional gender roles with her onscreen portrayals of smart, independent women who were unafraid to use their sexuality to get what they wanted. Monroe’s influence continues to be felt in film and popular culture today, making her legacy as enduring as her beauty and talent.

Marilyn Monroe’s Filmography

The Asphalt Jungle1950Angela Phinlay
All About Eve1950Miss Caswell
Niagara1953Rose Loomis
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes1953Lorelei Lee
How to Marry a Millionaire1953Pola Debevoise
The Seven Year Itch1955The Girl
Some Like It Hot1959Sugar Kane Kowalczyk
The Misfits1961Roslyn Taber

Monroe’s filmography is a testament to her talent and versatility as an actress. From drama to comedy to musicals, she excelled in every genre and left an indelible mark on Hollywood history.

Marilyn Monroe’s Marriage and Divorce

One of the most notable events in Marilyn Monroe’s life was her tumultuous love life. Monroe was married three times in her lifetime, and all of her marriages ended in divorce. Her first marriage was to James Dougherty in 1942, when she was just 16 years old. Dougherty was a neighbor of Monroe’s who joined the Merchant Marine shortly after their wedding. The marriage lasted just four years before they divorced in 1946.

Monroe’s second marriage was to famous baseball player Joe DiMaggio in 1954. The two had a highly publicized romance that captured the attention of the whole world. Despite their love for each other, their marriage was troubled from the beginning. DiMaggio was often jealous of Monroe’s career and couldn’t handle the attention she received from the public. They were only married for nine months before they split in 1955. However, even after their divorce, they remained close and in contact until Monroe’s death in 1962.

Monroe’s third and final marriage was to playwright Arthur Miller in 1956. Miller was known for his work on the famous play “The Crucible” and had already made a name for himself in the entertainment industry. The two met on the set of a movie and fell in love quickly. However, their marriage was also troubled, with Monroe’s mental health struggles and Miller’s focus on his work often putting a strain on their relationship. They ultimately divorced in 1961, just one year before Monroe’s tragic death.

Notable Moments:

  • Married James Dougherty in 1942 at 16 years old
  • Married Joe DiMaggio in 1954 and divorced just nine months later
  • Married Arthur Miller in 1956 and divorced in 1961

The Miller Divorce:

Monroe’s marriage to Arthur Miller was one of the most controversial and publicized events in her life. The two met while Miller was still married to his previous wife, and their relationship was scrutinized by the media from the beginning. They ultimately married in 1956, but Monroe’s mental health struggles, including her addiction to prescription drugs, created tension in their marriage. Miller was also busy with his work as a playwright and often couldn’t give Monroe the attention she craved.

YearNotable Events
1956Monroe and Miller marry
1960Miller is found guilty of contempt of Congress and Monroe’s career suffers
1961Monroe files for divorce from Miller

Despite their struggles, the marriage lasted almost five years, longer than any of Monroe’s previous marriages. However, their divorce was also heavily publicized, with rumors of infidelity on both sides. Miller later wrote about their relationship in his memoir “Timebends,” portraying Monroe as a deeply troubled but talented person who struggled to find happiness in her personal life.

Marilyn Monroe’s Legacy

Marilyn Monroe has left an indelible mark on Hollywood and popular culture that still resonates to this day. Her iconic status has made her an enduring symbol of feminine beauty and glamour, and her life and career continue to fascinate people around the world. In this article, we will explore one of the most significant milestones in Marilyn Monroe’s career – when she started out in Hollywood and began building her legacy.

When did Marilyn Monroe start her career?

Marilyn Monroe’s career began in the late 1940s when she signed with Twentieth Century Fox. At the time, she was still using her birth name, Norma Jeane Baker, and was just starting to make a name for herself as a model and aspiring actress. Her first credited film role came in 1948, in the crime drama, “Ladies of the Chorus.” Although the movie wasn’t a critical or commercial success at the time, it was significant for Marilyn as it marked her first major step into the world of Hollywood.

In the years that followed, Marilyn appeared in several low-budget movies and played a series of secondary roles. However, it wasn’t until 1953 that she would get her big break in the movie that would launch her to international fame – “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.”

  • “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” – This classic comedy starred Marilyn alongside fellow bombshell, Jane Russell. It was a box office hit, and Marilyn’s performance as the bubbly and naive gold-digger, Lorelei Lee, was widely praised. The famous scene where she sings “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” has become one of the most iconic musical numbers in film history and cemented Marilyn’s status as a Hollywood legend.
  • “The Seven Year Itch” – This 1955 romantic comedy remains one of Marilyn’s most famous movies. The film was famous for the scene where Marilyn stands over a subway grate, her white dress billowing up around her, and her flirtatious line, “Isn’t it delicious?” The image of Marilyn in that white dress has become one of the most iconic in all of Hollywood history.
  • “Some Like It Hot” – This 1959 comedy is often cited as one of the greatest films ever made and is considered by some to be Marilyn’s best performance. In the movie, she plays the ukulele-toting, jazz-singing Sugar Kane, who unwittingly draws the attention of two male musicians fleeing the mob. Her performance is both heartwarming and hilarious, and it shows Marilyn at the height of her comedic powers.

Despite her talent and popularity, Marilyn’s life was not without its struggles. She battled depression and anxiety throughout her career, and her personal life was often tumultuous. However, her legacy has endured long after her death, and she remains an icon of beauty, glamour, and femininity.

Today, Marilyn Monroe’s influence can be seen in everything from fashion to music to art. Her image has been used in countless advertisements and has been referenced in countless movies and TV shows. Decades after her death, she remains a symbol of Hollywood’s Golden Age, and her impact on popular culture shows no signs of fading away.

Overall, Marilyn Monroe’s career was one filled with triumphs and setbacks, but her enduring legacy is a testament to her talent, beauty, and charisma. She will always be remembered as one of Hollywood’s brightest stars, and her status as an icon of femininity and glamour is secure for generations to come.

FAQs: When Did Marilyn Monroe Start Her Career?

1. When did Marilyn Monroe begin acting?

Marilyn Monroe began her career as an actress in 1946, when she signed a contract with Twentieth Century Fox.

2. What was Marilyn Monroe’s first film?

“Marilyn Monroe’s first film was ‘The Shocking Miss Pilgrim,’ a comedy released in 1947.

3. When did Marilyn Monroe become a household name?’

Marilyn Monroe became a household name in 1953, after starring in the films “Niagara” and “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.”

4. When did Marilyn Monroe receive her first major award?

Marilyn Monroe received her first major award, the Henrietta Award for Best Young Box Office Personality, in 1952.

5. When did Marilyn Monroe start her own production company?

Marilyn Monroe started her own production company, Marilyn Monroe Productions, in 1954.

6. What was Marilyn Monroe’s last completed film?

Marilyn Monroe’s last completed film was “The Misfits,” released in 1961.

7. When did Marilyn Monroe pass away?

Marilyn Monroe passed away on August 5th, 1962.

Closing Title: Thanks for Learning About Marilyn Monroe!

Thank you for taking the time to learn about the start of Marilyn Monroe’s career. Her legacy as a Hollywood icon lives on, and we hope you’ll visit for more interesting articles about celebrities of the past and present.