Michael Bryan

Written by Michael Bryan

Modified & Updated: 14 May 2024

Sherman Smith

Reviewed by Sherman Smith

marilyn monroe facts

Although Marilyn Monroe was in her prime almost a hundred years ago, she still remains to be the most enduring sex symbol in the US and around the world. Marilyn’s beautiful hourglass figure, caressing voice, and sense of humor have undoubtedly influenced both men and women around the world. You can find many Marilyn Monroe facts to attest to that.

Marilyn Monroe’s style is iconic, without a doubt. Her red lips, blonde hair, and iconic beauty mark have made lasting style impressions on us all. Marilyn is so iconic, some claim that she has more fans in death than she did in life. Proof of this would be the numerous number of fan clubs found all over the world. Plus, the renewed attention of her films as a result of their release on video. And last, but not the least, her overall identity as an American pop culture icon.

During her lifetime, Marilyn achieved a great degree of popularity that surpassed many of her contemporaries. In fact, her success inspired rival film studios to make their stars look like her. Often used as a symbol of Hollywood, the life of Marilyn Monroe celebrates the town’s glamour and reminds us of its pitfalls. Marilyn’s books, films, and styles are reflections of Marilyn’s unique longevity. Despite the fact that her life, career, and lifestyle are deeply rooted in the 1950s, she continues to delight us with her talent and astonish us with her beauty. In many ways, she is a remarkable and powerful part of our lives and our culture. Will there be another Marilyn Monroe in this lifetime? We highly doubt it.

Fifty years after her death, Marilyn’s face and figure still appear in a wide array of items – from greeting cards to playing cards, to even ceramic figurines and even bedsheets! Learn more about this Hollywood legend with our collection of Marilyn Monroe facts. We hope you enjoy our special collection of Marilyn Monroe facts.

  1. Marilyn Monroe was born on June 1, 1926.
  2. Her official height is 5 ft and 5 in or 1.68 m.
  3. During her lifetime, she weighed between 118 to 140 lbs.
  4. Marilyn Monroe’s bust size is 35 to 37 in.
  5. Despite her success, Marilyn’s estimated net worth during her prime in today’s money is only around $10 million.
  1. Marilyn Monroe was an American singer, model, and actress.
  2. Her real name is Norma Jeane Mortenson.
  3. Monroe was baptized under the name Norma Jeane Baker.
  4. She was born and raised in Los Angeles, California.
  5. Gladys Pearl Baker is Marilyn Monroe’s mother.
  6. Although the identity of Marilyn’s father is unclear, many assume that Charles Stanley Gifford is her biological father.
  7. Martin Edward Mortenson married Gladys in 1921. But they are already divorced before Gladys became pregnant with Marilyn.
  8. Edward Mortenson’s name is on Marilyn’s birth certificate to avoid her being illegitimate.
  9. Monroe never experienced having a child. She suffered two to three miscarriages.
  10. Marilyn Monroe had blue eyes.
  1. Monroe is famous for playing comedic “blonde bombshell” characters.
  2. In 1953, she was featured in Playboy’s first Sweetheart of the Month.
  3. Marilyn Monroe was one of the most marketable Hollywood stars during the early ’50s.
  4. Marilyn liked Italian food so much she would often eat at some of the best Italian restaurants.
  5. Marilyn Monroe’s natural hair color was brown.
Table of Contents

Marilyn Monroe went to an orphanage when she was nine years old.

Marilyn’s mother was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and ended up in a mental hospital. When that happened, Marilyn was put in an orphanage. Sadly, Marilyn’s mother spent the rest of her life inside the mental institution due to her devastating illness.

Marilyn Monroe was discovered in a factory.

Marilyn Monroe worked in the Radioplane factory, an American aviation company that manufactured drone aircrafts during World War II. At that time, Marilyn met a photographer from the First Motion Picture Unit. After she met the photographer, she was offered film contracts with big companies like Columbia Pictures and 20th Century Fox.

Monroe went by many names.

Marilyn also used the screennames; Jean Norman, Mona Monroe, and Jean Adair. She officially and legally changed her name to Marilyn Monroe in March 1956.

Monroe's talent manager at Fox Studios gave her the now-popular screen name.

The head of new talent at Fox Studios, Ben Lyon, chose the name “Marilyn”. He got the name from a star in New York Musicals, Marilyn Miller. For the surname, Marilyn borrowed that of her grandmother, “Monroe.” This combination gave birth to the enduring name in entertainment history.

Marilyn Monroe is a popular sex symbol.

Marilyn is one of the most popular and pioneering sex symbols on the planet. From the ’50s and the ’60s, up to the present day, she is still widely regarded as such a symbol.

Marilyn monroe
Image from Adobe Stock

Marilyn created a "new breed" of sexuality.

Marilyn Monroe’s presence in the media, her shows, and promotions were the driver of the era’s changing attitudes towards sexuality or the way how people experience and express themselves sexually.

Marilyn had three husbands.

First is James Dougherty, an American police officer, whom she was with from 1942 to 1946. When the relationship ended, she married Joe DiMaggio, an American baseball player, and they were together from 1954 to 1955. Her last husband was Arthur Miller, an American playwright, whom she was married to from 1956 to 1961.

Marilyn Monroe practiced Judaism in the '50s.

Marilyn Monroe attended the Church of Christ, Scientist when she was 18 years old. Marilyn also dabbled in alternative beliefs like Anthroposophy (a philosophy founded in the early 20th century), though she converted to Judaism before she married Arthur Miller in 1956.

Marilyn had a slight cosmetic surgery.

In 1950, she had a slight rhinoplasty or nose job procedure. The surgery had her nose lifted. To perfect her face, she also had her chin line stronger by putting a soft bone in her jaw.

Marilyn Monroe faced a scandal in her early career.

When Marilyn was still building her name in the industry, she endured criticism when it was reported that she had scandalous nude photos. However, it became a “blessing in disguise” for her career and many became interested in her.

The film Niagara focused on Marilyn's sex appeal.

By 1953, Marilyn Monroe was already one of the most popular and marketable stars in Hollywood. Some of the most successful films she made during those years are How to Marry a Millionaire, Niagara, and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Niagara, in particular, elevated Monroe to star status.

Monroe also appeared in a few drama roles.

During the ’50s, Marilyn Monroe delved on more projects such as Monkey Business, a romantic comedy film, As Young As You Feel, a comedy, and the suspense thriller Don’t Bother To Knock.

Despite being a superstar, Marilyn Monroe was underpaid.

Marilyn Monroe did quite a feat managing her public image during her hot career. However, she still felt typecasted into certain roles, which disappointed her. Above all, many believe, including herself, that she was underpaid by her studio.

There is no evidence to prove that Monroe had an IQ of 168.

Although there are rumors that Marilyn Monroe had a very high intelligence quotient or an IQ of 168, there is no evidence to prove it.

Monroe had a unique eating habit.

There are times when Monroe had an unusual eating habit. She was known for her love of raw eggs. She would break two raw eggs, mix it up with warm milk, and that would be her breakfast. At lunch or dinner, she would prepare boiled lamb chops or steak with a side dish of raw carrots. One of the most interesting Marilyn Monroe facts.

Marilyn Monroe exercised frequently.

Marilyn Monroe was athletic by nature and she loved to exercise regularly. Those frequent workouts helped her to maintain a waistline of 24 inches, with a hip of 35 inches. Most of her exercises are done in the mornings including a bust-firming program of lifting five-pound weights.

She recorded more than 20 songs.

As a singer, some of her most popular songs are “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend”, “I Wanna Be Loved by You”, “One Silver Dollar”, “My Heart Belongs to Daddy”, “River of No Return”, and “I Found A Dream”.

Marilyn Monroe sang a happy birthday song to President Kennedy.

marilyn monroe, jfk, marilyn monroe facts
Source: Photo in Public Domain in the United States

Marilyn Monroe sang “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” on May 19, 1962, ten days before the actual birthday of former U.S. President John F. Kennedy. She sang the traditional “Happy Birthday to You” with an intimate voice and adding “Mr. President” in the lyrics.

“Thanks, Mr. President
For all the things you’ve done
The battles that you’ve won
The way you deal with U.S. Steel
And our problems by the ton
We thank you so much.”

"I can now retire from politics" - President John F. Kennedy.

After the song performance of Marilyn Monroe on President Kennedy’s birthday, President JFK went to the stage and joked, “I can now retire from politics.”

Unfortunately, it didn’t take long before they both “retired from their lives,” as that was the last major public appearance of Marilyn Monroe before she passed away less than three months after JFK’s birthday. Tragically, a year and a half later, John F. Kennedy was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald.

Marilyn Monroe died on August 4, 1962.

Marilyn Monroe died on August 4, 1962. She was found dead in her room in Los Angeles, California. According to reports, the housekeeper of Marilyn was knocking on her bedroom door that morning but there was no response from inside. Marilyn Monroe was only 36 years old when she died.

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Her cause of death is barbiturate overdose.

Barbiturate overdose was Marilyn’s cause of death. During the investigation, empty medicine bottles were collected near her bed leading to the ruling of a possible suicide or accidental overdose. Some speculate that she struggled with mental health issues which prompted substance abuse. Truly one of the most unfortunate Marilyn Monroe facts.

An auction sold her "Happy Birthday Mr. President" dress for more than $4 million.

When Marilyn performed the “Happy Birthday Mr. President,” she wore a dress made of sheer and flesh-colored marquisette fabric. The dress, with more than 2,000 rhinestones embedded into it, was later auctioned and was sold for $4.81 million.

Marilyn Monroe showed that she can beat the odds.

Marilyn Monroe’s positive attitude and perseverance helped her overcome the odds of growing up in an orphanage and other hardships in her life. She showed the world that she can do it as she later worked towards a path of the spotlight and the public.

Marilyn Monroe portrait on stamp
Image from Adobe Stock

She battled depression in her lifetime.

Although Marilyn may look successful on the outside during her peak, the symptoms of mental illness haunted her from time to time. Throughout her career, she battled depression, exhaustion, emotional issues, and failed marriages.

She was buried on August 8, 1962.

On August 8, 1962, Marilyn Monroe was buried in Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park & Mortuary found in Los Angeles, California.

Joe DiMaggio fulfilled his promise to Monroe.

Marilyn asked her second ex-husband Joe DiMaggio to leave flowers on her grave every week if she died first. DiMaggio kept his promise, sending a half-dozen red roses in Marilyn’s tomb three times a week for 20 years. However, fans kept on stealing the roses so he decided to stop it.

The Playboy founder's tomb was next to Monroe's.

Buried on September 20, 2017, Hugh Hefner’s tomb was beside Marilyn’s tomb at Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park and Mortuary. Did you know Marilyn’s graveyard is one of the most visited and longed-for celebrity graves in the United States?

Marilyn Monroe memorial
Image from Adobe Stock

Monroe's resting place is full of celebrities.

Marilyn Monroe’s burial place in Westwood Village is now filled with celebrity graves. Just right near the front entrance, you will spot the final resting places of other famous artists such as Don Knotts, Mel Torme, Truman Capote, and Eva Gabor.

Monroe's sudden death affected a lot of people.

Monroe’s death made headlines in the United States and Europe. A month after the incident, the suicide rate increased in Los Angeles. There also was an expansion of newspaper distribution that month due to hundreds of phone calls from the public requesting more information about her death.

There is a lesson to learn from her death.

French artist Jean Cocteau commented that her death serves as a wake-up call to people whose chief occupation is to torment and spy on film stars. American State director Joshua Logan said, in twisted irony, that Marilyn is one of the most unappreciated people in the world.

She had a private funeral.

Marilyn’s funeral was solemn, private, and open only to her closest relatives and friends. The funeral ceremony was led by her second husband, Joe DiMaggio, and her business manager, Inez Melson. Nevertheless, hundreds of fans and regular people came to observe the ceremony in the streets around the cemetery.

Some believe that Marilyn Monroe was murdered.

In recent years, many conspiracy theories came out and one of them is that Marilyn Monroe was murdered. When American novelist Norman Mailer published Marilyn: A Biography, speculations that she was killed stirred up the public’s mind. Still, no evidence suggests that there’s foul play surrounding her unlikely demise.

The book Marilyn: A Biography is filled with controversies.

Norman Mailer’s Marilyn: A Biography is a large book filled with photos of Monroe. It also featured controversies surrounding Marilyn’s death, one of which was that FBI and CIA agents murdered her for her supposed affair with John F. Kennedy.

She's one of the "faces of America."

The Smithsonian Institution added Marilyn Monroe to its list of “100 Most Significant Americans of All Time.” Indeed, many would argue that she is as popular as Elvis Presley and the iconic cartoon, Mickey Mouse.

“No other star has ever inspired such a wide range of emotions — from lust to pity, from envy to remorse. – The Guide to United States Popular Culture

Marilyn Monroe "set the stage" for the next generation.

Aside from the many books published about Marilyn Monroe, she also built the foundation for a new breed of films, operas, songs, and plays. Monroe also influenced artists after her time including Madonna and Andy Warhol.

Monroe helped launch Ella Fitzgerald's career.

Fitzgerald said in an interview: “I owe Marilyn Monroe a real debt… she personally called the owner of The Mocambo, and told him she wanted me booked immediately, and if he would do it, she would take a front table every night. The owner said yes, and Marilyn was there, front table, every night. The press went overboard. After that, I never had to play a small jazz club again. She was an unusual woman, a little ahead of her times. And, she didn’t know it.” The Mocambo club initially didn’t let Fitzgerald play because of her race.

She attempted suicide three times.

Marilyn Monroe attempted to end her life after having a miscarriage. Her third husband, Arthur Miller, was her current partner when Marilyn took a lot of barbiturates. Miller called a doctor, who immediately came and pumped out Marilyn’s stomach. This was followed by two more attempts of ending her own life.

She did not get her highest paycheck.

In 1962, Twentieth-Century Fox fired Marilyn Monroe due to some no-shows, tardiness, and other issues. The company rehired Marilyn on August 1, 1962, for $1 million, which should be her highest paycheck. This led to nowhere as she died four days later.

Frank Sinatra gave Monroe a dog.

dog, maltese terrier, marilyn monroe facts
Source: Unsplash

Marilyn liked and owned dogs throughout her life. The legendary singer Frank Sinatra gave Marilyn a Maltese terrier several months before she passed away. Marilyn named the dog Mafia, which she called “Maf,” for short.

Marilyn has some of the most memorable quotes.

“All little girls should be told they are pretty, even if they aren’t.”

“If you can make a girl laugh, you can make her do anything.”

“One of the best things that ever happened to me is that I’m a woman. That is the way all females should feel.”

– Norma Jeane Mortenson (Marilyn Monroe)

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