Marilyn Monroe's life landmarks

Marilyn Monroe is seen in this publicity photo from 1953. Sunday marks the 50th anniversary of her...

Marilyn Monroe is seen in this publicity photo from 1953. Sunday marks the 50th anniversary of her death. (AP Photo)

Steve Tilley, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:23 AM ET

She was a candle in the wind, and yet 50 years after her death, interest in Marilyn Monroe has never burned brighter.

She's the subject of new books that probe her short life and mysterious death; a Broadway musical about her forms the plot of NBC's drama Smash; Michelle Williams starred as her in last year's My Week With Marilyn and a documentary titled Love, Marilyn will debut at this year's Toronto International Film Festival.

She continues to influence fashion, femininity and sex, and while Lindsay Lohan still hasn't found someone who will let her play Marilyn in a movie, she did channel the starlet in a pictorial for Playboy -- the same magazine that featured a nude Marilyn in its first-ever issue.

With Sunday marking the 50th anniversary of Marilyn Monroe's death, we look at some of the landmarks in her life.

1926

Norma Jean Mortenson is born June 1st in Los Angeles, third child of Gladys Pearl Baker. While Martin Edward Mortensen is listed on her birth, the actual identity of her father is a source of some dispute.

1942

Norma Jean marries James Dougherty at the age of 16. They're divorced four years later, with Norma Jean saying she has grown bored of the marriage.

1945

Norma Jean is photographed for a U.S. armed forces magazine while working at a munitions factory. This leads to a contract with the Blue Book Modeling Agency, for which she dyes her brunette hair blonde.

1946

Norma Jean's modelling work leads to a successful screen test with Fox. After considering and discarding several possible new names, studio executive Ben Lyon finally settles on Marilyn Monroe.

1948

Marilyn's first speaking role, a one-line bit part, is in Scudda Hoo! Scudda Hay! She later lands a larger role in musical Ladies of the Chorus, but the film receives poor reviews and she is dropped from her studio contract.

1949

A destitute Marilyn does her first and only nude photo session with photographer Tom Kelley. She's paid $50 and uses the name Mona Monroe. These photos will later cause a small scandal, and ultimately appear in the premiere issue of Playboy magazine.

1950

Marilyn's small roles in The Asphalt Jungle and All About Eve make Hollywood take notice, though critics often focus on her looks rather than her acting talent.

1952

Marilyn lands her first leading role in Don't Bother to Knock and begins dating former baseball player Joe DiMaggio.

1954

Marilyn marries DiMaggio, who grows increasingly angry with her sexual image. When Marilyn shoots the iconic skirt-blowing scene for The Seven Year Itch, it leads to a quarrel with DiMaggio. The couple divorce later that year.

1955

Marilyn announces the formation of her own production company with photographer Milton Greene, with the intention to broaden her scope as an actress. She begins dating playwright Arthur Miller, and marries him the following year.

1958

Marilyn stars in Some Like It Hot. The film is nominated for six Academy Awards and Marilyn wins the Golden Globe for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, her second Golden Globe nomination after 1956's Bus Stop.

1960

Marilyn's health begins to deteriorate. She's frequently ill and unable to perform, and rumours swirl about sleeping pills, alcohol and psychiatric treatments.

1961

Marilyn's divorce from Arthur Miller is finalized. The following month, she voluntarily enters the Payne Whitney Psychiatric Clinic. Joe DiMaggio later secures her release.

1962

Marilyn receives the Golden Globe Award for "World Film Favourite." Two months later, she attends the birthday gala of U.S. president John F. Kennedy, with whom she was rumoured to have had an affair. Her rendition of Happy Birthday becomes immediately famous.

1962

On Aug. 5, at the age of 36, Marilyn Monroe is found dead in the bedroom of her Brentwood home in Los Angeles. The cause of death is ruled to be acute barbiturate poisoning, but to this day debate ensues as to whether her death was accidental, suicide or murder.


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