George Barris / Wikimedia Commons
Marilyn Monroe, one of the most famous sex symbols of all time, is somewhat of an open book. Most people know, for example, that the glamorous name was not really hers; it was really girl-next-door sounding Norma Jeane Mortenson (later Baker)—definitely not as hot—and that she was not a natural bombshell blonde; she had brown hair. Most people also know that the cause of her death at age 36 was ruled a drug overdose. But there is more about this complicated woman that you might not know.
5 Unusual Eating Habits
Monroe might not have had a strange diet her entire life but, when she was 26, she told “Pageant” magazine what she typically ate in a day. She used a hot plate in her room to warm a glass of milk to which she whipped in two raw eggs. (No one seemed to get salmonella back then.) She skipped lunch. For dinner, she would broil some type of meat, such as liver, lamb or steak, and have a few raw carrots on the side. She let herself actually enjoy one meal, however: dessert. She was fond of hot fudge sundaes.
4 First “Playboy” Cover Girl
Marilyn Monroe was more powerful and in control nude than clothed, according to Hugh Hefner, founder of “Playboy” magazine. So it was only fitting that she graced the cover of the magazine’s first issue in 1953. Her poses were artful, and Robert Ebert once wrote, “We could admire her and not be made to feel complicit in something shameful or sinful.” Monroe maintained her relationship with “Playboy” throughout her life and was still being photographed nude toward the end of her life.
3 Possible Communist
Many people in Hollywood during the 1950s and 1960s were on the FBI’s watch list for suspicion of being a communist. And one of them was Marilyn Monroe. Monroe might have been way to the left politically, but there is no evidence that she was a communist or that money from Marilyn Monroe Productions, her own production company that she formed in 1955, funded any communist efforts as the FBI suspected.
2 Chronically Late
Many people know that Monroe was habitually late for appearances on various movie sets. But what they might not know is the reason: Monroe was insecure about her acting abilities and suffered from debilitating anxiety that would often make her physically ill. Still, people loved to joke about her tardiness. Director Billy Wilder, when frustrated about waiting for Monroe, said, “I have an aunt Minnie who’s very punctual, but who would pay to see Aunt Minnie?” She was also the butt of a scheduled joke before her famed “Happy Birthday Mr. Pre-si-dent” rendition that she would sing to John F. Kennedy. When Monroe was announced to appear on stage, the spotlights panned to an empty spot. After the laughter died down, Monroe came out to sing.
1 Unstable Childhood
Monroe never knew who her father was, and her mother, before Monroe was born, starting displaying mental health problems such as mood swings, crying jags and promiscuity. Monroe’s mother also suffered postpartum depression after having Monroe and stabbed a coworker with a knife. Monroe was given to a neighbor, who raised her for a few years. But Monroe’s childhood was mostly spent being shuffled around to various foster homes, and she endured sexual assaults in some of them. Monroe’s grandmother also suffered from mental health issues and tried to smother Monroe with a pillow when she was an infant.