The Original Influencer: When Marilyn Monroe Redefined The Culture

Marilyn Monroe was born Norma Jeane Mortenson back in 1926, but her legend remains a fresh tale even today. She excelled not only as an actress but also as a model and singer. Monroe was not simply an influential figure. Her presence in American culture and heritage is pivotal, and to an extent, revolutionary, especially in terms of redefining the standards of beauty and grace. Her clout seems even more significant when considering the kind of hurdles she had to face as a young woman cornered in a patriarchal society.

Long before the extensive use of television and social media, Marilyn Monroe influenced the masses without having a blue tick next to her social media handles. Here is how Marilyn rose above the restricting standards of society and emerged as the most influential figure of all times.

The Grim Reality Of Marilyn Monroe’s Early Life

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Marilyn was born Norma Jeane Mortenson but was later baptized to Norma Jeane Baker. Marilyn’s childhood was not very smooth sailing. She was born in Los Angeles, California, to Gladys Pearl Baker, who was previously married at the age of 15 to an abusive man called John Newton Baker. She barely escaped the violence to raise her kids in a healthy, nurturing environment. Her abusive husband later kidnaped these kids, and Marilyn did not get a chance to meet them until she was 12, and her half-brother had already passed away by the time Marilyn came to know of them.

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Marilyn’s mother got married a second time to Martin Edward Mortensen, and although they separated in a few months, Marilyn’s birth certificate claims this man to be her biological father. However, there is much doubt about the validity of this fact. Whatever be the case, Marilyn grew up like an orphan without much attention or affection from her parents. She spent most of her childhood in orphanages until she got married at the tender age of 16.

Marilyn suffered sexual violence as a child and had mental health issues of her own, as also stated by Biography. While she was living at the Los Angeles Orphans Home, her legal guardian, Grace Goddard, in the absence of her mother, molested young Marilyn. She was relocated for some time until she was brought back to the Goddard home. Towards the end, she had to marry a neighbor to drop from school and flee from the clutches of sexual abuse.

Rising From The Ashes

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Monroe moved with her husband to Santa Catalina Island in 1943. This was her chance to begin afresh, and in the beginning, she worked at the Radioplane Company. This is where she met the photographer David Conover. This turned out to be a fortunate encounter for the future star, who finally realized her calling for modeling. She made the crucial decision of quitting her job and beginning modeling for Conover and his pals.

The Blue Book Model Agency signed her in 1945. Monroe began by dyeing her hair blonde and appearing in advertisements and men’s magazines. Soon she got famous enough to be on the cover of almost 30 publications.

The Transition From Modelling to Acting

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1946 was an important year in the life of Marilyn Monroe as she landed her first contract with an acting agency. She also got signed for a six-month contract by Darryl F. Zanuck, the head executive of 20th century Fox then. She adopted Marilyn Moroe as her stage name and began getting groomed to act, sing, and dance. Monroe’s movie debut came in 1947 when her contract was renewed. She worked in the movie Dangerous Years and then in Scudda Hoo! Scudda Hay! In the following year.

Monroe was a graceful stage presence, but her contract was not renewed when the authorities decided she was too shy to be on the stage. Taking classes at the Actors’ Laboratory Theatre did not help her keep her contract, but new opportunities soon came her way. She got signed with Columbia Pictures the same year and landed a role in Ladies of the Chorus.

When she contacted John Hyde, the vice president of William Morris Agency, she got an opportunity to showcase her big-screen skills in the 1950s movies All About Eve and The Asphalt Jungle. She renegotiated a contract with 20th Century Fox, which lasted for about seven years, and landed her roles in films like Let’s Make It Legal, As Young As You Feel, HomeTown Story, Love Nest, Clash by Night, We’re Not Married!, Don’t Bother To Knock, and Monkey Business. Hollywood Foreign Press Association in 1952 dubbed Monroe the best young box office personality.

Monroe is also famous for her musical skills, and in the 1950s, she appeared in musicals like Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and There’s No Business Like Show Business. Particularly renowned is her role in the rom-com How to Marry A Millionaire. Another major highlight of her acting and modeling career was appearing on the cover of Playboy magazine, although it was later discovered that the picture was published without her consent.

A Horde Of Achievements

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Monroe’s exclusive works are not only famous but also critically acclaimed. She won nominations for 4 Golden Globe Awards in her life. The legendary actress also won the Best Foreign Actress award and a BAFTA Award nomination for her brilliant performance in The Prince And The Showgirl.

In the 1950s, she also launched her own production house called Marilyn Monroe Productions. She received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960, and the film The Seven Year Itch won her a Golden Laurel award in the ‘Top Female Comedy Performance’ category. About 23 of Monroe’s movies internationally grossed over $200 million, making her among the best entertainers of all time. Monroe’s net worth at the time of her death was estimated to be around $10 million.

The legendary heroine passed away after overdosing on barbiturates and was found dead in her room by her housekeeper on an August morning in 1962. Some of her works published posthumously include her nude photoshoots that got featured in Vogue under the name of ‘The Last Sitting’. With sheer courage and fortitude, Monroe broke through the shackles of regressive and predatory presences and made her beauty and self-expression stand out. Her bold personality and charisma were the major factors that made Marilyn Monroe one of the century’s most influential figures and beyond.

The Startling Influence Of Monroe

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Monroe posters are still a major obsession today – be it among teenagers or adults curating a professional space. This kind of clout over the public is also the result of the resonance that Marilyn created by her godly charm. The pop artist Andy Warhol also created the classic Marilyn Diptych in 1962, a silkscreen painting featuring the evergreen star. It later became an extremely popular poster.

It can be said that Marilyn Monroe created a major wave in the art of posing for photographs as part of her modeling career. Her poses and looks later became a handbook for newbies trying to enter the industry or even for Instagram influencers trying to perfect the art of influencing the masses. Even today, some of the most trending picture poses and makeup looks for social media were originally inspired by Marilyn. Her significance in shaping pop culture is almost otherworldly, and she has a cult-like following even after decades of her demise.

Monroe created waves of new trends through her posters, movies, performances every second day in her prime. Surprisingly, even without the extensive use of media, the masses went gaga over the trends set by Monroe. Doppelgangers of Monroe are not an uncommon sight even today at most cosplay gatherings, which is a stark example of the legacy that the legend left behind.

The legendary heroine passed away after overdosing on barbiturates and was found dead in her room by her housekeeper on an August morning in 1962. Some of her works published posthumously include her nude photoshoots that got featured in Vogue under the name of ‘The Last Sitting.’ Monroe broke through the shackles of regressive and predatory presences with sheer courage and fortitude and made her beauty and self-expression stand out. Her bold personality and charisma were the significant factors that made Marilyn Monroe one of the century’s most influential figures.

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Source: Britannica, Celebrity Net Worth, Biography, TheaterSeatStore

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