With her platinum blonde hair and signature red lipstick, Marilyn Monroe (who would have celebrated her 91st birthday on the 1st of June) is easily one of the most iconic celebrities of all time, however, only a few know what the actress looked like before she was famous.
Born Norma Jeane Mortenson, Monroe had a really tough childhood. She moved from one foster home to another, going through traumatic experiences in almost all of them. She was sexually abused and even started developing a stutter. Monroe married at the age of sixteen, but that didn’t bring her happiness as well.Everything changed in 1944 when Monroe was working in a military factory where she was introduced to a photographer from the U.S. Army Air Force’s First Motion Picture Unit. This relationship propelled Marilyn’s pin-up modeling career, and the work eventually led to film contracts with Twentieth Century Fox and Columbia Pictures.
Not only directors, fellow actors and people around the world, but also photographers quite simply loved the amazing Marilyn Monroe.Many photo masters of the 50s tried to capture the film star in all her dazzling Hollywood beauty.But it turned out that only another woman could show this lady’s true nature. That’s why the pictures of Eve Arnold, who worked with Marilyn for more than ten years, are so different from other photos.Here, the actress doesn’t look like a frozen, glossy picture — she’s a living person with her weaknesses, strengths and drawbacks.
Best part presents you with a selection of these incredible photos, in which the iconic star seems a little bit closer to us.
A Baby Picture
Back in the days before you had #tbt or #fbf, you rarely got a glimpse of celebrities in their youth. This was one of those rare childhood pictures of Marilyn. She was such a gorgeous baby with those recognisable twinkling eyes.
At Five Years Old (1931)
The young girl is shown having the bright blonde hair that she would later become known for (so it was her natural colour!). Note that charming smile is already in full action…
The Little Girl
Norma Jeane Baker was born on June 1, 1926. She never knew her father, while her mother (above) was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and was incapable of caring for herself. For most of her life, she was bouncing among relatives and orphanages. Worse still, this beautiful young girl was molested by a foster father at the age of 11.
Dark Hair, Don’t Care
At age 15, Marilyn’s hair had darkened. It wasn’t long before Marilyn turned to the bottle of bleach to transform herself into the infamous blonde bombshell.
Marilyn Monroe can be seen here in her younger days, still very glamorous and with her cheeky side on full view!
At the Beach (1946)
Enjoying the beach under the scorching sun are Marilyn Monroe’s half sister Bernice Baker Miracle (left), Marilyn’s mother Gladys (center) and Marilyn herself (right). This photo is especially rare as all three family members are together in it. They were all beauties, but just look how Marilyn just shined in front of the camera…
This is a gorgeous of the young model and actress early on in her career. Makeup-free and care-free, Marilyn looks healthy and full of life. An evocative image…
This is one of Marilyn Monroe’s earlier photos at the start of her career. In this photo, Marilyn Monroe poses for a portrait in Los Angeles, California as one of the newest and soon-to-be biggest 20th Century-Fox girl.
First Marriage to James Dougherty
In 1942, 16-year-old Marilyn married James Dougherty. Their marriage only lasted four years before they filed for divorce.
Scandalous Bedroom Pose
During this era, this was as scandalous as an image would get. Today, images push the boundaries much further, but back then, in more conservative times, Monroe was one of the trailblazers for rebelling against oppressive rules.
This iconic image of Marilyn in 1955 is one of the most noteworthy. Whilst filming for The Seven Year Itch, Marilyn was standing on top of a subway grill whilst having a photo call and an unexpected gush blew her dress in the air, creating this timeless photo.
A Natural Pose
Up close shots like this really help you to appreciate Marilyn’s natural beauty. She was a hit in Hollywood for good reason and this is just one example of why she was so popular. The stunner had a real way with the camera.
Honoring a Soldier
This is a gorgeous picture of the star talking up a soldier who bravely fought for his country. She is deeply engrossed in conversation and this picture portrays her sweet-natured soul.
Hanging Out at a Beach House
This is a picture of Marilyn Monroe socializing at Peter Lawford’s beach house in 1960. She was there along with other well-known celebrities including Frank Sinatra. This photo gives a rare shot of Marilyn Monroe outside of the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, able to relax with friends.
Being Marilyn Monroe Was Hard Work
This is a photo that may lack the usual lustre of a photos of Marilyn, but that is for good reason. This photo was reportedly taken after she had worked a long day on set. Her level of celebrity was exhausting, her every move watched and judged. This is a rare glimmer of her with her guard down.