Gladys Mortensen on June1st, 1926 at 9:30 am in Los Angeles, California.
Gladys was divorced from her husband, C. Stanley Gifford and separated
from her husband Ed Mortensen.
Ed Mortensen was who Gladys put on Norma Jeans birth certificate as her
father but it is still in question if he was her father of if it was her first husband
Jack Baker who was her father.
Gladys had two other kids from another marriage. She had them in her
first marriage to Jack Baker. They were married when she was sixteen in 1917.
The kids names were Hermitt Jack and Berneice. They went to live with their
fathers family in Kentucky after their divorce in 1921.
Hermitt reportedly died of Tuberculosis in the early 20s, but Gladys
reported both of them dead when Norma Jean was born. Gladys later reunited in
the 60s when Berneice in the 60s when Berneice became Gladys legal guardian.
After Norma Jean was born Gladys decided she couldnt afford her and so
she sent her to live with a mail carrier and his wife, Albert and Ida Bolender.
Norma Jean spent her first years with the Bolenders. They were very
religious. They boarded children at their property. It was two acres. They tried
to adopt her but Gladys always rejected.
Her Grandmother live across the street from the Bolenders. Her name
was Della Hogan Monroe Grainger. She would take Norma Jean to her house for
visits often. Later in life Marilyn said that she awoke in the night fighting for her
lifer because her grandmother was holding a pillow over her face. Many people
say she couldnt remember this happening because she was only a year old then.
Another time Della tried to rescue Norma Jean. She tired breaking the
Bolenders door down. She had to be taken away by the police and she was put
in an asylum on August 4, 1927, where she died 3 weeks later from a heart attack
during a manic seizure.
Norma Jeans situation was very confusing for her. She got weekend
visits from Gladys. Norma Jean never called her her mama though. She didnt
know Gladys was really her mother until Ida Bolender pointed it out to her. She
had always called the Bolenders mom and dad until Ida corrected her.
There was another kid there named Lester. He got away with away with
calling them mom and dad because he had been adopted by them. Yet, they
called Norma Jean and Lester twins which only confused Norma Jean even
Gladys started spending more time with her daughter and she took her to
work with her occasionally. She was five when she saw pictures of the father for
the first time. I felt so excited I almost fell off my chair…That was my first happy
time. (Marilyn by: Kathy Rooks-Denes, copyright 1993, pg. 19).
In 1934 Norma Jean was brought to lice with her mom and an English
couple. They urged her out of the religious shell she was in and got her into
singing and dancing and the movies.
Gladys worked two jobs. She tried to provide a good family life for her
daughter but in 1935 Gladys was taken away on away on a stretcher. She was
put in the same mental hospital her mom had died in and was diagnosed with
paranoid schizophrenia. She would stay in the hospital almost the rest of her life.
Her mother would never allow her to be adopted out so she lived in 12
different families, 10 of them foster parents, when she wasnt in a Los Angeles
At age 16 Norma Jean was forced into a marriage to 20 year old Jim
Dougherty. She didnt want to marry him. She thought she was way too young
but she was forced to do so anyways.
I had six mothers weeping when I marched down the aisle (Marilyn pg.
25) Gladys wasnt there though even though she wasnt in a hospital at the time.
They didnt take a honeymoon and Jim went to work the next day like their
marriage wasnt any big deal. It was like being retired to a zoo. The effect
marriage had on me was to increase my lack of interest in sex…Actually our
marriage was a sort of friendship with sexual privileges, (which) brought me
neither pain nor happiness. (Marilyn pg. 26)
She wanted a baby but he talked her out of it and bought her a collie for
In 1943 Jim joined the merchant marine as a physical training instructor on
Santa Catalina Island.
In 1944 he got his orders to go to Australia. Norma Jean moved in with his
family. She began working at the Radio Plane Company.
In June 1945 a photographer named David Conover came into the plant in
search of subjects and Norma Jean caught his eye. Im going to take your
picture for the boys in the Army to keep their morale high. (Marilyn pg. 27)
The pictures were published in Yank and Stars and Stripes magazines.
She was fired from her next job. They said Norma Jean had more than
the usual amount ot sex appeal. (Marilyn pg. 30)
At an agents instance, Norma Jean had her light brown hair bleached to
help her get more jobs.
When my lawyer wrote Jim in Shanghi about my wanting a divorce, Jim
asked if I would wait until he returned home from over seas to see if we could
make a go of our marriage. I knew then that I wanted to be an actress more than
ever. (Marilyn pg. 36)
In 1946 Jim showed up at her house with the divorce papers. She met him
at the door and told him she had been signed with 20th Century Fox. She also
told him of her new name, Marilyn Monroe. Marilyn being after Marilyn Miller and
Monroe was her mothers maiden name.
In 1952 Marilyn started dating retired baseball great, Joe DiMaggio. He
hated Hollywood but she was not about to give up her career for the house wife
On January 14, 1954 she married Joe. At their wedding she asked Joe if
he would put flowers at her grave every week after she died.
The marriage went wrong after only a few weeks. He didnt like her
famous skirt blowing scene and she filed for a divorce 2 weeks after it was
Some of the films Marilyn was in Include:
The Shocking Miss Pilgrim 1947
Dangerous years 1947
You Were Meant For Me 1948
Scudda Hoo! Scudda Hey! 1948
Ladies of the Chorus 1948
Love Happy 1950
A Ticket to Tomahawk 1950
The Asphalt Jungle 1950
All About Eve 1950
Dont bother to Knock 1952
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes 1953
How to Marry a Millionaire 1953
The Seven Year Itch 1955
Some Like It Hot 1959
The Misfits 1961
Joe DiMaggio Jr. talked to Marilyn at about 7:00 p.m. the night of her
death. He said she was happy and anything but depressed, but Peter Lawford
talked to her at about 7:45 p.m. and said she sounded almost inaudible. He kept
asking her what was wrong and she finally said, Say good-bye to Pat, Say
good-bye to the president and say good-bye to yourself, because your a nice guy.
Ill see, Ill see. Then she was silent. (Good House Keeping, May 1993, pg. 216).
He received a call at 1:30 saying they had found Marilyn dead at midnight.
It is said that she died of a drug over-dose but many people believe she
She had had affairs with both John and Bobby Kennedy, so many people
believe she was killed by a government hit man.
Others believe she was murdered by the Mafia. Her death may always
remain a mystery along with many of the strange facts of her rather secret life.
Her crypt is in Westwood Memorial Cemetery. Joe DiMaggio arranged so
that two red roses would be delivered to her grave two times a week forever.
In 1982 he decided forever was over. Robert Slatzer took over after him.
She now gets white roses and Slatzer has arranged the flowers keep coming
many years after his death.
The Marilyn Monroe that everyone thinks they knew never existed, the
whittles bimbo, the dumb blonde, the self destructive women of easy virtue. This
bears no relationship to her at all. (People Magazine, 4-12-93, page 83).