60 years without Marilyn Monroe, the Hollywood star turned cultural icon

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On the night of August 4 to 5, 1962, the lifeless body of Marilyn Monroe appeared in her bed after consuming a high dose of barbiturates. This was the mysterious end of one of the greatest icons of popular culture of the 20th century. A Hollywood star capable of attracting the admiration of millions. Her life linked to her fame also sparked scandals, such as the alleged relationship she had with former President John Fitzgerald Kennedy and her brother Robert Kennedy.

Marilyn Monroe was born in 1926 with the name of Norma Jane Mortenson. Her childhood was marked by the abandonment of her parents and her journey through various foster families and orphanages, some years in which she even suffered sexual abuse. With the arrival of her youth, her artistic talents and her beauty were highlighted, something that made Hollywood take notice of her. In 1946, at just 20 years old, Marilyn signed her first contract with 20th Century Fox.

During her early years, Monroe was determined to succeed as an actress and spent much of her time improving her acting and singing skills. Despite the fact that, at first, he only got small jobs and that some producers assured that he was not good enough to succeed in Hollywood, Monroe made a space for himself in the industry and met people from the world of cinema, some contacts that made him able to promote herself as an actress through the big screen.

Comedies served to forge Marilyn as a Hollywood sex icon

The roles that made Monroe successful were in comedies. These films focused on highlighting her physical attractiveness and made the actress a sexual icon of her time.

His films were the highest grossing of the moment, reaching 200 million dollars in profits, an amount comparable to 2,000 million dollars today.

The photo shows from the left; Vivien Leigh, Sir Laurence Olivier, Marilyn Monroe and her ex-husband Arthur Miller at the London Comedy Theater during the premiere of ‘A View From The Bridge’ on October 11, 1956. © Bob Dear / AP

Some data that made him become a more than profitable figure for the Hollywood film industry in its golden age. But she Monroe made it clear from the beginning that she did not intend to pigeonhole herself in the role of sexual icon, wanting to star in other types of films that would make her grow as an actress.

And it is that her greatest obsession was around becoming a better artist, despite the fact that many considered her simply a sexual object to admire. With much effort, Monroe managed to star in film noir roles that allowed her to develop much more complex characters.

Titles such as ‘Niagara’, ‘The Seven Year Itch’ or ‘Bus Stop’ shot up his reputation on the big screen. A recognition that would come to her in the form of an award in 1959, when she won the Golden Globe for Best Actress for her role in ‘Some Like it Hot’.

His life behind the screens also attracted the spotlight and the covers

However, beyond her professional success, Marilyn’s off-screen life has always been at the center of public attention. The actress was the protagonist of several controversies, such as her nude in the first issue of ‘Playboy’ magazine. In addition, her mediatic marriages and her subsequent divorces with baseball player Joe Di Maggio and screenwriter Arthur Miller occupied the front pages for years.

The marriage with Joe Di Maggio barely lasted two years, since Marilyn came to suffer mistreatment by her husband. Something very different from the period that she was with Arthur Miller between 1956 and 1961. At this stage she reached her professional zenith and her greatest personal stability. However, a series of miscarriages worsened her psychological health, as did her addiction to barbiturates, drugs that act as central nervous system sedatives that are prescribed to treat anxiety.

In this June 2, 1955 file photo, actress Marilyn Monroe, right, in a glamorous evening gown with Joe di Maggio, arrives at the theater.
In this June 2, 1955 file photo, actress Marilyn Monroe, right, in a glamorous evening gown with Joe di Maggio, arrives at the theater. © AP File

Marilyn dragged through her adult life psychological problems derived from her troubled childhood. An issue that was further accentuated by media pressure and the fact that she became a star. This situation caused her to become addicted to barbiturates mixed with alcohol in her mid-50s, a combination that would worsen her health and her emotional stability.

The love relationship with the Kennedy brothers and its mysterious end

But her most convulsive moments would come with the arrival of the 1960s. After divorcing Arthur Miller in 1961, Monroe was identified as the lover of two of the most important political figures in the United States: former President John Fitzgerald Kennedy and his brother Robert Kennedy . An issue that raised controversy and that was tried to hide from the White House, but that many witnesses say their meetings were regular. The birthday song Marilyn sang live to President Kennedy will go down in history.

It is from his relationship with the Kennedys, where all kinds of rumors about his death begin to resonate. Marilyn Monroe died in her bed on August 4, 1962 after consuming a very high amount of barbiturates.

The coroners pointed to a suicide, however, over the years, the rumors and investigations that pointed to a murder due to his relationship with the Kennedys and his left-wing militancy in a Cold War context began to gain strength, as well as than the accounts of witnesses who denied the official version. An issue that has caused dozens of books to be written and even in 1982 his case was reopened to investigate a possible murder, although this issue never went beyond rumor milling.

Be that as it may, the image of Marilyn Monroe continued to be very much alive in the popular imagination, which, beyond her artistic career or her physical attractiveness, saw her as one of the most representative icons of popular culture of the 20th century.

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