Our Marilyn Monroe themed hotel room is one of our most popular rooms at Arthouse Hotel. So we’re celebrating the star with some magical, mysterious and memorable Marilyn Monroe facts.
Monroe was a pinup icon and went on to become one of Hollywood’s most famous actresses. Long before the days of social media, the press were fixated on unraveling who she was and fans followed her every move.
But behind the scenes, Norma Jeane Mortenson was humble, shy and longed to start a family of her own. Though she’s best-remembered for her looks and charisma, Marilyn was also kind-hearted and politically engaged before her time.
29 Marilyn Monroe Facts
So, to celebrate the fascinating life of the 1950s icon, we’ve compiled a collection of our favourite Marilyn Monroe facts and iconic ‘Marilyn moments’…
1) Marilyn loved to read literature
Marilyn Monroe owned an extensive library of literature and was an avid reader. Often photographed enjoying a good book, some of Monroe’s favourites included The Fall by Albert Camus and Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises.
2) Marilyn Monroe was just a stage name
Marilyn’s real name was Norma Jaeane Mortenson, as documented on her birth certificate. Ben Lyon, Head of New Talent at Fox Studios helped a young and ambitious Norma Jeane to create a stage name.
Lyon told her “you are to me a Marilyn”, referencing Marilyn Miller, a fellow actress who’d starred in musicals in New York. Norma opted for her grandmother’s last name, Monroe. And the rest is history!
3) Monroe loved to wear Chanel No.5
If you’ve ever wondered what Marilyn Monroe’s scent of choice was, look no further than Chanel’s first and most timeless perfume. In an interview in 1952, Marilyn Monroe said that she wore “five drops of Chanel No. 5” and nothing else in bed. “I don’t want to say nude,” she said, “but it’s the truth.”
4) She married her first husband at 16
Before the bright lights of Hollywood swept up a young Norma Jean, James Dougherty married the pretty teenager when she was just 16.
“We decided to get married to prevent her from going back to a foster home,” Dougherty later said, “but we were in love. I never knew Marilyn Monroe, and I don’t claim to have any insights to her to this day,” Dougherty told United Press International in 1990. “I knew and loved Norma Jean.”
5) Marilyn was underpaid for her work
In comparison to her fellow leading ladies of the era, Marilyn Monroe was overworked and underpaid. Elizabeth Taylor was paid one million dollars for Cleopatra, while Monroe earned just $100,000 for Something’s Gotta Give. Jane Russell, Marilyn’s co-star in Gentleman Prefer Blondes was also paid over ten times the amount that Marilyn earned.
6) Marilyn married playwright Arthur Miller
In 1956, Marilyn married playwright, author and screenwriter, Arthur Miller. The turbulent relationship proved controversial once in the public eye and many speculated that Miller was using Marilyn as a creative muse.
Though their relationship ended in heartache, Miller went on to write:
“She was a whirling light to me then, all paradox and enticing mystery, street-tough one moment, then lifted by a lyrical and poetic sensitivity that few retain past early adolescence.”
7) Marilyn opposed segregation laws
In the 1950s, segregation laws were still very much in force. This meant American jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald struggled to reach the audience she needed to really launch her career.
Marilyn used her platform to help Ella land gigs around Los Angeles, promising management that she would sit in the front row of her shows for a week!
8) Monroe was definitely a ‘dog person’
Throughout her life, Marilyn owned several dogs. As a child, she had a dog called Tippy, and her last four-legged friend was Maf, a Maletese terrier gifted to her by none other than Frank Sinatra!
9) She entertained army troops
In the February of 1954, thousands of troops gazed up at Marilyn Monroe, who illuminated the stage with ten shows during her visit to Korea. Ted Sherman, who served in the Navy during World War II and Korea, recalled: ‘The movie star was at her glamorous best when she performed ten USO shows in four days for U.S. soldiers, airmen, Marines and sailors during the Korean War in early 1954.”
“It was a great evening for all the homesick guys who were dazzled by the movie star’s performance. The sight and sounds of Marilyn singing “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” is a memory I still cherish.”
10) Marilyn married Joe DiMaggio
Marilyn Monroe and “Yankee Clipper” Joe DiMaggio shared a whirlwind romance, marrying in 1954 and splitting just nine months later. DiMaggio’s love for Monroe lasted far longer than their marriage survived. Remaining friends until the end, DiMaggio had roses delivered to Marilyn’s crypt three times a week for 20 years.
11) She was notorious for always being late
Nobody’s perfect…and when it came to timekeeping, Marilyn’s certainly wasn’t up to scratch. The star was often known to be running late, much to the frustration of her coworkers.
12) Marilyn was involved with the Kennedys
Though it is still a subject of debate, many believe that Marilyn Monroe had been romantically involved with both President John. F. Kennedy and his brother, Robert Kennedy.
One of Marilyn’s biographers, James Spada told People magazine, “it was clear Marilyn had sexual relations with both Bobby and Jack. ”
13) Marilyn longed to have children
Sadly, Marilyn suffered several miscarriages during the life. But the star longed for children of her own. This was clear from the close relationships she maintained with her stepchildren from her marriages to Arthur Miller and Joe DiMaggio.
14) And she was very intelligent
Though the “blonde bombshell” stereotype seemed to coincide with being a “dumb blonde”, this was far from the case. Marilyn had an IQ of 168.
15) Hugh Hefner is buried next to her
One of the more bizarre Marilyn Monroe facts out there is that Playboy founder Hugh Hefner bought the burial spot next to Marilyn Monroe in 1992. Starring on the cover of the first issue in 1953, Marilyn helped to shape the magazine into the renowned publication it became.
16) She struggled with her weight
Though Monroe’s hourglass shape continues to inspire ladies to embrace their natural shape, Marilyn’s weight fluctuated throughout her career. Her weight changed so dramatically during the filming of The Prince and the Showgirl that Beatrice Dawson, the costume designer for the film said: “I have two ulcers from this film, and they’re both monogrammed MM.”
17) Marilyn was close to Frank Sinatra
Hollywood duo Marilyn Monroe and crooning legend Frank Sinatra maintained a friendship over a number of years, with many stories detailing a close romance between the pair. Supposedly in 1961, Marilyn and Sinatra embarked on an intimate relationship, lasting several months.
James Kaplan’s account of their relationship claims that Sinatra asked Monroe to stay with him at his Lake Tahoe resort, in a final attempt to win over the actress and protect her from the darker sides to fame. It’s also thought that Sinatra expressed his desires to marry Marilyn, but she declined his proposal.
Following Marilyn’s death, Joe DiMaggio turned Sinatra away from her funeral. The former friends had become rivals, with speculations that Marilyn and Joe had rekindled their romance prior to her passing away.
18) She shared out her estate
Marilyn’s estate was valued at $1.6 million when she died in 1962. She left 75% of that estate to her acting coach, Lee Strasberg and 25% to her psychoanalyst, Dr. Marianne Kris. Marilyn also left a trust fun for her mother that was worth $5,000 a year.
19) Happy Birthday, Mr President
Need we say more? This iconic occasion saw Marilyn perform a breathy rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ for President John F Kennedy. Her controversial delivery and dazzling rhinestone dress sent the press into a frenzy!
Of course, this performance only fuelled more rumours that Marilyn and JFK were having an affair. It was reported that Jack had told Marilyn he would leave his family for her, and Monroe had said to her friend Jeanne Carmen, “Can’t you just see me as first lady?”.
20) Marilyn was a fan of yoga
Decades before yoga became an Instagram trend, Monroe was a fan of practicing yoga. She was taught by Bollywood film star Indra Devi, who also taught Greta Garbo and Gloria Swanson.
21) She also enjoyed lifting weights!
Marilyn began to lift weights while she was on Catalina Island with her first husband. It’s said that she studied weightlifting with Howard Corrington, a former Olympic champion.
In 1952, Pageant magazine published a feature on Marilyn’s exercise routine and famous figure. Marilyn shared:
“I spend at least 10 minutes each morning working out with small weights. I have evolved my own exercises, for the muscles I wish to keep firm, and I know they are right for me because I can feel them putting the proper muscles into play as I exercise.”
22) ‘Candle in the Wind’ is about Marilyn
Elton John’s 1973 hit Candle in the Wind was inspired by Marilyn, and even references her birth name, Norma Jeane. The song empathises with Marilyn’s struggles, particularly the way in which the press harrassed her.
23) Marilyn’s house had been bugged
Following Marilyn’s death, actress Veronica Hamel bought Monroe’s former home. Supposedly, when Hamel was renovating the house she found a system of wire-taps. It was later confirmed by PI Fred Otash that Marilyn’s house had been bugged by the FBI and CIA.
24) Britney Spears has Marilyn’s jeans
One of our favourite Marilyn Monroe facts features another female icon. Britney Spears, the original pop princess was given Marilyn Monroe’s jeans from River of No Return by Tommy Hilfiger, who purchased them for $37,000!
25) The ‘Marilyn Monroe Moment’….
Arguably the most famous ‘Marilyn Monroe Moment’ is this scene from The Seven Year Inch. The famous fluttering dress saw the phrase ‘Marilyn Monroe Moment’ become a pop culture reference.
26) Mariah Carey bought Marilyn’s Piano
Mariah Carey purchased Marilyn Monroe’s baby grand piano in an auction in 1999.
27) She thought of Clark Gable as a Father
Sadly, Marilyn Monroe never knew who her father was, but grew up dreaming that Gable was her father.
When the pair became co-stars in The Misfits, she began to see her co-star as a father figure, and was heartbroken when Gable passed away.
28) Monroe Was Inspired by Abraham Lincoln
Another inspiration in Marilyn’s life was none other than Abraham Lincoln. The star read everything she could about him and wrote in her autobiography:
“He was the only famous American who seemed most like me, at least in his childhood.”
29) The Conspiracies around Marilyn Monroe
When Marilyn sadly passed away, her death was ruled a “probable suicide.” However, the deputy coroner dealing with her death was unable to obtain all of the necessary organs for toxicology tests. He was told they’d been destroyed.
This spurred on an array of conspiracies around Marilyn’s death. One theory suggests that Marilyn was murdered because she was set to reveal the details of her affairs with the Kennedy brothers. But of course, this is just a theory, and we’ll probably never know for certain.
Our Marilyn Monroe Room
We hope you’ve enjoyed our round up of Marilyn Monroe facts, and we’d recommend a stay in our Marilyn themed room to any fan.
To enquire further or to book your stay in the heart of Liverpool, simply give our team a call on 0151 236 0166 or book direct with us today online here for the best available rate.