It was in the autumn of 1944 David Conover photographed Norma Jeane Dougherty for the first time. Conover saw something in the eighteen year old and organised a two week modelling trip through California.
By August 1945 Norma Jeane had signed with Emmeline Snively at the Blue Book Modelling Agency. A month later she appeared as a model at her first trade show for Blue Book and within a couple of months began working with the photographer Andre de Dienes.
In 1949, Gladys Baker married John Stewart Eley, an electrician. However Eley neglected to inform Gladys that he was already married – his first wife living in Boise, Idaho. The couple lived in Los Angeles but Eley died just three years later of a heart infection.
During Marilyn’s career Gladys spent the majority of her time in and out of care facilities or hospitals. Over the period of time that Marilyn was making a living as an actress, she paid for Glady’s care with her earnings. Little is known of this period of Gladys’ life due to Marilyn wanting her privacy respected. As Marilyn’s star began to rise, she even led people to believe her mother was dead. It wasn’t until an article appeared in the media disclosing that Gladys was alive and well, that people realised Marilyn wasn’t an orphan. Continue reading “Gladys Baker – Marilyn’s Mother – Part Three”
Sir Laurence OIivier was born on 22nd May 1907 in Dorking, Surrey to Reverend Gerard Kerr Olivier and his wife, Agnes Louise. Olivier was the youngest of three children.
In 1924, Olivier began his acting education at the Central School of Speech Training and Dramatic Art. Olivier’s sister had been a student there and was a favourite of Elsie Fogarty, the founder and principal of the school. Olivier’s star began to rise between 1930 and 1935 when he starred on stage for Noel Coward and worked with the likes of Gloria Swanson and Greta Garbo. Continue reading “Sir Laurence Olivier 1907 – 1989”
Who was Charles Stanley Gifford? Was it he who fathered the world’s most famous screen icon, Marilyn Monroe, as Gladys said it was, and Marilyn believed it to be? Or was it her mother Gladys’ estranged husband, Edward Mortensen, as per her birth certificate?
Over the years much has been made of the fact that Marilyn did not know who her father was, however, that would appear to be a half truth. Marilyn seemed in fact, to be quite sure about who her father was and tried to contact him on a number of occasions. Continue reading “Charles Stanley Gifford”
What is now known as the “Happy Birthday Mr. President Dress” has become one of, if not THE, most famous dress of all time.
In early 1962, having been asked to perform at a Democratic fundraiser & JFK’s 45th birthday celebration, Marilyn approached Hollywood designer Jean Louis to design a dress that “only Marilyn Monroe could wear.”
The colour of the nude souffle chiffon dress was said to match Marilyn’s skin tone and was embelleshed with 2,500 hand sown round crystals, strategically positioned so that her modesty was maintained. The dress was a column design with a scoop neck, sleeveless but with shoulder straps, and a zipper that went from the bottom of Marilyn’s rear to her lower back. The zipper was hidden by a hook and eye tab closure. The dress was so form fitting that Louis incorporated an 18 inch slit in the bottom so that Marilyn could walk in it. Continue reading “Happy Birthday Mr. President Dress”
On her return to Los Angeles and with the beginning of her friendship with Grace McKee, Gladys Baker started going out dancing and dating, leading to the two women having a reputation amongst their male co-workers. However, on 11th October 1924, Gladys shocked everyone when she suddenly married Edward Mortensen. Though her new husband was very much in love with her, the same could not be said for Gladys, and soon she fell for one of her bosses at Consolisdated Films, a 25 year old divorcee named Charles Stanley Gifford.
Gladys Pearl Monroe was born on 27th May 1902, to Otis and Della Monroe. Gladys had one brother named Marion and when she was a child the family moved constantly. When Gladys Pearl Monroe was just seven, Otis contracted syphillis of the brain and died in the California State Hospital for the mentally ill. At the time the family did not know that syphillis was the cause of death, thinking Otis was insane, and so began a fear within the family that insanity was a family trait. In 1910, the family settled in Los Angeles and by 1912 Della had remarried to Lyle Arthur Graves, although the marriage was short lived – they were divorced by 1914. Continue reading “Gladys Pearl Monroe – Marilyn’s Mother – Part One”
In 1958 Orry Kelly, an Australian fashion designer (1897 – 1964), was signed on as designer for the movie “Some Like It Hot”. Amongst his designs for the movie were a silver/white dress which, in his words, was “of nude souffle draped on the bias to lift her breasts and push her tummy in. It was so slightly beaded over her breasts that her nipples were not covered and [director] Billy Wilder had to light her with a single spot that left the area strategically in darkness.” Continue reading “Some Like It Hot – Black Dress”
Frank Capell was a right wing, anti-communist writer, who was one of the first people to specualte about Marilyn and the Kennedys. Two things Capell hated were communists and the Kennedys, and he thought the two were interlinked. In 1964, Capell wrote a book called “The Strange Death of Marilyn Monroe” – it was more of a booklet with just 70 pages – and in it he condemns Marilyn as a communist who got what she had coming. Capell accuses everyone connected with Marilyn of being a communist too, but holds a special vitirol for Robert Kennedy, who, he claims was responsible for Marilyns death. Add to that the fact that he played a large part in helping to write Robert Slatzer’s book and was indicted for libel along with Jack Clemmons and I think you have enough to discredit him right there. Continue reading “Unreliable Witnesses / Discredited Sources”