Marilyn Monroe FAQ

February 06, 2018

(Originally uploaded November 12, 2017) After several Q&A sessions on my Instagram over the past couple years, I finally decided to compose an FAQ article to help answer your basic questions about Marilyn. I hope these are helpful and that you learn something new. So to start off, here are 11 simple questions that I get asked frequently.


1.       How did Marilyn die?
Let’s just get this one out of the way first, as this is one of the most popular questions I get asked. Marilyn passed away of a drug overdose on August 5th, 1962. Some people like to argue August 4th, but based on coroner findings, the closest we can get to an exact time is no earlier than 12:30am in the early morning hours of the 5th. Marilyn self-administered sleeping tablets that night, which can also be proven by the pathology results. Whether she did so accidentally or intentionally is something we’ll never know. And no, there is no evidence to even suggest she was murdered. That is a theory recycled through the years by tabloids and people who just want money and a juicy story. But I’m not going to go in depth on this topic. If you’d like to learn more, I highly recommend listening to Goodnight Marilyn Radio, an extremely thoroughly researched podcast that covers all aspects of her death, and includes several interviews with panel members and distinguished professionals, such as renowned forensic pathologist Cyril Wecht. You can find all the episodes here: https://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/83328/the-kick-off

2.       What was Marilyn’s favorite of her movie characters?
Marilyn’s favorite of her on screen characters was Angela Phinlay from The Asphalt Jungle (1950). She has stated this herself in a few interviews. The Asphalt Jungle was Marilyn’s first big break. Before this film, she had only played bit parts, with the exception of a larger role in a low budget film made by Columbia Pictures. Jungle was also her first opportunity to work with major director John Huston, and her first film in which she began to be taken seriously as an actress.

3.       What beauty products did she use?
Marilyn used beauty brands such as Elizabeth Arden, Nivea moisturizer, Max Factor, and Erno-Laszlo, as well as many others. But don’t be fooled by the Max Factor advertising. The Max Factor company prides itself on their connection to Marilyn, claiming that Max Factor himself was the first person to dye Marilyn’s hair blonde. This is completely false. Hairstylist Sylvia Barnhart was the first to begin transforming Marilyn’s hair to a lighter shade beginning in 1945. In fact, as a young model, Marilyn was very much against going blonde, as so many of her modeling school peers were doing to book more jobs. In addition, there is no substantial evidence to prove that Marilyn even visited a Max Factor studio. The photos below are often mislabeled as being taken at Max Factor, when they were actually taken by Ed Cronenweth at Columbia Pictures, where Marilyn was signed in 1948.

Image result for marilyn monroe makeup ed cronenworthImage result for marilyn monroe makeup ed cronenworth

4.       Did Marilyn ever meet Audrey Hepburn/James Dean/Elvis Presley?
Unfortunately, there is no evidence to suggest that Marilyn met either Elvis or Audrey. However, there is some evidence out there that supports her meeting James Dean on one occasion. The main source for this comes from the 1989 memoir of Shelley Winters, where she recalls attending a screening of On The Waterfront in which both Marilyn and Jimmy were present. Afterwards, she states that they all attended a gathering at Nicholas Ray’s bungalow at the Chateau Marmont Hotel in Hollywood. Apparently, Jimmy was being reckless on his motorcycle and began circling them, which seems somewhat characteristic. Another piece of evidence is the fact that one small piece of paper exists (shown below) which includes more than likely authentic signatures from Marilyn, Nick Ray, and Jimmy. There is more evidence to support the theory that they met briefly than there is to prove they didn’t, and although we still can’t say for sure, personally I tend to believe it.

Image result for marilyn monroe james dean signature


5.       What was her diet, and how did she maintain her figure?
Marilyn maintained a healthy diet throughout her life. She began weight training and running when she was living on Catalina Island during her marriage to Jim Doughtery. She would often take their dog Muggsie on runs, and spent many hours at the gym. As she progressed in her career as a model and actress, health always remained really important to her. She ate a variety of protein and vegetables, and famously whipped raw eggs into a glass of milk every morning. As healthy as she was, she did enjoy the occasional ice cream sundae.

6.       Was her name legally Marilyn Monroe?
Yes. In 1956, she legally changed her name to Marilyn Monroe. People who knew her in her younger years (her mother, aunts, first husband, etc.) continued to call her Norma Jeane, because that is what they always knew her as.

7.       Was she crazy/did she have a mental illness?
No. By no accounts from people who knew her did she ever exhibit signs of “going crazy.” It was her mother Gladys that suffered from schizophrenia, and because of this, Marilyn’s biggest fear was inheriting it. Marilyn did have frequent bouts of major manic and depressive episodes throughout her life, and some mental health experts suggest she may have had BPD (borderline personality disorder), although nothing today can be confirmed because she was never diagnosed with any form of mental illness while she was alive, and we can only speculate. You cannot diagnose an individual who is deceased.

8.       Did she receive a nose job/any cosmetic surgery?
There is no substantial evidence to suggest that Marilyn got a nose job. Sure, you can compare photos side by side, but that isn’t proof. With the right lighting and contouring, you can make any nose look different. As far as cosmetic surgery goes, the only procedure she had done was a small chin implant in her starlet days, paid for by then boyfriend Johnny Hyde. X-rays conducted on a doctor’s visit suggest that the implant had been dissolved by 1958.

9.       Did she have a favorite photo session?
Yes. A favorite photo, that is. Her favorite self-portrait was taken by Cecil Beaton in 1956, shown below. She kept several copies of it at home to autograph and send to fans.


10.   Did she have any children/was she planning on having children?
Yes, however this dream was never realized. Marilyn never had any children. She suffered an ectopic pregnancy in 1957, and a miscarriage in 1958. All her life she had said she wanted a baby, and I believe that, had she lived longer, she may have started considering adoption.

11.   Was she planning on remarrying Joe DiMaggio at the time of her death?
There is nothing to prove this. By that time, Joe was back in her life strictly as a close friend to confide in. He really made himself available to her whenever she needed him. Marilyn was not trying to pursue a romantic relationship with him, and Joe was not pressuring her to.

Marilyn and Joe in 1961

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