Nearly 40 years after her death, Marilyn Monroe remains the world's most famous blonde. Though she made just 30 movies in 15 years, she is the subject of more than 50 books, far more than any other screen star. And there has been no one like her—beautiful, *ual, and at the same time, vulnerable. This made her famous, and this brought her trouble.

Even reaching amazing heights, Marilyn Monroe would find no lasting comfort or joy from either her career or her relationships. This was the tragedy2 of her brief life.

We know the many sad details—the suicide attempts, drug addiction, the affairs and failed marriages, the damaging relationships. This is a story of a poor kid who made it in Hollywood and delightedly captured3 the world, who seemed to have it all but couldn t find happiness.

The girl was born out of wedlock on June 1, 1926, in a Los Angeles hospital. She was named Norma Jean Mortenson. Shortly after Norma Jean s birth, her father sent her to a foster4 family. On June 19, 1942, three weeks after her 16th birthday, Norma Jean married James Dougherty, a 21-year-old neighbor.

When Dougherty left in 1944, Norma Jean got a job in an army factory. One day an army photographer5 took some pictures of her. The results were so good that within months she quit her job to become a professional photographer's model. The 5'5" woman with a beautiful figure and dark hair became a blonde. She posed in swimsuits and shorts for hundreds of calendars, ads, and magazines.