Marilyn Monroe was born on June 1, 1926 in Los Angeles, California, the third child born to Gladys Pearl Baker. Monroe's birth certificate names the father as Martin Edward Mortensen with his residence stated as "unknown". The name Mortenson is listed as her surname on the birth certificate, although Gladys immediately had it changed to Baker, the surname of her first husband and which she still used. Gladys was mentally unstable and financially unable to care for the young Norma Jeane, so she placed her with foster parents Albert and Ida Bolender of Hawthorne, CA, where she lived until she was seven. In 1933, Gladys bought a house and brought Norma Jeane to live with her. A few months after moving in, however, Gladys suffered a mental breakdown. Norma Jean was declared a ward of the state,and Gladys' best friend, Grace McKee, became her guardian. It was Grace who had told Monroe that someday she would become a movie star. Grace McKee married Ervin Silliman (Doc) Goddard in 1935, and nine-year-old Norma Jeane was sent to the Los Angeles Orphans Home. During her time there, many people wanted to adopt young Norma, but nothing was ever permanent because Grace refused to sign the adoption papers. In 1937, Grace took Norma Jeane back to live with her, Goddard, and one of Goddard's daughters from a previous marriage. This arrangement did not last for long, as Doc Goddard attempted on several occasions to sexually assault her. Grace was very disturbed by this and Norma Jean was sent to live with her aunt, Olive Brunings, in Compton, California. This arrangement also did not last long, as 12-year-old Norma Jeane was assaulted (some reports say sexually) by one of Olive's sons. In the early years of 1938, Grace sent her to live with another one of her aunts, Ana Lower, who lived in a section of Los Angeles. By 1942, Ana was developing health problems, and she was once again sent back to live with the Goddards. It was there she met a neighbors son, James Dougherty, one of the three of her future husbands. The Goddard's were relocating and did not want to take Norma with them. Grace approached Dougherty's mother and suggested that James marry her so they would not have to send herback to another orphanage. She was wed to him after graduating high school in 1942. In 1943, James enlisted in the Merchant Marine and was shipped to the Pacific. While her husband was overseas, Norma found employment at the Radioplane Munitions Factory. A photographer snapped her pic and told her she should apply to the Blue Book Modeling Agency. She was told that they were looking for models with lighter hair, so Norma Jeane bleached her brunette hair to a golden blonde. Norma Jeane Dougherty became one of Blue Book's most successful models, appearing on dozens of magazine covers. Her husband didn't even know she was modeling until he saw a shipmate admiring a picture and realized it was his young wife! He told her when he returned home that he didn't want her to model. She disagreed and decided to divorce him and their marriage ended when he returned home in 1946.


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