MARILYN MONROE – Gladys Baker worked as a film negative cutter, separated twice by the time Norma Jeane was born. But the child’s biological father was unknown. The child bounced between foster homes, with sporadic visits from her mother, who ended up living in a mental hospital. She endured devastating abuse during these years because nobody wanted her. She began to model for pinups and calendars, rumored to have had numerous affairs. But she also worked with acting coaches and took classes. Her breakout year was 1950, with 5 minutes on screen, in All About Eve. Nude pictures surfaced from early on in her career and her personal struggles worsened as her career progressed. She was late, wouldn’t show up, couldn’t remember her lines, overly depended on her coaches, had stage fright and was crippled by self-doubt. She began using barbiturates, amphetamines and alcohol. Some of her greatest movie successes of mid-career–Niagara, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, How to Marry a Millionaire, The Seven Year Itch, Bus Stop, Some Like It Hot–coincided with famous marriages and divorces. In 1961 she went to detox, was hospitalized and suffered lukewarm reviews for The Misfits. She started on what became her last never finished film, entitled Something’s Got to Give, in 1962. After numerous sick days, she sang Happy Birthday to the president, appearing in public in a nearly nude dress. She was fired, sued by the studio and they cancelled the picture. Her housekeeper awoke at 3AM, sensing that something was wrong. Her psychiatrist broke into her bedroom and found her dead. According to the toxicology report, she had empty medication bottles beside her. But overdose was ruled out since the doses were several times over the lethal limit. Her doctor stated she had severe fears, frequent depression, abrupt mood changes and had overdosed several times in the past. Conspiracy theories including murder have contradicted suicide as the cause for decades. Marilyn Monroe’s staying power as an American icon is unparalleled compared to actresses who have come before or after. As a sex symbol, as a troubled soul and as a creative genius. Only now is it understood that she was her own self creation. A great and multifaceted talent in comedy, song, dance and dramatic acting. Never before, never again… but forever, Marilyn.