Marilyn Monroe: A Popular Cultural Icon

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Marilyn Monroe (born Norma Jeane Mortenson, June 1, 1926 – August 5, 1962), was an American actress and model. Famous for playing "dumb blonde" characters, she became one of the most popular sex symbols of the 1950s, emblematic of the era's attitudes towards sexuality. Although she was a top-billed actress for only a decade, her films grossed $200 million by the time of her unexpected death in 1962.[1] She continues to be considered a major popular culture icon.[2]

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Monroe spent most of her childhood in foster homes and an orphanage and married for the first time at the age of sixteen. While working in a factory as part of the war effort in 1944, she met a photographer and began a successful pin-up modeling career.
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Although she played a significant role in the creation and management of her public image throughout her career, she was disappointed at being typecast and underpaid by the studio. She was briefly suspended in early 1954 for refusing a film project, but returned to star in one of the biggest box office successes of her career, The Seven Year Itch (1955). When the studio was still reluctant to change her contract, Monroe founded a film production company in late 1954, Marilyn Monroe Productions (MMP). She dedicated 1955 to building her company and began studying method acting at the Actors Studio. In late 1955, Fox gave her a new contract, which gave her more control and a larger salary. After giving a critically acclaimed performance in Bus Stop (1956) and acting in the first independent production of MMP, The Prince and the Showgirl (1957), she won a Best Actress Golden Globe for Some Like It Hot (1959). Her last completed film was the drama The Misfits

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