Fifty years ago today, movie actress Marilyn Monroe died in her home in Los Angeles.

She was found on her bed lying nude face down, with a telephone in one hand.  There have been varies theories as to how she died. Some believe she was murdered and others believe she over-dozed on medication prescribed to treat her depression. The official cause of her demise was “caused by a self-administered overdose of sedative drugs and that the mode of death is probable suicide.” Her murky death remains one of Hollywood’s most tantalizing mysteries.

Born Norma Jean Mortenson in Los Angeles on June 1, 1926, she had a terrible childhood. Her mother was emotionally unstable and was frequently confined to an asylum. She first married a workmate in an aircraft factory, but they divorced a few years later. In 1944 she took up modeling and signed a short-term contract with 20th Century Fox adopting the screen name Marilyn Monroe.

Marilyn influenced many. Only eleven years after her death Elton John wrote “Candle in the Wind”, his ode to Marilyn Monroe and the lyrics say it all—“And I would have like to have known you, but I was just a kid” and “Your candle burned out long before your legend ever did.” Decades later his words still ring true and her legend lives on perhaps even more dynamically today than in yesteryear. The 1950s blond bombshell is now a 21st century pop culture phenomenon.

So many artists have appropriated her look into their image. To name a few: Madonna, Christina Aguilera, and Gwen Stefani. Magazine spreads have featured Nicole Kidman, Scarlet Johansson, Lindsay Lohan, Rihanna, Michelle Williams and Viola Davis, all having their Marilyn moments.

Four decades after her death, Marilyn Monroe remains a major cultural icon. The unknown details of her final performance only add to her mystique.

Click on the video below to see Marilyn and hear Elton John singing “Candle in the Wind.”

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2 Comments on Marilyn Monroe major cultural icon died 50 years ago today

  1. Jennifer F says:

    Wow! I can’t believe it has been so long since her untimely death. Amazing that almost everyone, regardless of age, knows who she is and is familiar with her everlasting legacy.

  2. LInda Gartz says:

    I was just entering high school when Marilyn committed suicide. Throughout my childhood, she stood alone in my mind as how “sexy” was portrayed, and I couldn’t quite grasp what that meant–or was supposed to mean, to me as a young girl. I didn’t know any women who looked or acted like her. My mom was very pretty, but she didn’t pout her lips or put on sultry looks, or let her skirt be blown up over a windy grate. It was very confusing. I appreciate her more now — as a vulnerable young woman who became an icon, that men lusted after and women (perhaps) wanted to emulate, but like all of us, it was what was inside her that drove her to suicide. A sad, depressed, intelligent, and sensitive woman and artist reduced to a body.

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