Marilyn Monroe - Hollywood's Poor Little Rich Girl

Updated: May 6, 2020

I read this article in Answers, 122, 1-2, 1952

Black and white closeup photograph of Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe - Poor Little Rich Girl

LOOK at the photograph of Marilyn Monroe and then see if you can think of any reason why she should be one of the loneliest girls in Hollywood. Yet it's is true! With all her looks, talent, and success, it's incredibly true.

When she was admitted to the hospital with a minor illness this year, the admission clerk wrote the word "None" opposite the routine question, "Next of kin." "I just didn't have anyone," said Marilyn later. "But then I've always been alone, and I suppose I always will be." After a lifetime of loneliness, this alluring twenty-two-year-old actress can't shake off the feeling that her future will be devoid of the affection granted to most human beings.

Marilyn Monroe is the 1952 version of the "poor little rich girl." She has thousands of fans but few friends. Who is she, then, and where does she come from? She was christened Norma Jean Baker. Her mother was a hopeless invalid, and her father was killed in a car crash soon after she was born.

Chased by Groucho

Marilyn spent her childhood living in orphanages and private homes as a ward of Los Angeles County. Public funds paid for her keep in dozens of different homes. By the time she was fifteen she was so starved of affection that, to avoid going into another orphanage, she married. But the marriage lasted only a few months and ended in a separation. Marilyn prefers now lo forget all about it. After leaving school she went to work in an aircraft plant, inspecting parachutes for target planes. Her striking looks were beginning to blossom, and she augmented her income by modelling. One month saw her picture on four magazine covers. These photograph s were seen by movie executives, and Marilyn played small parts for 20th Century Fox and Columbia. Then an agent told her that the producer of "Love Happy" wanted a blonde for Groucho Marx to chase. She was engaged on the spot. The scene lasted for only a minute, but it wasn't cut.

Her first big role was in "The Asphalt Jungle," as the not-so-bright blonde niece of Louis Calhern, and this was followed by an appearance in "All About Eve," as George Sanders' dumb girlfriend. The fan letters began to pour in. And now she is being built into a top-flight star.

The studios are cashing in on her ability to look pretty and vacant at the same time. In her latest films, "We're Not Married " and "Clash by Night," she plays a sexy young blonde of varying degrees of dumbness. Her part as a beauty queen in "We're Not Married. " is only decorative, but she was given a real chance to act in "Clash by Night. " Her performance was rated so highly by Barbara Stanwyck, Paul Douglas, and Robert Ryan (all of whom should know something about acting) that Marilyn is co-starred with them on the posters. She still lives modestly in a small flat and owns only one evening dress. She is candid about ber background and makes no secret of the fact that she still feels alone and unwanted.

Fear is stupid so is regret

A little while ago there was a sensation when it was discovered that she had one posed in the nude to adorn a calendar. Her publicity agents were shocked, but Marilyn was unperturbed. "I don't understand," she said. "Was there anything wrong?"

Just as Wrong

Apparently things are just as wrong when she puts her clothes on. Marilyn admits that she dresses for men, not for women, causing female columnists in America to search through their dictionaries for new synonyms for "vulgar," Marily doesn't like their attitude. She says reasonably: "I let them alone and never criticise what they wear. Why don't they let me alone?" It doesn't look as if Marilyn's bizarre taste in clothes will interfere in her success as an actress. Frequently likened to the late Jean Harlow, she has now been tipped as the actress most likely to play the famous blonde star of the 'thirties' in a scheduled film biography. LEONARD SAMSON