Marilyn Monroe was born as Norma Jeane Mortenson on June 1, 1926 in Los Angeles, California. During her all-too-brief life, Monroe overcame a difficult childhood to become one of the world's biggest and most enduring sex symbols. During her career, Monroe's films grossed more than $200 million. Monroe died of a possible drug overdose at her home in Brentwood, Los Angeles, California on August 5, 1962, at only 36 years old.
Marilyn Monroe's father is officially unknown, but is widely believed to be Charles Stanley Gifford. Recent DNA evidence seems to strongly point in this direction as well, as compared DNA samples between Marilyn and Charles revealed a three generation connection between Francine Gifford (the granddaughter of Charles Stanley Gifford) and Marilyn Monroe. Marilyn is called Norma Jeane Mortenson (sic) on her birth certificate of June 1, 1926 and shown as the daughter of Edward Mortenson (sic) and Gladys Monroe.
On May 26, 1925 Mortensen petitioned for divorce from Monroe due to desertion. The divorce was finalized August 15, 1928.
Martin E. Mortensen and Gladys Mortensen.
Plaintiff alleges in accordance with Section 426A of the Code of Civil Procedure of California the following facts:
1. The state in which married---California;
2. The date of Marriage---Oct 11th, 1924;
3. The date of separation---May 26th, 1925;
4. The period from marriage to separation---seven months and fifteen days;
5. That no children have resulted from said marriage;
6. That there is no community property.
That on or about the 26th day of May, 1925, at Los Angeles, California, the defendant, disregarding the solemnity of her marriage vows, wilfully and without cause deserted plaintiff and ever since has and now continues to wilfully and without cause desert and abandon plaintiff against his will.
Mortensen hoped for reconciliation but when Gladys never replied to his repeated overtures, he at last requested a final decree of divorce, which was handed down August 15, 1928.
Martin Edward Mortensen could not have been Marilyn's father since he had no physical contact with her mother, Gladys, after May 26, 1925, and Marilyn was born June 1, 1926.
After leaving Mortensen, Gladys P. Monroe started seeing Charles Gifford, among others, who was her supervisor at Consolidated Film Industries where Gladys worked as a film cutter. Marilyn Monroe's biological father is widely believed to have been Gifford, although there is no evidence to support this belief, other than statements made by Gladys and Marilyn.
"The official ruling is that the father was unknown, though evidence suggests it was Gifford, and this was most certainly the belief of Gladys. For instance, family letters and memories show that both Gladys and Norma Jeane named him as the father on several occasions, and in August 1961, an article appeared in ‘Cavalier Magazine’ which said: ‘[Marilyn’s] father is very much alive and residing in Southern California. He was once connected with the movie business, although he no longer is today.’ This would certainly be a nod in Gifford’s direction, since by that time he was living south of Los Angeles and running his own dairy farm.
Gladys broke the news of the pregnancy to Gifford during a New Year’s party at the family home, presumably that of his father, carpenter Frederick Gifford who lived at 12024 Venice Boulevard. Later as the pregnancy became obvious, it created quite a stir in the Gifford family; particularly with his sister Ethel, who lectured him intensely, demanding to know what he intended to do about the situation. The argument culminated with Ethel telling her brother, “Look, either marry the woman or do something”, and according to relatives, Gladys was not seen at their home anymore."
See My Story, Marilyn Monroe with Ben Hecht. The book is in Marilyn Monroe's words, dictated to Hecht. Marilyn talks about the one picture on the wall of her mother's room, of a man wearing "a slouch hat a little gaily on the side. There was a lively smile in his eyes, and he had a thin mustache like Clark Gable." "That's your father," her mother told her. Later in the book, Marilyn says when she was 12 and someone asked her last name, she wouldn't give him Norma Mortenson because it wasn't the name of the man with the slouch hat and Gable mustache.
In her book, My Sister Marilyn: A Memoir of Marilyn Monroe, by Berniece Baker Miracle (Marilyn's half-sister), and Mona Rae Miracle (her niece), Berniece recalled a conversation with her mother, Gladys, in which Gladys described Marilyn's father as, "an important man in the movie industry," and claimed Marilyn's father was not Edward Mortensen.
On March 27, 1936 Grace McKee, a close friend of Norma Jeane's mother Gladys, became Norma Jean's legal guardian, her name noted on the "Letters of Guardianship" as follows:
"Norma Jean Baker, also known as Norma Jean Mortenson, a minor."
After spending much of her childhood in foster homes, and sometimes with Grace (McKee) Goddard, Norma Jean Baker began a career as a model, which led to a film contract in 1946 with Twentieth Century Fox. The same year, Norma Jean started using Marilyn Monroe as her name. It comes from her mother's maiden name, Monroe, and Marilyn Miller, a musical performer of the 1920s. On Feb. 23, 1956, she obtained an order from the City Court of the State of New York to legally change her name from Norma Jeane Mortenson to Marilyn Monroe.
Marilyn's early film appearances were minor, but her performances in The Asphalt Jungle and All About Eve (both 1950) drew attention. By 1952 she had her first leading role in Don't Bother to Knock and 1953 brought a lead in Niagara, a melodramatic film noir that dwelt on her seductiveness. Her "dumb blonde" persona was used to comic effect in subsequent films such as Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), How to Marry a Millionaire (1953) and The Seven Year Itch (1955). Limited by typecasting, Monroe studied at the Actors Studio to broaden her range. Her dramatic performance in Bus Stop (1956) was hailed by critics and garnered a Golden Globe nomination. Her production company, Marilyn Monroe Productions, released The Prince and the Showgirl (1957), for which she received a BAFTA Award nomination and won a David di Donatello award. In 1960, Marilyn Monroe won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Comedy for Some Like It Hot (1959). She won the Golden Globe for World's Favourite Female Star in 1961. Monroe's last film was The Misfits (1961), co-starring Clark Gable, with a screenplay written by her then-husband, Arthur Miller.
Monroe's library contained more than 400 books on a wide variety of topics from art and biography to politics and theology. Marilyn was a humanitarian who supported charitable causes like the Milk Fund for Babies and the March of Dimes. She was an active advocate of the civil rights movement. She used her fame to support artists like Ella Fitzgerald struggling to land their first break. Marilyn liked writing poetry, cooking and listening to classical music.
The final years of Monroe's life were marked by illness, personal problems, and a reputation for unreliability and being difficult to work with.
The circumstances of her death, from an overdose of barbiturates, have been the subject of conjecture. Though officially classified as a "probable suicide", the possibilities of an accidental overdose or a homicide have not been ruled out. Marilyn Monroe received her final order of prescription drugs from the corner pharmacy at San Vicente and Santa Monica. Owner was Normal Siskel; his first wife delivered the order to Marilyn personally, the last 2-3 orders. This pharmacy was located almost in Brentwood. (Personally told to Lilly Martin.)
In 1999, Monroe was ranked as the sixth-greatest female star of all time by the American Film Institute. In the decades following her death, she has often been cited as both a pop and a cultural icon as well as the quintessential American sex symbol. In 2009, TV Guide Network named her No. 1 in Film's Sexiest Women of All Time.
It is through Charles Stanley Gifford, widely believed to be her father, that Marilyn Monroe is a descendant of Mayflower passengers John Alden, Priscilla Mullins, William Mullins and wife Alice, and Francis Cooke. She is also a descendant of Henry Howland, father of Mayflower Passenger, John Howland.
↑ 1.01.1 California Birth Index, 1905-1995," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VGW4-1PN : 27 November 2014), Norma Jeane Mortenson, 01 Jun 1926; citing Los Angeles, California, United States, Department of Health Services, Vital Statistics Department, Sacramento.
↑ Brenneman, Richard E., "Notable Kin - New England in Hollywood, Part Three: The Possible Rhode Island Ancestry of Marilyn Monroe", www.americanancestors.org/notable-kin-the-possible-rhode-island-ancestry-of-marilyn-monroe, (accessed 10/09/2014), New England Historic Genealogical Society (Online Database).
↑ General Society of Mayflower Descendants Marilyn Monroe: Pilgrim John Alden "While it is believed that these people [Notable Descendants] are Mayflower descendants, not all have membership in GSMD or have been vetted by the Historian General's office."
"California Birth Index, 1905-1995," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VGW4-1PN : 27 November 2014), Norma Jeane Mortenson, 01 Jun 1926; citing Los Angeles, California, United States, Department of Health Services, Vital Statistics Department, Sacramento.
Name: Norma Jeane Mortenson
Event Type: Birth
Event Date: 01 Jun 1926
Event Place: Los Angeles, California, United States
Birth location: L.A. General Hospital, Los Angeles Co CA
Birth Certificate states her mother's address as: 5454 W. Bledso, Los Angels.
1100 Mission Road, (The doctor's office)
Source: the actual birth record.
"United States Census, 1930," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XCJJ-ZV5 : accessed 16 June 2018), Norma Jean Baker in household of Albert W Bolander, Hawthorne, Los Angeles, California, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 1000, sheet 8A, line 11, family 207, NARA microfilm publication T626 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2002), roll 128; FHL microfilm 2,339,863.
1930 census: living with Albert and Ida Bolender (Strict Christian Scientists)
Abers W Bolander
[Albert W Bolender]
[Abers W Bolender]
Home in 1930: Hawthorne, Los Angeles, California
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1884
Relation to Head of House: Head
Spouse's Name: Edna E Bolander
Abers W Bolander 46
Edna E Bolander 42
Lester Bolander 3 8/12
Gladys Baker 27
Norma Jean Baker 63
Note: Albert W. Bolander, mail carrier. US Postal
Address: 459 Rhode Island, Hawthorne, CA
Note: Gladys states she is 27 yrs old, divorced, working as a developer in Motion Pictures. States she was born in England, both parents English, and she came to USA in 1870 immigration. Obviously strange answers.
Norma Jean Baker is listed as 63 yrs old, widowed, no occuption, born in Indiana.
Both Gladys and Norma Jean are boarders.
"United States Census, 1940," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K9C5-PHR : accessed 16 June 2018), Norma Jean Baker in household of Ervin S Goddard, Councilmanic District 3, Los Angeles, Los Angeles Township, Los Angeles, California, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 60-238, sheet 5A, line 17, family 107, Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940, NARA digital publication T627. Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790 - 2007, RG 29. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012, roll 408.
Name: Norma Jean Baker
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1927
Marital Status: Single
Relation to Head of House: Ward
Home in 1940: Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California
Street: Nebraska Avenue
House Number: 11336
Inferred Residence in 1935: Hollywood, Los Angeles, California
Residence in 1935: Hollywood, Los Angeles, California
Resident on farm in 1935: No
Sheet Number: 5A
Ervin S Goodard 35
Grace Goodard 24
Norma Jean Baker 13
Margaret T Kanaun 79
1941 High School Year Book:
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1921
School: University High School
School Location: Los Angeles, California
She was mentioned as designing the set for the school play.
1942 High School Year Book:
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1922
School: University High School
School Location: Los Angeles, California
1942: Marilyn lived with a Foster Family on Sylvan st, Van Nuys.
"California, County Marriages, 1850-1952," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K8V5-R52 : 8 December 2017), James Edward Dougherty and Norma Jeane Mortensen, 19 Jun 1942; citing Los Angeles, California, United States, county courthouses, California; FHL microfilm 2,114,948.
Her first marriage record:
Name: James Edward Dougherty
Event Type: Marriage
Event Date: 19 Jun 1942
Event Place: Los Angeles, California, United States
Birth Year (Estimated): 1921
Father's Name: Edward Dougherty
Mother's Name: Ethel Beatty
Spouse's Name: Norma Jeane Mortensen
Spouse's Age: 16
Spouse's Gender: Female
Spouse's Birth Year (Estimated): 1926
Spouse's Father's Name: E Mortensen
Spouse's Mother's Name: ?? Moore
GS Film number: 2114948
Digital Folder Number: 005698684
Image Number: 01738
Newspaper: The Coshocton Tribune
Publication: 9 Jul 1946 - Coshocton, Ohio
Blonde, blue eyed Norma Jeane Doughtery model from Los Angeles poses in bathing suit.
Newspaper: The Salisbury Times
Publication: 11 Aug 1962 - Salisbury, Maryland
Her first contract was signed Aug 26, 1946, 20th Century Fox, at $125.00 per week, maximum of 20 weeks.
Newspaper: Kingsport Times
Publication: 29 Feb 1956 - Kingsport, Tennessee
Notice: Norma Jeane Dougherty has legally changed her name to Marilyn Monroe
Newspaper: Long Beach Independent
Publication: 28 Oct 1954 - Long Beach, California
Divorce proceedings at Santa Monica Superior court, Joe and Marilyn.
Places Marilyn lived:
508 N. Palm drive, Beverly Hills. (Honeymoon with Joe DiMaggio)
8573 Holloway drive, West Hollywood (apt shared with Shelly Winters)
12305 Fifth Helena Drive, off Carmelina st, Brentwood (her last home and death place)
Actual death location: 12305 Fifth Helena Drive, Brentwood, Los Angeles Co CA.
I have added a lot of data to the maternal side of Marilyn as well. I am not blood related. Best regards, Lilly Martin
Please note that James Stratman-17 posted the above link to wikitree. You can see below in comments previous notes from Mr. Stratman. Best regards, Lilly Martin
15. Article by Elsa Keslassy in Variety 2022-04-04
Marilyn Monroe’s Biological Father Revealed in Documentary ‘Marilyn, Her Final Secret’ (EXCLUSIVE)By Elsa Keslassy.
Now, we finally have the dna match. Mortensen can still remain her mother's legal husband at the time of birth.
I don't approve of this change E.M. Mortensen being the true father of Marilyn Monroe despite the birth certificate stating her father as E.M. Mortensen. In the majority of cases the birth certificate would always be the correct source in research but in this instance there are enough circumstances to call it into question.
It is obvious the mother used her husband's name, Martin Mortensen, to avoid scandal. Even though the divorce was not final until August 15, 1928. Gladys and her husband E. Martin Mortensen were already separated several months when Gladys conceived Marilyn. It is highly unlikely they would have been intimate while separated. It is well known that Gladys was in a relationship with her supervisor at Consolidated Film Industries, Charles Stanley Gifford at this time. Also, the striking similarities in appearance between Marilyn and Charles Stanley Gifford are remarkable. Although that alone is not enough to confirm paternity but it does give further weight.
The fact that E. Martin Mortensen had in his possession Marilyn's birth certificate when he died is not significant. She was an iconic Hollywood star, and he would have had those items in his possession and might have even believed she was his daughter when in fact it wasn't true. Marilyn did not acknowledge Mortensen as her true farther despite his name being on her birth certificate. If that were true it seems that Marilyn would have accepted Mortensen as her biological father and made it public knowledge.
Biographical researchers have mentioned the mother of Marilyn, Gladys, told her that Charles Stanley Gifford was her true father and it is noted that Marilyn also mentioned and believed this to be the case. In this one situation to just believe a record, as legal as it may be, as the absolute fact is very misleading.
She was not a Baker. She was not related to anyone named Baker. Baker was the name of her mother's first husband, and Marilyn's mother used it in some records, but please note her birth record states Mortensen, and this is the name she gave as her FATHER on her first marriage to James Dougherty. She stated her father was E. Mortensen.
Her BIRTH record states Mortensen. Her marriage record (First one) states Mortensen. She even states the correct initials of her father (E. M. Mortensen, as in Edward martin Mortensen)
Wikileaks wants to use REAL documents, real facts. There is no fact, or document existing which states Gifford is her father. Yet the facts and documents state Mortensen is the father. Baker was only given as the surname Marilyn's mother used to register Marilyn in school records. However, Marilyn herself was the source of the information on her own first marriage (James Dougherty) and she stated her father was Mortensen.
Her mother was married to Edward Martin Mortensen in October 11, 1924 Los Angeles. The divorce was not final until 8-15-1928 Los Angeles, CA.
This man Edward M. Mortensen, when he died, had in his possession Marilyn's birth certificate. This would indicate he acknowledged Marilyn as his daughter.
That makes 3 compelling pieces of evidence that Mortensen is her father and he should be listed as such.
The story about Gifford is just a story, and can be noted, but there are a birth record and a marriage record for Marilyn which both are showing the father as Mortensen, and that matches which the marriage of her mother to Mortensen. Actual record sources should be used as identity.
She was born Norma Jeane Mortensen. She used the name of Norma Baker in 1930 and 1940 census. However, her 1942 marriage states her full name as Norma Jeane Mortensen.
The names given in the birth and marriage are the correct maiden names at BIRTH.
I hope we can discuss this. Best regards, Lilly Martin