Marilyn Monroe died on a Saturday night. Saturdays had always been

special to her. Her mother used to visit on Saturday. Later, in the

orphanage, "Aunt Grace" used to visit on Saturday.

- - -

June 16, 1933, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt ended a special

session with Congress that came to be called The Hundred Days. The end

of The Hundred Days Session brought the beginning of the New Deal. The

country -- in the heart of the depression -- was feeling confident and

Gladys Pearl Baker was the typical American.

Following the announcement of the New Deal, she made the first effort

to bring her daughter, Norma Jeane, home to live with her. On one of her

Saturday visits, Gladys had promised her daughter, "I'm, going to build a

house for you and me to live in. It's going to be painted white and have a

back yard." In August, she signed a contract with The California Title

Mortgage Company. She bought a white bungalow located at 6812 Arbol

Drive in Hollywood; sitting on the porch, she could hear music from the

nearby Hollywood Bowl. Among the skimpy furnishings were a white

Franklin Baby Grand Piano so Norma Jeane could continue her lessons and a

new radio to enjoy Mr. Roosevelt's fireside chats and learn more about this

New Deal.

"It's all on time, but don't worry," she told Norma Jeane, "I'm working

double shift at the studio, and I'll soon be able to pay it off." She was

working steadily at Columbia Pictures as a film cutter in the lab. It was

monotonous, long hours, sitting in a small, stuffy room, where three or

four white-gloved women, swiftly, but with careful precision, sliced the

film as marked by the editor, before passing it on to the next room of

white-gloved women to be glued back together. But it was a reliable

monotony that had paid her well for the past decade.

And what a decade it had been! Gladys Monroe Baker had experienced

more heartaches and disappointments in the first decade of her adult life

than most people experience in a lifetime. Adulthood had begun at age

fourteen -- ten days short of her fifteenth birthday -- when she married

John Newton Baker, a twenty-six year old entrepreneur, in Venice,


There are few left who remember the spring of 1917, and most of

those have chosen to forget that never to be forgotten year in Gladys

Monroe's life. Thus mystery shrouds the courtship and marriage of Gladys

to Baker.

Why would a mother permit her fourteen year old daughter to become

acquainted with a man eleven years her senior, much less marry him? Why

would a mother entrust her daughter to a man rather than a boy for the

first taste of being with the opposite sex?

That her mother, Della Monroe, consented and even encouraged the

affair is undeniable. She not only was a consenting witness, (signing the

marriage certificate) but encouraged her daughter to lie about her age,

stating she was eighteen. Jack Baker's financial position was possibly

one of the strongest factors influencing Della's decision; however, one

must not short change Della Monroe's ability to look out for herself either.

Della had a new suitor, Charles William Grainger. He had recently returned

from a drilling assignment in India for Shell Oil Company. Grainger was a

snappy dresser, a smooth talker, and had money. Della may have thought

her chances of remarriage would be greater if she could marry off one of

her two children, for Della Monroe's life had not been easy.

Della May Hogan had found herself the butt of local gossip when her

parents, Tilford Marion Hogan and Jennie Nance Hogan divorced in the late

1890's. (A time when divorce was socially unacceptable.) In late summer

1899, twenty-three year old Della, followed thirty-three year old, Otis

Elmer Monroe to Mexico. Her family had objected; the difference in ages

was not as disturbing as the fact that they knew nothing about Monroe or

his family. They traveled the Butterfield (Overland) Trail to Eagle Pass,

Texas, crossing the border into Ciudad Porfirio Diaz, Mexico (now Piedras

Negras). May 27, 1900, Gladys Pearl was born.

In 1903, Otis and Della moved to Los Angeles, California. They settled

into a small apartment on West 37th Street, between Western and

Vermont Avenues. Otis went to work with The Pacific Electric Railway.

In 1905, a son was born, Marion Otis Elmer Monroe. They moved from

apartment to apartment -- often with no improvement in the living

conditions. In 1907, Otis was promoted to assistant foreman and they

purchased a home at 2440 Boulder. But happiness was short lived: July 22,

1909, Otis Elmer Monroe died, leaving Della with two small children. But

a worse fate, Otis Monroe had died in the confines of the California State

Hospital for the mentally ill in San Bernardino: the diagnosis -- General

Paresis. At the time it was thought to be a mental illness, but it was

later discovered to be syphilis of the brain and could be treated with

penicillin. Too late for Otis and too late for his children -- the damaging

seed had been planted in their mind: their father had gone MAD.

By frugal ingenuity, Della took in boarders, enabling her to stay home

with the children. At thirty-six, she made the mistake of marrying

twenty-nine year old Lyle Arthur Graves, a former worker of Otis' at

Pacific Railway. The marriage lasted thirteen months. After losing the

house, she sued Graves for divorce, charging him with "failure to provide."

He had forced her "to live on the charity of friends" because he would not

work although he was in good health. She also charged him with

"dissipation and habitual intemperance." Finally she asked the court to

officially restore her name to Della M. Monroe.

Thus it seems by 1917, with Grainger interested in her, Della may have

wanted to make herself more appealing by having one less child at home.

However, one must also consider that Gladys may have been pregnant at

the time of her marriage to Baker. It is conceivable. Four years later,

when she sued for divorce, her memory was keen on all accounts of their

relationship together, except the year they were married: she moved the

date back one year. Was it a mistake or a contrivance to conceal an

illegitimate birth? A diligent search for a birth certificate for Jackie

Monroe Baker proved negative, even though births were being

systematically recorded in Los Angeles County. At the time of the birth of

their second child, Berniece, Gladys stated on the birth certificate she had

never had any children.

Whatever the circumstances that brought this unlikely pair together, at

the very least, Jack Baker got a package deal: he not only found himself

supporting a child bride, but inlaws as well. Venice, California was built

at the turn of the century as an American counterpart to Venice, Italy.

Flower laden cottages lined salt-water flooded canals in a story book

setting. Gondolas were used to taxi Venetians around the city. The Bakers

and Graingers shared one of the flower laden cottages at 1410 Coral

Canal, in the very heart of Venice. Financial success had come to Gladys

and her family through her marriage to Baker. Baker owned half interest

in a general merchandise business located in Auditorium Building and he

and Gladys had opened a concession on the Pickering Pleasure Pier.

On the surface, Gladys' marriage appeared to be good; it proved

superficial. Baker was prone to frequent bouts of temper and by the

summer of 1921, Gladys could tolerate his abuse no longer. She sued for

divorce in June, charging "he had called her vile names, beaten and kicked

her on several occasions -- even striking her in the face." She added, "this

treatment had caused her extreme mental pain and injury, while she had

been a good and loyal wife."

Nine months later, the courts decided Gladys was entitled to a divorce.

The bungalow on Coral Canal was abandoned. Della and Gladys leased a

house at 46 Rose Avenue in Venice. The interesting part of the lease is

how Della signed her name: Della Monroe. Previous documents had been

signed Della Grainger. Although she stated on her passport she and

Grainger were married November 1920, no record of the marriage has been

found. They lived together as man and wife and bought real estate as man

and wife in 1920. Grainger was evidently in and out of Della's life

throughout their relationship. Della's name fluctuated from Monroe to

Grainger just as her granddaughter, Norma Jeane's, would fluctuate from

Baker to Mortensen. At the time of Della's death, she was officially listed

as Della Monroe; however, the death certificate states she was married to

a Mr. Grainger. Della and Gladys were evicted from the address by the

courts the same year because they "never paid the first month's rent."

In May 1923, the divorce was finalized; Baker decided to place as many

miles between himself and Gladys as possible. He had become an

insurance agent since the divorce and asked his company to transfer him

to his native Kentucky. One weekend with Jackie and Berniece in his

custody, he ousted them to The Bluegrass State. Gladys spent all her

savings trying to get her children back. Finally she traced them to

Kentucky. She met with Baker, but did not ask for the children; she left

them with him, according to Marilyn, "to enjoy a better life than she could

give them."

After Gladys Baker lost her children, her life took a dramatic turn. She

and Della parted, seeing one another as rarely as possible. Della was going

under the name of Mrs. Grainger again, settled into a bungalow in

Hawthorne she had co-purchased with her on again off again husband.

Gladys' brother, Marion Monroe, had moved to Salinas, where he had found

employment as a mechanic, a new bride, and started a family. Gladys had

moved to Hollywood and found work in the film studios. Therein, she had

also found the best friend she would ever have, Grace McKee.

Consolidated Film Industries was located at the corner of Seward and

Romain; their chief function being to print and develop motion picture film

"dailies" for viewing by directors. They also provided cutting rooms for

editing, as well as projection rooms for inspection of theater prints for

all the major studios. Grace McKee was forelady and Gladys Baker was

hired under her supervision. Gladys soon became Grace McKee's most

diligent worker and shortly after their first meeting, she became her

roommate as well. The two shared an apartment at 1211 Hyperion Avenue,

about a five block walk from the studio.

It is difficult to determine just who was bolstering whom: Gladys was

in the aftermath of her divorce and Grace was on the threshold of her's. It

was inevitable the two would find consolation and support in each other.

Both were free and independent. For the first time in her life Gladys could

really live.

Olin G. Stanley, a co-worker at both CFI and Columbia remembers the

pair well. "Gladys stood about five three; she had light brown hair and

appeared to be withdrawn, reticent. She was nondescript; a real plain

Jane -- nothing outstanding. I wouldn't give her a second glance in a

crowd of three -- unless desperate."

"Now on Grace McKee, I could write a best seller," Stanley continued

pausing only to light a cigarette, "Grace was a free wheeler; she was

hardworking, fast living, and always went after what she wanted and got

it. She had bird like features and was a peroxided blonde, busybody. In

those days laboratory workers changed jobs often -- we were a small

group and known to each other. Grace McKee was into partying and booze;

she and Gladys were both rumored to live it up nights -- that was the

lifestyle, imitating the stars -- with lots of shacking up and weekend

trips to the mountains with different guys."

The female co-workers at Consolidated Film seem only to remember

Grace and Gladys as hardworking, caring women; however, the male

element seemed to know those two would put out.

The only time Grace and Gladys were ever at odds with one another was

over Martin Edward Mortensen, a meterman for the Los Angeles Gas &

Electric Company. In spite of Grace's warning, Gladys married Mortensen

in the autumn of 1924, at the home of a Presbyterian minister in North

Hollywood. It lasted seven months. Contrary to popular belief, Mortensen

did not skip out on Gladys one day. Nor was he killed in a motorcycle

accident. Nor was he the father of Norma Jeane Mortensen, although she

would legally carry his name on her birth certificate. Eddie Mortensen

may have been out of Gladys' life, but she was certainly not out of his.

Olin Stanley recalls an incident that occurred some time after the

marriage was over.

"One evening, I came to work and all the guys were standing outside the

studio door in their aprons and boots taking a smoke break -- you couldn't

smoke around the chemicals. We all started shooting the bull as men do

when one of the guys looked up at a second floor window and saw Gladys

gazing out the window with a dreamy look on her face. He made the

remark, 'I sure would like to have some of that.' Some other guy replied, 'I

hear all you gotta do is ask.' Suddenly a man I didn't recognize sprang to

his feet and grabbed the guy by the throat shouting, 'Don't ever let me hear

you say anything like that about her again.' We pulled him off and he left.

And you know who that man was? Why, it was Eddie Mortensen. He was

still crazy about that gal."

According to the details of the divorce, Mortensen sued Gladys for

divorce stating she deserted him -- before Norma Jeane was even


But Gladys Baker, as she now called herself, was no longer interested

in Mortensen. Nor was she interested in Harold Rooney, a fellow worker at

CFI. Olin Stanley continues, "Harold Rooney was an unsuccessful admirer

of Gladys Baker. He was a brown nose to Stanley Gifford when Gifford was

in charge of the day shift."

Gladys Baker had become infatuated with the man in charge of the day

shift. Charles Stanley Gifford was a robust, dark haired, dark eyed man

with a mustache. In Olin Stanley's words, "He thought himself something

of a hot shot and expected to be treated like one". The truth being, his life

was in turmoil. He had been employed by the Thomas H. Ince Studios in

Culver City, where he had a comfortable salary which he supplemented by

selling automobiles. Recently, he had lost not only his well paid position

with Ince, but his family as well. His wife, Lillian, sued him for divorce

in late 1923, charging, "he was addicted to narcotic drugs and had on

numerous occasions beaten her and cursed both she and the children." She

also charged, "He associated with women he worked with of low and

dissolute character, often boasting of his sexual conquest." Lillian

Gifford told friends, "I am going to get everything he has and tell him to go

to hell." And she did get a fair share, leaving him financially crippled. But

Stanley Gifford was made of resilient material. He came to Consolidated

Film Industries as a hypo shooter and developer, quickly working his way

up to superintendent of the night crew. His arrogant, womanizing manner

made him an instant success with the women, while creating an even

keener distrust in the men working under him.

It became common knowledge among the lab workers that Gladys Baker

and Stanley Gifford were having an affair the spring of 1925. On the

morning of May 6th, 1925, Gifford triumphantly marched into the lab a

free man; his divorce was final. Twenty days later, Gladys walked out on

Mortensen, evidently with intentions of becoming the next Mrs. Gifford. By

autumn, Gifford had tired or his latest fling. Only there was a catch:

Gladys had become pregnant. And as all the world now knows, Norma

Jeane Mortensen was born a bastard.

So Gladys had carried her bastard child to full term only to leave her

with a strange family in Hawthorne. The Bolenders were not chosen

simply for their close proximity to Della Grainger; they kept several

foster children in their home. If Gladys thought Norma Jeane would at

least be close to her grandmother, it was an ill conceived notion. For

Norma Jeane would retain only one memory of her Grandmother Monroe:

that she tried to suffocate her as a baby. She probably did make the

attempt. For within two months of Norma Jeane's first birthday, Della

Monroe Grainger was committed to Norwalk Mental Hospital, suffering

from Manic Depressive Psychosis. One of the dangers in dealing with

Manic Depressives is that they often try to kill their offspring because

they see them as evil extensions of themselves. Now, both of Gladys'

parents had gone mad.

So in October, Gladys boarded the trolley to Hawthorne; a rural town

located about fifteen miles south of Hollywood.-- just as she had almost

every Saturday since June 1926. Norma Jeane would live with the

Bolenders no more. Now, for the first time, she and Norma Jeane would

live together as a family and do all the things Gladys had promised on

those treasured Saturday visits.

The Bolender's life style was as remote from Gladys' as was Hawthorne

to Hollywood. They were middle class; she had always associated herself

with the upper middle class and her socio-economic position had

confirmed her beliefs more than once. Albert Wayne, a letter carrier, was

a lanky, droopy shouldered man with a stern face; his wife, Ida, was neat

-- if not fashionable -- and her manner provided a pleasing contrast to

that of her husband's: she constantly wore a smile, even her eyes twinkled

behind wire-rimmed glasses. The Bolenders, Gladys had observed, were

religious fundamentalist or by Gladys' standards -- religious fanatics.

Being a follower of Christian Science, she could not comprehend their

negative attitudes nor their constant fear and preaching on sin and hell.

Furthermore, she felt the sooner she could remove Norma Jeane from their

influence the better.

So thanks to Gladys' confidence in Roosevelt's New Deal coupled with

the salary from her new job, in the autumn of 1933, Norma Jeane left the

seemingly tyrannical rule of the Bolenders -- her home for her first seven

years, the formative years -- and entered into the glamour of Hollywood


If there is a single statement one could make about Gladys Baker, it

would have to be that she secured every means possible to ensure Norma

Jeane's new found home life, regardless of any pitfalls she herself might

encounter. She purchased hospitalization and life insurance and made

regular deposits into her bank account for emergencies. To further secure

the home life she had planned for her daughter, she leased the house on

Arbol Drive to an elderly English couple and their daughter; Gladys and

Norma Jeane would rent two small rooms of the house for themselves,

while sharing the living room, kitchen, and bath. Yes, Gladys Baker took

every precautionary measure to make Norma Jeane's home with her


If life with the Bolenders had been busy with the pitter-patter of little

feet, the bungalow at 6812 Arbol Drive was equally busy with the coming

and going of adults. The English family worked in pictures; the wife was a

registered dress extra, the daughter a bit player and the man of the house

had been ordained as George Arliss's stand-in. The family has been

remembered by Norma Jeane and her many biographers as a nameless

family from Britain; as our story develops, one will see why.

The movie colony in itself was a family, or more appropriately several

families within the colony. Stand-ins found themselves hanging out with

other stand-ins; dress extras and bit players, likewise, sought the

company of others within their realm of the industry. Friends were

forever dropping by for tea, especially during the lean times: those

frequent stints between jobs. Therefore, the conversation centered

around the movies, movie making, and more importantly movie stars.

Gladys may or may not have approved of this constant circus of intruders;

however, there was little she could say about how the British family

conducted themselves in their own home. Besides, Gladys understood how

they felt -- she at one time would have been among the circus parade. But

time had taught her a lesson: people and their actions were not always

what appeared on the surface; more than once, she had discovered herself

being courted for her generosity rather than her company. The simple

truth was Gladys had become reticent since Norma Jeane had entered her

life as a permanent fixture. The child was no longer a Saturday treat one

could choose to be amused with or forgo; in fact, this previous part-time

mother now found the effort a full time job.

Gladys was now seeing and confiding in one person -- Grace McKee.

Over the years, Grace had become the kind of friend one feels lucky to find

once in a lifetime. More than once, when Gladys had found herself

confused or unable to make a decision, Grace had intervened with the right

solution. After all, it had been Grace who encouraged her to buy the house

on Arbol and get Norma Jeane away from those religious fanatics. And it

was Grace who had secured Gladys her job at Columbia Pictures and thus

provided the necessary means to follow through with her plan. It had been

Grace who had taken care of Norma Jeane on weekends, when Gladys had

taken her to their Hollywood apartment only to encounter a conflict.

Gladys had long become resolved that if anything ever happened to her, she

wanted Grace to rear Norma Jeane like her own daughter. It can be said,

Grace was Gladys' idol, perhaps even her alter ego. Grace was everything

Gladys wanted to be.

Grace McKee had arrived in California in 1914, as Clara Grace

Atchinson, with aspirations of becoming a film star. Shortly after her

marriage to Reginald Evans, World War I left her widowed and she sought

employment within the lower ranks of filmdom as a darkroom laboratory

worker. By the time Gladys was employed as a negative film splicer at

Consolidated Film Industries, Grace McKee (another marriage had ensued)

had been promoted to forelady. She was a small, trim woman whose dark

blonde hair was often peroxide blonde. Gladys saw her as chic. Walking

down Highland Avenue in a new coiffure and outfit with her cocker spaniel

Susan in tow, Grace could easily have been mistaken for a movie star out

for a stroll. That is how she appeared to Gladys.

Sharing apartments together, between marriages, over the years, they

had formed a strong friendship. The two women had successfully

overcome more than a few obstacles together; therefore, Gladys did not

need to explain any of her idiosyncrasies to Grace. The only reason they

were not sharing the house on Arbol was that Grace had thought it would

be bad for Norma Jeane: Grace, one might say, was a "loose woman."

Ironically, it had been Grace who introduced Gladys to Christian Science.

But that was Grace: she had all the answers -- an expert in every field.

Gladys awakened Norma Jeane early and painstakingly dressed her in

ruffles and bows; the pin curls she had slept the night in were removed

and her hair carefully set. She had to look especially pretty the first day

in her new school. As they passed through the living room, Gladys

instructed her to stop, turn, smile, and show the British couple how pretty

she looked -- a ritual Norma Jeane repeatedly performed for her mother

and Grace.

Gladys walked her daughter south on Highland, showing her the way to

Selma Avenue Elementary School where she would resume her second

grade studies. She explained the walk was no further than the walk to

Washington Street School in Hawthorne; however, Norma Jeane could

already sense the difference. Hawthorne was open and one could see in

most any direction; Hollywood was claustrophobic and the school building

had a foreboding appearance. With the enrollment formalities behind,

Gladys kissed Norma Jeane and told her she would see her after school.

Film cutters free lanced. They drifted from studio to studio as the

figures of profit and loss statements dictated where they would work

next and for how long, based on a fickle public's likes or dislikes. Working

hours were sporadic: they worked day or night -- sometimes both if the

job was rush. Although Norma Jeane was living in the same house with

her mother, she still saw her, for the most part, only on weekends.

Every studio closed the month of March and shipped film out of state to

avoid a state of California tax period of one month. Convenient and legal

for the studios and sorely needed for Gladys' and Norma Jeane's strained

relationship; it gave them their first opportunity of any significant length

to become acquainted. Norma Jeane came home from school to Gladys'

waiting arms each day. Gladys was perfect in her role; she cooked and

cleaned house daily -- it was a real home. It was during this brief period

as a family, Gladys chose to introduce Norma Jeane vicariously to her

father. Marilyn remembered the eventful meeting:

"There was one object in my mother's room that always fascinated me.

It was a photograph on the wall. Whenever I visited my mother I would

stand looking at this photograph. One day she lifted me up in a chair so I

could see it better. 'That's your father.' she said. I felt so excited I

almost fell off the chair. It felt so good to have a father, to be able to

look at his picture and know I belonged to him. And what a wonderful

photograph it was. He wore 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.

Mother said, 'He was killed in an auto accident in New York.' I believed

everything people told me, but I didn't believe this. I asked my mother

what his name was. She wouldn't answer. Years later I found out what his

name was, and many other things about him -- how he used to live in the

same apartment building where my mother lived, how they fell in love and

how he walked out and left her while I was getting born, without ever

seeing me. The strange thing was that everything I heard about him made

me feel warmer toward him. The night I met his picture I dreamed of it

when I fell asleep. And I dreamed of it a thousand times afterward."

The month sabbatical proved to be what Gladys needed to restore her

strength -- the daily duties of caring for a child and holding down a job

were beginning to take their toll.

Just as Saturday had been special to Norma Jeane in Hawthorne -- her

mother would visit on Saturday -- Sunday was now her special day. It

began with a walk down Highland Avenue for Sunday services at the

Christian Scientist Church just off Highland on Hollywood Boulevard.

There, Norma Jeane listened to the most remarkable teachings she had

ever heard. The foundation Ida Bolender had laid of hell, fire, and

brimstone began to crumble as Norma Jeane learned heaven and hell were

states of thought -- not places. She learned that she experienced her own

heaven or hell right here on earth in proportion to her love of God. She

was taught there is no pain, no sickness, and no death. That her mind had

the power to allow suffering or to block it out. Yet, she had experienced

sickness and pain. She had been pained by a weekend mother and an absent

father. A pain that gnawed at her very gut daily: the pain of rejection. But

Mary Baker Eddy's teachings assured her it had been through her own

weakness that she had suffered pain. She became confused as Gladys

declared there is no sin, while in her mind she could see Ida Bolender

assuring her there was.

As they emerged from the chapel, all thought of sin and sickness

vanished in the sunshine as they walked east on Hollywood Boulevard to

that other make-believe diocese -- "sky-scraper mile." They would lunch

-- or brunch if "Aunt Grace" were along -- at the Hollywood Hotel (where

all the visiting actors of the day lodged) or maybe the Christie or the

Bonnie Brier. After lunch, the threesome would stroll the residential

streets, pointing out the homes of various stars, while eulogizing each as

if he were some kind of deity -- and in a sense they were deities; did their

very livelihood not depend on the success of these gods? As they

continued their stroll, they passed temples built in honor of these gods:

the Hollywood Theater, the Iris, the Appollo, the Egyptian, and the

cathedral-like Grauman's Chinese Theater. They usually saved it for the

last stop; there they would try on the footprints of the gods. Since the

spring of 1927, when the first ceremony initiated a show business

tradition still existing, the icons of filmdom have been immortalized in

specially prepared cement in the Chinese forecourt -- and all would be

icons of filmdom have dreamed of the day their own imprints would

become a part of that tradition; Norma Jeane Baker was no exception. It is

safe to assume and keeping within their character that Grace and Gladys

pointed out to Norma Jeane on each visit that the first footprints ever

immortalized were those of Norma Talmadge -- her very namesake.

A special treat included seeing the current movie on the bill. Often

featuring one of the very gods whose mansion they had just paid homage

to. If one was not sure of the deity of these gods before entering the

imposing entrance, guarded by two hugh Chinese Heaven Dogs to ward off

evil spirits, once inside the tabernacle, he became a confirmed believer.

Sid Grauman filled the interior with a king's ransom of unique and exotic

art and covered the foyer and lobby with plush, thick rugs hand woven in

colorful Oriental motif. Luxuriant bright tapestries were softened by

lights spilled from ornate glass and metal chandeliers. Tall vases and

urns (said to have adorned a mandarin's temple in centuries past) added to

the quiet majesty. One suddenly knew upon entering, he was within sacred

walls. The opulent majesty instilled a humbling reverence -- whether

warranted or not. Is it possible Norma Jeane decided it was not Mary

Baker Eddy's Christian Science that would alleviate her pain, but the gods

that ruled this magnificent kingdom called Hollywood?

June 1, 1934, Norma Jeane celebrated her eighth birthday. The

occasion was a double celebration: it was the first birthday to be spent

with her mother and it began summer vacation from school. The summer

of 1934, would hold many memories for Norma Jeane. When Marilyn

Monroe would recall happy memories as well as horror stories from her

childhood in later years, it was the summer of 1934, she remembered.

The Pacific Electric Railway radiated from Los Angeles in every

direction; the trolley cars were called "red cars," fares were cheap and

excursions were only a "red car" ride away. The threesome -- Gladys,

Grace, and Norma Jeane -- took the trolley to Santa Monica to the beach

towns of Ocean Park and Venice. Some of the routes wound through

Beverly Hills, where Grace pointed out fine shops and restaurants where

the stars shopped and dined. In late summer there were trips to West

Hollywood to see the Poinsettias being grown for the Christmas trade --

acres of brilliant red leaves. Hollywood and Santa Monica Boulevards had

trolleys, while Sunset Boulevard had double decker buses. Hawthorne was

quickly becoming a distant memory; Hollywood and the surrounding area

was pulsating with excitement. Grace and Gladys catered to Norma

Jeane's every pleasure. Grace was always telling Norma Jeane that she

was going to be a movie star when she grew up. She had dutifully

drummed this thought into her head since birth. Co-workers of Grace and

Gladys recall the same or similar story. Olin Stanley remembers:

"I first met her (Marilyn Monroe) when she was about four years old,

and in the care of oft-married Grace McKee. Miss McKee was forelady in

the "daily room" at Standard Film Laboratories and I, as a "film polisher"

worked under her close supervision. In those days we worked four hours

on Saturdays and for months Miss McKee would have someone bring a little

girl to the lab an hour or so before noontime closing. This little girl was

Norma Jeane. We workers were introduced to HER and every introduction

was the same over and over, something like, 'Baby, I want you to meet

Olin. Olin, this is Norma Jeane, isn't she pretty? Norma Jeane, shake

hands with the nice man, fine, now turn around and show the big bow on

the back of your dress.' Or, 'Norma Jeane, here comes Ella, you met her

last month. Tell Ella again, she's probably forgotten, what you are going

to be when you're all grown up. Tell her, a movie star, baby, tell her a

movie star.'"

From Maurice Zolotow's biography, MARILYN MONROE, we read of a

similar incident remembered by Mrs. Lelia Fields, a negative cutter at RKO:

"I must tell you about Grace McKee. Grace was a wonderful person.

They broke the mold when they made Grace. She was one in a million. She

was Gladys' best friend and she loved and adored Norma Jeane. If it

weren't for Grace, there wouldn't be a Marilyn Monroe today. Grace raved

about Norma Jeane like she was her own. Grace said Norma Jeane was

going to be a movie star. She had this feeling about her. A conviction."

Charlotte Engleburg, a friend of Grace and Gladys, recalled the same on

going beat being drummed into Norma Jeane's mind. It was a fact with

Grace: Norma Jeane was going to be a movie star.

It was the summer of 1934, that Norma Jeane became intimately aware

of the movies. With school out, Gladys arranged for the British family to

look after her daughter during those hours she would be called upon to

work. It was probably Mr. George Arliss's stand-in who made the first

move to get Norma Jeane out of the house. He was in his late sixties and

very likely could tolerate only so much of a boisterous seven year old.

Apparently his level of tolerance would peak by matinee time; ticket

prices were cheaper than headaches. He showed Norma Jeane the way to

the Egyptian Theater, gave her the ten cent admission price, and bid her

good day with instructions to return home before her mother.

The Egyptian Theater (formerly one of Sid Grauman's movie palaces)

was set to the back of a deep forecourt. European gift shops lined one side

of the court with stairways leading to rooftop terraces; the other side

exhibited a sparkling fountain centered in a palm lined garden wall that

led to the tomb-like entrance. The entire courtyard was a dusty pink --

actually mausoleum pink. Egyptian hieroglyphics decorated the garden

wall. Inside the theater, two huge sphinxes flanked the screen while more

hieroglyphics climbed columns to form an arch crested by a gold phoenix.

The ceiling burst into a mosaic of Egyptian color.

A mosaic of lives paraded across the giant screen; a few were even in

color. Norma Jeane watched all the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer musicals of the

day; RKO's KING KONG; and everybody's sultry sirens, (there were no

ratings then) but the movies that probably touched her the deepest were

the ones -- and there was a proliferation -- like RKO's WEDNESDAY'S

CHILD, about a youth, the victim of his parent's broken marriage, who is

forced to testify during the divorce action, then finds himself in military

school because neither father nor mother has room for him in their lives.

At the end, however, the father has a change of heart and takes the boy out

of school and makes a home for the two of them. Norma Jeane would leave

the theater wondering when her own father would come and rescue her and

Gladys; a lifetime of wondering about her father began that summer.

If summer had never ended, it would have been too soon for Norma

Jeane. September found her back within the gloomy walls of Selma

Avenue Elementary School and third grade; however, school would soon

become an escape just as the movie houses of summer had been.

There is one incident in the childhood of Norma Jeane dated at about

this time: the claim by Marilyn Monroe that she was raped (or molested) at

age eight and a half to nine years. Many have argued it never happened.

Certainly, it never happened while she was a member of the authoritative

-- though nonetheless safe -- Bolender household. After leaving the

Bolenders, she was with family, Grace, or in the orphanage -- except for

the fourteen months spent at 6812 Arbol Drive with Gladys and an

unidentified British couple in their mid sixties. A study of the various

foster homes where she spent her first sixteen years leaves only one

viable place where this type of situation could have happened and as a

result, points an accusing finger at the only possible perpetrator: George

Arliss's stand-in. Here is Marilyn's vivid -- if veiled -- recollection of

the most traumatic episode of her childhood:

"One day I found out about sex without asking any questions. I was

almost nine (late 1934, early 1935,) and I lived with a family that rented

a room to a man named Kimmel. He was a stern-looking man and everybody

respected and called him Mr. Kimmel."

"I was passing his room when his door opened and he said quietly,

'Please come in here, Norma.' I thought he wanted me to run an errand. He

closed the door behind me. He smiled at me and turned the key in the lock.

'Now you can't get out.' he said, as if we were playing a game."

"I stood staring at him. I was frightened, but I didn't dare yell. I knew

if I yelled, I would be sent back to the orphanage in disgrace again. Mr.

Kimmel knew this too."

"When he put his arms around me, I kicked and fought as hard as I could

but I didn't make any sound. He was stronger than I was and wouldn't let

me go. He kept whispering to me to be a good girl."

"When he unlocked the door and let me out, I ran to tell my "aunt" what

Mr. Kimmel had done."

"I want to tell you something," I stammered, "about Mr. Kimmel. He-


"My "aunt" interrupted, 'Don't you dare say anything against Mr. Kimmel.

Mr. Kimmel's a fine man. He's my star boarder.'"

"This is different," I said. "This is something I have to tell. Mr.

Kimmel-" I started stammering again and couldn't finish. Mr. Kimmel came

out of his room and handed me a nickel. 'Go buy yourself some ice cream,'

he said. I threw the nickel in Mr. Kimmel's face and ran out. I cried in bed

that night and wanted to die."

Maurice Zolotow's biography added the following:

The woman threatened to slap her face if she didn't stop, but she

continued to tell of the shameful experience. The landlady struck her

across the mouth. She cried that night in bed and hoped she would die,

although she knew that if she died she would go to hell because of what

she had done. She was obsessed by guilt. She had committed the

unpardonable sin.

Did it happen or was it just another of the many stories Marilyn

fabricated? True she had lied about being an orphan, stating her mother

was dead, when in fact, she was a ward of the state of California, but if it

was a lie, why then did she feel compelled to relate the story to every

new acquaintance she made? Why was she still compelled in late July,

1962, -- mere days before her death -- to "confess" the episode to

photographer, George Barris? It was a reality to Marilyn. Psychiatrist

tell us children never ever lie about sexual abuse. Children lie for one

reason and one reason only: to get out of trouble. A lie of this type would

be counterproductive to the very nature of a child's lying.

She was for the most part, without protection. Her father was gone;

her mother was oblivious to what was happening or worse yet, chose to be

blind to any situation that might disrupt the home she had worked so hard

at making for Norma Jeane. With the sporadic work schedule handed the

occupants of 6812 Arbol Drive, surely Norma Jeane was alone with George

Arliss's stand-in on many occasions. Could this severe bruise against her

body and psyche have been inflicted under her own mother's roof? Could

the landlady who responded with a slap across the mouth have been

Gladys? It is feasible and helps one to better understand her great

distaste, even hatred for her mother as she grew older, while at the same

time she camouflaged her story sufficiently to protect her mother's

identity. George Arliss's stand-in has been attributed with giving the

actress Marilyn Monroe her grand enunciation; did he also give her

sleepless nights, insecurity, and her stammering which origins date back

to the summer of 1934?

Who was this faceless man who left such an indelible mark on her

soul? Or is he faceless? Nameless maybe, but certainly we know his

face; and through that face we learn something about his character. As

stated in so many Monroe biographies, he was George Arliss's stand-in.

Therefore, he had to look a great deal like George Arliss -- an impeccable,

tea drinking, English gentleman. A superb actor, Arliss won the academy

award for his performance as DISRAELI in 1929, and was nominated in


WHO PLAYED GOD, THE HOUSE OF ROTHCHILD, (he played the head of it)

CARDINAL RICHELIEU and VOLTAIRE. All these parts were supreme

egg-heads of the caliber of Einstein. He came from the upper echelon of

British theater to Hollywood during the silent days. He was the only star

ever to be billed Mr. as in Mr. George Arliss. And though we do not know

the name of George Arliss's stand-in, we do know he did not particularly

care for him. In his 1940, autobiography, Arliss commented at length on

the subject:

"The stand-in for the elderly star is a pathetic figure. More often than

not he is an old actor who has played everything, but has "never had his

chance." And now he is nothing -- a shadow. And yet he feels within him a

certain sense of importance. He is dressed like the star; he believes he

looks like the star; almost unconsciously he takes on the walk, or

mannerisms of the star; he poses like him before the cameraman, and he

sees himself a star. I know what is going on in his brain as he watches me

play the part; he knows that if only he had the chance he could do it just

as well -- better. He cannot understand why I do this or that, when

obviously a much better way would be -- the way he would do it."

"Yes, to me, the stand-in seems a pathetic figure, because of all the

great crowd engaged for the picture he is the one solitary figure that is

never seen by the audience: he is dressed up, made up, placed in the center

of the stage, in the limelight -- and never photographed."

George Arliss portrays his stand-in as a man who sees society as his

enemy; he never sees his failures as coming from within -- it is always

the fault of others. His type of character would only have hatred and

disgust for society -- a bunch of people who do nothing but take; they

never give. Well, he will take from those he does have power over.

And what can one expect from this genre of man? Those menaces to

society, medicine has named pedophillics. Generally, they are not violent,

and physical injury to the child is rare. The typical pedophilic does not

attack strangers. In most cases he is a family friend, neighbor, or often a

relative of the victim. Advances usually take place in the child's own

home, where the pedophile is an invited guest. The most typical pattern is

for the pedophile to hold a young girl on his lap, to caress her, and then to

fondle her genitals. A high portion of pedophiles are impotent -- most

cases are of this fondling molestation as opposed to actual rape. More

often than not, when exposed, one will find him to be a devoutly religious

man with much respect in the community. Pedophillics are usually very

fond of their victims and truly love them -- they just have very

unorthodox ways of expressing this love.

The incident did not leave Marilyn without its share of scars -- many

of which, we may never know. It undermined her trust in those she had

learned to trust: her mother and guardians. The adult Marilyn would never

completely trust anyone -- including herself -- and religiously sought

advice from everyone in her company, from dramatic coach to make-up

man, only to follow her own instincts most of the time. A subsequent

episode would further undermine her trust. Herewith follows an excerpt

from an interview given by Marilyn to the London Observor in the late


"A week later the family, including Mr. Kimmel went to a religious

revival meeting in a tent. My "aunt" insisted I come along. The tent was

jammed. Everybody was listening to the evangelist. Suddenly he called on

all the sinners in the tent to come up and repent. I rushed up ahead of

everyone else and started to tell him about my sin. I fell on my knees and

began to tell about Mr. Kimmel and how he had molested me in his room.

But other sinners started wailing about their sins and drowned me out. I

looked back and saw Mr. Kimmel standing among the non-sinners praying

loudly and devoutly for God to forgive the sins of others."

And Norma Jeane saw the farce hypocrisy brings to religion. She was

innocent, yet had been abused and discarded like a soiled linen. Her soul

was stained and dirty, even though she had no control over the situation --

while Mr. Kimmel continued to be respected and prayed for sinners like


How devastating it must have been for Marilyn to be labeled America's

sex symbol. She had been a victim of sex in the greatest sense of the

word from her very birth. Born a bastard -- sex out of chaos. Raped at

eight and a half -- sex out of confusion. Only to be typed as the focus of

every red blooded American male's desires. As Marilyn, she could never

tolerate abuse against anything helpless -- even animals -- no doubt, she

associated her own helplessness at eight and a half against the forceful,

overpowering wishes of Mr. Kimmel, with anything being subjected to a

situation beyond its control. Marilyn did not enjoy sex; in fact, it was

something she really did not care for. The men in her adult life as well as

her psychiatrist, Dr. Ralph Greenson, suggest a woman who found little

satisfaction in sex. Speaking of her first husband, Jim Dougherty, Marilyn

said, "The first effect marriage had on me was to increase my lack of

interest in sex." And speaking on the Hollywood casting couch system she

let the Freudian slip, "Maybe it was the nickel Mr. Kimmel once gave

me...but men who tried to buy me with money made me sick." Yet, she

would at times reward -- if you please -- her mentors by giving them her

body -- as if it were some sacrificial gift.

There would always be a special place in her heart for children --

especially deprived and underprivileged children (those so close to her

own situation.) She left a sizable amount of her estate in the hands of her

New York psychiatrist, Dr. Marianne Kriss, to be used for the advancement

of these children.

What suppressed subconscious fantasies were trying to subliminally

surface in her adult life? Would her supreme lovers not turn out to be

supreme egg-heads: Arthur Miller, Robert Kennedy -- even the President of

the United States. Visions of George Arliss's stand-in perhaps. She would

refer to her three husbands as Jim, Joe, and Mr. Miller (as in Mr. George

Arliss.) She would always have a fixation for older, studious, egg-head


Shelly Winters remembers two stories that reveal Marilyn's sexual

preferences and add much insight:

"Robert Ryan told me about a group that Charles Laughton was forming

to work on Shakespeare, speech and the discipline and history of the

theater. He asked me if I would like to meet Mr. Laughton and audition for

the group Sunday afternoon out at Charles Laughton's house."

"That Saturday afternoon there was a celebrity baseball game for a

charity, and Marilyn Monroe and I were batgirls. I was so busy reading

KING LEAR in the dugout that I got hit on the head with a ball. While

putting ice on my head, Marilyn noticed the book, and even she thought it

was strange for me to be reading KING LEAR aloud to myself during a ball

game while being photographed by all the movie magazines. I explained to

her what I was doing the next day, and she asked if she could come with

me, saying she thought Laughton was the sexiest man she'd ever seen."

Charles Laughton was an elderly actor. He and Marilyn would make one

film together in 1952; an O'Henry short story titled THE COP AND THE

ANTHEM. Shelly continues to enlighten us as she relates the story of her

and Marilyn's list of the men they would most like to make it with:

"When I read Marilyn's choices, I dropped the huge PLAYER'S DIRECTORY.

She had listed Zero Mostel, Eli Wallach, Charles Boyer, Jean Renoir, Lee

Strasberg, Nick Ray, John Huston, Elia Kazan, Harry Belafonte, Yves

Montand, Charles Bickford, Ernest Hemingway, Charles Laughton, Clifford

Odets, Dean Jagger, Arthur Miller and Albert Einstein."

"Marilyn, there's no way you can sleep with Albert Einstein. He's the

most famous scientist of this century, and besides, he's an old man."

"That has nothing to do with it. I hear he's very healthy."

"I don't know how many of her choices she achieved, but after her death

when many of her possessions were sent to Lee Strasberg's apartment,

there on Marilyn's mother's white baby grand I saw a large framed

photograph of Albert Einstein. On it was written 'To Marilyn, with respect

and love and thanks, Albert Einstein.'"


There is little doubt that she sought in her subsequent lovers, the only

man to show her any affection as a little girl. She was not looking for her

father in her conquest for older men: she was looking for George Arliss's


To further deduce that the stand-in was the molester one only need to

stop and rationalize for a moment. Marilyn could name every family she

ever spent any length of time with -- regardless of how short a period --

but she always referred to this man as the English gentleman. Her

reasoning was simple: if she were to give the English gentleman a name,

it might be discovered that the molestation occurred while she was in the

care of her mother. One does not live with a person for two years and not

be able to recall his name; yet, know not only his occupation, but for whom

he worked. No, the incident did not leave her without its share of scars.

Gladys was concealing her irritability less each day. No doubt, Mr.

Kimmel was at the bottom of her anxiety coupled with her own

mishandling of the situation. Suddenly, she would lash out verbally at

Norma Jeane or the British couple; they could understand, Norma Jeane

could not. The hurt went deep and she accepted these unexplained rashes

of temper as rejection, but they were not nearly as unnerving to her as the

long periods of silence. During these episodes, Gladys would sit and stare

silently for days, nothing Norma Jeane did could penetrate her glassy eyed


By Thanksgiving, all the movie star talk had ceased. Gladys had become

preoccupied with Mary Baker Eddy's Christian Science. She read the Bible

and Eddy's Keys To Understanding The Scriptures constantly and fiercely

quoted them. The British couple was obviously uncomfortable; Norma

Jeane was numb -- all feeling had ceased. Gladys' steady deterioration

had not gone totally unnoticed. Grace McKee and Lelia Fields had been

covering for her at work -- doing Gladys' work during her depressions to

help her hold onto her job. So when the British family phoned Grace at the

studio for help, she was not unprepared. She instructed them to call an

ambulance. Norma Jeane, twenty years later as Marilyn Monroe,

remembered the day vividly:

"One morning the English couple and I were having breakfast in the

kitchen. Suddenly, there was a terrible noise on the stairway outside the

kitchen. It was the most frightening noise I had ever heard. Bangs and

thuds kept on as if they would never stop. The Englishwoman held me from

going to see. Her husband went out and after a time came back into the

kitchen. 'I've sent for the police and an ambulance,' he said. I asked if it

was my mother. 'Yes,' he said. 'But you can't see her.' I stayed in the

kitchen and heard people come and try to take my mother away. Nobody

wanted me to see her. But I went out and looked in the hall. My mother

was on her feet. She was screaming and laughing. They took her away to

Norwalk Mental Hospital."

During the fourteen months they had shared together, very little

bonding had transpired between mother and daughter. Norma Jeane loved

her mother, but no more than she loved "Aunt Grace" or Ida Bolender. True

she was happy to be with Gladys, but she could also be happy without her.

Neither Gladys nor her daughter had ever known any stability in their

lives. Their only constant was change. Gladys Baker was diagnosed

Paranoid Schizophrenia. It would be the only legacy she would leave her

daughter. Gladys had lived her life in the shadow of madness: her father

had gone mad; her mother had gone mad; her brother had left one day to get

a newspaper and was never heard from again -- she assumed he too was

mad -- and her grandfather Hogan had committed suicide.

January 15, 1935, Grace McKee had Gladys legally declared insane and

was appointed Norma Jeane's guardian. Norma Jeane continued to live in

the white bungalow at 6812 Arbol Drive with the British family -- where

he almost certainly continued to molest her; she continued to attend

Selma Avenue Elementary School; in short she continued as if Gladys had

never been there at all. At least for a while.

As Gladys' savings became exhausted, Grace instructed the British

couple to sell the furniture to keep the rent paid and groceries bought.

Among the first items to go with her mother was the beloved white

Franklin Baby Grand. Eventually the white bungalow was sold and Gladys'

dream for Norma Jeane became another soured memory in the canon of

disappointments in the life of Norma Jeane Baker.

Easter Sunday Norma Jeane moved in with Grace's mother, Mrs. Emma

Willette Atkinson; in June, she moved into Grace's apartment on Lodi

Place. Living with "Aunt Grace" may have been an even better life than

with Gladys. According to court records, Grace spared nothing when it

came to the child's care. In addition to the necessities like doctor bills,

there were buying sprees at Broadway Department Store, a hair

permanent, and a photograph sitting.

Marilyn remembered the times, "My mother's best friend was a woman

named Grace. I called nearly everybody I knew aunt or uncle, but Aunt

Grace was a different sort of make-believe relative. She became my best

friend too. Aunt Grace worked as a film librarian in the same studio as my

mother -- Columbia Pictures. Grace had almost as rough a time as my

mother. She lost her job in the studio and had to scrape for a living.

Although she had no money, she continued to look after my mother, who

was starting to have mental spells, and to look after me."

Grace continued to tell her, "Don't worry Norma Jeane. You're going to

be a beautiful girl when you grow up. I can feel it in my bones," which

must have suggested to Marilyn that being beautiful would be a panacea

for all her problems. Marilyn continued, "When my mother was taken to

the hospital Aunt Grace became my legal guardian. Her friends argued

with her. They talked about my mother and her father and brother and

grandmother all being mental cases and said I would certainly follow in

their footsteps. But Aunt Grace adopted me, heritage and all."

All might have been well for Norma Jeane had thirty-nine year old,

Grace not met twenty nine year old, Erwin Silliman Goddard, who

everybody called Doc. Born in Holland, Texas, the son of a one time

Surgeon General of Texas, Doc, had come to Hollywood to make it as an

actor. His good looks and strong physique landed him a job as Randolf

Scott's stand-in. He and Grace had met on the Columbia lot. The courtship

was brief. Grace and Doc were married in Las Vegas in mid August and

honeymooned at Grace's Aunt Minnie Willette's house.

Grace McKee cried all morning as she packed and prepared Norma Jeane

for the move. Stopping only three blocks from her apartment in front of

the Los Angeles Orphan's Society, she explained, "This is where you will

live. I hope you'll be happy here. I'll be around to see you every Saturday

and as soon as we get a bigger house you can come back home." This was

the first time Grace had ever failed her; try as she would, Marilyn would

never completely forgive her. It was September 13, 1935, -- the

beginning of the longest thirteen months of her life.

But Grace did make good on her promise. In October 1936, Norma Jeane

left the orphanage to live with Grace and Doc and his children. For

fourteen months, she had a family: mother, father, two sisters and a

brother. For reasons unknown to us it ended. But at least she did not

return to the orphanage. Grace made arrangements for her to live with Ida

Martin. Ida was the mother-in-law of Gladys' brother, Marion. She already

had Marion's three children in her house and gladly took one more. For nine

months, Norma Jeane shared a bed with her cousin Ida Mae Monroe in the

old Lankershim district of Hollywood.

Today Ida Mae bares a striking resemblance: not to Marilyn Monroe, but

to the early pictures of Norma Jeane. She began our interview, "First, she

didn't talk like that. She sounded just like you and me. I remember she

said she was never going to marry; she wanted to be a school teacher and

have lots of dogs. We were just kids. We did things kids do. I remember

the time we decided to make wine. We had a big tub in the back yard. We

gathered grapes and piled them into the tub and tromped them with our

bare dirty feet. When my mother called, we pushed the tub under the back

porch. This went on for three or four days and the odor got so bad. It was

rotten," she laughs. "Mrs. Enright lived across the street. She had a sister

named Dorothy. Dorothy was touched. She would sit and rock. They bought

her all the movie magazines and we got her hand me downs. We liked them

all -- no favorites. Once we decided to run away from home. All I

remember is we were going to San Francisco. Maybe we were going to look

for my dad, because my uncle thought he had seen him there once. We

shared beds and I remember we always said whoever was last in bed had

to clean the room. We fought sometimes to. Yeah, she lived with us until

the San Fernando Valley flood, then we lived with Jim and Ruth Mills

during the flood. We lived together about a year."

In September 1938, Norma Jeane packed again. She would live with

Grace Goddard's aunt, Ana Lower. "Aunt Ana" was a Christian Scientist

practitioner. She began to school Norma Jeane in the Science. The two

became extremely close. On her thirteenth birthday, Norma Jeane did go to

San Francisco -- although the records state no reason, it probably was to

visit her mother in the state hospital.

Now in her teens, Norma Jeane experienced a rejection totally alien to

her. Although rejection was an old companion, she had never had trouble

with other children. She always managed to fit in and be liked. She first

experienced this ostracism at Emmerson Jr. High but the cruelest blow

came during her sophomore year at University High. In many towns across

the nation there is a division: a wrong side of the tracks. As fate would

have it, Norma Jeane was the girl from the wrong side of the tracks going

to school on the right side of the tracks. Tom Ishii remembers, "Norma

Jeane Baker was 'loud'. I guess she talked loud -- so everyone considered

her to be wild."

Sally Kuczek, another classmate from both schools, was not as kind,

"She was a tramp. No taste; she would wear plaid skirts with print

blouses. No friends -- off by herself most of the time. She was horrible

in both Jr. High and High School. She was stand offish; she didn't

associate with the others. A tramp -- even the fellows at school didn't go

off with her. She must have had fellows away from school. She thought

she was a real big shot -- better than everybody else. They had families;

she didn't. She was homely. She dressed tacky. She was plump. Norma

Jeane didn't have the brains to become Marilyn Monroe; someone had to

guide her."

It sounds like Norma Jeane was the envy of Sally. In retrospect, Sally

Kuczek agreed with prompting that, "Maybe Norma Jeane was insecure and

the kids just got vibes that she was stuck up." Her sophomore picture in

the Uni-high annual shows a well dressed girl -- not unlike the others. It

appears Norma Jeane was creating the same repulsion as Marilyn Monroe

would one day create in women.

The thought of returning to the orphanage was repulsive to Norma

Jeane. At fifteen, she could not, would not go back there. The Goddards

were moving to West Virginia; Doc had been transferred. Ana Lower felt

she was too old to supervise a teenage girl totally unaided by Grace.

A marriage was arranged. The Goddards agreed; the Doughertys agreed;

Ana Lower agreed. That simple. Hard to believe, but everyone insists that

is the way it happened. Grace talking over the fence to Ethel Dougherty,

casually made the suggestion and Ethel agreed. Even more implausible Jim

Dougherty agreed. Norma Jeane would agree to anything to keep out of the


Eighteen days after her sixteenth birthday, Norma Jeane became the

wife of Jim Dougherty, a twenty-one year old Lockheed Aircraft worker.

The wedding was held at the home of Mr. & Mrs. Chester Howell, friends of

the Goddards. Grace made the arrangements before leaving for West

Virginia, selecting the Howell's because it had a winding staircase "just

like in the movies." Ana Lower gave the bride away; she was the only

representative of Norma Jeane's family at the wedding. For a supposedly

makeshift wedding, it was remarkable. Norma Jeane was dressed as the

quintessential bride. The clarity of the wedding photographs captures our

first glimpse of the pre model/movie star Norma Jeane before the lens of

a professional photographer. The wedding reception was held at the

Florentine Gardens.

Like Gladys' first marriage at fourteen, Norma Jeane's first marriage

also lasted four years. The year was 1946, and Norma Jeane would never

be the same again. She had been working steadily as a model since June

1945, when David Conover snapped her picture at Radioplane; that one

lucky photograph had brought her out of the closet. She had always wanted

to be an actress. She just never confided her dream to anyone. Later she

was to write in her autobiography, "I knew nothing about acting. I had

never read a book about it, or tried to do it, or discussed it with anyone. I

was ashamed to tell the few people I knew of what I was dreaming." But

in 1946, Norma Jeane was not ashamed anymore. The decision to divorce

Jim had not been difficult; after all, he was hardly there anymore. The

Goddards had returned to California from West Virginia and it was to

Grace, Norma Jeane turned for advice. In a recent interview with Jim

Dougherty, he stated, "Grace Goddard was nice enough -- if she could

benefit." In short, Grace Goddard was always willing to help -- if there

were something in it for Grace.

Grace arranged for Norma Jeane to set up residence in Las Vegas,

Nevada at her Aunt Minnie Willette's. On May 14th, she moved in with

Minnie at 604 South Third Street. September 13th, she was declared a

free woman. Grace had always told her she was going to be a movie star;

now Grace's dream was coming true.

In August, Norma Jeane brought home the coveted contract with

Twentieth Century Fox for Grace, still her legal guardian, to sign. She had

a new contract and a new name: Marilyn Monroe. She was going to be a

star. She told Grace, "It'll be different now for all of us. I'll work hard."

She never made good on her promise. Marilyn Monroe rarely saw Grace

Goddard; when she did it was accidental. The same girl who said about

Grace, "She lost her job in the studio and had to scrape for a living.

Although she had no money she continued to look after me," did not


1953 was Marilyn's year. It began in January with the opening of

NIAGARA. In March, she received the Redbook Award as Best Young Box

Office Personality, followed by the Photoplay Award as Fastest Rising

Star of 1952, the same month. In May, she reached the ceiling of her Fox

contract, topping out at $1,500.00 per week. July 15th, GENTLEMEN

PREFER BLONDES opened in New York and in August premiered at Grauman's

Chinese Theater. At that premiere, Norma Jeane Baker's prints were at

last immortalized in cement. It was the apex of all the countless

Saturdays and Sundays Gladys and Grace had faithfully stopped in the

forecourt, pointed to Norma Talmadge's footprints, and reiterated, "You

were named after a star, Norma Jeane." On September 13th, she made her

television debut on THE JACK BENNY SHOW. Norma Jeane's star had

arrived: in the form of Marilyn Monroe it was here to stay.

1953 was not a good year for Grace Goddard. She had turned fifty-nine

on New Year's Day. She still lived in the small house on Odessa Drive,

where she had planned a wedding between Jim Dougherty and Norma Jeane

Baker -- to save her from returning to the orphanage. Each day she found

her only solace in alcohol. Sunday night, September 27, she retired early

-- around eight o'clock. Around three in the morning, Doc found her body

and an empty bottle of barbiturates. The death certificate read suicide.

She was buried in Westwood Memorial Park where Ana Lower and Gladys'

third husband, John Ely, were buried.

- - -

1962 was not a good year for Marilyn Monroe. She had turned thirty-six

on June 1st. She had been fired by her studio for failure to report for

work. She lived in a small house on Fifth Helena Drive, where she had

planned to have the home she never had. Shortly after her birthday, she

had been dropped by her lover. Each day she found her only solace in

alcohol and drugs. Saturday night, August 4th, she was alone. She retired

early -- around eight o'clock. Around three in the morning, her

housekeeper, Eunice Murray, found her body and an empty bottle of

barbiturates. The death certificate read probable suicide. She was buried

in Westwood Memorial Park, where Ana Lower, Grace McKee Goddard, and

Gladys' third husband were buried.