Marilyn Monroe remains one of the biggest names in Hollywood even 60 years after her untimely death. Known for her acting, modeling, and singing, Marilyn was a force to be reckoned with in her heyday. But her road to success was in no way an easy journey. She had to first overcome an unstable childhood consisting of a mother struggling with a mental illness and an absent father (Charles Stanley Gifford).
Unlike some of her acting buddies (Cass Chaplin Jr. and Eddy G. Robinson Jr), the pop icon wasn’t born with a silver spoon in her mouth. She didn’t grow up in a two-parent household. Oftentimes, she was moved from place to place because her mother (Gladys Pearl Baker) was unable to take care of her.
It wasn’t until Marilyn met factory worker James Dougherty that she finally started to see the light at the end of the tunnel. After Marilyn married Dougherty, she would no longer have to be shuttled from place to place without her consent.
So, where did Marilyn go whenever she was forced to move? Was she ever an orphan? We have the answers to these questions and shared them below.
Was Marilyn Monroe an orphan?
Technically, Marilyn Monroe was not an orphan. In order to be considered an orphan, both of her parents would’ve had to be deceased, which wasn’t the case. Her mother was alive but just couldn’t take care of her. And although she never knew her father, he was still alive when she was a kid.
However, she did spend most of her childhood in foster homes and orphanages. When Marilyn was just two weeks old, Gladys dropped her off at a foster home. Marilyn’s mother would visit her often and would even have sleepovers. Then, when Marilyn was seven years old, Gladys bought a house in Los Angeles and moved her in with her. But this didn’t last long.
In 1934, Gladys had a mental breakdown and was institutionalized for paranoid schizophrenia. Marilyn would then become a ward of the state and spend many of the following years moving in and out of various homes.
According to Newsweek, Marilyn spent two years at the Los Angeles Orphans Home Society and four years with a guardian (Grace Goddard). She also stayed in 10 different foster homes and with various family members throughout her childhood. In these different places, she allegedly faced sexual abuse and emotional distress.
It’s saddening that Marilyn had such a troubled childhood. But I’m glad she didn’t let it stop her from working towards her dreams.
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