Trending NowNetflixWho was James Dougherty and what happened to him?

Who was James Dougherty and what happened to him?


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We all know Marilyn Monroe as one of the most popular sex symbols of the ’50s and early ’60s, and she’s still a major pop icon to this day. But it wasn’t an easy road to success for her. Marilyn Monroe had to overcome a difficult childhood with an absentee father and a mother struggling with a mental illness. This caused her to be moved around from place to place until she met her first husband, James Dougherty.

At the time, 16-year-old Marilyn Monroe was living with the Goddards, Grace and Doc (friends of Marilyn’s mother), and was faced with the dilemma of being sent back to an orphanage since they were moving to West Virginia. To keep from returning to an orphanage, Marilyn married the Goddard’s neighbor’s son James Dougherty, who was five years her senior. However, their hastily agreed-to-marriage only lasted for four years.

But who was James Dougherty? What happened to him? Here’s what we know.

Marilyn Monroe’s first husband: Who was James Dougherty?

James Dougherty attended Van Nuys High School and graduated in 1938, which is the same class that Jane Russell was a part of. He was a football captain and class president at the school. When graduation came around, James decided to turn down an athletic scholarship from the University of California at Santa Barbara and instead work at Lockheed Aircraft. This is where he would meet Norma Jean Baker, otherwise known as Marilyn Monroe.

After they married in June 1942, Marilyn decided to drop out of high school and become a housewife. They would later move to Santa Catalina Island after James joined the merchant marine and was assigned there.

But then James is assigned an overseas assignment, and Marilyn is moved back to Van Nuys, where she meets a photographer who takes some of her pictures. Marilyn quickly becomes a sought-after model and wants to sign a contract with 20th Century Fox, but to do so, she must divorce her husband. Marilyn was determined to be a star, so she sought a divorce and the marriage was over in September 1946.

James would go on to marry again and have three daughters, but the marriage would ultimately come to an end in 1972. In 1949, he joined the LAPD, where he worked as a detective and trained the department’s first Special Weapons and Tactics Group. After retiring from the LAPD in 1974, he moved to Maine with his third wife.

He would later write and publish two books about his relationship with Marilyn titled The Secret Happiness of Marilyn Monroe and To Norma Jeane With Love, Jimmie.

What happened to James Dougherty?

According to the Los Angeles Times, James passed away on Aug. 15, 2005, in San Rafael, California, from complications of leukemia. He was 84 years old at the time.

Blonde is now streaming on Netflix.

Here’s more Marilyn Monroe content to check out below:

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