The Netflix movie Blonde, which is based on Marilyn Monroe’s life and is directed by Andrew Dominik, gives a glimpse into her personal life.
looking at her friendships, marriages, and emotional struggles before she dies. Monroe has a lot of emotional problems in the last part of her life, which makes her turn to prescription drugs and alcohol. Even her famous career is hurt by the same thing. The movie also shows how the drugs contributed to her sad death at age 36. We learned more about the pills Monroe took in real life because we were interested in what was going on in her life. Let’s talk about what we’ve found!
What Pills Did Marilyn Monroe Take?
Marilyn Monroe’s rise to fame as an actress also led to a number of other changes in her life. In his book called “The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe,” J. Randy Taraborrelli wrote that he thought Monroe might be addicted to sleeping pills by 1953. Taraborrelli’s book says that even when she was with Joe DiMaggio, Monroe “could not sleep without pills.” By 1960, her doctor, Ralph Greenson, was giving her a drug called Nembutal, which is a barbiturate. Barbiturates are sedatives and hypnotics that are used as depressants to lower the levels of neurotransmitters. Nembutal is used to help people who have trouble sleeping.
“Doctors gave her (Monroe) what she wanted, which was new and stronger sleeping pills. Even though they were well aware of how dangerous it was. According to Taraborrelli’s book, Monroe’s third husband Arthur Miller said about the same thing, “There were always new doctors willing to help her die.” Dr. Howard Markel, a medical historian, says that Monroe also took drugs like Amytal, sodium pentothal, Seconal, phenobarbital, etc. In addition to methamphetamine, Dexedrine, Benzedrine, Dexamyl, morphine, codeine, Percodan, and Librium, there were also these other drugs. She also had a place in her life for drinking. Markel says that the actress had access to sleeping pills, sedatives, soporifics, tranquilizers, opiates, “speed pills,” and sedatives that make you sleepy.
Monroe used to give herself injections of phenobarbital, Nembutal, and Seconal, which she called a “vitamin shot,” towards the end of her life, according to “The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe.”
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What was the reason Marilyn Monroe died?
On August 5, 1962, her body was found at her home in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles. Her empty bottle of sleeping pills and fourteen other empty bottles of pills were found next to her bed. Thomas Noguchi, who was the deputy coroner at the time, did an autopsy on her the same day and found that she died on August 4, 1962. The toxicology test showed that Monroe died from taking too many barbiturates. According to Donald Spoto’s book “Marilyn Monroe: The Biography,” she had “eight milligrams of chloral hydrate and four and a half milligrams of Nembutal” in her blood and “thirteen milligrams, a much higher concentration, of Nembutal” in her liver.
Nembutal and chloral hydrate, when taken together, make a lethal cocktail because they both make the other drug stronger. Dr. Markel says that Monroe used to drink both of these with Champagne to help her sleep. She might have died from the same thing. There are different ideas about whether or not Monroe killed herself. Psychiatrists from the Los Angeles Suicide Prevention Center helped the Los Angeles County coroner’s office investigate her death. They came to the conclusion that she either killed herself or took a chance on dying. John Miner, a prosecutor who worked on the case, didn’t think that the actress had killed herself.
1944–1948: Modeling and first film roles
Dougherty was sent to the Pacific in April 1944, where he would stay for most of the next two years. Monroe moved in with her husband’s parents and started working at a weapons factory in Van Nuys called the Radioplane Company. At the end of 1944, she met photographer David Conover. The First Motion Picture Unit of the U.S. Army Air Forces had sent him to the factory to take pictures of the women workers to boost their spirits. Even though none of her pictures were used, she quit her job at the factory in January 1945 and started modeling for Conover and his friends. In August 1945, she moved away from her husband, who was away at war, and signed a contract with the Blue Book Model Agency.
The modeling agency thought Monroe’s body was better for pin-ups than for high fashion, so she was mostly in ads and men’s magazines. She straightened her hair and dyed it blonde so she would be more likely to get a job. Emmeline Snively, the owner of the modeling agency, said that Monroe quickly became one of its most ambitious and hard-working models. By the beginning of 1946, she had been on the covers of 33 magazines, including Pageant, U.S. Camera, Laff, and Peek. Monroe sometimes worked as a model under the name Jean Norman.
Monroe sitting on the beach with a smile and her arms behind her back. She has a bikini on and wedge sandals on.
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Monroe as a pin-up model on a postcard from the 1940s
In June 1946, Monroe got a job with an acting agency through Snively. After her interview at Paramount Pictures didn’t go well, Ben Lyon, an executive at 20th Century-Fox, gave her a screen test. Head executive Darryl F. Zanuck didn’t like the idea, but he gave her a standard six-month contract so that rival studio RKO Pictures wouldn’t sign her. [d] Monroe’s contract started in August 1946. She and Lyon chose the name “Marilyn Monroe” for her stage name. Lyon chose the first name because it made him think of Broadway star Marilyn Miller. The last name was the maiden name of Monroe’s mother. In September 1946, she split up with Dougherty, who didn’t want her to be an actress.
Monroe’s first six months at Fox were spent learning how to act, sing, and dance, and watching how movies are made. In February 1947, her contract was renewed, and she got her first small parts in the movies Dangerous Years (1947) and Scudda Hoo! Scudda Hay! (1948). The studio also put her in the Actors’ Laboratory Theatre, an acting school that taught the techniques of the Group Theatre. She later said that it was “my first taste of what real acting in a real drama could be like, and I was hooked.” Even though she was very interested in acting, her teachers thought she was too shy and uncertain to have a career in it. In August 1947, Fox did not renew her contract. She went back to modeling and also did odd jobs at film studios, like working as a “pacer” behind the scenes on musical sets to keep the leads on track.
In 1948, a publicity photo of Monroe was taken
Monroe really wanted to be an actress, so she kept going to the Actors’ Lab. She had a small part in the play Glamour Preferred at the Bliss-Hayden Theater, but after a couple of shows, it was over. She went to the offices of producers, made friends with gossip columnist Sidney Skolsky, and hosted powerful men at studio events, which she had started doing at Fox. She also became friends with and had sex with Fox executive Joseph M. Schenck, who persuaded his friend Harry Cohn, the head executive of Columbia Pictures, to sign her in March 1948.
Monroe’s look at Columbia was based on that of Rita Hayworth, and her hair was bleached to be platinum blonde. She started working with Natasha Lytess, who was the head drama coach at the studio. Lytess would be her teacher until 1955. Her only movie at the studio was the low-budget musical Ladies of the Chorus, which came out in 1948. In it, she played a chorus girl who is courted by a rich man for the first time in a leading role. She also tried out for the main role in Born Yesterday (1950), but in September 1948, her contract was not renewed. The next month, Ladies of the Chorus came out, but it did not do well.
1949–1952: Years of progress
Monroe in the movie The Asphalt Jungle. She’s wearing a black dress and standing in a doorway, facing a man in a trench coat and a fedora.
Monroe in The Asphalt Jungle (1950), one of the first movies she was in that made critics take notice.
Monroe went back to modeling when her contract with Columbia was over. She did a commercial for Pabst beer and posed in artistic nudities for John Baumgarth calendars as “Mona Monroe,” which was Tom Kelley’s name. Monroe had posed without a top or in a bikini for artists like Earl Moran before, so she was used to being naked. Shortly after she left Columbia, she met Johnny Hyde, who was the vice president of the William Morris Agency. He took her under his wing and made her his mistress.
Monroe got small parts in a number of movies because of Hyde. Two of these movies, Joseph Mankiewicz’s drama All About Eve (1950) and John Huston’s film noir The Asphalt Jungle, were praised by critics (1950). Even though she was only in the second movie for a few minutes, she was mentioned in Photoplay, and her biographer Donald Spoto says that she “moved effectively from movie model to serious actress.” In December 1950, Hyde worked out a seven-year deal with 20th Century-Fox for Monroe. The terms of the contract said that Fox could choose not to renew it every year. A few days later, Hyde had a heart attack and died. This was very sad for Monroe.
Monroe had small parts in three Fox comedies that did okay in 1951: “As Young as You Feel,” “Love Nest,” and “Let’s Make It Legal.” Spoto said that in all three movies, she was “basically a sexy ornament,” but critics liked her: Bosley Crowther of The New York Times called her “superb” in As Young As You Feel, and Ezra Goodman of the Los Angeles Daily News called her “one of the brightest up-and-coming [actresses]” in Love Nest.
Her popularity with audiences was also growing. She was getting several thousand fan letters a week, and the army newspaper Stars and Stripes called her “Miss Cheesecake of 1951,” which showed what soldiers in the Korean War liked. In February 1952, Monroe was named the “best young box office personality” by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Monroe had a short relationship with the director Elia Kazan. She also had short relationships with the directors Nicholas Ray and Yul Brynner, and the actors Peter Lawford and Peter Lawford. Early in 1952, she started dating retired New York Yankees baseball player Joe DiMaggio, who was one of the most famous people in sports at the time.
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