Norma Jean Baker (Mortensen) (1926 - 1962) MP

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Nicknames: "MM", "The Blonde Bombshell", "Marilyn Monroe"
Birthplace: Los Angeles, Los Angeles Co., CA
Death: Died
Cause of death: Acute barbiturate poisoning
Occupation: Actress, model, comedian, film producer, singer-actress (biological father is unknown, but some believe it to be Stanley Gifford), Movie Star, Filmskådespelerska
Managed by: Colleen Rose Keenan
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Norma Jean Baker (Mortensen)


Currently the paternity of Marilyn Monroe is unavailable, so that the identity of her biological father is unknown. The legal father of Marilyn Monroe was Edward Martin Mortenson aka Martin Edward Mortenson. However, Stanley Gifford is also assumed to be the biological father of Marilyn Monroe.

Artist name Marilyn Monroe, born Norma Jeane Mortenson, but baptized Norma Jeane Baker.

Norma was shown a photo of a man, resembling Clark Gable, who she was told was her father. That man was Stanley Gifford.

Since Stanley Gifford carries a coveted family history background, being a descendant of pilgrims John Alden & Priscilla Mullins, it is popular to claim him to be Marilyn's father, in order to claim her as a distant cousin.

One source perpetuating this popular myth is the Mayflower history site:

According to a post on wikipedia:

Monroe's birth certificate names the father as Edward Mortensen, with his residence stated as "unknown,"  Gladys Monroe had married a Martin E. Mortensen in 1924, but they had separated before Gladys' pregnancy. Several of Monroe's biographers suggest that Gladys Monroe used his name to avoid the stigma of illegitimacy. Mortenson filed for divorce from Gladys on March 5, 1927 and the case was finalized on October 15, 1928. When Mortensen died, at the age of 85, Monroe's birth certificate together with her parents' marriage and divorce documents were discovered that proved that she was born legitimate. 

Throughout her life, Marilyn Monroe denied that Mortensen was her father. She said that when she was a child, she had been shown a photograph of a man that Gladys Monroe identified as her father. She remembered that he had a thin moustache and somewhat resembled Clark Gable, and that she had amused herself by pretending that Gable was her father, but never determined her father's true identity.


Marilyn Monroe's mother was employed by a motion picture company and was a film cutter. She met and is purported to have had an affair with a person also employed by the film company, Charles Stanley Gifford. From this affair the child to be known as Marilyn Monroe was probably conceived. Both Miss Monroe and her mother claimed that the father was Charles Stanley Gifford. Because Mr. Gifford was a Mayflower descendant, Miss Monroe, as a descendant of John Alden and his wife Priscilla Mullins, passengers aboard the Mayflower could legitimately claim to be a Mayflower descendant.

-------------------- Marilyn Monroe's career as an actress spanned 16 years. She made 30 films (her last never completed), 24 in the first 8 years of her career. Due to her mother being a single parent, baby Norma Jeane was placed in the home of Della Hogan's neighbor, Albert and Ida Bolender, with Gladys having lived there with Norma Jeane for the first two months of her life, before returning to work from maternity leave. It was here Marilyn lived the first 7 years of her life. "They were terribly strict," she claimed. "They didn't mean any was their religion. They brought me up harshly."

In 1933, Norma Jeane lived briefly with her mother. Gladys begin to show signs of mental depression, after the death of her mother in 1927, the suicide of her grandfather in 1933, and her own financial difficulties of owning a home, and managing finances as a single parent in the middle of the Great Depression, and in 1934 was admitted to a rest home in Santa Monica.

Grace McKee, a close friend of her mother took over the care of Norma Jeane. "Grace loved and adored her", recalled one of her co-workers. Grace, telling her..."Don't worry, Norma Jeane. You're going to be a beautiful girl when you get important woman, a movie star." Grace was captivated by Jean Harlow, a superstar of the twenties, and Marilyn would later say..."and so Jean Harlow was my idol."

Grace was to marry in 1935 and due to financial difficulties, Norma Jeane was placed in an orphanage from September 1935 to June 1937. Grace frequently visited her, taking her to the movies, buying clothes and teaching her how to apply makeup at her young age. Norma Jeane was to later live with several of Grace's relatives.

"The world around me then was kind of grim. I had to learn to pretend in order to...I don't know...block the grimness. The whole world seemed sort of closed to me...(I felt) on the outside of everything, and all I could do was to dream up any kind of pretend-game."

In September 1941 Norma Jeane was again living with Grace when she met Jim Dougherty, 5 years her senior. Grace encouraged the relationship and on learning that she and her husband would be moving to the East Coast, set in motion plans for Norma Jeane to marry Dougherty on June 19, 1942.

"Grace McKee arranged the marriage for me, I never had a choice. There's not much to say about it. They couldn't support me, and they had to work out something. And so I got married."

Dougherty joined the Merchant Marines in 1943 and in 1944 was sent overseas. Norma Jeane, while working in a factory inspecting parachutes in 1944, was photographed by the Army as a promotion to show women on the assembly line contributing to the war effort. One of the photographers, David Conover, asked to take further pictures of her. By spring of 1945, she was quickly becoming known as a "photographers dream" and had appeared on 33 covers of national magazines.


Some of Marilyn's Lovers

(Taken from the book, "Goddess: The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe," by Anthony Summers, photo section between pages 240 and 241).*

  • Jim Dougherty, her first husband. She was seventeen, and her eyes were already wandering to othe men. The idea of having a child "stood my hair on end," Marilyn was to say. Dougherty says the opposite was true. Abortions would follow, then fruitless efforts to bear children.
  • Arthur Miller, playwright, who met Marilyn in 1950, six years before they were married. The man who lasted longest. Their marriage survived more than four years.
  • Johnny Hyde, lover and agent, a little man with a mighty influence. Dying of heart disease, set Marilyn firmly on the road to fame.
  • Fred Karger, the voice coach, to whom Marilyn gave her heart in 1948. He did not want to marry her.
  • Joe DiMaggio, 1954 marriage. The honeymoon was hardly over before she was talking of one day marrying Arthur Miller. Their marriage lasted nine months.
  • Marlon Brando, a brief affair, 1955


  • Yves Montand, the French lover. The 1960 affair coincided with the collapse of the Miller marriage but did not cause it.
    • some in above category originally listed were removed, due to factual inaccuracies in this book.

-------------------- Postat onsdagen 07 februari 2001 - 12:19 av Bo Lindwall

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Frågan om Marilyn Monroes far är som jag antydde i mitt inlägg den 22 jan ovan ganska komplicerad. Låt oss emelletid börja med att studera den officielle fadern, "Edward Mortenson". I den artikel jag skrev i Släkthistorisk Forum 1992:5 berättar jag om den artikel i Saxons veckotidning från februari 1986 som inspirerade mig till vidare forskningar i August Mårtenssons släkt. Tidningsartikeln i fråga, som till stor del handlar om Marilyn Monroes svenska kusin Dagmar Westlund i Göteborg som forskat om sin farfar Augusts öden i Sverige och Norge, redovisar, tyvärr utan källhänvisningar men vad kan man begära av Saxons veckotidning, följande om Marilyns far: Edvard Martin Mortensen, son till August Mårtensson från Linköping som via Värmland flyttat till Moss i Norge, hade utvandrat till USA från Haugesund i Norge 1923. I Haugesund lämnade han hustru och tre barn som 1929 fick meddelande om att Mortensen avlidit i en trafikolycka i Ohio. Mortensen skulla ha begått bigami när han efter halvannat års vistelse i Kalifornien gifte sig med Gladys Pearl Monroe, Marilyns mor. Ungefär samma uppgifter återkommer i flera Monroe-biografier och i Randall Riese & Neal Hitchens "The Unabrigded Marilyn" (1987) står det om Edward Mortenson: "Mortenson was born in Haugesund, Norway, in 1897. He was a baker by trade, and by 1923 he had a wife and three children - all of whom he deserted when he moved to the United States. Shortly afterward (on October 11, 1924), Mortenson met and married Gladys Baker. However, when the relationship soured, Mortenson, fled town and was later killed in a motorcycle accident on June 18, 1929, in Ohio." Så långt allt väl men sedan fortsätter författarna att berätta om en annan Martin Edward Mortensen som avled i Riverside, California 1981. Denne Mortensen hade berättat att han var Marilyns far och bland hans ägodelar fann man en kopia av Marilyns födelseattest. Nu skulle man ju kunna tro att det ändå rörde sig om samma person som då felaktigt uppgivits som död 1929 och så har jag för mig att saken framställdes i den ovannämnda tidningsartilkeln i Saxons. Men, och det är här som teorin om Edvard Martin från Haugesund blir mindre trolig, på Marilyns födelseattest där uppgifterna lämnats av modern står det om fadern Edward Mortenson (så stavas namnet där) att han är född i Kalifornien. Även om Edward och Gladys aldrig lärde känna varandra så väl kan hon ju knappast trott att en norrman som endast bott något år i Amerika skulle vara född i Kalifornien. Låt oss nu se vad Donald Spoto skriver i sin bok "Marilyn Monroe" (1993) (i svensk översättning av Nille Lindgren s.å.). Spoto uppger att Martin Edward Mortensen var född i Kalifornien 1897 och son till en norsk invandrare, han påstår vidare att denne Martin Edward inte var identisk med den man med samma namn som avled i en motorcykelolycka i Ohio 1929. "Den man som förolyckats och som hennes släktingar hade berättat om kom från Mellanvästern och hade en liknade bakgrund" skriver han och berättar också att att Martin Edward Mortensen bodde kvar i Kalifornien och avled den 10 februari 1981 i Mira Loma, Riverside County. Fantastiskt nog finns ju numera Kaliforniens dödbok 1940-1997 på nätet och där återfinns Martin Edward Mortensen som avliden denna dag i Riverside County med uppgiften att han var född 26/2 1897 i Kalifornien och att moderns flicknamn var Higgins. Spoto har tydligen också kollat vigselattesten mellan Mortensen (så skriver han namnet och så stavas det i Kaliforniens dödbok) och Gladys Monroe den 11 okt 1924 (han hänvisar till Kaliforniens hälsovårdsnämnd, statistikavdelningen, reg nr 13794) och om Mortensen inte varit född i Kalifornien, utan födelseorten angetts som Norge, skulle han säkert ha reagerat. Jag har dock inte sett vigselattesten själv så riktig säker kan man inte vara. När Marilyn gifte sig med Joe DiMaggio uppger hon på vigselattesten att fadern var "Edward Mortenson" och att hans födelseort var "uknown", så där får man ingen hjälp. Jag tycker dock att det känns som om Martin Edward från Kalifornien är den rätte och att Edvard Martin från Haugesund är ett villospår som jag, efter Saxons arikel, och tydligen flera av Marilyns levnadstecknare gått på.

Sedan är frågan den om Mortensen verkligen var Marilyns far. Spoto anger att giftermålet skedde 11/10 1924 men att Gladys redan efter fyra månader lämnade hemmet. Den 22 maj 1925 lämnade Mortensen in skilsmässoansökan men Gladys dröjde med sitt svar och enligt Spoto försökte Mortensen vid flera tillfällen övertala henne att flytta hem. Kaliforniens högsta domstol upplöste slutligen äktenskapet den 15/8 1928. Marilyn är alltså född inom äktenskapet men det är osäkert om Mortensen verkligen är fadern. Fred Lawrence Guiles påstår i "Norma Jean: The Life of Marilyn Monroe" (1969) att Marilyn själv trodde att moderns förman vid Consolidated Film Charles Stanley Gifford var hennes far och berättar om hennes försök att kontakta honom. Spoto avfärdar dock dessa kontaktförsök som obevisade rykten och tycks anse att faderns identitet inte går att fastställa.Monroe was born in the Los Angeles County Hospital on June 1, 1926,[3] as Norma Jeane Baker, the third child born to Gladys Pearl Baker, née Monroe, (1902–1984).[4]

Monroe's birth certificate names the father as Edward Mortenson (Norwegian),[5] with his residence stated as "unknown".[6] The name Mortenson is listed as her surname on the birth certificate, although Gladys immediately had it changed to Baker, the surname of her first husband which she had retained the use of. Gladys Baker had married a Martin E. Mortenson in 1924, but they had separated before Gladys' pregnancy.[5] Several of Monroe's biographers suggest that Gladys Baker used his name to avoid the stigma of illegitimacy.[7] Mortenson died at the age of 85, and Monroe's birth certificate, together with her parents' marriage and divorce documents, were discovered. The documents showed that Mortenson filed for divorce from Gladys on March 5, 1927, and it was finalized on October 15, 1928.[8][9]

Throughout her life, Marilyn Monroe denied that Mortenson was her father.[5] She said that, when she was a child, she had been shown a photograph of a man that Gladys identified as her father, Charles Stanley Gifford. She remembered that he had a thin mustache and somewhat resembled Clark Gable, and that she had amused herself by pretending that Gable was her father.[5][10]

Gladys was mentally unstable and financially unable to care for the young Norma Jeane, so she placed her with foster parents Albert and Ida Bolender of Hawthorne, California, where she lived until she was seven. In her autobiography My Story (ghost-written by Ben Hecht)[11] Monroe stated that she believed that the Bolenders were her parents until Ida corrected her. After that, Monroe referred to them as Aunt and Uncle.[citation needed]

In 1933, Gladys bought a house and brought Norma Jeane to live with her. A few months after moving in, however, Gladys suffered a mental breakdown, beginning a series of mental episodes that would plague her for the rest of her life. In My Story, Monroe recalls her mother "screaming and laughing" as she was forcibly removed to the State Hospital in Norwalk. Norma Jeane was declared a ward of the state, and Gladys' best friend, Grace McKee, became her guardian. It was Grace who had told Monroe that someday she would become a movie star. Grace was captivated by Jean Harlow, and would let Norma Jeane wear makeup and take her out to get her hair curled. They would go to the movies together, forming the basis for Norma Jeane's fascination with the cinema and the stars on screen.

Grace McKee married Ervin Silliman (Doc) Goddard in 1935, and nine-year-old Norma Jeane was sent to the Los Angeles Orphans Home (later renamed Hollygrove), and then to a succession of foster homes.[12]. During the time at Hollygrove, several families were interested in adopting her; however, reluctance from Gladys to sign adoption papers thwarted those attempts. In 1937, Grace took Norma Jeane back to live with her, Goddard, and one of Goddard's daughters from a previous marriage. This arrangement did not last for long, as she was nearly sexually assaulted by a drunk Doc Goddard on at least one occasion. Grace thus sent her to live in with her great aunt, Olive Brunings. This arrangement also did not last long, as 12 year old Norma Jeane was assaulted (some reports say sexually) by one of Olive's sons. In early 1938, Grace sent her to live with yet another one of her aunts, Ana Lower, who lived in the Van Nuys section of Los Angeles. The time with Lower provided the young Norma Jeane with one of the few stable periods in her life. Years later, she would reflect fondly about the time that she spent with Lower, whom she affectionately called "Aunt Ana." Nevertheless, by 1942, the elderly Lower developed serious health problems, and thus Norma Jeane went back to live with the Goddards. It was there where she met a neighbor's son, James Dougherty, and soon began a relationship with him.

Her time with the Goddards would once again prove to be short. At the end of 1942, Grace and Doc decided to relocate to Virginia where Doc had received a lucrative job offer. It is unclear whether the Goddards did not or could not take Norma Jeane with them; nevertheless, Grace needed to find a home for her before they moved. An offer from a neighborhood family to adopt Norma Jeane was proposed; however, Gladys still would not allow it. With few options left, Grace then approached Dougherty's mother and proposed the idea that Jim marry her, so that she would not have to return to an orphanage or foster care. Dougherty was initially reluctant, due to the fact that Norma Jeane was sixteen-years old, but he finally relented and married her in a ceremony arranged by Ana Lower, after graduating high school in June 1942. Monroe would state in her autobiography that she did not feel like a wife; she enjoyed playing with the neighborhood children until her husband would call her home. In 1943, with World War II raging, Dougherty enlisted in the Merchant Marine and was shipped out to the Pacific. Frightened that he might not come back alive, Norma Jeane begged him to give her a child before he left. Dougherty disagreed, feeling that she was too young to have a baby, but he promised that they would revisit the subject when he returned home. After he shipped out, Norma Jeane moved in with Dougherty's mother.

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Marilyn Monroe's Timeline

June 1, 1926
Los Angeles, Los Angeles Co., CA
June 19, 1942
Age 16
Los Angeles, CA, USA
September 13, 1946
Age 20
January 14, 1954
Age 27
October 27, 1954
Age 28
June 25, 1956
Age 30
July 1, 1956
Age 30
January 20, 1961
Age 34
August 5, 1962
Age 36
August 8, 1962
Age 36
Los Angeles, CA, USA