If your answer was Playboy, then you answered correctly. The first issue was in December, 1953 and sold out in weeks. The known circulation was 53,991 with the cover price of 50¢.
We knew here as Marilyn Monroe, but her birth name was Norma Jeane Mortenso. She was raised with the name Norma Jeane Baker. Her mother was a film-cutter at RKO Studios who, widowed and mentally ill, and abandoned her to a sequence of foster homes. At sixteen she worked in an aircraft plant and married a man she called Daddy. His name was James Dougherty. He went into the military and she did some modeling. They divorced in 1946.
Her first film was in 1947 with a bit part in The Shocking Miss Pilgrim (1947). Joseph L. Mankiewicz saw her in a small part in the movie, The Asphalt Jungle (1950) and gave her a part in All About Eve (1950). That resulted in 20th Century re-signing her to a seven-year contract. She was in Niagara (1953) and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) which launched her as a sex symbol superstar.
It was also that same year (1953) that she posed nude for the now famous calendar shot which was later to appear in Playboy magazine and further boost her career. She was the first centerfold in that magazine’s long and illustrious history.
When she met Joe DiMaggio, they became the most popular couple of the United States. They married on January 14th of 1954 in San Francisco and divorced nine months later. She was in the film, There’s No Business Like Show Business (1954). That was quickly followed by The Seven Year Itch (1955), which showcased her considerable comedic talent and contained what is arguably one of the most memorable moments in cinema history. Marilyn was standing above a subway grating and the wind from a passing subway blew her white dress up. When she went to a dinner honoring her for her role in The Seven Year Itch (1955), she arrived in a red chiffon gown borrowed from the studio (she had never owned a gown).
She moved from L.A. to New York and married playwrite Arthur Miller on June 29th 1956. It was in 1961 that Marilyn made what was to be her final film. The Misfits (1961), which also proved to be the final film for the legendary Clark Gable, who died later that year of a heart attack.
Marilyn was chosen to star in Fox’s Something’s Got to Give (1962). Her absenteeism caused delay after delay in production, resulting in her being fired from the production in June of that year. It looked as though her career was over. Studios didn’t want to take a chance on her because it would cost them thousands of dollars in delays. She was only 36.
Marilyn died mysteriously in her bedroom on August 5th, 1962. The coroner declared the probable cause of death was suicide by poisoning, but many elements tend to lead to other suggestions. Was it by accident or even maybe murder. Will we ever know the truth?
She made only 30 films in her lifetime, but her legendary status and mysticism will remain with film history forever.