Marilyn Monroe wasn’t your typical Hollywood actress. The blonde bombshell was a symbol of sexual freedom in a time when feminism was just barely evolving the concept, serving as a revolutionary figure for women during the 1950s and 1960s. Monroe was also a muse for artists, a dream for casting directors, and stunning on and off the camera. However, her tragic death in 1962 left many puzzled and heartbroken for the young, promising actress.

The stunning surface of Monroe

On the surface, Marilyn Monroe had it all. She got her big break at a young age, both practicing modeling professionally and signing with 20th Century Fox for acting. Although her on-screen roles were minor at first, people took notice of Monroe’s stunning beauty, electric energy, and charming personality. From Gentlemen Prefer Blondes to Some Like It Hot, Marilyn became a leading lady known for her sexual charisma and vibrant presence in front of the camera. She was loved by many, adored by more, and known for her impulsive and exciting relationships in the public eye. She became a cultural icon within a matter of months. However, the actress’ life wasn’t all glitz, glam, and Hollywood.

The dark side of Marilyn

Monroe had a troubled upbringing, was frequently sexualized on-screen, and faced immense pressure from Hollywood to perform. As a child, her mentally ill mother became confined to an asylum, leaving Monroe to be raised in an orphanage. From the age of 16 to the time of her death, Monroe found herself in a series of unstable relationships, often rushing into marriages and getting quick divorces. Despite gaining commercial success on-screen for a variety of remarkable roles, Monroe became entangled in her mental illness and was unable to see past the dark recesses of her depression. She became notoriously difficult to work with on-set and often threw tantrums and refused to work when she was feeling overwhelmed. By 1961, she essentially confined herself to her home and was frequently monitored by a psychiatrist she trusted, Dr. Ralph Greenson. However, while he did everything he could to treat her, Monroe still met a tragic, unsettling end.

Her tragic, untimely death

On August 5th, 1962, Eunice Murray, Monroe‘s maid, attempted to enter Monroe’s room after midnight and found that it was locked and that Marilyn was silent on the other side. Murray called Greenson to come and check on Monroe, who had spoken to her on the phone earlier in the evening. Greenson, unable to communicate with Monroe, was forced to break in a window to get into her room. By then, however, it was too late. Monroe was unresponsive, laying face-down in her bed with a telephone in one hand. Throughout the room, a number of prescription bottles for sleeping pills and depression medication were empty and scattered, leaving her psychiatrist and the police to believe she purposefully overdosed on the pills. Her sudden suicide left people across the globe devastated, shaking both fans and fellow stars to their cores.