Marilyn Monroe; born
Norma Jeane Mortenson but baptized and raised as Norma Jeane Baker (June 1, 1926 – August 5, 1962) was an American actress, singer, model and showgirl who became a major sex symbol, starring in a number of commercially successful motion pictures during the 1950s.
After spending much of her childhood in foster homes, Monroe began a career as a model, which led to a film contract in 1946. Her "dumb blonde" persona was used to comic effect in subsequent films. Monroe's final completed film was The Misfits, co-starring Clark Gable with the screenplay written by her then-husband, Arthur Miller.
The final years of Monroe's life were marked by illness, personal problems, and a reputation for being unreliable and difficult to work with. The circumstances of her death, from an overdose of barbiturates, have been the subject of conjecture. Though officially classified as a "probable suicide", the possibility of an accidental overdose, as well as the possibility of homicide, has not been ruled out.
In 1999, Monroe was ranked as the sixth greatest female star of all time by the American Film Institute. In the years and decades following her death, Monroe has often been cited as a pop and a cultural icon as well as the quintessential American female sex symbol.