1. Although she was a top-billed actress for only a decade, her films grossed $200 million by the time of her unexpected death in 1962.
2. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Monroe spent most of her childhood in foster homes and an orphanage and married for the first time at the age of sixteen.
3. While working in a factory as part of the war effort in 1944, she met a photographer and began a successful pin-up modeling career.
4. After a series of minor film roles, she signed a new contract with Fox in 1951.
5. Monroe faced a scandal when it was revealed that she had posed for nude photos before becoming a star, but rather than damaging her career, the story increased interest in her films.
6. By 1953, Monroe was one of the most bankable Hollywood stars, with leading roles in three films: the noir Niagara, which focused on her sex appeal, and the comedies Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and How to Marry a Millionaire, which established her star image as a “dumb blonde”.
7. Although she played a significant role in the creation and management of her public image throughout her career, she was disappointed at being typecast and underpaid by the studio.
8. She was briefly suspended in early 1954 for refusing a film project, but returned to star in one of the biggest box office successes of her career, The Seven Year Itch .
9. When the studio was still reluctant to change her contract, Monroe founded a film production company in late 1954, Marilyn Monroe Productions .
10. She dedicated 1955 to building her company and began studying method acting at the Actors Studio.
11. In late 1955, Fox gave her a new contract, which gave her more control and a larger salary.
12. She had two highly publicized marriages, to baseball player Joe DiMaggio and playwright Arthur Miller, which both ended in divorce.
13. She died at the age of 36 from an overdose of barbiturates at her home in Los Angeles on August 5, 1962.
14. Although the death was ruled a probable suicide, several conspiracy theories have been proposed in the decades following her death.