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Blonde movie on Netflix: How did Marilyn Monroe die and how old was she?

New Netflix original film ‘Blonde’ looks at the life of the Hollywood icon and the price that she paid for her enormous fame.

The tragic demise of Marilyn Monroe
Murray Garrett/Getty Images

Marilyn Monroe was one of the most iconic stars in the history of Hollywood and an actress, singer and model who was amongst the most popular of her era.

A new biopic released on Netflix, Blonde, follows her incredible rise and tragic demise and has sparked new interest in her life. However the vast majority of watchers will be well aware of the struggles that she endured throughout much of her career and the actress’ eventual fate.

Monroe was found dead in her Los Angeles home on 5 August, 1962. She was found on her bed with a telephone in her hand, surrounded by empty bottles of prescription medication. She was 36 years old.

The pills had been prescribed to treat her depression. Los Angeles police conducted a brief investigation, before concluding that Monroe’s death was “caused by a self-administered overdose of sedative drugs and that the mode of death is probable suicide.”

Monroe suffered in the public limelight

Born Norma Jeane Mortenson, she spent much of her childhood in an orphanage or in foster care after her mother was judged to be emotionally unstable. At the start of the war she began working in an aircraft factory and married a fellow worker in 1942, at the age of 16.

They divorced just two years later and in 1946 she signed a short-term contract with 20th Century Fox, deciding to use the name ‘Marilyn Monroe’ on screen. From 1950 onwards her career really began taking off with a number of iconic performances, but she was frequently typecast as the picture’s comedic ‘blonde bombshell’ character.

She went on to marry baseball icon Joe DiMaggio and writer Arthur Miller, but neither marriage lasted more than a few years.

Throughout her career she endured a degree of public interest in her life unequalled by any of her contemporaries. The intense lifestyle began to have consequences on her mental health and she is thought to have used alcohol and drugs heavily at points in her life. In 1961 she checked herself into the Payne Whitney psychiatric clinic, an experience she later regretted as she found it deeply traumatising.

On the day of her death she told her psychiatrist, Dr Ralph Greenson, that she was unable to sleep. That night her housekeeper raised the alarm after Monroe did not respond to her knocks on the bedroom door. Greenson gained access to the room and confirmed that the star had passed away.


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