Once upon a time, before she was the ultimate screen sex symbol, before she became an icon and source material for generations of writers and artists, Marilyn Monroe was a working actress.
She died 50 years ago this Sunday at the age of 36 from an overdose and in the intervening years the actual person has disappeared behind the myth of "Marilyn Monroe." A visit to her place of rest at the Westwood Village Memorial Park offers testimony to the power of her memory. The wall of her crypt had to be replaced multiple times because of fans who made a pilgrimage there to caress, embrace and kiss it.
But she was real, and to those who knew her Monroe was a devoted, if troubled, actress who took her craft seriously. In interviews, they remember her as an exceptionally bright and determined woman with a sly sense of humor — a far cry from the sweet but dumb blonds she played in such hits as 1953's "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," 1955's "The Seven Year Itch" and 1959's "Some Like It Hot." She was also someone who could be exasperating to work with — unprofessional with deep insecurities.
Read more about Marilyn and the people who knew her here