Fact-Checking Blonde: Where Marilyn Monroe's Real Life Comes Through in the Ana de Armas Film

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Ana de Armas REACTS to NC-17 Rating for Blonde Movie

If you judge Blonde, Marilyn Monroe never had a moment's happiness successful her all-too-short life. 

Not that you should judge Blonde, the hotly anticipated film starring Ana de Armas that's based connected Joyce Carole Oates' 2000 caller of the aforesaid name, a publication the writer described arsenic "a radically distilled 'life' successful the signifier of fiction."

Meaning, though it surely draws from true, well-chronicled events, galore of them caught connected camera, Blonde is not a biopic.

"It's a imagination movie astir Marilyn Monroe," writer-director Andrew Dominik explained successful a Netflix interview. "It's astir the representation arsenic overmuch arsenic the person. She's grappling with, and we're grappling with, the representation of her life."

It's improbable anyone is sitting down these days to ticker oregon work astir Monroe expecting a feel-good story. But Blonde is trauma connected parade, the horrors of her beingness cranked up to 11 arsenic the movie plumbs the ways the consistently underrated actress was exploited, violated and abused portion simultaneously becoming 1 of the most enduring stars in Hollywood history.

But specified was the constituent the root worldly was trying to make.

"Dominik has captured the disjointed and distorted hallucinatory world of the caller with an unflinching feminist eye—nothing sentimental here, thing 'feel good,'" Oates wrote successful an effort included with Blonde's accumulation notes, "but thing overmuch much valuable, and deserving of respect successful the immense corporate caput of fashionable culture: a true, raw, painfully honorable being, an exposed soul, not a popular prima entertainer but 1 of us, transformed."


Knowing she hadn't signed up for a fairy tale, De Armas called getting to play Monroe "a gift," telling The Hollywood Reporter at the Venice Film Festival, "She was each I thought about. She was each I dreamed about. She was each I could speech about. She was with me. And it was beautiful."

And to her credit, Monroe is surely each we could deliberation astir arsenic good aft watching Blonde. Here we've untangled the existent from the "radically distilled."

(Warning: Some movie spoilers ahead.)

Did Marilyn Monroe Ever Know Who Her Father Was?

Blonde: The gaping coiled successful Marilyn Monroe's beingness is her father's absence. Norma Jeane Mortensen's soon-to-be-institutionalized parent Gladys Baker (played by Julianne Nicholson) tells her that her dad is a almighty antheral successful the question representation business. The prima is ne'er able to enjoy watching her films for fearfulness this man—whoever helium is—would mistake his daughter for the bombshell connected screen. She besides breathily calls husbands Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller "daddy," her code veering betwixt intimate affection and delusion, her go-to authorities being a small girl desperate for emotion and approval.

Once she's a full-fledged movie star, she starts receiving letters from idiosyncratic claiming to beryllium her father. Finding retired that 1 of her alleged champion friends was sending the letters each on is simply a last stroke arsenic her life skids to its premature extremity connected Aug. 4, 1962.


Real life: On a affirmative note, the cruel ruse was an invention. But the surface siren never did cognize for sure who her begetter was, and she surely had nary narration with him. 

As seen successful the film, Baker truly did springiness her girl a photograph of a handsome antheral who resembled Clark Gable and told her it was her father. She wouldn't stock his name.

Baker's first hubby was Jasper Baker, who took disconnected with their 2 children, Robert and Berniece, aft she filed for divorcement successful 1921. (Berniece, who died successful 2014, wrote the 1994 publication My Sister Marilyn.) Monroe was besides known as Norma Jean Baker (she preferred to spell her mediate sanction with nary "e")—but the antheral listed arsenic Norma's begetter connected her commencement certificate was Baker's second husband, Edward Mortensen.

The antheral successful the photo, meanwhile, was Charles Stanley Gifford, the not-quite-divorced nighttime supervisor Baker archetypal met successful 1923 portion moving arsenic a antagonistic cutter astatine Consolidated Film Industries. She joined Mortensen, who offered stability, successful 1924 but near him aft 4 months. She resumed her matter with Gifford successful May 1925. That narration was implicit by Christmas, and the pursuing June, Baker placed her days-old girl successful the attraction of neighbors and returned to work. (Mortensen and Baker divorced successful 1928 and helium died successful a car clang the pursuing year.)


It's unclear conscionable however Monroe discovered Gifford's existence. But per Anthony Summers' 1985 publication Goddess: The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe, the histrion drove retired toward Palm Springs with gossip columnist Sidney Skolsky in 1950, telling him they were going to sojourn her dad. They parked adjacent a farmhouse. When Monroe came backmost to the car, Skolsky recalled, she told him her "son-of-a-bitch" begetter had said to her, "Listen, Marilyn, I'm married, I person children. I don't privation immoderate trouble."

And yet Skolsky couldn't accidental for definite whether she had talked to anybody. Numerous friends had heard Monroe accidental antithetic things astir her begetter implicit the years, including that helium was dead. Keith Badman's The Final Years of Marilyn Monroe recounts her going retired to Palm Springs with her play coach, Natasha Lytess, and Lytess saying that Monroe called her purported dada from the road, and that's erstwhile helium told her helium had a household and couldn't spot her—but helium would telephone her. 

In fact, per Summers, 2 weeks aft their roadworthy trip, Skolsky started to recount his escapade with Monroe and Lytess stopped him to accidental she'd had the aforesaid adventure.

Monroe didn't perceive from Gifford until 1961 erstwhile she was hospitalized aft shooting The Misfits. Per Badman, helium sent a get-well paper signed, "From the antheral you tried to spot astir 10 years ago, God forgive me."

In aboriginal 1962, Monroe got a call from a caregiver who told her that her begetter had suffered a bosom onslaught and truly wanted to spot her. Monroe informed the pistillate calling that she had ne'er met the antheral successful question and helium was escaped to interaction her lawyer. She relayed the brushwood to the psychiatrist she was seeing successful the last twelvemonth of her life, Dr. Ralph Greenson, describing her beingness arsenic an "out of power mess."

Gifford died successful 1965. According to findings presented successful the 2022 documentary Marilyn, Her Final Secret, a DNA illustration from his great-grandchild tested against a hairsbreadth taken disconnected of Monroe's assemblage earlier she was embalmed revealed that Gifford truly was Monroe's father.


Did Marilyn Monroe's Mother Try to Kill Her?

Blonde: Among assorted informing signs, including her delusion that Norma's begetter is simply a Hollywood tycoon who lives up successful the hills, Gladys—who blames the kid for her begetter walking retired connected them—attacks her. The kid runs to the neighbors' apartment, her parent is taken distant to a intelligence hospital, and Norma is soon dropped disconnected astatine an orphanage.

Real life: Norma and her parent lived with Albert and Ida Bolender, the couple who took her successful arsenic an infant, for astir 7 years, which allowed Baker the state to beryllium capable to enactment and prevention immoderate money. In 1933 she bought a location successful Hollywood and she and her girl moved in, renting retired the upstairs to a British couple. But Baker was progressively plagued by slump and hallucinations and attacked her person Grace McKee with a weapon successful January 1935—weeks aft Norma told her parent that their antheral tenant upstairs had tried to molest her.

Baker was institutionalized and would beryllium successful and retired of hospitals for the adjacent 30 years. Norma yet became a ward of the state.

Was Marilyn Monroe Really successful a Throuple with Charlie Chaplin Jr. and Edward G. Robinson Jr.?

Blonde: Monroe becomes the meat successful a screen-legend-scion sandwich, palling astir (and sleeping with) the pretty-boy sons of Charlie Chaplin and Edward G. Robinson, who she meets successful an acting class. 

As played by Xavier Samuel and Evan Williams, Cass and Eddy are eerily similar-looking and endlessly amused by the full Hollywood-celebrity thing. Feeling understood by these 2 mislaid souls who grew up with everything but resent their fathers to nary end, Marilyn adjacent falls for Cass and astatine archetypal she's implicit the satellite to beryllium large with his child. She ultimately chooses a movie relation implicit having the baby, to her everlasting regret.

Real life: The toxic threesome was fiction, but Marilyn did person a narration with Charlie Jr.—and different with Eddy, according to her longtime person Arthur James.

Matt Kennedy

Her romance with young Charlie ended erstwhile he found Marilyn tucked into furniture with his member Sydney, but they remained adjacent friends for the remainder of her life, James told Goddess author Summers.

She met Eddy done Charlie, James said, and they had a fling portion she was making 1953's Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and helium was trying to marque it arsenic an actor. (A fewer years aboriginal Eddy was a cowboy successful her movie Bus Stop and the assassin hiding successful the barroom in Some Like It Hot.) 

"We 3 men were a benignant of trio," James recalled, "and Marilyn saw america each occasionally, unneurotic oregon separately, for the remainder of her life. They were each depressive, Marilyn, Charlie and Eddy, and they would hunt each different down erstwhile things were bad...But Charlie and Eddy were suicidal, much truthful than Marilyn. They couldn't marque it connected their own, and they couldn't woody with their celebrated names. Sometimes it was Marilyn who virtually kept them alive."

As a boy, Charlie witnessed his parents' nasty custody conflict and helium ended up raised chiefly by his mother, Lita Grey, the 2nd of his father's 4 wives. He died of a pulmonary embolism astatine 42 successful March 1968. Eddy suffered a fatal bosom onslaught astatine 40 successful February 1970.

Did Marilyn Monroe Have an Abortion?

Blonde: Monroe reluctantly ends her gestation truthful she tin support a movie role, and the determination haunts her forever. When she gets large again during her matrimony to Miller, her guilt manifests successful a heartbreaking speech she has with her fetus. (Wide-eyed fetuses marque respective appearances.)

Real life: James told Summers that Charlie did get the histrion large successful 1947 and she had an abortion.

Various Monroe biographies note the rumors of multiple abortions, with 1 person claiming Monroe told her that she'd had 12, immoderate of them successful alleged back-alley surroundings. 

Her fertility problems erstwhile she was highly celebrated were well-documented, including an ectopic gestation successful 1957 and a miscarriage successful 1958, some portion she was joined to Miller, and she was treated for endometriosis.

Getty Images

Did Joe DiMaggio Really Hit Marilyn Monroe?

Blonde: Marilyn's alleged friends Cass and Eddy amusement the retired New York Yankees large (played by Bobby Cannavale) immoderate compromising photos of her, aft which he returns location and smacks her successful the face. A spot later, disapproving of her sex-symbol presumption and nether the content that she wants to yet springiness up her vocation to conscionable beryllium his wife, helium beats Marilyn up successful a jealous rage aft the assemblage goes gaga while she's shooting her iconic white-halter-dress-over-the-subway-grate scene in The Seven Year Itch.


Real life: The photograph speech didn't happen, but determination were witnesses to DiMaggio and Monroe's heated statement successful the lobby of their New York edifice astir what transpired on The Seven Year Itch set. Monroe's constitution creator told Goddess author Summers that the histrion had bruises connected her shoulders erstwhile she came to acceptable the adjacent day.

Monroe filed for divorcement successful October 1954 aft 9 months of matrimony (the 2nd for some of them), the brace having been connected wildly antithetic pages erstwhile it came to her career. But DiMaggio, who ne'er remarried, is said to person loved Monroe until the day he died successful 1999. He organized her ceremonial successful 1962 and sent roses to her crypt astatine Westwood Memorial Park 3 times a week for the adjacent 20 years.


Was Marilyn Monroe a catastrophe connected the acceptable of Some Like It Hot?

Blonde: Drinking, popping pills, forgetting her lines, screaming fits: Marilyn is unraveling accelerated connected the acceptable of Some Like It Hot in 1958.

Real life: Ironically, Some Like It Hot features one of Monroe's champion performances and it's considered 1 of the top movies of each time. But the acceptable issues were real, and the prima had a miscarriage toward the extremity of filming. 

"Marilyn was truthful hard due to the fact that she was wholly unpredictable," manager Billy Wilder, who had antecedently worked with her on The Seven Year Itch, told Summers. "I ne'er knew what benignant of a time we were going to have." Yet he besides praised the prima arsenic "an implicit genius arsenic a comic actress."

Tony Curtis, who wrote extensively astir the tumultuous shoot, infamously compared making retired with 1 of the astir lusted-after women connected the satellite to "kissing Hitler," making the remark portion watching dailies with the crew. Yes, helium said that, Curtis acknowledged years later, but helium insisted helium was taken retired of context. It had been a agelong time and they'd done dozens of takes, helium clarified, truthful what helium really said was, "You know, aft instrumentality 40, kissing Marilyn is similar kissing Hitler."


Did Marilyn Monroe Have an Affair With President John F. Kennedy?

Blonde: What's been historically accepted arsenic information for years is symbolically summed up by a humiliating brushwood Marilyn has with the 35th president of the United States. She's ushered into the White House, fixed a infinitesimal to freshen up and past is taken to JFK's bedroom, wherever helium fundamentally forces her to execute oral enactment portion he's connected the phone—and a Secret Service cause is sitting wrong proceeding distance.

Real life: Monroe's alleged assignations with the president and his member Robert Kennedy still stay the worldly of lots of radical saying it happened. Biographers of each 3 person chronicled each item of their witnessed and heard-about interactions during the 1950 and '60s, and conspiracy theories have gone truthful far as to speculate that her narration with them brought astir her death—but the information astir each of it has ever been a puzzle with missing pieces.

Cecil Stoughton/AP/Shutterstock

In the 2022 documentary The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe: The Unheard Tapes, her person Arthur James is heard recounting to Summers, who conducted the taped interviews successful question, that a couple months after Monroe's infamous show of "Happy Birthday" for President Kennedy astatine Madison Square Garden connected May 19, 1962, Bobby told her to ne'er telephone either him oregon John again.

She died connected Aug. 4.

"She was hurt, terribly wounded erstwhile she was told straight ne'er to telephone oregon interaction again, Robert oregon John," James said. "That was an order. Jack didn't interaction her, Bob did. And that's what killed her."

Blonde is streaming connected Netflix.

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