40 Rare Photos of Marilyn Monroe You've Probably Never Seen

Including candid photos from the icon's young life, romances, and early career.

Marilyn Monroe
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Say the name, “Marilyn,” and only one woman comes to mind: The stunning, sultry, and iconic Ms. Monroe. Born Norma Jeane Mortenson (baptized Norma Jean Baker) on June 1, 1926, she was taken to a foster home when she was only two-weeks-old by her mother, Gladys Baker. Gladys had a history of mental instability and was often hospitalized. Norma spent her childhood in a series of foster homes, dropping out of high school at 15. She worked in a munitions factory during WWII, where she was discovered, and began a career as a pin-up model. In 1946, she signed her first movie contract, shortly thereafter adopting her new stage name and dying her brunette hair blonde.

In a matter of a few years, Marilyn would become one of the world’s most famous actresses, known for her blonde bombshell looks as well as her tumultuous relationships with famous men. Despite her unsettled personal life, Marilyn endeared herself to fans around the world with her soft voice, gentle demeanor, and beautiful smile. She was also a savvy businesswoman who revolutionized the film industry. Here’s a look at her life through the decades.

Arricca SanSone has written about health and lifestyle topics for Prevention, Country Living, Woman's Day, and more. She’s passionate about gardening, baking, reading, and spending time with the people and dogs she loves.