Editors handpick every product that we feature. We may earn commission from the links on this page.

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
BettmannGetty 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.

Marilyn's Mother
Silver Screen CollectionGetty Images
1 of 40
1926: Being held by her mom

Here, Gladys Baker holds her daughter, Norma. She took the baby to her first foster home when she was only two weeks old. She visited Norma and even lived with her daughter briefly before Gladys was hospitalized for a time due to paranoid schizophrenia. She would be in and out of hospitals for most of her life.

Baby Monroe
Hulton ArchiveGetty Images
2 of 40
1927: Posing for her first portrait

Six-month-old Norma is seen in what's likely her first formal portrait.

Marilyn Monroe
Hulton ArchiveGetty Images
3 of 40
1928: Posing at two years old

Norma posed here at two years old. It was during this time she was living with her first set of foster parents.

Marilyn And Mother
Silver Screen CollectionGetty Images
4 of 40
1929: Spending time on the beach

Norma's mom, Gladys, visited her daughter frequently during the early years.

Young Marilyn
Hulton ArchiveGetty Images
5 of 40
1931: Showing off her trademark smile

Norma's beautiful smile is revealed in this portrait when she's five years old.

young marilyn
Silver Screen CollectionGetty Images
6 of 40
1933: Playing with neighborhood dogs

Norma loved dogs and often had dogs throughout her life, including during her last days.

Teenage Marilyn
Silver Screen CollectionGetty Images
7 of 40
1940: Becoming a teenager

Norma is stylishly dressed for this formal portrait.

Marilyn Afloat
Silver Screen CollectionGetty Images
8 of 40
1941: Boating with her friends

Norma (center) is seen on an outing with two friends.

Marilyn And Family
Silver Screen CollectionGetty Images
9 of 40
1942: Spending time with family

Norma did see extended family members at times. Here, they're at a restaurant with Norma on the far right, center.

Marilyn And Jimmy
Silver Screen CollectionGetty Images
10 of 40
1942: Marrying for the first time

Norma married merchant marine, Jimmy Dougherty, when she was 16 years old. The marriage lasted until 1946.

Norma Jeane Mortenson
Donaldson CollectionGetty Images
11 of 40
1945: Beginning her modeling model

Here, Norma models for a hair products advertisement.

Marilyn Monroe Early Portrait Session
Earl Theisen CollectionGetty Images
12 of 40
1947: Starting her film career

Newly signed with 20th Century Fox, Norma began a whirlwind of publicity shoots. Around this time, she adopted her new stage name. Marilyn was a popular first name of the time; she paired it with her mother's maiden name, Monroe.

Actress Marilyn Monroe
BettmannGetty Images
13 of 40
1947: Honing her look

Marilyn began the transformation from all-American charmer to screen siren in this swimsuit shot staged by the studio.

Marilyn Monroe Rehearsing Script with Coach Helena Sorell
BettmannGetty Images
14 of 40
1947: Rehearsing with her acting coach

Marilyn put in long hours learning her trade.

Creating A Look
John Kobal FoundationGetty Images
15 of 40
1948: Creating a look

Marilyn learned to apply makeup to create a very specific screen persona for herself.

Marilyn Portrait
Michael Ochs ArchivesGetty Images
16 of 40
1949: Posing for a studio portrait

This portrait shows Marilyn in all her loveliness before her first movie appearance.

Marilyn Monroe Audition
Donaldson CollectionGetty Images
17 of 40
1950: Going to an audition

Marilyn always wanted to be taken seriously as an actress. Here, she's at an audition for a play. This same year, she received attention for her small role in John Huston's crime drama, The Asphalt Jungle and also impressed audiences and critics when she appeared in All About Eve, with Bette Davis.

Marilyn Monroe with Her Drama Coach
BettmannGetty Images
18 of 40
1953: Talking with her acting coach on set

Marilyn's career began to skyrocket in the early '50s with her roles in Niagara (1953), Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), How to Marry a Millionaire (1953), and There's No Business Like Show Business (1954). She soon became a household name and an international sex symbol.

"How To Marry A Millionaire" Premiere
Michael Ochs ArchivesGetty Images
19 of 40
1953: Appearing at a premiere

Marilyn laughed with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall at the premiere of How to Marry a Millionaire.

Monroe And Russell Leave Handprints At Grauman's Chinese Theater, CA, 1953.
Darlene HammondGetty Images
20 of 40
1953: Leaving her hand and footprints in cement

Marilyn left her hand and footprints in the cement at Grauman's Chinese Theater in Los Angeles. She's accompanied by Jane Russell, her co-star in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

Monroe Signs Autograph
Graphic HouseGetty Images
21 of 40
1953: Signing autographs

Marilyn had fans of all ages. Here, she signs for a young boy at the Grauman's event.

Party at Bob Hope's Home
BettmannGetty Images
22 of 40
1953: Attending a party at Bob Hope's house

Marilyn attended a holiday party at Bob Hope's house. She's surrounded by Hope, General William Dean (who had addressed the U.S. troops in Korea the night before on Hope's show), and baseball great Joe DiMaggio, who will soon become Marilyn's second husband.

Marilyn Monroe With Joe Dimaggio
Mondadori PortfolioGetty Images
23 of 40
1954: Marrying for the second time

Marilyn married Joe DiMaggio in January. They're coming out of the courthouse where the ceremony was held.

Marilyn Monroe - Hochzeit mit dem Baseball-Spieler Joe DiMaggio in San Francisco
ullstein bild Dtl.Getty Images
24 of 40
1954: Smiling as newlyweds

Later that year, the couple would divorce.

Marilyn Monroe with the Marines
BettmannGetty Images
25 of 40
1954: Visiting the troops

Marilyn visited the troops in Korea during the Korean War. As you would imagine, her presence was celebrated by service members and the press alike.

Actress Marilyn Monroe Holding Dog
BettmannGetty Images
26 of 40
1955: Heading to New York

Tired of being typecast as a dumb blond, Marilyn moved to New York City to study at the Actor's Studio. Here, Marilyn is holding her little white dog, Maf.

new york   march 1955 actress marilyn monroe relaxes in a quiet moment in a restaurant in march 1955 in new york city, new york photo by ed feingershmichael ochs archivesgetty images
Michael Ochs ArchivesGetty Images
27 of 40

Marilyn appeared introspective in this candid shot in her New York hotel room.

Marilyn Monroe Receiving Flowers From Jack Warner
BettmannGetty Images
28 of 40
1956: Being congratulated by the studio head

Marilyn accepted flowers from Jack Warner, president of Warner Brothers, after Warner announced that Marilyn would star in a new film.

Marilyn Monroe Blowing Out Candle on 30th Birthday Cake
BettmannGetty Images
29 of 40
1956: Celebrating her 30th birthday

Marilyn blew out the candle on her cake to celebrate her milestone birthday.

Marilyn Monroe hugs her fiance, Arthur Miller, on the lawn o
New York Daily News ArchiveGetty Images
30 of 40
1956: Marrying for the third time

Marilyn married Arthur Miller, a famous playwright best known for his Pultizer-award-winning play, Death of a Salesman.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io
More From Celebrity