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The Heart-wrenching True Story of Marilyn Monroe’s Parents

Gladys Pearl Baker

by Peter Barnes

Marilyn Monroe’s sedative-overdose death in 1962 served as a sobering lesson regarding the negative effects of wealth and celebrity. Marilyn Monroe, who frequently attempted to isolate herself from the outside world without success, did so early on the day of her passing, according to the opening line of Variety the next day.

After appearing in 1955’s “The Seven Year Itch,” Monroe’s celebrity soared so quickly that she may not have had much of a choice except to flee the constant attention of the world. However, many people still wonder whether there wasn’t another, darker, and more conspiratorial reason why she died, just as they did back then.

True Story of Marilyn Monroe's Parents
Marilyn with her mother in 1929 | Wikipedia

It’s vital to keep in mind that Monroe, who was born Norma Jeane Mortenson in 1926 in California, grew up as a kid just like any other in such a magnificent, almost mythological, narrative. Gladys Pearl Baker, her mother, raised Monroe alone while battling schizophrenia.

That mother gave her daughter away, saw her daughter married, saw her daughter rise to fame around the world, and finally saw her daughter pass away. Baker, who outlived Monroe by more than 20 years, passed away in 1984 from heart failure.

What was the genuine nature of Gladys Pearl Baker’s tense connection with her daughter and who was she in reality? We have responses that go into much more detail than many other folks, since Monroe is so well-known. And tragically, each and every one of these responses is heart-breakingly terrible.

Repeated abuse in a marriage that has already caused the destructive destruction of the home

Gladys Pearl Baker’s childhood is largely unknown, but little is known about her youth and early adulthood shows that she endured severe hardships as a result of schizophrenia, an undetected mental condition, and living close to poverty.

We can begin to comprehend why she would choose to give away her daughter, Norma Jeane, to foster care only two weeks after the child was born in 1926 (via All That’s Interesting and Biography) when she had married abusive husband John Newton Baker at the age of 16 and the couple had two young children.

True Story of Marilyn Monroe's Parents
Marilyn Monroe as toddler 1929 | Pinterest

Because Baker and her husband had fathered Jackie and Berniece before divorcing in 1923, Marilyn Monroe had two half-siblings.Baker was granted custody of her kids, but it appears that her ex-husband abducted them and fled to Kentucky. By this time, Baker had been trapped in a destructive cycle.

It is unknown if he left for California or stayed behind, although he briefly remarried Martin Edward Mortenson, through whom Marilyn Monroe inherited her real, non-stage last name.

Baker asserted that Monroe’s father, Charles Stanley Gifford, was a Consolidated Studios employee because she was certain Mortenson wasn’t the father. Monroe’s paternity was never established, and Baker and Mortenson split up after only a few months.

In her formative years, Monroe spent her formative years in Hawthorne, California, with her foster parents, Ida and Wayne Bolender, in a stable, joyful, and deeply religious environment. Her mother, Baker, a film cutter at RKO Radio Studios in Hollywood, struggled to make ends meet in the meantime.

Her own daughter has been kidnapped

Norma Jeane in 1945 before she became the famous Marilyn Monroe | Pinterest
Norma Jeane in 1945 before she became the famous Marilyn Monroe | Pinterest

Baker wished to be involved in her daughter’s life, but not in a constructive or healthy manner. The family acquaintance Mary Thomas-Strong is quoted by All That Interesting as saying, “The truth was that Gladys [Baker] had trouble watching Ida raise her child.” Visits to the Bolender home and sleepovers at Baker’s place quickly became problematic due to her possessiveness.

According to one ridiculous, almost implausible version, Baker visited the Bolenders when Monroe was three years old, put Monroe in a duffel bag, and then imprisoned Ida outside before attempting to flee. Ida was able to foil the attempted kidnapping (via Biography).

Baker persisted in asking the Bolenders to give her the nurtured Monroe during the ensuing years. Baker made an effort to gather herself as they declined. Baker had borrowed money to buy a house when Marilyn Monroe was seven years old and had hired actors George and Maud Atkinson to help with expenses.

This brief period of prosperity ended in the same year, 1933. At nearly the same moment that Baker learned that her grandfather had killed himself and that her entire studio was on strike, she also learned that her son from her first marriage, Jackie, had passed away.

1934 saw her experience a nervous collapse the following year. She was reportedly seen carrying a knife in public while saying that she was the target of a murder attempt. She was taken by the cops “kicking and screaming furiously” to a Norwalk, California state hospital. She received her first institutionalization there.

Hospitals and foster care facilities

True Story of Marilyn Monroe's Parents
Photo | Pinterest

This is the point at which both Baker and Monroe experience extremely horrible events. Grace McKee, a friend of Baker’s, took over Marilyn Monroe’s foster care. Monroe’s dreams of being a famous person began to materialize at that point, as described in All That’s Interesting.

However, due to McKee’s hectic schedule, the judge granted Monroe “partial orphan” status, allowing her to occasionally reside with other carers. From 1935 until 1942, Monroe alternated between ten houses and one orphanage, while Baker did so between hospitals. During this time, Monroe experienced sexual assault and only occasionally visited her mother.

At age 16, Monroe married James Dougherty in 1942, the same age her mother wed her first husband. According to Biography, four years passed Monroe’s marriage, Baker was discharged from San Jose’s Agnews State Hospital in 1946. She had stated that she intended to relocate to Oregon to live with her aunt, but instead married John Stewart Eley, a married man who had a wife in Idaho.

At this point, Marilyn Monroe and Baker were a little bit dating, and when Monroe sought to alert her mother to her new husband’s prior marriage, Baker responded to some news reporters, “That is how bitter [Norma Jeane] is toward me. She still thinks I ruined her life, so she will stop at nothing to ruin mine. ” Baker disagreed with her daughter’s choice of profession as well. Although Monroe’s career was booming, her studio sought to keep any information about their new star’s mother hidden.

The truth is revealed

True Story of Marilyn Monroe's Parents
Gladys Pearl Baker | Photo – Pinterest

Beginning to appear in movies in the late 1940s and early 1950s, Marilyn Monroe agreed to tell the narrative that 20th Century Fox pushed her to via All That’s Interesting: A Love Story. She was an orphan after her parents passed away; she had no idea who they were.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, this resulted in no less than five women making bogus claims to be Marilyn Monroe’s mother. No one believed Gladys Baker, who by this time had changed her name to Gladys Baker Eleys as a result of her marriage to John Stewart Eley, who was already taken.

A journalist discovered Eley working at a nursing home in Eagle Rock, a suburb of Los Angeles, in 1952. When the truth about the incident came to light, Marilyn Monroe acknowledged that Baker was really her mother. Eley experienced yet another mental breakdown as soon as the story made the headlines. She was this time institutionalized in La Crescenta, California’s Rockhaven Sanitarium. With her performance in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” the next year, in 1953, Marilyn Monroe’s career took off.

From that point on, as Marilyn Monroe’s fame increased, her mother kept writing to her, pleading for her release from Rockhaven. Prior to her mother’s admission, Monroe reportedly paid a visit to the sanitarium and found the entire setting to be extremely unsettling. Monroe paid her mother a monthly salary rather than stay in touch. She also left a $100,000 trust to Eley, who will receive $5,000 a year from it. Eley remained in Rockhaven until her daughter’s passing in 1962.

An Overview of the Development of Mental Illness

Photo | Pinterest

The year before Marilyn Monroe passed away, 1961, she admitted to having suicidal thoughts. She was admitted to an institution, the Payne Whitney Clinic in New York, just like her mother had been before her. Gladys Baker Eley was discovered in her room with her left wrist cut, as reported in Biography, when the news got out and the narrative was broadcast on television.

A year after Monroe’s passing, Eley escaped from Rockhaven Sanitarium through a window. According to the Glendale News-Press, Eley, who was 60 at the time, constructed a rope out of two uniforms, lowered it through an 18-inch-square closet window, and then descended.

Marilyn Monroe escaped the sanitarium by scaling a wire mesh fence and traveling 15 miles to a church on Foothill Boulevard, where she took refuge in the utility room with a water heater for warmth. She claimed to have fled to engage in “Christian Science teaching,” as All That’s Interesting claims, when the police discovered her.

She was taken back to Rockhaven once they decided she posed no threat. She was eventually let go and sent to Florida, where she passed away in 1984 from heart failure.


1962-Marilyn-Monroes-Death-What-Really-Happened-1
Marilyn as Norma Jeane | Freepik

Marilyn Monroe was never officially diagnosed, but some have hypothesized that she inherited an unidentified mental condition from her mother. Although it is challenging to determine, WebMD does acknowledge that mental illness has a genetic component that is influenced by shared environmental circumstances between parents and their offspring. The Netflix “dark biography,” “Blonde,” starring Ana de Armas, is expected to delve further into Monroe’s life.


Source: Wikipedia, Viralrat | All the information & photo credit goes to respective authorities. DM for removal please.


Related: 1962 Marilyn Monroe’s Death: What Really Happened?

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