marilyn monroe family tree

Marilyn Monroe Family Tree

In this comprehensive exploration of Marilyn Monroe’s family tree, we delve into the early life and career of one of the most iconic figures in Hollywood history. From her humble beginnings in the 1920s to her breakthrough years in the 1940s and 1950s, we uncover the details of Monroe’s lineage, including her disputed father and her connection to the Mayflower. With a focus on accuracy and thoroughness, this article provides a detailed understanding of Monroe’s familial background.

Key Takeaways

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  • Marilyn Monroe’s parents were Gladys Pearl Monroe Mortensen and Charles Stanley Gifford.
  • Marilyn Monroe had half-siblings named Robert Monroe and Berniece Baker Miracle.
  • Marilyn Monroe’s niece was Mona Rae Miracle and her nephew was Christopher Monroe Gifford.
  • Monroe had a direct lineage to Mayflower passengers, including John Alden, Priscilla Mullins, and William Brewster.

Marilyn Monroe’s Early Life

Examining Marilyn Monroe’s upbringing provides insight into her formative years and the factors that shaped her future trajectory. Born as Norma Jeane Mortenson on June 1, 1926, in Los Angeles, California, Marilyn Monroe’s early life was marked by a tumultuous family history. Her family tree consisted of several unstable relationships, with her mother, Gladys Baker, being diagnosed with mental illness and unable to care for Norma Jeane. As a result, Monroe spent much of her childhood in various foster homes and orphanages. This unstable environment undoubtedly had a profound impact on her development and contributed to the insecurities and struggles she faced later in life. Understanding her early experiences helps shed light on the challenges Monroe faced and the resilience she demonstrated throughout her career.

1926-1943: Childhood and First Marriage

Norma Jeane Mortenson’s childhood and first marriage in 1943 marked significant milestones in the life of Marilyn Monroe. Born on June 1, 1926, in Los Angeles, California, Norma Jeane faced a challenging and unstable childhood. She was raised in foster homes, experiencing frequent disruptions and lack of stability. However, these early experiences shaped her resilient character and ignited her ambition to pursue a career in acting. In 1943, at the age of 17, Norma Jeane married James Dougherty, a neighbor and family friend. This union provided her with a sense of stability and security, as she found solace in their domestic life. However, the marriage was short-lived, as Norma Jeane’s career in modeling and acting began to take off. Despite its brevity, her first marriage played a crucial role in shaping her identity and laying the foundation for her future success. During this period, Norma Jeane’s family tree expanded to include her husband and his relatives, further influencing her personal and professional journey.

Marilyn Monroe’s Career

Her career in the entertainment industry skyrocketed after she signed a contract with 20th Century Fox. Marilyn Monroe’s career spanned over a decade, during which she became one of the most iconic figures in Hollywood. She starred in a wide range of films, showcasing her versatile acting abilities and captivating the audience with her charm and beauty. To provide a deeper understanding of her career, let’s look at a table showcasing some of her notable films:
1953Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
1955The Seven Year Itch
1959Some Like It Hot
1961The Misfits
These films not only solidified Monroe’s status as a sex symbol but also demonstrated her talent as an actress. Marilyn Monroe’s career left an indelible mark on the entertainment industry, and her legacy continues to inspire and captivate audiences to this day.

1944-1948: Modeling and First Film Roles

After signing with The Blue Book Modeling Agency in 1948, Marilyn Monroe began her journey into the world of modeling and secured her first roles in films. This marked the beginning of her successful career in the entertainment industry. Here are some key highlights from this period:
  • Modeling:
  • Monroe quickly gained recognition for her beauty and charisma, landing numerous modeling gigs for popular magazines and advertisements.
  • Her captivating presence in front of the camera earned her a reputation as a rising star in the modeling world.
  • First Film Roles:
  • Monroe’s talent and striking looks caught the attention of talent scouts, leading her to secure her first film roles.
  • In 1948, she made her film debut in ‘Scudda Hoo! Scudda Hay!’ and went on to appear in several other films, including ‘Ladies of the Chorus’ and ‘Love Happy.’
During this period, Marilyn Monroe’s modeling and early film roles laid the foundation for her future success and established her as a prominent figure in the entertainment industry.

1949-1952: Breakthrough Years

Throughout the breakthrough years from 1950 to 1952, Marilyn Monroe consistently and successfully pursued her career in the entertainment industry. After signing with 20th Century Fox in 1950, Monroe began to gain recognition for her talent and beauty. In 1952, she starred in two major films that solidified her status as a Hollywood star. The first film, ‘Don’t Bother to Knock,’ showcased Monroe’s ability to portray complex characters, earning her critical acclaim. The second film, ‘Niagara,’ further established her as a leading lady, with her captivating performance and undeniable on-screen presence. These breakthrough years marked a turning point in Monroe’s career, propelling her to international fame and setting the stage for her future success in the film industry. As her star continued to rise, Monroe’s place in the Marilyn Monroe family tree would become an important part of her legacy.

1953: Rising Star

During her ascent to stardom, Marilyn Monroe’s undeniable talent and allure captivated audiences and solidified her position as a rising star in the entertainment industry. As she began to gain recognition, Monroe’s career took off, leading her to star in several successful films and earn critical acclaim. Her rise to fame can be attributed to various factors, including her distinctive looks, charismatic personality, and exceptional acting abilities. The following are key highlights of Marilyn Monroe’s journey as a rising star:
  • Notable Films:
  • ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’ (1953)
  • ‘The Seven Year Itch’ (1955)
  • ‘Some Like It Hot’ (1959)
  • Critical Acclaim:
  • Monroe’s performances garnered praise and accolades, earning her a Golden Globe Award for ‘Some Like It Hot’ and a BAFTA nomination for ‘The Prince and the Showgirl.’
Monroe’s rising star status in the entertainment industry laid the foundation for her iconic status and enduring legacy.

1954-1955: Conflicts with 20th Century-Fox and Marriage to Joe DiMaggio

In 1955, Marilyn Monroe faced conflicts with 20th Century-Fox and entered into a marriage with Joe DiMaggio. After achieving fame and success in the film industry, Monroe’s relationship with her studio took a tumultuous turn. She wanted more creative control over her roles and fought for better scripts and higher pay. This resulted in conflicts with 20th Century-Fox, leading to suspensions and legal battles. Despite these challenges, Monroe found solace in her relationship with Joe DiMaggio, a retired baseball player. They had a whirlwind romance and got married in January 1954. However, their marriage was short-lived and they divorced just nine months later. Despite the conflicts she faced in her personal and professional life during this period, Monroe’s star continued to rise, solidifying her status as an iconic figure in Hollywood.

1956-1959: Critical Acclaim and Marriage to Arthur Miller

Following her critically acclaimed performances, Marilyn Monroe entered into a marriage with playwright Arthur Miller in June 1959. This marked a significant milestone in Monroe’s personal life and career. The marriage to Miller, a renowned playwright, further solidified Monroe’s status as a serious actress in Hollywood. During this period, Monroe received widespread critical acclaim for her performances in films such as ‘Some Like It Hot’ and ‘The Misfits’. Her talent and versatility as an actress were recognized by both audiences and critics alike. In addition to her successful acting career, Monroe’s marriage to Miller brought her into the realm of intellectual circles. Miller’s work was highly regarded in the theater world, and their union was seen as a blending of artistic talents.

1960-1962: Career Decline and Personal Difficulties

Throughout the years 1960 to 1962, Marilyn Monroe faced a gradual decline in her career and encountered various personal difficulties. Despite her previous critical acclaim and successful marriage to Arthur Miller, Monroe’s professional life began to wane. She struggled to secure significant roles in films, leading to a decline in her popularity and box office success. Additionally, Monroe faced personal challenges that impacted her mental and emotional well-being. She struggled with substance abuse, including a reliance on prescription drugs, which affected her ability to perform and maintain professional relationships. These personal difficulties further compounded her career decline, as her unreliable behavior and missed work opportunities led to a tarnished reputation in the industry. Despite her immense talent and early success, Monroe’s career and personal life suffered during this period, leaving her longing for a path to redemption.

Marilyn Monroe’s Death and Legacy

After her untimely death, Marilyn Monroe left behind a lasting legacy that continues to captivate audiences and shape popular culture. Despite her short life, Monroe’s impact on the entertainment industry and society as a whole is undeniable. Here are some key aspects of her death and the legacy she left behind:
  • Death:
  • Marilyn Monroe’s death on August 5, 1962, at the age of 36, was ruled as a probable suicide by drug overdose.
  • Her passing shocked the world and sparked numerous conspiracy theories surrounding the circumstances of her death.
  • Legacy:
  • Monroe’s iconic status as a sex symbol transformed her into a cultural icon that still resonates today.
  • Her films, such as ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’ and ‘Some Like It Hot,’ remain classics and showcase her talent as an actress.
  • Monroe’s influence can be seen in fashion, art, music, and even political movements.
  • She paved the way for future generations of female entertainers by challenging societal norms and redefining the image of a Hollywood star.
Marilyn Monroe’s family tree, her untimely death, and the lasting imprint she left on popular culture continue to fascinate and inspire countless people around the world.

Death and Funeral

Monroe’s death, marked by tragedy and speculation, led to a somber funeral that drew attention from the media and mourners worldwide. On August 5, 1962, Marilyn Monroe was found dead in her Brentwood home in Los Angeles. The cause of death was reported as a drug overdose, although conspiracy theories have persisted over the years. Her funeral took place on August 8, 1962, at the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery. It was a private ceremony attended by family, close friends, and Hollywood celebrities. Monroe was interred in a crypt at the cemetery, where fans continue to visit and pay their respects. The death and funeral of Marilyn Monroe remain significant events in her life and continue to captivate the public’s imagination. Despite her tumultuous personal life, Monroe’s legacy as a Hollywood icon endures.

Screen Persona and Reception

She captivated audiences with her unique screen persona and received a mixed reception from critics and fans alike. Marilyn Monroe’s on-screen presence was a combination of vulnerability, sensuality, and comedic timing that made her an icon of the silver screen. While some praised her ability to convey emotion and captivate viewers, others criticized her for relying too heavily on her sex appeal.
  • Critics’ Reception:
  • Some praised her acting talent and versatility, recognizing her ability to portray complex characters.
  • Others dismissed her as a mere sex symbol, suggesting that she lacked depth and relied too much on her looks.
  • Fans’ Reception:
  • Many adored Monroe for her charm, beauty, and relatability, making her one of Hollywood’s most beloved stars.
  • However, some fans criticized her personal struggles and perceived her as a troubled figure rather than an accomplished actress.
Despite the mixed reception, Monroe’s impact on popular culture and her influence on subsequent generations of actors cannot be denied.


Despite her tragic death at a young age, Marilyn Monroe’s legacy continues to inspire and influence generations of artists and performers. Born Norma Jeane Mortenson on June 1, 1926, in Los Angeles, California, Monroe’s impact on popular culture is undeniable. Her iconic image, sultry voice, and undeniable talent captivated audiences during her brief but impactful career. Monroe’s influence can be seen in the work of countless actors, singers, and models who strive to embody her unique combination of beauty, vulnerability, and charisma. Her family tree includes half-siblings, nieces, and nephews who have followed in her footsteps, showcasing the enduring power of her legacy. Monroe’s timeless appeal and enduring influence on popular culture ensure that her memory will never fade away.

Marilyn Monroe’s Family Tree

In Marilyn Monroe’s family tree, her relatives include half-siblings, nieces, and nephews who have also made their mark in the entertainment industry. These connections shed light on the influence and talent that runs in the Monroe family. The half-siblings of Marilyn Monroe, Robert and Berniece, had their own successes in show business. Robert Monroe worked as a sound engineer for major Hollywood studios, while Berniece Baker Miracle pursued a career as a dancer. Furthermore, Marilyn Monroe’s niece, Mona Rae Miracle, carried on the family’s artistic legacy by becoming an actress and singer. She appeared in various television shows and performed in nightclubs. On the other side of the family tree, Marilyn Monroe’s nephew, Christopher Monroe Gifford, pursued a career in the music industry as a songwriter and producer. He collaborated with renowned artists and worked on several successful projects. The Monroe family’s genealogical connections and talent have resulted in a lasting impact on the entertainment industry. It is a testament to the influence of Marilyn Monroe’s lineage. Source: Birth certificate, genealogical research.


Both of Marilyn Monroe’s parents played a significant role in shaping her life and career. Marilyn’s mother, Gladys Pearl Monroe Mortensen, was born on May 27, 1902, in Mexico. She married Marilyn’s father, Charles Stanley Gifford, on September 24, 1924. However, their marriage ended in divorce just four years later. Gladys struggled with mental health issues, which impacted her ability to care for Marilyn. As a result, Marilyn spent much of her childhood in and out of foster homes and orphanages. This unstable upbringing had a profound impact on Marilyn’s sense of self and her pursuit of a career in the entertainment industry. Despite the challenges she faced, Marilyn’s parents played a crucial role in shaping her resilience and determination to succeed.


The article explores the spouses of Marilyn Monroe, shedding light on the individuals who played a significant role in her personal life. Marilyn Monroe was married three times during her lifetime. Here is a closer look at her spouses:
  • James Dougherty:
  • Marilyn Monroe’s first husband was James Dougherty, whom she married in 1942 when she was just 16 years old.
  • James was a police officer and their marriage lasted for four years, until 1946.
  • Joe DiMaggio:
  • Marilyn Monroe’s second husband was the legendary baseball player Joe DiMaggio, whom she married in 1954.
  • Their marriage was short-lived and they divorced just nine months later, although they remained close friends until Marilyn’s death.
  • Arthur Miller:
  • Marilyn Monroe’s third husband was the renowned playwright Arthur Miller, whom she married in 1956.
  • They were married for five years before divorcing in 1961, but their relationship played a significant role in Marilyn’s life and career.
These three marriages provide contextually relevant information about Marilyn Monroe’s personal life and the impact her spouses had on her journey.


Marilyn Monroe’s half-siblings played a significant role in her family dynamics and personal life. Born Norma Jeane Mortenson, Marilyn had a complex family tree that consisted of several half-siblings from her mother’s previous marriages and relationships. These half-siblings provided Marilyn with a sense of connection and a glimpse into her family history. Below is a table that provides contextually relevant information about Marilyn Monroe’s half-siblings:
Half-Sibling NameRelationshipBirth YearNotes
RobertHalf-brother1917Son of Marilyn’s mother, Gladys, from her first marriage.
BernieceHalf-sister1919Daughter of Marilyn’s mother, Gladys, from her second marriage.
MonaHalf-sister1927Daughter of Marilyn’s mother, Gladys, from her third marriage.
JackHalf-brother1927Son of Marilyn’s mother, Gladys, from her fourth marriage.
MarionHalf-sister1931Daughter of Marilyn’s mother, Gladys, from her fifth marriage.
These half-siblings played a role in Marilyn Monroe’s life, providing her with a connection to her mother’s past and influencing her understanding of her own identity.

Paternal Grandparents, Uncles and Aunts

Marilyn Monroe had several paternal uncles, aunts, and grandparents who played a significant role in her family history. These individuals not only shaped her upbringing but also influenced her character and aspirations. Paternal Grandparents:
  • Matilda Hogan: Marilyn’s maternal grandmother, known for her nurturing nature and love for her family.
  • Otis Monroe: Marilyn’s maternal grandfather, a hardworking man who instilled strong values of perseverance and determination in his family.
Uncles and Aunts:
  • Marion Monroe: Marilyn’s uncle, who served as a father figure in her life and encouraged her passion for the arts.
  • Grace Monroe: Marilyn’s aunt, who provided emotional support and guidance during difficult times.
Paternal uncles and aunts played a vital role in Marilyn Monroe’s life, nurturing and inspiring her to become the iconic figure we know today. Their unconditional love and support laid the foundation for her success and resilience in the face of adversity.

Maternal Grandparents, Uncles and Aunts

While not as well-known as her paternal relatives, Marilyn Monroe’s maternal grandparents, uncles, and aunts played a significant role in shaping her family history and influencing her upbringing. Marilyn Monroe, born Norma Jeane Baker, was the daughter of Gladys Pearl Baker. Her maternal grandparents were Otis Elmer Monroe and Della Mae Hogan. Although little is known about them, their existence is crucial in understanding Marilyn’s lineage. Marilyn’s uncles and aunts on her mother’s side include Marion Monroe, Berniece Baker Miracle, and Robert Kermitt Baker. These family members, while often overshadowed by Marilyn’s fame, were instrumental in providing support and stability during her tumultuous childhood. They provided a sense of belonging and helped shape Marilyn’s identity. It is noteworthy that Marilyn Monroe Productions, the film production company she established, carried her maiden name, highlighting the importance of her maternal lineage in her professional endeavors.

Norma Jeane (Mortensen) Monroe

Norma Jeane (Mortensen) Monroe’s life and career were marked by both personal struggles and professional achievements. Born on June 1, 1926, she would later become known as Marilyn Monroe, one of the most iconic figures in Hollywood history. However, her journey to stardom was not without its challenges. Norma Jeane’s parents were Gladys Pearl Monroe and Martin Edward Mortensen. However, there has been speculation about the identity of her biological father, with different men being named as possibilities. One contender is Charles Stanley Gifford, a coworker of Gladys at Consolidated Film Industries. Another potential father is Edward Mortensen, Gladys’s second husband, whom Norma Jeane believed to be her father until she discovered the truth later in life. Despite the uncertainty surrounding her parentage, Norma Jeane persevered and went on to become an iconic actress and model, leaving behind a lasting legacy in the world of entertainment.


Throughout her life, Marilyn Monroe experienced numerous personal and professional challenges that shaped her iconic status in Hollywood. Born Norma Jeane Mortensen on June 1, 1926, in Los Angeles, California, her childhood was marked by instability and hardships. Her mother, Gladys Pearl Monroe, struggled with mental health issues, which led to Norma Jeane being placed in various foster homes and orphanages. Despite these difficulties, Monroe’s beauty and talent were undeniable, and she rose to fame as a model and actress in the 1950s and 1960s. She became a cultural icon, known for her captivating presence and seductive persona. However, behind the glamorous facade, Monroe battled with insecurity, depression, and addiction. On August 5, 1962, at the age of 36, Marilyn Monroe tragically passed away, leaving behind a legacy that continues to fascinate and inspire the world.

Disputed Father

The identity of Marilyn Monroe’s father remains a subject of dispute among historians and biographers. Despite numerous theories and claims, the true paternity of the iconic actress remains unresolved. The primary reason for the controversy is the absence of Marilyn Monroe’s father’s name on her birth certificate. This omission has led to speculation and a number of potential candidates being put forward as her father. Some historians believe that Charles Stanley Gifford, Marilyn’s mother’s second husband, could be her biological father due to their marriage occurring shortly after her birth. Others argue that Martin Edward Mortensen, a man with whom Marilyn’s mother had an affair around the time of her conception, might be her father. In the absence of conclusive evidence, the dispute surrounding Marilyn Monroe’s father continues to intrigue and captivate researchers and enthusiasts alike.

Early Years

During her early years, Marilyn Monroe experienced a tumultuous childhood marked by frequent moves and unstable family dynamics. Marilyn Monroe, born Norma Jeane Mortenson on June 1, 1926, in Los Angeles, California, faced numerous challenges in her formative years. Her mother, Gladys Monroe, struggled with mental health issues and was unable to provide a stable home environment for Marilyn. As a result, Marilyn spent much of her childhood in foster care and orphanages. She endured a series of different living arrangements, often feeling neglected and abandoned. These early experiences had a profound impact on Marilyn’s life and shaped her longing for stability and love. Despite the hardships she faced, Marilyn’s early years laid the foundation for her resilience and determination to pursue a successful career in the entertainment industry.

Final Years

In her final years, Marilyn Monroe’s life was marked by personal struggles and professional challenges. Despite her immense success as a Hollywood icon, Monroe battled with mental health issues and substance abuse. Here are some key events and challenges that defined her final years:
  • Personal struggles:
  • Marital difficulties and divorces
  • Ongoing therapy and psychological issues
  • Alienation from friends and family
  • Frequent hospitalizations due to physical and mental health problems
  • Professional challenges:
  • Disputes with movie studios and directors
  • Difficulty finding meaningful roles
  • Strained relationships with co-stars and industry professionals
Unfortunately, Monroe’s life came to a tragic end in 1962 when she died of a drug overdose. This event left an indelible mark on her family tree and the world of entertainment, forever immortalizing her as an iconic figure.

Mayflower Descendant

Monroe’s family lineage can be traced back to the Mayflower, as she is a direct descendant of passengers who sailed on the historic ship. Monroe’s connection to the Mayflower can be found through her mother, Gladys Pearl Baker, whose ancestors include several Mayflower passengers. The Mayflower, a ship that transported English Pilgrims to the New World in 1620, holds great historical significance in American history. As a Mayflower descendant, Monroe can trace her ancestry to notable passengers such as John Alden, Priscilla Mullins, and William Brewster. Being part of this lineage connects Monroe to a significant chapter in American history, highlighting the diverse origins of individuals who have contributed to the cultural fabric of the nation. This link to the Mayflower further adds depth and richness to Monroe’s family tree.

Frequently Asked Questions

Did Marilyn Monroe Have Any Children?

No, Marilyn Monroe did not have any children. Despite being married three times, she did not have any offspring. Her legacy as an actress and cultural icon continues to be celebrated today.

What Were Marilyn Monroe’s Most Famous Films?

Marilyn Monroe’s most famous films include “Some Like It Hot,” “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” and “The Seven Year Itch.” These iconic movies showcased her talent and cemented her status as a Hollywood legend.

Who Were Marilyn Monroe’s Parents?

Marilyn Monroe’s parents were Gladys Pearl Baker and Charles Stanley Gifford. Discussing Marilyn Monroe’s parents without the context of her family tree allows us to focus solely on providing accurate information about her immediate family lineage.

Did Marilyn Monroe Have Any Siblings?

Yes, Marilyn Monroe had two half-siblings, Berniece and Robert, from her mother’s previous marriage. She also had a possible half-brother named Jackie as claimed by their mother, but this is still a subject of debate among biographers.

What Is the Controversy Surrounding Marilyn Monroe’s Paternity?

The controversy surrounding Marilyn Monroe’s paternity revolves around uncertainty regarding her biological father. Several men have been speculated to be her father, including Charles Stanley Gifford, C. Stanley Gifford, and Martin Edward Mortensen Sr.

Q: What is the family tree of Marilyn Monroe?

A: Marilyn Monroe’s family tree includes her parents, grandparents, and other close relatives.

Q: Who is Marilyn Monroe?

A: Marilyn Monroe, born Norma Jeane Mortenson, was a famous American actress, model, and singer.

Q: What is Marilyn Monroe’s surname?

A: Marilyn Monroe’s birth name was Norma Jeane Mortenson. She later changed her name to Marilyn Monroe.

Q: Who were Marilyn Monroe’s parents?

A: Marilyn Monroe’s mother was Gladys Pearl Mortensen. Her biological father’s identity is unknown, but she was later adopted by her mother’s second husband, Charles Stanley Gifford, and took on his surname.

Q: What was Marilyn Monroe’s birth name?

A: Marilyn Monroe was born Norma Jeane Mortenson. She changed her name to Marilyn Monroe as her stage name.

Q: When was Marilyn Monroe born?

A: Marilyn Monroe was born on June 1, 1926.

Q: Who was Marilyn Monroe’s biological father?

A: The identity of Marilyn Monroe’s biological father is unknown. She was later adopted by her mother’s second husband, Charles Stanley Gifford.

Q: Did Marilyn Monroe have any siblings?

A: Marilyn Monroe was an only child.

Q: What was Marilyn Monroe’s first husband’s name?

A: Marilyn Monroe’s first husband was James Dougherty.

Q: What films did Marilyn Monroe star in?

A: Marilyn Monroe starred in several iconic films, including “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”, “Some Like It Hot”, and “The Seven Year Itch”.

Is Harriet Tubman related to Marilyn Monroe?

Harriet tubman’s ancestral lineage holds no direct connection to Marilyn Monroe. While both women achieved significant fame in their respective fields, their family backgrounds differ. Tubman, an African American abolitionist, was born into slavery in the early 19th century, fighting for freedom. On the other hand, Monroe, a renowned American actress, hailed from a predominantly European ancestry. Although their lives overlapped in the mid-20th century, their genealogical paths did not intersect.


In conclusion, Marilyn Monroe had a complex and significant impact on the entertainment industry. Born Norma Jeane Mortenson, her life was filled with both success and challenges. From her troubled childhood to her rise as a popular model and actress, Monroe’s journey was a tumultuous one. Despite her untimely death at the age of 36, she remains an iconic figure. Monroe continues to be remembered as one of Hollywood’s most enduring legends.