Yes. Born Norma Jeane Mortenson on June 1, 1926, Monroe did not know her father. In 2022, DNA testing revealed that her father was Charles Stanley Gifford, a co-worker of her mother's at Consolidated Film Industries, where her mother, Gladys, worked as a film negative cutter (Variety). The Blonde true story confirms that Monroe spent years searching for her father and trying to connect with him, often finding substitute fathers in the men she became involved with. In the movie, she even calls some of these men "daddy."
On her birth certificate, Gladys indicated that Monroe's father was Martin Edward Mortensen, Gladys's husband with whom she was separated at the time and would divorce in 1928 (Gladys misspelled his name "Mortenson" on the birth certificate). However, it was unlikely that Mortensen was the father since their separation happened well before she became pregnant. The revelation that Charles Stanley Gifford was Marilyn Monroe's father makes more sense.
Yes. Her mother, Gladys Pearl Baker (née Monroe), was financially and mentally unprepared for a child when Marilyn was born. She placed Marilyn, whose birth name was Norma Jeane Mortenson, with foster parents for several years. Marilyn moved back in with her mother after Gladys bought a small house in Hollywood. Their time under the same roof only lasted a matter of months. Gladys suffered a mental breakdown in January 1934 and was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. She stayed in a rest home for several months before being committed to the Metropolitan State Hospital. After this, Marilyn had little contact with her. Gladys was in and out of hospitals for the remainder of her life.
In researching how accurate is Blonde, we learned that Marilyn (then known as Norma Jeane) became a ward of the state and her living situation indeed became unstable. She moved around homes and was placed in the Los Angeles Orphans Home in September 1935. Her mother's friend, Grace Goddard, became her legal guardian and took her out of the orphanage in the summer of 1937. However, Marilyn's stay with the Goddards only lasted a matter of months because Grace's husband, Erwin "Doc" Goddard, molested her. She then stayed with Grace's relatives and friends, eventually finding a more permanent home with Grace's elderly Aunt Ana. When Ana's health began to fail, Marilyn went back to live with the Goddards until Doc's job relocated him to West Virginia.
California's child protection laws prevented her from leaving the state, and instead of returning to the orphanage, a 16-year-old Marilyn married James Dougherty, the neighbor's 21-year-old son who was a factory worker. Their mismatched union ended in divorce in 1946 in part due to the fact that Dougherty wanted her to be a housewife and not pursue an acting career.
In the movie, Monroe (Ana de Armas) lands her first screen role in All About Eve, a part that she secures by submitting to rape in the office of "Mr. Z" (David Warshofsky), a reference to Darryl F. Zanuck, the founder and head of 20th Century Fox. It's true that Darryl F. Zanuck was known to be the Harvey Weinstein of his time. However, the real-life Monroe never mentioned Zanuck when recalling "casting couch" sex encounters. In an article for The Guardian, Monroe biographer Anthony Summers said that in interviews with nearly 700 people, he encountered nothing to lead him to believe Zanuck had raped Marilyn Monroe.
In answering the question, "Is Blonde accurate?" we discovered that while Marilyn Monroe reportedly had multiple abortions, there's no proof that the studio forced her to undergo any of them. Having said that, it is well known that studios did pressure pregnant starlets into having abortions. It is unknown if this is what happened in Marilyn's case. The movie combines her multiple abortions into one (though it implies another after an episode with JFK), which is depicted in a grotesque scene that will surely cause some viewers to abandon the film altogether.
Marilyn (Ana de Armas) becomes pregnant after a threesome with Cass (Xavier Samuels) and Eddie (Evan Williams), who are meant to represent Charlie Chaplin Jr. and Edward G. Robinson Jr. Realizing it will affect their bottom line, the studio arranges for her to have an abortion. Director and writer Andrew Dominik opts to show a close-up of the abortion by entering Marilyn's cervix, a decision that takes an already disturbing movie to a nightmarish and unnecessary level.
Not exactly. The lack of authenticity when it comes to Marilyn's voice in the Netflix film is something that was pointed out as soon as the teaser trailer was released. While de Armas captures Marilyn's half-breathless style of speaking, traces of the actress's Cuban accent come through at times. However, given so many other things are exaggerated or fictionalized in the film, the accent is believable enough that it doesn't stand out as a significant issue.
No. Just in case you started to think that the movie might be entering the territory of a biopic, the JFK scene arrives to quash that notion. Marilyn is delivered to JFK's hotel room by two Secret Service agents who at one point actually lift her off the ground and present her (in her terms, like "a piece of meat") to JFK. The President then makes her perform fellatio on him as he watches coverage of the Friendship 7 rocket launch on TV and listens to J. Edgar Hoover on the phone ironically scold him over allegations of sexual impropriety. He then throws Marilyn onto a bed and rapes her. She wakes up in bed bruised and battered and is carried out again, traumatized by what just unfolded.
In answering the question, "How accurate is Blonde?" we discovered that not only is there no evidence that JFK ever sexually assaulted Marilyn Monroe, the scene reduces their more complex real-life relationship to one where he essentially orders her up as an object to abuse. In reality, Marilyn Monroe and JFK had a companionship and were sexually involved as far back as the early 1950s (Variety). The movie's skewed and ridiculous take on their relationship is so far from reality that it should have been left on the cutting room floor.
Joyce Carol Oates' novel on which the film is based goes as far as to depict Marilyn being assassinated at the order of the Kennedys, despite there being zero evidence that JFK, his brother Robert F. Kennedy, or anyone else murdered her. Oates defended her novel's fabrications by saying she "had no particular obligation" to the facts, despite referencing real people in her novel with real reputations and historical legacies (The Guardian).
Yes. It is well known that for several years into the early 1960s, Marilyn Monroe became addicted to prescription drugs, including barbiturates and amphetamines. She also abused alcohol. While conducting our Blonde fact-check, we learned that during the filming of John Huston's The Misfits in 1960, the shoot had to be halted in order for Monroe to spend a week detoxing in a hospital. She died of a barbiturate overdose on August 4, 1962. Given the amount of drugs in her body, an accidental overdose was ruled out and the coroner determined her death to be a probable suicide.
Blonde is a heavily fictionalized interpretation of Marilyn Monroe's life that is based on Joyce Carol Oates' 2000 novel, which fuses fact and fiction, taking numerous liberties with the truth. In the book's preface, Oates herself said that her novel was a "radically distilled 'life' of Marilyn Monroe," explaining that while she used real-life facts and people, she freely imagined a lot of the rest. From that imagining, we get director Andrew Dominik's Netflix film, which he described as "an emotional nightmare fairytale."