Part one of “The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe” premiered on Lifetime Saturday. The two-part television movie, starring Kelli Garner as the iconic actress, explores Monroe’s personal life, focusing on her struggles with depression and her relationship with her mentally ill mother. The movie is a candid look at one of the most popular figures of the 20th century.
Here are 11 things we learned about Marilyn Monroe from night one of “The Secret Life Of Marilyn Monroe” Lifetime movie:
1. Marilyn Monroe was born Norma Jeane Mortenson in Los Angeles, California. She never met her father and her mother, Gladys (Susan Sarandon), struggled with severe depression and mental illness, resulting in Marilyn growing up in orphanages or living with her mother’s friend Grace McKee (Emily Watson).
2. Marilyn developed her trademark breathy voice when she was 16 after watching a seductive woman sell snacks in a movie theater.
3. When Grace McKee moved away from Los Angeles, Marilyn married her then-boyfriend Jimmy Dougherty (Giacomo Gianniotti) to avoid returning to an orphanage.
4. Marilyn got her start in show business modeling for magazine covers while Jimmy was overseas during World War II.
5. When Marilyn signed a contract to be a studio player for Fox she claimed to not know either of her parents. In reality, her mother was receiving electroshock therapy treatment in a psychiatric facility.
6. Marilyn’s break came after attending a party with the president of Fox. She was invited by Tom Kelly (Morgan Kelly), a photographer who had taken nude pictures of Marilyn when she needed extra money. After sleeping with the head of the studio she was cast in “Scudda Hoo! Scudda Hay!”
7. Soon after her big break, Marilyn’s mother was released from the hospital and came to live with Marilyn.
8. Marilyn was introduced to William Morris talent agent Johnny Hyde, who vowed to make her a star. He was able to get her cast in “All About Eve.”
9. While filming “All About Eve,” Marilyn suffered anxiety after learning that her mother was missing. Hyde gave her drugs to help calm her down. When he discovered that Gladys had married a bigamist he suggest Marilyn forget about her mother.
10. Johnny Hyde left his family to be with Marilyn, but she refused his proposal of marriage. He died later that year.
11. The day of the premiere for “All About Eve,” Marilyn’s mother showed up distraught. Marilyn had her committed to another psychiatric facility.
Part 2 of "The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe" airs Sunday at 8 p.m. EDT on Lifetime