Beginning in the 1950s, Marilyn Monroe quickly rose to fame with early movie roles and public attention about nude photos she'd posed for in the late 1940s.
But it all came to an end when Monroe died in 1962, seemingly just as fast as she'd become an entertainment world sensation. She was just 36.
Marilyn Monroe becomes an icon in the 1950s and '60s
Monroe had established herself as one of the faces of 1950s Hollywood with roles in films such as Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, The Seven Year Itch, and Some Like It Hot.
The actress was also a front-page attraction due to her personal life, which featured high-profile marriages to New York Yankee Joe DiMaggio and, later, playwright Arthur Miller.
However, Monroe's off-screen troubles mounted just as she was reaching her point of highest acclaim as an actress. In the early 1960s, it's thought that she dealt with depression, anxiety, and substance abuse problems. Her only films of the decade were 1960's Let's Make Love and 1961's The Misfits—her final completed role.
Marilyn Monroe's final months in 1962
The actress had begun to film Something's Got to Give in 1962, but she was fired from the role in June over on-set difficulties. Monroe then spent what would be her final months reclusively at her home in Brentwood, Los Angeles, under the supervision of psychiatrist Dr. Ralph Greenson.
Monroe's last day was again spent at home on August 4, 1962. Her maid, Eunice Murray, stayed overnight and became concerned when she noticed Monroe had locked herself in her bedroom.
Murray called Dr. Greenson, who broke into the room in the early hours of August 5 and found Monroe unresponsive. It was determined that she had died on the evening of August 4.
Marilyn Monroe died on August 4, 1962, at the age of 36
Famously, Monroe was described as having been "discovered lying nude on her bed, face down, with a telephone in one hand." According to History, the Los Angeles Police ruled that the death was "caused by a self-administered overdose of sedative drugs and that the mode of death is probable suicide." Empty pill bottles were found at her bedside.
Ever since Monroe died, theories have proliferated about her cause of death. Some of the most popular ones have implicated John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy, both of whom allegedly engaged in affairs with Monroe.
Other theories involve Jimmy Hoffa and other mob bosses. But these, the Kennedys, and others have never been proven true, including upon a review of the case decades later.
Monroe's tragic death is still viewed as a probable suicide by barbiturate overdose.
Marilyn Monroe: A film and cultural icon lost too soon
Today, Monroe is remembered for her on- and off-screen persona, which made her an icon of film, pop culture, and femininity in the 1950s and the sexual revolution of the '60s.