In honor of our upcoming Marilyn Monroe & Elvis Presley watch sale, here is a little bio about the icons we love in life and death (unless, as some believe, Elvis hasn’t yet left the building). The sale begins Friday 8/6 at 7am.
Marilyn Monroe was born Norma Jeane Baker (a natural brunette!) on June 1, 1926 in Los Angeles, California. She spent most of her childhood in foster homes and orphanages. On June 19, 1942 she wed her 21-year-old neighbor Jimmy Dougherty, whom she had been dating for six months. When he left for military duty, Norma Jeane took a job on the assembly line at the Radio Plane Munitions factory in Burbank, California. While on the job, photographer David Conover spotted her as a modeling talent, and began sending modeling jobs her way. The camera loved Norma Jeane, and within two years she was a reputable model with many popular magazine covers to her credit. Jimmy’s return in 1946 meant Norma Jeane had to make another choice- this time between her marriage and her career.
Norma Jeane divorced Jimmy in June of 1946, and signed her first studio contract with Twentieth Century Fox on August 26, 1946. Soon after, Norma Jeane dyed her hair blonde and changed her name to Marilyn Monroe (borrowing her grandmother’s last name). The rest, as the saying goes, is history.
Some of her most notable roles include Lorelei Lee in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Joe DiMaggio’s (ex-)wife, “the girl” in Seven Year Itch, JFK’s fling, and Sugar Kane Kowalczyk in Some Like it Hot.
Elvis Aaron Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi on January 8, 1935. His twin brother, Jessie Garon, was stillborn, leaving Elvis to grow up as an only child. He and his parents moved to Memphis, Tennessee in 1948.
Elvis’ musical influences were the pop and country music of the time, the gospel music he heard in church and at the all-night gospel sings he frequently attended, and the black R&B he absorbed on historic Beale Street as a Memphis teenager. In 1954, he began his singing career with the legendary Sun Records label in Memphis. In late 1955, his recording contract was sold to RCA Victor. By 1956, he was an international sensation. With a sound and style that uniquely combined his diverse musical influences and blurred and challenged the social and racial barriers of the time, he ushered in a whole new era of American music and popular culture.
He starred in 33 successful films, made history with his television appearances and specials, and knew great acclaim through his many, often record-breaking, live concert performances on tour and in Las Vegas. Globally, he has sold over one billion records, more than any other artist. Without any of the special privileges his celebrity status might have afforded him, he honorably served his country in the U.S. Army.
His talent, good looks, sensuality, charisma, and good humor endeared him to millions, as did the humility and human kindness he demonstrated throughout his life. Known the world over by his first name (the OG Cher or Madonna), he is regarded as one of the most important figures of twentieth century popular culture. Elvis died at his Memphis home, Graceland, on August 16, 1977.