Without Marilyn Monroe, there would be no Gwen Stefani. No Christina Aguilera. And certainly no Madonna. It's nearly impossible to overstate the influence that this week's Bella Donna has had on ideas of beauty and glamour. Think of platinum-blonde hair, red lips and a beauty mark... and you think of Marilyn.
One of the reasons Marilyn is so iconic is that she represents both the benefits and pitfalls of fame and glamour. Born Norma Jean Mortenson in 1926, she was shuttled between foster homes as a child before marrying at age 16. While working at a factory, she was spotted by a photographer who helped her start her modeling career. Soon after, she lightened her hair and had her nose slimmed. At age 20, she changed her name to Marilyn Monroe, and after a few bit parts, her movie career began to take off.
To learn more about Marilyn and to see a photo gallery, read more