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About Marilyn Monroe Born Norma Jeane Mortenson (later baptized as Norma Jeane Baker) on June 1, 1926, in Los Angeles, California. During her all-too-brief life, Marilyn Monroe overcame a difficult childhood to become of the world's biggest and most enduring sex symbols. She never knew her father, and her mother Gladys, developed psychiatric problems and was eventually placed in a mental institution. Growing up, Monroe spent much of her time in foster care and in an orphanage. In 1937, a family friend and her husband, Grace and Doc Goddard, took care of her for a few years. But when Doc's job was transferred in 1942 to the East Coast, the couple could not afford to bring Monroe with them.

Once again, Monroe faced life in foster care. But she had one way out—get married. She wed her boyfriend Jimmy Dougherty on June 19, 1942. A merchant marine, Dougherty was later sent to the South Pacific. Monroe went to work in a munitions factory in Burbank where she was discovered by a photographer. By the time Dougherty returned in 1946, Monroe had a successful career as a model. She dreamt of becoming an actress like Jean Harlow and Lana Turner.

Her marriage fizzled out as Monroe focused more on her career. The couple divorced in 1946—the same year she signed her first movie contract. With the movie contract came a new name and image, she began calling herself "Marilyn Monroe" and dyed her hair blonde. But her acting career didn't really take off until the 1950s. Her small part in John Huston's crime drama The Asphalt Jungle (1950) garnered her a lot of attention. That same year she impressed audiences and critics alike as Claudia Caswell in All About Eve, starring Bette Davis.

In 1953, Monroe made a star-making turn in Niagara, starring as a young married woman out to kill her husband with help from her lover. The emerging sex symbol was paired with another bombshell, Jane Russell, for the musical comedy Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953). The film was a hit and Monroe continued to find success in a string of light comedic fare, such as How to Marry a Millionaire with Betty Grable and Lauren Bacall, There's No Business like Show Business (1954) with Ethel Merman and Donald O'Connor, and The Seven Year Itch (1955). With her breathy voice and hourglass figure, Monroe became a much-admired international star.

Tired of bubbly, dumb blonde roles, Monroe moved to New York City to study acting with Lee Strasberg at the Actors' Studio. She returned to the screen in the dramatic comedy Bus Stop (1956), playing a saloon singer kidnapped by a rancher who has fallen in love with her. She received mostly praise for her performance.

In 1959, Monroe returned to familiar territory with the wildly popular comedy Some Like It Hot with Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis. She played Sugar Kane Kowalczyk, a singer who hopes to marry a millionaire in this humorous film in which Lemmon and Curtis pretend to be women. They are on the run from the mob after witnessing the St. Valentine's Day Massacre and hide out with an all-girl orchestra featuring Monroe. Her work on the film earned her a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Comedy.

Reunited with John Huston, Monroe starred opposite Clark Gable and Montgomery Clift in The Misfits (1961). Set in Nevada, this adventure drama features Monroe who falls for Gable's cowboy, but battles him over the fate of some wild mustangs. This was her last completed film.

In 1962, Monroe was dismissed from Something's Got to Give—also starring Dean Martin—for missing so many days of filming. According to an article in The New York Times, the actress claimed that the absences were due to illness. Martin declined to make the film without her ...the studio shelved the picture.

Her professional and personal life seemed to be in turmoil. Her last two films, Let's Make Love (1960) and The Misfits (1961) were box office disappointments, and she got herself fired from her last project. In her personal life, she had a string of unsuccessful marriages and relationships. Her 1954 marriage to baseball great Joe DiMaggio only lasted nine months, and she was wed to playwright Arthur Miller from 1956 to 1961. There have also been rumors that she was involved with President John F. Kennedy and/or his brother Robert around the time of her death.

At only 36 years old, Marilyn Monroe died on August 5, 1962, at her Los Angeles home. An empty bottle of sleeping pills were found by her bed. There has been some speculation over the years that she may have been murdered, but it was officially ruled as a drug overdose.

During her career, Monroe's films grossed more than $200 million. She still remains popular today as an icon of sex appeal and beauty.
© 2011 A&E Television Networks. All rights reserved.

About Jimmy Durante James Durante was born in New York on February 10, 1893. Known to friends, family and fans as "The Schnozzola" because of his Cyrano-sized nose, American entertainer Jimmy Durante was the youngest child of an immigrant Italian barber. Fed up with his schooling by the second grade, Durante dedicated himself to becoming a piano player, performing in the usual dives, beer halls and public events. He organized a ragtime band, playing for such spots as the Coney Island College Inn and Harlem's Alamo Club. He secured two long-lasting relationships in 1921 when he married Maud Jeanne Olson and formed a professional partnership with dancer Eddie Jackson; two years later Durante and Jackson combined with another dancer, Lou Jackson, to form one of the best-known roughhouse teams of the 1920s. Clayton, Jackson and Durante opened their own speakeasy, the Club Durant (they couldn't afford the "E" on the sign), which quickly became the "in" spot for show-business celebrities and the bane of Prohibition agents.

Durante was clearly the star of the proceedings, adopting his lifelong stage character of an aggressive, pugnacious singer, yelling "Stop the music" at the slightest provocation and behaving as though he had to finish his song before the authorities hauled him away for having the nerve to perform. Durante's trio went uptown in the Ziegfeld musical Show Girl in 1929, the same year that Durante made his screen debut in Roadhouse_Nights.

Though popular in personal appearances, Durante's overbearing performing style did not translate well to movies, especially when MGM teamed the megawatt Durante with stone-faced comedian Buster_Keaton. Though Durante and Keaton liked each other, their comedy styles were not compatible. Durante had reached his peak in films by 1934, and was thereafter used only as a specialty or in supporting roles.

On stage, however, Durante was still a proven audience favorite: he stopped the show with the moment in the 1935 Billy Rose stage musical Jumbo, wherein, while leading a live elephant away from his creditors, he was stopped by a cop. "What are you doing with that elephant?" demanded the cop. Durante looked askance and bellowed, "What elephant?" In hit after hit on Broadway, Durante was a metropolitan success, expanding his popularity nationwide with a radio program co-starring young comedian Garry Moore, which began in 1943, the year of Durante's first wife's death (she may or may not have been the "Mrs. Calabash" to whom he said goodnight at the end of each broadcast). Virtually out of films by the 1950s, Durante continued to thrive on TV and in nightclubs, finding solace in his private life with his 1960 marriage to Margie Little. By the mid-1960s, Durante was capable of fracturing a TV audience simply by mangling the words written for him on cue cards; a perennial of ABC's weekly Hollywood_Palace, he took on a weekly series in his 76th year in a variety program co-starring the Lennon Sisters. Suffering several strokes in the 1970s, Durante decided to retire completely, though he occasionally showed up (in a wheelchair) for such celebrations as MGM's 50th anniversary. Few stars were as beloved as Durante, and even fewer were spoken of so highly and without any trace of jealousy or rancor after his death in 1980; perhaps this adulation was due in part to Durante's ending each performance by finding a telephone, dialing G-O-D, and saying "Thanks!"

Jimmy Durante died of natural causes on January 29, 1980 . More...

Note from Lou @ oldiestelevision.com In putting this compilation togwthwe from numweoua sources, I was reminded of how the rules of video were so different in the 50's then now. Cigarettes is the obvious. The tobacco and oil companies almost ruled TV, save Proctor & Gamble with daytime. Cigars and cigarettes were kiddies, believe it or not, sold as health promoting (yeah, right) and in style. Sugar was just great for kids (we have two RC commercial clips in which Art Linkletter. of all people) promotes soda pop as "Vitality" for children. George & Gracie, Lucy & Desi made us laugh, but even they promoted tobacco as great stuff.

There is a sad story behind Marylin Monroe and the Titan oil company commercial. Royal Titron, a UK conglomorate, was losing ground to Esso (now Exxon) and Texaco as well as the other big oil companies. Their genius ad agency decided to get Hollywood's top glamor girl to do a sex sell on TV, whatever that was suppose to accomplish. The prolific ad writer wanted Marylin in a two piece bathing suit surrounded by burly gas station attendants. Marylin was uncomfortable with the television medium and especially uncomfortable with pitches. She told her agent at William Morris she didn't want to do the commercial, especially in a bathing suit.

Royal knew they had to spend big bucks despite they were a money loser. They shoved the money in front of the William Morris Agency and in those days, managers ruled talent with an iron fist and iron clad contracts. Marylin could not get out of filming the ad.

They made two versions a "hot" with the bathing suit and the "cool" you see in the clip. The cool ad was the only ad submitted to networks. This leaves the suspicion that the only reason the "hot" bathing suit version was even filmed was the executives wanted to see Marylin Monroe in front of them as nude as could be legitimately done. This wouldn't be the last time this would befallen a starlet. The stories speak volumes.

Another deception in the 50's were stars doing public service announcements. Viewers assumed the celebs did them from the goodness of their heart, like Jerry Lewis did with MD Telethons and Danny Thomas was and daughter Marlo is doing for St. Jude. Not so, for example, with The Duke. John wayne was paid $15,000 to pitch for The American Cancer Society.

Final note: the kitchen of the future infomercials (yes, they had infomercials back then, too. Ronco started it all with the Dialex knife sharpener, no dount the inspiration for Ralph Kramden's Chef of the Future knife kit. Frigidare, Amana, Westinghouse and Admiral all had space age devices, like dish washers that hand you the cleaned saucer, which never came to fruition.

But Jimmy Durante's schnozz...ah his nose knows, facial tissue would remain a mainstay. Except Kleenex cornered the market, not Scottie.

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