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Marilyn Monroe

In less than a decade, Norma Jeane Mortenson transformed herself from a soldier's wife and factory worker into Marilyn Monroe, a model and movie star. Along the way, the Los Angeles native faced major setbacks. In 1949, after 20th Century Fox and Columbia Pictures dropped her, she posed nude for $50. Despite the more desperate times, the following year, the actress was cast in The Asphalt Jungle, which made her a noteworthy name in Hollywood.