Marilyn Monroe, born Norma Jeane Mortenson (June 1, 1926 – August 5, 1962), was an American actress, model, and singer, who starred in a number of commercially successful motion pictures during the 1950s and early 1960s. After spending much of her childhood in foster homes, Monroe began a career as a model, which led to a film contract in 1946. Her early film appearances were minor, but by 1952 she had her first leading role. Her "dumb blonde" persona was used to comic effect in many successful films but also led to her being limited by typecasting. She subsequently studied at the Actors studio to broaden her range. Her dramatic performance in Bus Stop was hailed by critics and garnered a Golden Globe nomination and she finally received a Golden Globe for her performance in Some Like It Hot.
The final years of Monroe's life were marked by illness, personal problems, a reputation for unreliability and being difficult to work with. The circumstances of her death, from an overdose of barbiturates, have been the subject of much conjecture. Though officially classified as a "probable suicide", the possibilities of an accidental overdose or a homicide have not been ruled out. In the decades following her death, she has often been cited as the quintessential American sex symbol and TV Guide Network named her No. 1 in Film's Sexiest Women of All Time.