November 7, 2013 / Comments (0)

Norma Jeane on Mount Hood


You probably recognize this lovely young woman enjoying the fresh snow on Mount Hood. Her name was still Norma Jeane then, and she was about to set out on an epic road trip with the great photographer Andre de Dienes.

Reel Portland recently dug out and posted these photos of Norma Jeane on Mount Hood, and they attracted a lot of attention. Here’s the story behind the pics.

Andre de Dienes met Norma Jeane in 1945, and for obvious reasons he fell in love with her. “An earthly, sexy-looking angel!” is how he later described her in his memoirs. “Sent expressly for me!”

Their relationship was probably complicated by the fact that Norma Jeane was still married to James Dougherty, whom she would divorce in 1946.

The Hungarian American photographer and the gorgeous 19-year-old model set out on a journey together to capture images from the American West.

De Diennes paid Norma Jean a flat fee of $200 to cover the entire trip.

Mount Hood was one of their most productive locations. The Facebook page Marilyn Monroe Forever in our Hearts shows several dozen de Dienes photographs of Norma Jeane frolicking on Mount Hood. The photos have held up well, given that they were shot decades before the advent of digital photography.

Norma Jeane didn’t ski for de Dienes on Mount Hood, but she could ski, and she did make some memorable turns later in her career wearing a shiny bikini on the beach. By then she was Marilyn Monroe, iconic movie star, and the sexiest woman alive.

The road trip was a huge success for both Norma Jeane and de Dienes. Their photos made a splash, and the following year 20th Century Fox signed Norma Jeane to her first studio contract.

You probably know the rest of the story. Norma Jeane was reinvented as the one and only Marilyn Monroe. She earned a Golden Globe Award for her performance in the 1959 hit Some Like It Hot. She sang the hottest version of Happy Birthday ever recorded to JFK on television, basically seducing the President of the United States for the entertainment of the viewing public.

She lived glamorously but died young, at the age of 36, on August 5, 1962.

Last modified: November 7, 2013

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