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Happy Birthday Norma Jean: 10 Things You Didn't Know About Marilyn Monroe

Happy Birthday Norma Jean: 10 Things You Didn't Know About Marilyn Monroe

For someone who's been dead for more than 50 years, Marilyn Monroe continues to make headlines.

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In October 2013, her cosmetic surgery records surfaced, indicating that she'd had a chin implant and possibly a nose job (those X-rays and medical notes were since sold at auction for $25,600). In addition, Forbes just ranked Monroe as the 2013's 6th highest-earning dead celebrity (after Michael Jackson, Elvis, Charles M. Schulz, Elizabeth Taylor and Bob Marley). But perhaps most impressively, she was also named the newest face of Chanel No. 5.

With what would have been her 88th birthday on June 1, we got to thinking: What else would surprise us about America's favorite platinum-blonde icon?

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Here's 10 crazy facts you might not have known about Marilyn:

#1. Monroe received only $50 to pose for the nude photos that appeared in the inaugural issue of Playboy magazine. Photographer Tom Kelley originally took the pictures in 1949 for use in a calendar, but Hugh Hefner bought the negatives from the calendar company years later after Monroe's star was on the rise. He paid $500, but the shots made him millions.

#2. It's often said that Marilyn Monroe was a size 16, but a fashion editor for The Times of London dispelled that rumor when she had the chance to try on articles of Monroe's clothing. "Quite the opposite," wrote Sara Buys. "While she was undeniably voluptuous — in possession of an ample bosom and a bottom that would look at home gyrating in a J-Lo video — for most of the early part of her career, she was a size 8 and even in her plumper stages, was no more than a 10."

READ: How To Get Marilyn Monroe's Amazing Body

#3. Monroe was hyper aware of her persona, and her friends sometimes commented on how different she was when she wasn't "in character." Author Truman Capote once found her gazing into a mirror and asked what she was doing, to which she replied, "Looking at her." And Monroe's "Misfits" co-star Eli Wallach recalls walking around NYC with her, saying, "Nobody noticed who she was because she was just being herself — suddenly her walk, attitude and appearance would change and in moments everyone would be ogling her and asking for autographs. 'I just wanted to be Marilyn Monroe for a moment,' she said."

#4. Monroe stuttered throughout her childhood and teens. "I don't know how it happened … Sometimes if I was very nervous or excited, I would stutter," she once said in an interview. A speech therapist would help her overcome the impediment by instructing her to use a breathier tone of voice, but it's said that her stutter returned during the production of "Something's Got to Give " — her final picture — due to stress.

#5. Need a great side dish to go with your next holiday meal? A 2010 collection of Monroe's writings, letters and poems included her personal recipe for stuffing, which was found scribbled on a piece of stationery from the City Title Insurance Company. The New York Times reprinted and recreated the unorthodox recipe (containing liver, heart, beef, egg and raisins, among several other ingredients) and gave it surprisingly high marks for flavor, texture and presentation.

#6. The skin-tight dress Monroe wore while singing "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" at John F. Kennedy's 1962 birthday bash sold at auction for $1,267,500 in 1999, making it the most expensive item of clothing ever sold at the time. The white dress she wore during "The Seven Year Itch" eventually fetched 5.6 million at a 2011 auction.

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#7. Monroe had "the heaviest peach fuzz beard of any actress in Hollywood," said Monroe expert Gene London. According to London, it was due to a hormone cream she slathered on her face to help her skin glow on film. "They [studio chiefs] wanted to remove the facial hair, but Marilyn absolutely refused. She said that when the light hit the fuzz it caused her face to have a soft glow, so they didn't have to photograph her through special lenses, lace or Vaseline the way they did with so many stars."

#8. When Monroe married bespectacled playwright Arthur Miller in 1956, Variety ran a headline reading "Egghead Weds Hourglass."

#9. Rock musician Marilyn Manson derived his name, and that of his group, from the names of Marilyn Monroe and Charles Manson in order to project a dichotomy between good and evil. But oddly enough, in his autobiography, Manson (née Brian Warner) says nobody ever suspects that the Monroe half might be just as dark as the Manson half. "Marilyn Monroe had a dark side, just as Charles Manson has a good, intelligent side," he wrote.

#10. When Monroe died, the New York Times reported that suicides in the city skyrocketed, reaching a then-record high of 12 in just one day. "If the most wonderful, beautiful thing in the world has nothing to live for, then neither must I," wrote one of the victims in a suicide note.

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