Marilyn Monroe

Madagascar postage stamp of Marilyn Monroe, printed c. 1999, photo by gors4730/

Birth Name: Norma Jeane Mortenson

Date of Birth: June 1, 1926

Place of Birth: Los Angeles, California, United States

Date of Death: August 5, 1962

Place of Death: Brentwood, Los Angeles, California, U.S.

*mother – English, as well as Scottish, Irish, and Welsh
*biological father – unclear

Marilyn Monroe was an American actress, model, and singer. Her roles include As Young as You Feel, Monkey Business, The Seven Year Itch, Some Like It Hot, and The Misfits. She was on the cover of the first issue of Playboy.

Her half-sister is author Berniece Baker Miracle. Marilyn’s mother, Gladys Pearl (Monroe), had English, as well as Scottish, Irish, and Welsh, ancestry. A DNA test of a relative of Marilyn’s maternal grandfather established Marilyn as a descendant of a soldier from the area around Tain, Scotland, who was exiled to America after the English Civil War, in the mid-17th century. Marilyn’s stepfather was John Newton Baker.

Norma’s mother listed her ex-husband, Martin Edward Mortensen, as Marilyn’s biological father on her birth certificate, though they had been separated for some time. It is not clear if Martin was Marilyn’s biological father. Marilyn’s mother later told her that her biological father was Charles Stanley Gifford. Marilyn talked about this in her autobiography My Story, published in 1974. Martin Mortensen was the son of Martin Mortensen, from Stavanger, Stavanger, Rogaland, Norway, and of Catherine “Katie” Higgins, from Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri. Charles Stanley Gifford, who was from Newport, Rhode Island, had English, Scottish, French, and Irish ancestry, and was the son of Frederick Almy Gifford and Elizabeth Easton Tennant. A genealogy of Charles can be seen here.

Monroe converted to Judaism before her marriage to playwright Arthur Miller, in 1956. She practiced Judaism after their divorce.

Marilyn’s maternal grandfather was Otis Elmer Monroe (the son of Jacob Monroe and Mary E. Appleton). Otis was born in Indiana. Jacob was the son of William Monroe and Mary C. Marilyn’s great-grandmother Mary was the daughter of James Appleton and Elizabeth Jane Smith.

Marilyn’s maternal grandmother was Della/Delia Mae Hogan (the daughter of Tilford Marion Hogan and Charlotty/Charlotte Virginia “Jennie” Nance). Della was born in Missouri. Tilford was the son of George Washington/Willis Hogan and Sarah Ann/Anne Owen/Owens. Charlotty was the daughter of Levi Nance and Sarah Caroline Jones.

Sources: Book biography of Marilyn Monroe, Marilyn Monroe: Private and Undisclosed, 2007 –

Article about Marilyn’s Scottish ancestry –

Article about Marilyn’s conversion to Judaism –

Genealogies of Marilyn Monroe –

Genealogy of Marilyn’s mother –

Find A Grave page of Marilyn’s possible biological father, Charles Stanley Gifford –
Genealogy of Charles Stanley Gifford –


Curious about ethnicity

66 Responses

  1. jonasbttencourt says:

    What a beautiful and talented woman she was, tragic how she died so young and at her pick. She was very british isles looking indeed, i think it’s unlikely that Mortensen was her bio dad, she was short and really did not had a nordic apperience, she was actually dark haired btw…

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