Marilyn Monroe: Share your memories of an American icon

Max Zimbert
The Lookout

"I've been on a calendar, but I've never been on time." - Marilyn Monroe

Sunday marks 50 years since American icon Marilyn Monroe died, and fans across the country will be remembering the star's life, legacy and legend.

Famous for her roles in 1950s hits like "Some Like It Hot," "How to Marry a Millionaire" and "The Seven Year Itch," Monroe is credited with transforming the black and white 50s into the technicolor 60s and overcoming personal tragedy at every step of her journey.

Born Norma Jeane Mortenson in 1926 (but baptized and ultimately renamed Norma Jeane Baker), she began her career modeling, which led to a film contract in 1946. She scored her first lead role in 1952's "Don't Bother to Knock" and continued to model and star in magazines and movies.

But it all came to a tragic end when Monroe was 36; she was found dead in her Los Angeles home, allegedly with a bottle of pills. Her death was ruled a "probable suicide," but it generated conspiracy theories involving John and Robert Kennedy, the Mafia and police cover-ups.

"Somebody murdered her," one leading police officer told a Monroe biographer. "It was an out-and-out case of murder."

As a young girl, Monroe never knew her father; her mother suffered from severe psychological illnesses that put young Norma Jeane in myriad foster homes and orphanages around Los Angeles.

She divorced her first husband to pursue a career in Hollywood. She signed a contract with 20th Century Fox in 1946 for $125 per week, according to one biography.

Her appearance helped her play blonde stereotype roles early in her career, but she took classes to broaden her range. Beginning in the late 1950s, she earned several British Academy Film Awards and Golden Globes.

Her legacy lives on through pop culture. From Taylor Swift to the art of Andy Warhol to latest trends in fashion and film, Monroe inspired many to go boldly in the direction of their dreams and live to have it all.

What are your favorite memories of Marilyn Monroe? What did she mean to you? Share your memories with Yahoo! Contributor Network or tweet us @YahooNews using the hashtag #MarilynMemories, and the best thoughts may be used in our coverage.