For six decades, fans debated whether Marilyn Monroe went under the knife to jump-start her film career. Now, never-before-seen documents reveal the beauty icon did get medical help in her transition from Norma Jean Baker to Marilyn Monroe.
The collection includes X-rays and partial doctors notes that were documented by Hollywood plastic surgeon Michael Gurdin between 1950 and 1962. Gurdin later gave the files to a friend, presumably after Marilyn died in August 1962. The unnamed friend is now putting the documents up for sale with Julien’s Auction House in California.
^ A young Norma Jean Baker working in a factor during World War II.
“Nobody really thought about Marilyn Monroe having plastic surgery. It was always speculation — did she or didn’t she?” Martin Nolan, executive director of Julien’s Auctions, told Reuters. “They thought she was such a natural beauty… They didn’t want to believe.”
Based on the papers, the first procedure Marilyn had done was a cartilage implant for a “chin deformity” in 1950. A facial X-ray from 1962 shows she also had a small fracture on her nose, which backs up former Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Norman Leaf’s claim that Marilyn had a slight rhinoplasty.
^ Marilyn Monroe’s first paid modeling job. Shot by William Carroll in 1948, two years before her first documented procedure.
Other papers in the lot don’t pertain to Marilyn’s plastic surgery procedures, but they still shed an interesting light on her medical issues. Specifically, Gurdin noted the actress suffered from neutropenia, a low level of a white blood cell type. He also documented her 1957 ectopic pregnancy.
Marilyn also used aliases — including Joan Newman and Marilyn Miller — when consulting with the doctor.
The documents go up for auction in November. They are expected to fetch $15,000 to $30,000.