Catalina Museum Exhibit to Showcase Marilyn Monroe’s Life as a Teenager on the Island

The Catalina Island Museum will unveil an exhibit in August about the year a young Marilyn Monroe spent on the island. Monroe was still known as Norma Jeane when when she moved to Catalina in 1943 as a teenage bride. Her husband Jim Dougherty, whom she married to escape life in foster care, was sent to the island by the merchant marines.

Many of the photos from the period will be familiar to Monroe fans — indeed, the photo to the right of Marilyn standing on Catalina’s Descanso Beach is often used by biographers to illustrate the terrible perm she was sporting when first discovered by modeling agents.

From the museum website:

“Before She Was Marilyn: Marilyn Monroe on Catalina Island” is the first major exhibition documenting the year Marilyn Monroe lived on Catalina Island. Although a brief period that is often ignored by historians, this candid and often disturbing exhibition brings to light documentary evidence and photographs that reveal the pivotal importance of this period in understanding the troubled psychology of a woman who would become an icon of popular culture.

Through diary entries, letters and photographs that have never before been assigned to Marilyn Monroe`s life on the island, the exhibition reveals a playful, even girlish Norma Jeane Dougherty.

The exhibit opens on August 6, and will run through October.