Norma Jean Mortenson spent much of her childhood in foster homes. In one of those homes, at eight years old, she was abused physically, given a nickel and told not to tell. When Norma Jean tried to tell her foster mother she was spanked and told not to say anything because the man she accused of abusing her was a man who faithfully paid the rent.
As Norma Jean matured physically, she became a very pretty girl. People noticed. Boys whistled at her. She liked it but she wished they’d also know she was a person too, not just a body.
Norma Jean made it to Hollywood. There she became an overnight success as they turned her into America’s sex symbol. She changed her name to Marilyn Monroe. In spite of her success and popularity, she longed to be truly loved and recognized as a person.
Fame had downside. People began to hate Marilyn Monroe. People said she was a prima donna because she would show up on the set two hours late. What they didn’t know was that she so nervous that she was back in her dressing room vomiting. Down deep she was asking, “Will someone please notice I’m a person!”
Through three failed marriages, she was pleading for someone to see her as a person, not just an object. At the age of 35, on a Saturday night, Marilyn Monroe killed herself. The next morning her maid found her on her bed with the telephone dangling off the receiver.
It was later learned that she had called another actor and told him she’d taken enough sleeping pills to kill herself. He told her he didn’t care. Those were the last words she was to hear.
Someone wrote that the dangling telephone was a symbol of Monroe’s life. She died because she never got through to anyone who understood.
Do you know anyone who is crying out for help, wanting someone to love them, someone to care? Jesus said “as much as you have done it unto the least of these, you have done it unto me” (Matt. 25:40). In Luke 10, Jesus tells a story about a man being beaten, robbed and left for dead, where two people walked by refusing to help. Then along came a hated Samaritan who did help. Jesus’ instructions to the inquirer that day should speak to us today as well, “Go and do like.”