August 5, 1962. American actress, singer and model Marilyn Monroe is found dead in her Los Angeles home after apparently taking an overdose of sedatives. Born Norma Jean Baker in California on June 1, 1926, she did not start using her stage name until 1946. By then she had already divorced once and signed a modelling contract. Her start as an actress came slowly, initially she concentrated on modelling, posing for a nude calendar in 1949. Her breakthrough came when she was noticed for small parts in films ‘The Asphalt Jungle’ and ‘All About Eve’. She cemented her status as a sex symbol and showcased her comedy timing in films such as such as ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’ (1953), ‘How to Marry a Millionaire’ (1953), ‘There’s No Business Like Show Business’ (1954) and ‘The Seven-Year Itch’ (1955). However, her private life was far more turbulent. She had two more failed marriages, to baseball star Joe DiMaggio and playwright Arthur Miller. By 1961, she was battling depression and under the supervision of a psychiatrist. Her death was recorded as ‘probable suicide’ by the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office, although some people still believe she was murdered in a conspiracy to cover up her alleged affair with President John F. Kennedy.
Also on August 5: The first electric traffic light is installed in Ohio, USA (1914); Nelson Mandela is jailed (1962); 33 Chilean miners become trapped underground after an explosion at the Copiapó mine (2010).
Born on August 5: Guy de Maupassant (1850), Joseph Merrick, aka the ‘Elephant Man’ (1862), Abbé Pierre (1912), Neil Armstrong (1930), Colin McRae (1968).