Cover 1954: American film star Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962) (Photo by Baron/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

As one of old Holywood's most formidable and intriguing icons, Marylin Monroe continues to stir curiosity of audiences the world over even decades after her passing. Recently, her personal cookbook went up for auction; here's what you need to know about it and a few facts to remember about the legendary actress.

Interested to own a parcel from the Monroe estate? Robert A Siegel Auction Galleries just put up Marilyn Monroe's personal cookbooks for bidding. With a starting bid of US$75,000, the books filled with annotations from the actress herself prove just how influential she remains in present time.

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Between the pages of The New Fanny Farmer Boston Cook Book, two pieces of paper have been found with notes from Monroe's hand: one, a listing a menu for beef bourguignon, and two, a grocery list. The other book titled The New Joy of Cooking has a typed diet with times for three meals (plus a schedule for egg nog at 11pm); a few other notes and reminders from Monroe fill the pages.

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Born Norma Jean Mortenson on June 1, 1926, the actress swept Hollywood with her undeniable charm and bombshell look. Fame was not particularly kind to her, having faced scandals, prejudice, and even deep loneliness throughout her life. Decades after her passing, she remains to be an inspiration to many and an enigmatic character to most. 

As her cookbooks shed a light on her home life and piqued the interest of loyal fans, we round up a few facts about the actress that you may not know.

1. Her Brentwood home was bugged

Pictured here is the only home Monroe ever owned, and where she lived and died at just 36 years old. As the property changed hands, married actors Michael Irving and Veronica Hamel discovered that the house was bugged. Some time in the early '70s, they remodelled the property and stumbled upon a sophisticated, government-grade eavesdropping and telephone tapping system that extended into every room of the house.

2. She was a bonafide bookworm

Although people often associate Monroe with the 'dumb blonde' image, she was known to be quite well-read. At the time of her death, she owned around 430 books, including several first editions. She was also often caught reading in between takes at movie shoots. 

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3. Her clothes are worth millions

Sold at US$1,267,500 (over RM5 million) in 1999, the gown Monroe wore when she sang Happy Birthday to JFK in 1962 has become an icon in and of itself. Similarly, the white dress she wore for the The Seven Year Itch promotion was bought for US$4.6 million (over RM19 million). 

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4. She was married 3 times and as early as 16 years old

Her life and romances were the stuff of tabloids so much so that it caused strain for most (if not all) of her marriages. At 16, Monroe married James Dougherty, although they soon divorced in 1946.

Her second marriage was to Joe DiMaggio who was a famous baseball player, many thought of them as an up-and-coming It couple who had the looks, charm, and popularity to boot. Despite what seemed like a magical pairing on paper, the couple separated in 1954, mere nine months into the marriage.

Two years later, she fell in love with celebrated author Arthur Miller; they divorced in 1961—a year before her untimely death. 

5. She was reportedly insecure about her acting skills

Several accounts mention that Monroe was emotional and quite unsure about herself, especially during shoots. Despite being a student of Lee Strasberg and even attending classes at the Actors Studio co-founded by Elia Kazan (with whom she had an affair), Monroe had a reputation for being difficult on set.

Although she was a major star, she displayed erratic behaviour that cost her a few roles. Marilyn frequently demanded one too many takes, to the vexation of her co-stars. "For somebody who the camera loved, she was still terrified of going before the camera and broke out in a rash all over her body," shared Don Murray, her co-star in the 1956 flick, Bus Stop.

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