In Lois Banner’s new biography Marilyn: The Passion and the Paradox, the professor of history and gender studies at the University of Southern California writes that the blonde bombshell worried she might have been a lesbian, or at least bisexual. It’s old news that Monroe, who died Aug 5, 1962, may have had a sexual relationship with acting coach Natasha Lytess. In her book, Banner proposes that Monroe, born Norma Jean Baker, was a sex addict and this affliction manifested itself as Monroe sleeping around with individuals of both genders.
"She desired women, had affairs with them, and worried that she might be a lesbian by nature,” Banner says.
Banner’s book alleges Monroe was much more than a ditzy flake and was instead one of the first examples of a protofeminist.
For more on Monroe 50 years after her death, read about Jeffrey Round’s visit to her grave.