HomeMeet Gladys Pearl Baker, The Troubled Mother Of Marilyn Monroe

Meet Gladys Pearl Baker, The Troubled Mother Of Marilyn Monroe

Netflix’s new movie, Blonde provides a closer view of Marilyn Monroe’s troubled life beyond stardom. The movie also depicts the life of her single mother, Gladys Pearl Baker who died on March 11, 1984, many years after the “Blonde Bombshell” was found dead in 1962. Here is all you need to know about the life of Gladys Pearl Baker.

Who Was Gladys Pearl Baker?

Gladys Pearl Monroe was born in Mexico to Della Mae Monroe and Otis Elmer Monroe, who was an aspiring painter from Indianapolis and also worked for the National Railway. Gladys’s first marriage was with Jasper Newton Baker, and the two shared two children: Robert Kermit “Jackie” (1918–1933) and daughter Berniece Inez Gladys. After suffering many abusive incidents, she finally divorced him in 1921. Baker kidnapped her sons and raised them in Kentucky. 

Later, Gladys went on to marry Martin Edward Mortensen but divorced him after meeting Monroe’s biological father, Charles Stanley Gifford, while working at RKO Pictures. This was another bad decision, and Gladys went on to regret it later. Charles’ identity as Monroe’s father remained a rumor until a DNA test confirmed it recently this month.

Born as Norma Jeane, Marilyn Monroe was baptised with the name Baker in an attempt to hide the illegitimacy. However, Gladys put Monroe in a foster home after Charles left her for another woman, and never accepted the child.

Glady’s Role As Marilyn’s Mother…

Marilyn Monroe may be America’s biggest icon, but she suffered abuse all her life. From making several bad decisions to being surrounded by controversies, Marilyn’s life ended as if it never mattered. Glady’s had a major role to play in all this. It has been reported that Marilyn suffered several instances of neglect and mistreatment at the hands of her mother.

Monroe is well-known to have had a troubled upbringing, including several instances of neglect and mistreatment at the hands of her mother. She placed her under the care of Christian foster parents just two weeks after she was born. During her lifetime, Gladys suffered from mental illness and even made attempts to kidnap Monroe from the foster home.

When Monroe was just three years, old, Gladys Baker tried to kidnap her from her foster parents by sneaking her out ina. duffle bag, but her attempt was unsuccessful. However, at 7, Monroe was placed back in Baker’s care for a brief period. In 1934, Gladys was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and was institutionalized.

Meanwhile, Marilyn was raised by 12 different foster families, and even by an orphanage where she underwent sexual and emotional abuse. It has been often reported that Marilyn’s mother was insane. I do not agree because abuse, depression and trauma do not mean insanity. But yes, she was neglectful and abusive towards Monroe.

How Did Gladys Die?

After being discharged from the mental healthcare facility, Baker worked as a housekeeper and at a nursing home but was later admitted to a sanatorium in 1953. She was released in 1967 and moved with her first daughter, Berneice. However, she spent the last few years of her life in a retirement home in Gainesville. Gladys Pearl Baker died of heart failure on March 11, 1984, at the age of 81.

Gladys may have forgotten her daughter, but Monroe had a heart of gold. Despite achieving international fame, Marilyn never forgot her “unstable mother”. Even though Monroe claimed during her career that she never knew her mother, the American heartthrob kept sending her money and was looked after by her business manager.

For decades, there were rumours surrounding Charles Stanley Gifford, but they only got confirmed recently following a DNA test, revealing that he is the actual father of Monroe. In the book, Marilyn Monroe: The Private Life of a Public Icon, it has been mentioned that Marilyn’s mother told her about Charles by looking at his picture.

When Marilyn called her father, Charles said:  “I’m married, and I have a family. I don’t have anything to say to you. Call my lawyer.” It has been reported that before her tragic death on August 4, 1962, Marilyn left a $100,000 trust fund to her mother, but she did not receive this sum until 1977 due to legal and financial issues.

I am Mallika Singh, a lawyer and writer by profession. Writing gives me a sense of freedom and independence. I am a keen observer and an ardent reader. When not at work, you can find me at the stable. Horse riding is another passion that keeps me going.


  1. I can get no answer to my question! Last evening I watched a movie about Marilyn . Unfortunately I can’t remember the name. It began with Marilyn as a small child and her mother put her into a drawer as a baby and slapped her around as a young child. Please tell me the name. It was on Net Flix!


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