Who was Marilyn Monroe's father and what happened to him?

Marilyn Monroe's father is an absent but key figure in the movie Blonde, but who was Charles Stanley Gifford, and what happened to him in real life?

Who killed Marilyn Monroe will be, once again, explored in a new Netflix film
(Image credit: Baron/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Since the release of the new film, Blonde, Marilyn Monroe's father, Charles Stanley Gifford, has become a key character who fans want to learn a bit more about.

Netflix's Blonde launched on Friday, September 23, 2022, and since its release fans across the world learned a bit more about the tragic life of Marilyn Monroe, one of the most famous actresses of all time.

The 2-hour and 47-minute film delves into Marilyn's life story and explores her estranged relationship with her father Charles Stanely Gifford. So who was Marilyn Monroe's real father, and what ended up happening to him?


(Image credit: Netflix)

Who was Marilyn Monroe's father?

The identity of Marilyn Monroe's father was unknown until very recently when DNA testing confirmed that Charles Stanley Gifford, Gladys Pearl Baker's coworker with whom she had a brief affair, is Marilyn Monroe's biological father.

The DNA testing was unveiled in a French documentary titled "Marilyn Her Final Secret" or the original title, "MARILYN, LA DERNIERE VERITE,' which was released in June 2022 in France on Toute l’Histoire.

The DNA research was conducted with a strand of Marilyn Monroe's hair, and saliva and cheek swabs from Charles Stanley Gifford's granddaughter, Francine Gifford, and his great-granddaughter, Lisa. It was then concluded that Charles Stanley Gifford - who had long been suspected of being Marilyn Monroe's father - was indeed a biological match, and in fact her real father.

Marilyn Monroe

(Image credit: Baron / Stringer / Getty Images)

What happened to Marilyn Monroe's father?

Charles Stanley Gifford was born in 1898 and died in 1965 at the age of 66. He worked at Consolidated Films as a motion picture salesman where he met Marilyn's mother Gladys, and in his later life, he reportedly was the owner of some cottage apartments. It was widely reported that in his later life in the 1960s he became the owner and operator of Red Rock Dairy which sold ice cream and baked goods.

It's rumored that when in the area, Marilyn would ask her chauffeur to drive her limousine through the Red Rock drive-through and force the father that abandoned her before she was even born, to fill her order.

In a 1996 documentary titled, 'Marilyn Monroe: The Mortal Goddess,' Marilyn's former husband claimed that the star tried to get in contact with Charles before she became an actress, but he was not interested in getting to know her. 

"She got on the phone and she looked up his number and she called him," said James Dougherty, "He wouldn’t recognize her, he said ‘No, I don’t know who you are. See my attorney." Her former husband added that the conversation left the actress 'real sad' and that her father, 'missed a good chance.'


(Image credit: Netflix)

How accurate is Blonde in portraying Marilyn Monroe's relationship with her father?

Marilyn Monroe's father, Charles Stanley Gifford was an absent but key figure in the movie Blonde and in the real life of Norma Jeane Mortensen, better known by her stage name, Marilyn Monroe.

In the film, Norma Jeane is raised in poverty by her mother Gladys and is given a photograph of a man whom she is told is her father. On her seventh birthday a fire breaks out in the Hollywood Hills and Gladys drives them towards the scene claiming that Norma Jeane's father lives there. When they are told by the police to head home, and Norma asks who her father is, Gladys tried to drown her. Norma then escapes to her neighbors, and soon after she is put into a foster home as her mother has been declared unfit to look after her.

In reality, it is true that Marilyn did not truly know the true identity of her father growing up. However, her unstable upbringing with her mother is possibly exaggerated in the film. 

In real life, Gladys placed her daughter with foster parents when she was born and would visit her on the weekends. When Marilyn was seven she bought a small house in Hollywood and moved her daughter in, along with some lodgers and their daughter. A year later Gladys had a mental breakdown and was diagnosed with schizophrenia. From this point onwards she was rarely in contact with Marilyn and she became a ward of the state.

Laura Harman

Laura is a news writer for woman&home who primarily covers entertainment and celebrity news. Laura dabbles in lifestyle, royal, beauty, and fashion news, and loves to cover anything and everything to do with television and film. She is also passionate about feminism and equality and loves writing about gender issues and feminist literature.

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