What does “Waif” mean? In the childhood of Marilyn Monroe

The Marilyn Monroe Mystery: Unreleased Tapes is the new true crime documentary about the life of showbiz star Marilyn Monroe and her untimely death at the age of 36 on August 5, 1962.

His official cause of death was ruled an overdose of barbiturates, but the circumstances of his death have since been shrouded in mystery and conspiracy.

Monroe rose to fame in the 1950s as an actress and model and became one of the most popular sex symbols and a cultural icon.

The Netflix documentary, The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe, contains audio of recordings made by Monroe and her relatives that have not been made public so far.

As a result, audiences get a glimpse into Monroe’s life, including her troubled childhood.

In many tapes, Monroe introduces herself as a “waif”, but what does that mean? Newsweek has everything you need to know.

Marilyn Monroe in The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe: The Unreleased Tapes. In the documentary, we can hear Marilyn describe herself as a “waif”

What does “Waif” mean?

A “waif” is a word used to describe a young person who is neglected or homeless, and is commonly used to refer to an orphan.

Its official description in the Cambridge Dictionary reads: “a child or animal without a home or sufficient food and care”.

In The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe, Monroe in one of her strips reflects on her childhood. She says, “I don’t think of myself as an orphan. I was bought off as an orphan. Yeah, I was never used to being happy. So it wasn’t something I counted on. “

Additionally, the patient records of Monroe’s psychiatrist, Dr. Ralph Greenson, described Monroe as a “childhood-deprived woman” and also described Monroe as “abandoned”.

Monroe biographer Anthony Summers, who helms the Netflix documentary, added that Greenson believed the “tendency to act out orphan girl rejections” was at the heart of her paranoia.

Born June 1, 1926 as Norma Jeane Mortenson, Monroe spent two years in an orphanage, 10 different foster homes and four years with a guardian when her mother Gladys Pearl Baker (née Monroe) was sent to an asylum. psychiatric.

According to History, both of her maternal grandparents were committed to mental institutions.

Monroe married 16-year-old neighbor James Dougherty.

When Baker left to fight in World War II, Monroe began working at a radio aircraft factory where she met a photographer from the First Motion Picture Unit, leading her down a path to successful modeling and later acting. , taking leading roles in Some like it hot, The Seven Year Itch, Men prefer blondes, As young as you feel, Monkey Business, Clash by Night and Don’t bother knocking.

She divorced Dougherty in 1946.

She never knew her father and her identity remains unknown today.

Monroe’s close friend and fashion designer, Henry Rosenfeld, told Summers that Monroe always wanted to find her biological father as an adult.

As heard in The mystery of Marilyn Monroe, Monroe was allegedly sexually abused as a child. She spoke about her experience of being abused by her tenant to her biographers Ben Hecht in 1953 to 1954 and Maurice Zolotow in 1960. She also spoke to him about child abuse in interviews for Paris Match and Cosmopolitan.

Although she continued to live in Hollywood, far different from the life she was born into, Monroe never forgot her “waif” roots.

WAIF is also an acronym for the charity Monroe worked with, The World Adoption International Fund.

WAIF was founded by actress Jane Russell in 1955 and she approached Monroe to help with the charity to help place children from the United States and around the world into adoptive families. Russell would adopt three children in the 1950s: Tracy, Thomas and Robert John.

The Marilyn Monroe Mystery: Unreleased Tapes is now streaming on Netflix.


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