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Monroe, Marilyn/Marilyn Monroe's Mortensen Family Tree


Hi, My name is Rebecca Mortensen and I am researching my family tree. Have you researched the Mortensen side? I am trying to match up a Peder Madsen Mortensen on my side with the Peder C Mortensen on Martin Edward Mortensen's side. It seems the two Peders left Denmark around the same time with one going to the U.S and one going to Australia. Thank you for your time.

Hi Rebecca,

I've been going through my information on Mortensen for you but unfortunately, of all the people in Marilyn's life he is the most difficult to track. He is a shadowy figure at best.

That's in part because there are TWO men named Martin Edward Mortensen who possibly fit into the picture. I realize this might not make much sense. In short: one of those Mortensen men died in a motorcycle accident in 1929 and he was believed to have been married to Marilyn's mother Gladys. However, decades later another man named Martin Edward Mortensen said that he was, in fact, the man who had been married to Gladys and he was alive and well. (He died in 1981.)

It appears that Mortensen was born in 1897 in California to a Norwegian immigrant father. He was a devout Lutheran and liked that Gladys had an interest in Christian Science. They married in October 1924 and separated just a few months later in May 1925; their divorce wasn't final until 1928 (by that time Marilyn had been born and was 2 years old).

And there we don't know what to believe--did Mortensen die in a motorcycle accident in Ohio in 1929? Or did he live to be an old man who lived into his 80s? In the book "Marilyn Monroe: The Biography," author Donald Spoto believes that Mortensen lived to be an old man and the Ohio motorcycle victim just happened to have the same name. But there's not much way to know. If you'd like to pull their death certificates to investigate further, Mortensen No. 1 died on June 18, 1929, in Ohio. Mortensen No. 2 died on February 10, 1981, of a heart attack in Riverside, California.

As far as I know, there are no stories of him leaving Denmark and going through Australia. That doesn't mean it didn't happen--it just means that I haven't heard about it. If you can match your Martin Edward Mortensen to one of those death dates, though, you might have a match.

I hope that's enough information for you to go on and get started. Please keep in touch and let me know if you find anything out. I'd love to know what you uncover!


Monroe, Marilyn

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Elisa Jordan


I can answer questions pertaining to almost all aspects of Marilynís life and career. Iím familiar with her movies, training, and accomplishments and can also field inquiries regarding her childhood, relationships (romantic, friendships and otherwise), emotional and medical ailments, and what she was like in general. I am a fan of Marilyn Monroe and her work. I am not a memorabilia dealer and cannot give you estimates on Marilyn merchandise or collectibles. Thank you for understanding.


Iíve been a Marilyn Monroe fan since the early 1980s and grew up watching her films on television. Iíve spent countless hours researching her and have built up an extensive library on all things Marilyn. As a Southern California native, I have been able to easily visit and photograph many of the sites that played important roles in Marilynís life, such as houses, studios, restaurants, her grave, and so on. Furthermore, I have visited sites in San Diego, Reno/Dayton, and New York City that were homes or filming sitesóallowing me to retrace many of Marilynís steps, literally.

I write original articles about Marilyn Monroe on I currently give tours of historical sites associated with Marilyn Monroe through my boutique tour company, L.A. Woman Tours. Check the website for upcoming tour dates:

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