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Timeline and Marriages of Marilyn Monroe


2 of 5

Marilyn Monroe's First Husband -- James Dougherty (1942-1946)
Jim Dougherty

Jim Dougherty, 1st husband of Marilyn Monroe, in 1942-1946.

Photo: Apic / Getty Images
Marilyn's first marriage, when she was just a teen, was reportedly a marriage of convenience that only lasted four years.


James (Jim) Edward Dougherty: April 12, 1921 in Los Angeles, California.


James: At the age of 84, from complications from leukemia, Jim died in San Rafael, California on August 15, 2005.

How Jim and Marilyn Met:

Marilyn's foster mom was a good friend of Jim's mother.

Wedding Date and Info:

On June 19, 1942, Marilyn and Jim were married at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Chester Howell in Westwood, California. The short wedding ceremony was officiated by Reverend Benjamin Lingenfelder of the Christian Science Church. Their reception was at Florentine Gardens in Hollywood.

Marilyn was 16 years old when they married and James was 21 years old. They did not have a honeymoon.

"To avoid another orphanage stay a family friend orchestrated a marriage proposal when she was sixteen years old."
Source: Official Marilyn Monroe Website
James: "Norma Jeane wore a pure white, long silken dress, with a short veil attached to her thick, curly hair. It was a borrowed dress, but that didn't matter to either of us."
Source: Jim Dougherty. To Norma Jeane with Love, Jimmie. 2001. pg. 31.


James and Marilyn were divorced on September 13, 1946. She took up residency in Nevada on May 14, 1946 so they could be divorced there.


James: Los Angeles detective, county commissioner in Maine.

Other Marriages:

Jim had two later marriages.
  • Patricia Scoman: Patricia and Jim were married in 1947. They had three daughters. Their marriage ended in divorce in 1972.
  • Rita Lambert: Jim and Rita were married in 1974. After 32 years of marriage, Rita died in June 2003.

Quotes About the Marriage of Marilyn Monroe and Jim Dougherty:

Pamela Keogh: "Her first, to James Dougherty, was literally a child bride situation ... the marriage was -- like Marilyn at that time -- nebulous from the start. Marilyn and Jimmy, officially husband and wife, lived almost like brother and sister."
Source: Pamela Keogh. Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn?: Timeless Lessons on Love, Power, and Style. 2010. pg. 108.

James: "Norma Jeane was always a butterfly. She was beautiful all of her life, within and without. During our courtship and marriage, I never stopped loving to be with her, to stare at her, to laugh with and love her. We had a wonderful, joyful marriage. But in the end, it was not enough for Norma Jeane. Like all beautiful butterflies, she had to fly away."
Source: Jim Dougherty. To Norma Jeane with Love, Jimmie. 2001. Back Cover.

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