After being married for two years, Dougherty was called to military service and sent to the South Pacific. Norma Jean started working at Radio Plane Munitions Factory, where she was discovered by photographer David Conover. David photographed her and began sending modeling jobs her way. Within two years, Norma Jeane had became a highly known model and posed for many magazine covers.
When Dougherty returned, Norma Jeane decided to follow her dreams of being a star and divorced Dougherty. She landed her first studio contract with Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation in 1946. With this movie contract came a new image and name. Norma Jeane dyed her hair blonde and changed her name to Marilyn Monroe, Marilyn after the actress Marilyn Miller and Monroe was her mother’s maiden name. The next year, Marilyn’s contract was not renewed and she was dropped from Fox.
Her acting career did not take off until the 1950s. At the age of 24, Marilyn signed a contract with MGM for a role in “The Asphalt Jungle.” This role gained her enough attention to land a small part in “All About Eve.” She would soon become known as one of Hollywood’s most famous actresses. In 1951, she signed a 6-month contract with Fox that was later converted to a seven-year deal. During this time she landed her first cover on Life magazine and was now being featured in multiple magazines, television shows, and even live radio debuts. She was also involved in the making of many films: “Niagara,” “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” “How to Marry a Millionaire,” “River of No Return,” and” There's No Business Like Show Business.”