Did Marilyn Monroe ever meet her biological father? It’s what everyone wants to know after Blonde showed that the actress ached throughout her life to meet her real dad and died with a vision of him welcoming her in the afterlife. Though the film never acknowledged the identity of Marilyn Monroe’s biological father, it is widely reported that Charles Stanley Gifford was her real dad and she had reached out to him only to be met with rejection.
Netflix’s Blonde is a fictional retelling of the life and career of Marilyn Monroe that mainly focuses on her relationships, almost all of which are fraught with pain and heartbreak. And one of the relationships that gave her immeasurable pain was the non-existent one with her biological father who she never knew, much less meet in person.
Throughout her life, the actress struggled with not knowing the identity of her real dad. His absence in her life really stung her. She ached to meet her biological father throughout her life and only as she died, she ‘met him’ in a vision of her father welcoming her to the afterlife.
Blonde doesn’t directly acknowledge the identity of Marilyn Monroe’s father which has ignited curiosity among the viewers about him. Also, since this is a fictionalized telling, they are not entirely sure that Monroe never knew her dad when it has been widely reported that a man named Charles Stanley Gifford is her real dad. They want to know if she ever met her biological father.
Did Marilyn Monroe Ever Meet Her Biological Father? Who Was Charles Stanley Gifford?
Marilyn Monroe was very unfortunate when it came to her parentage because she had a mentally ill mother who was very abusive to her and her father was absent from her life. In the movies, she barely knew who her real father was, let alone met him. But is that a fact or is it fiction? Let’s find out!
In the birth certificate of Marilyn Monroe, Martin Edward Mortensen, who was a one-time husband of Gladys Baker, was listed as her father. She just knew that was not true and that Mortensen was not her biological dad. His separation timeline with Gladys also suggested he most likely did not father the child. Gladys got married to Mortensen in 1924 and their marriage lasted only a few months except they remained married on paper for a while. They were still legally married when Monroe was born in 1926 and that is why he was listed as her biological father.
At one point, Gladys reportedly gave Marilyn Monroe a framed photo of a man who she explained was Monroe’s real father. She then told the actress that her biological dad was a famous movie star and Hollywood power player named Charles Stanley Gifford who was one of her co-workers (and her superior) at RKO Studios and that Gladys got pregnant while working for him.
As per some other reports, Charles Stanley Gifford was Gladys’ senior at Consolidated Film Industries, where she worked as a film negative cutter. And they were supposedly in a brief relationship that had long ended by the time Marilyn Monroe was born. These various different accounts have sparked more curiosity about Gifford, the supposed biological father of the actress.
Charles Stanley Gifford being Marilyn Monroe’s real biological father was all just talks from a very unreliable and mentally ill narrator, Gladys. However, many believed that Charles was Monroe’s father but they had no proof. That is until 2022 when a group of scientists performed a DNA test on a strand of Marilyn’s hair and a cheek swab from one of Charles’ great-grandchildren Lisa, which confirmed that they were related and that Charles indeed was Marilyn’s real dad.
Marilyn, Her Final Secret, a documentary by director Francois Pomes also chronicles the journey of confirming Monroe’s parentage. Francois said,
The hair that we used from Monroe was collected by the person who embalmed her body the day she died and we were able to draw up 22 percent of her genetic profile from that thanks to a DNA fragment found in the keratin.
Now, how much did Marilyn Monroe know about her real dad, and did she ever meet her biological father? Well, she knew that he was called Charles Stanley Gifford because her mother herself told her at one point and as for meeting her, there are several reports about that.
According to a 1996 documentary titled Marilyn Monroe: The Mortal Goddess claimed that before Monroe became famous, she contacted Charles, but he rebuffed her advances so she never met her biological father. As per James Dougherty, the icon’s first husband, she got on the phone and looked up the number of her real dad and called him only to get a response from him saying, ‘No, I don’t know who you are. See my attorney.’ The dismissal allegedly broke her heart.
Charles Stanley Gifford’s granddaughter, Francine Gifford Deir, also told the same in the documentary Marilyn, Her Final Secret that Gifford refused to meet Marilyn even after she became famous. She said,
In the 1950s, when she was already famous, Marilyn went to see my grandfather in Hemet, California, but he refused her.
A Charles Casillo book, Marilyn Monroe: The Private Life of a Public Icon also details how Marilyn Monroe sought out Charles Stanley Gifford and managed to track him down at one point only for him to respond with, “I’m married, and I have a family. I don’t have anything to say to you. Call my lawyer.”
There are other reports that claim otherwise and that Marilyn Monroe met Charles Stanley Gifford, her biological father in the early 60s. It was alleged that she frequented a Red Rock drive-through that her father owned.
The Daily Mail also reported that several of Marilyn’s friends said that she made numerous attempts to connect with her real father and she even met and spoke with Charles Stanley Gifford in person at one point in 1950 but she was left disappointed with each attempted visit that over the years, Marilyn started telling different stories about whether she had or hadn’t ever met her father in person.