Meet Marilyn Monroe’s Father Charles Stanley Gifford

Charles Stanley Gifford was Marilyn Monroe’s biological father. Born in Newport County, Rhode Island, on 18 Sep 1898, Charles was married to Lillian Priester, with whom he shared two children. He died at the age of 66 on 27 June 1965. His death occurred in Hemet, Riverside County, California, and he was buried at the San Jacinto Valley Cemetery in San Jacinto, Riverside County, California, USA.

Throughout his life, Charles never wanted to acknowledge Marilyn as his biological child, though the Hollywood movie icon made repeated attempts to get him to listen to her. Charles actually told Marilyn to her face that he didn’t have anything to say to her, advising the actress to contact a lawyer. Reports said Charles’ continuous rejection of Marilyn didn’t do her any good at all. In fact, she would end up very irritated after each failed attempt and at one point, she called Charles a “son of a bitch”

Who Was Marilyn Monroe’s Father?

For several decades, the issue of the identity of Marilyn’s father has been a subject of heated debate even after the beautiful actress was dead and gone. However, the truth finally came to light in 2020.

Many versions of her father’s identity exist. There is an account that claims Marilyn’s mother, Gladys Monroe Baker, told her she was sired by a famous actor in Hollywood. Another version of the same tale emerged claiming Gladys once told Marilyn that her dad was a man named Charles Stanley Gifford who used to work with her in the same company called RKO Studios. At the studio, Charles worked as Gladys’ superior.

The Sun reported that Gladys showed her daughter a framed picture of a man, telling the actress that it was her father’s picture.

Apart from the aforementioned versions of the story, a third account also claimed that Gladys’ ex-spouse, Martin Edward Mortensen, may have been her father since it was his name that was listed on the actress’ birth certificate in the portion for father. However, Martin’s prolonged absence from Marilyn’s life is an indication that he didn’t sire the lady.

Finally in 2022, 57 years after Charles passed on and 54 years in memory of Marilyn, the truth was finally proved that Charles Stanley Gifford was her father. This proof was gotten via a DNA test conducted the same year. Performing the test, the scientist used a strand of the late actress’ hair in addition to cheek swabs and saliva from Charles’ granddaughter, Francine Gifford Deir, who was then 75, and Lisa who is his great-granddaughter.

Immediately after paternity was proved beyond a reasonable doubt, many started sharing social media content about the features father and daughter had in common, and looking at their pictures together, you can’t help but agree.

A confirmation of this paternity test is written in black and white in a French documentary entitled Marilyn, Her Final Secret. The release date for the production was June 2022.

Finding DNA in Marilyn’s Strand of hair was Nearly Impossible

According to reports, the experts nearly couldn’t find any DNA in the strand of hair they got from Marilyn Monroe. The reason for this was that the Hollywood star was born a brunette but probably because of fashion, bleached her hair several times that nearly all the DNA had gone.

However, at the end of the day, they were finally able to get 22 percent of the lady’s genetic profile thanks to that keratin which still harbored a DNA fragment.

Speaking to Variety, Francois Pomès, the director who took charge of the “Marilyn, Her Final Secret” documentary revealed that the mortician who embalmed the late actress’ body the day she passed on was the one who took out the strand of hair.

The hair was eventually kept safe at the coroner’s office till it was needed to conduct the DNA test.

Charles Gifford is a Rhode Island Native

Charles Stanley Gifford’s place of birth is listed as Newport County, Rhode Island in the United States and reports revealed that Marilyn Monroe’s biological father was born on the 18th of September 1898. Obviously an American by nationality, Charles has a White ethnic heritage.

Gilford was never a celebrity, thus, it is difficult to find detailed information about his life from any source. However, it is common knowledge that Marilyn’s biological father was married and his wife’s identity was revealed to be Lillian Priester. They had their wedding in 1919 but the details are not known. Their union was blessed with two children who are not equally known. Charles and Lillian eventually ended things in divorce a few years later.

The couple’s divorce suit revealed that Gilford is the culprit as Lillian accused him of physical and mental abuse during their time together as a couple. She also accused Charles of addiction to narcotics, and hobnobbing with women of very ‘low character’, Gladys inclusive.

What Did Marilyn Monroe’s Father Do for a Living?

The version of the story that claimed Marilyn Monroe’s father worked in Hollywood as a movie star turned out to be false. The true account is the one that says Charles and Gladys were colleagues at RKO Studios.

Following his divorce from Lillian, Charles started working at Consolidated Films; which used to be a renowned Hollywood movie-developing company. There are accounts that claim he met Gladys during his days at Consolidated where he filled the position of a hypershooter and developer.

During the later part of his life, Charles Stanley Gifford went to put down roots in Gilman Hot Springs, Riverside County in California where he owned and ran some cottage apartments. In the long run, Marilyn’s biological dad relocated to San Jacinto and eventually, he founded and managed the Red Rock Dairy.

The business which was founded in the 1960s sold dairy products like baked goods and ice cream to people through a makeshift window in the front. Charles organized his sales process so that customers can get their orders without bothering to come down from their vehicles.

Charles’ employees confirmed that even his estranged daughter, Marilyn Monroe would avail herself of the services sometimes. Whenever she was going to Palm Springs, California in her chauffeured limo, the American movie star would deliberately get her dad to fill her others while she remained in the car

Where did Gladys Baker and Charles Stanley Gifford Meet

Charles Stanley Gifford
Marilyn and her mum Gladys image source

According to the tidbits we gathered from sources, Charles Stanley Gifford and his baby mama, Charles Stanley Gifford, met in the line of duty. While some accounts said they first crossed paths at RKO Pictures, others were of the opinion that it was during their days at Consolidated Film Industries that they became lovers.

Whichever may be the case, it is a known fact that Gladys worked under the supervision of Charles and it was very easy for him to convince her into having an affair. Reportedly, the duo kick-started their dalliance during the springtime in 1925 when Gladys was just 25 years.

Did Marilyn Monroe’s Mother Marry Her Dad? 

Marilyn Monroe’s parents were never married. Reports reveal that the couple’s dalliance barely lasted for one year before a serious misunderstanding led Charles to disappear from Gladys’ life forever. It has been confirmed that they never tied the knot and couldn’t have possibly done so as Charles was married at that time. From all indications, the Rhode Island native was just having an extramarital affair with Gladys.

When Did Marilyn Monroe’s Parents Have Her?

Charles Stanley Gifford
Marilyn image source

The couple’s relationship was barely a few weeks old in 1925 when Gladys conceived their daughter, Marilyn Monroe. On telling Charles about her condition on Christmas Eve of that year, the former hyper shooter and developer decided to run away from his responsibility and never made any attempt to contact his girlfriend and baby till he passed on.

At the time she conceived Charles Stanley Gifford’s daughter, Gladys was just a 25-year-old poor girl who hailed from an impoverished background. An insight into Gladys’  birth details said she was born in Mexico and her birth occurred sometime in 1902. Later in life, her parents who survived on menial jobs took her to settle in Piedras Negras where she embraced an outdoorsy existence on a farm

With that kind of poor background, Gladys wasn’t well equipped to provide for her baby Marilyn (real name, Norma Jeane Mortenson) when she was eventually born on the 1st of June 1926. Glady’s condition became so critical that she had no other choice than to put her daughter in foster care when Marilyn barely clocked two weeks.

After she put her child in foster care, Gladys didn’t abandon Marilyn completely, the Mexican native made sure to visit her on a regular basis, and at a point, she made attempts to recover her child but met resistance from the authorities.

The reason they declined to give her full custody of Marilyn was that Gladys was diagnosed with schizophrenia as she was then displaying symptoms of the mental disorder.

Gladys Reportedly Raised Marilyn Till She Was Seven

It would appear that the authorities later released Marilyn to Gladys at some point as it is stated that she raised her till age seven. Gladys went on to get married three good times and listed her second husband, Martin Edward Mortensen, as Marilyn’s dad on her birth certificate. This is the reason why the American actress’ given man at birth was Norma Jeane Mortenson; she only started using Marilyn Monroe as a convenient stage name later in life.

After Gladys divorced Mortenson in 1928, her mental health started deteriorating once more which landed her in a psychiatric hospital. As she was dealing with her paranoid schizophrenia in the mental health center, her daughter was being passed from one foster home to the other. There was even a time she had to be put up in an orphanage.

Marilyn’s mother eventually died in 1983 at the age of 81 years. Her death occurred 18 years after her baby daddy, Charles Stanley Gifford was dead and buried.
Coincidentally, Marilyn Monroe suffered from a similar mental condition that Gladys battled with all her life. At a point in her adult life, the Hollywood star was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She spent a long while at the New York-based, Payne Whitney Psychiatric Clinic where she was on admission.

Did Marilyn Monroe Ever Meet Her Father?

Marilyn Monroe did meet her biological father, Charles Stanley Gifford. The details of her search for Charles are chronicled in the publication, Marilyn Monroe: The Private Life of a Public Icon by Charles Casillo.

It is common knowledge that Gladys Baker never made any further attempt to reach out to Charles after he absconded her on hearing she has conceived. In addition, she never requested to get any form of child support from him but the story is different with the Hollywood actress.

According to reports, after she became an adult, Marilyn made several attempts to see her biological father to no avail until the 1950s when she finally tracked him down.

From what we gathered from Marilyn Monroe: The Private Life of a Public Icon by Charles Casillo, the first time Marilyn met her dad face to face and revealed her identity to him, his response was “I’m married, and I have a family. I don’t have anything to say to you. Call my lawyer.”

Francine Gifford Deir, Charles Stanley Gifford’s granddaughter, talked about Marilyn’s several attempts to get an audience from her father. Francine narrated a tale about one particular time that the movie icon went all the way to Hemet, California, to see her dad but the meeting never happened as Charles didn’t want to hear of it.

Also, different versions of Marilyn’s numerous attempts to meet her father were recounted by her friends. One account said Marilyn was 24 when she first visited her dad but had to leave disappointed.

Marilyn was Greatly Disturbed by Charles Stanley Gifford’s Rejection

Though Marilyn Monroe didn’t live long enough to tell the story of her father’s rejection when she needed to identify with him, the actresses’ friends were able to fill in the gap. According to Sidney Skolsky, all those rejections from the lady’s own father didn’t do her any good.

Skolsky recalled a certain time when he waited for Marilyn in the care while she went down to make another attempt to talk to her father. It didn’t take very long for the late movie star to get back into the car and she was obviously in a very bad mood. Marilyn’s emotions were so high that she ended up calling Charles Stanley Gifford a “son of a bitch”.

Apart from going to meet up with her dad in person, Marilyn also tried out other means like using the telephone but each time he manages to pick up her call, Charles would bluntly tell her to stop disturbing his life.

Perhaps it was a culmination of all these that resulted in the actress being diagnosed with bipolar disorder towards the end of her life.

Chidiebube has been writing and editing articles on movies, entertainment and other juicy things for several years. When he is not writing, he spends time outdoors, lost in the beauty of nature or simply travelling around the world. Thank goodness he can do the later with any internet-enabled device


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