Marilyn Monroe was born as Norma Jeane Mortensen (later baptized as Norma Jeane Baker) on June 1, 1926, in Los Angeles, California. During her all-too-brief life, Marilyn Monroe overcame a difficult childhood to become one of the world's biggest and most enduring sex symbols. She never knew her father, and once thought Clark Gable to be her father—a story repeated often enough for a version of it to gain some currency. However, there's no evidence that Gable ever met or knew Monroe's mother, Gladys, who developed psychiatric problems and was eventually placed in a mental institution. As an adult, Monroe would maintain that one of her earliest memories was of her mother trying to smother her in her crib with a pillow. Monroe had a half-sister, to whom she was not close; they met only a half-dozen times.