Old Hollywood’s Most Tragic Screen Sirens

She may have been a punchline to some and sex personified to others, but the life of blonde bombshell Marilyn Monroe has become the ultimate tale of tragedy since her premature death at age 36 in 1962. Before she became a titillating screen goddess, Norma Jeane spent her childhood in foster homes, but fame didn’t give her the life she truly desired. Emotional insecurity, failed marriages, and drug dependency are just a few of the many things that took over the fragile woman’s life before her early demise. This week, audiences will get a chance to get a glimpse of Monroe’s inner struggles in the film, My Week with Marilyn. However, there have been many other screen queens before Monroe who suffered similar fates. Click through for a look at some of Hollywood’s fallen film goddesses.

Dorothy Dandridge

In an era of racial segregation, Dorothy Dandridge changed how audiences viewed movie goddesses by becoming one of Hollywood’s first black sex symbols. Before fame, Dandridge endured sexual abuse from her mother’s lover and struggled to take care of her brain-damaged daughter alone. While she garnered popularity among her peers and white moviegoers, Dandridge was unable to obtain roles that went beyond the color of her skin. By 1963, domestic violence from her second husband and financial setbacks left Dandridge bankrupt and depressed. To ease her frustrations, the once reigning beauty became an alcoholic with an addiction to prescription drugs. In 1965, Dandridge was found dead from an overdose.