Born Clara Grace Emma Atchinson
Date of birth : January 1, 1894, Great Falls, Montana.
Date of death : September 28, 1953, Los Angeles, California.
* 1920 : 117 North Benton Avenue, Los Angeles.
* 1921 to 1923 : 1211 Hyperion Avenue (with Gladys Baker)
* 1928 : 237 Birmini Place, Los Angeles (with her sisters Enid and Allis)
* 1929 : 6228 De Longpre Avenue, Los Angeles (with Gladys Baker)
* 1935 : Lodi Place, Los Angeles
* 1935 : 6707 Odessa Avenue, Van Nuys (with Doc Goddard)
* 1937 : 10941 Ayres Avenue, Los Angeles
* 1941 : 14 743 Archwood Street, Van Nuys (with Doc Goddard)
* 1941 : (September) 6707 Odessa Avenue, Van Nuys
* 1942 :322, Wilson Court, Huntigton, Virginia.
* 1953 : 6707 Odessa Avenue, Van Nuys.
Profession she checked the work in the negative cutting-room at the Consolidated Film Industries.
Her parents were William Wallace Atchinson (December 2, 1859, Michigan -1925, Los Angeles)
() and Emma J.Willett (March 1868, Montana-1921, Los Angeles)
She had 4 brothers and sisters, among them Enid Vernie Knebelkamp.
Her paternal aunt was Ana Lower.On February 17, 1913, she married Asher Ewing Service (November 6, 1885, Pennsylvania-May 29, 1966, Los
Angeles)(;;) in Fresno, California ().
On February 2, 1915, she married Reginald Ayres Evans (January 31, 1894, Paola, Kansas
On June 12, 1920, Grace married in Los Angeles, John Wallace McKee, a draftsman (July 9, 1897,
One of the witness was Merritt Bryan Atchinson, Grace's brother.
Grace appeared uneder the name "Clara Grace Evans", "widowed" and that it was her "second marriage".
She didn't live much long with McKee, even if several years passed before the divorce would be granted.
1923, she worked at the Consolidated Film Industries.
This is where she met Gladys Baker and they became friends ().
End of Summer 1923, Gladys and Grace shared an apartment, 1211 Hyperion Avenue, East Hollywood.
1933-1934, she often visited Gladys, at Arbol Street.
1935, Grace made the required process and became Norma Jeane's guardian, Gladys having been hospitalized and declared unfit.
After having dealt with Gladys papers, and sold Gladys house (June 26, 1935 for $4839), she placed Norma Jeane to the Giffens, before taking her at her place, at Lodi Place.
On March 25, 1935, she stated under oath being the ideal candidate to become Norma Jeane's guardian.
Spring 1935, Grace met Doc Goddard. He was 10 years younger than her .
She stayed at one of her aunt's house, Minnie Willette (Emma Atchinson's sister) who was their bridesmaid.
On September 13, 1935, she dropped Norma Jeane off at the Los Angeles orphanage (815 North El Centro)
Norma Jeane had the number 3463.
But she didn't give the girl up. She visited her often, took her for lunch, went to the movie theatre, gave her small presents.
On February 26, 1936, she officially apply for becoming Norma Jeane's Guardian.
In October 1936, a year after she entered the orphanage, Grace came and picked Norma Jeane up. She lived
For her part, Grace was paid $20 a month
Norma Jeane lived there for a year. After Doc's indecent assault, in November 1937, she took Norma Jeane to live at Ida Martin's, her uncle Marion Monroe's mother-in-law. She lived with her cousins until July 1938.
She then lived with Ana Lower. Norma Jeane came back to the Goddards when Ana Lower's health prevented her from looking after the girl.
1940, during one of her stays at the Goddards (Archwood Street), Norma Jeane became friends with Bebe
In September 1941, the Goddards moved in Odessa Avenue (the house was owned by Ana Lower).
She asked Jim Dougherty, son of her friend and former neighbor, Ethel Dougherty, to take Bebe and Norma Jeane to school, because, from then on, they lived too far for the girls to go by foot; Jim, working at night, was available during the day.
In April 1942, Doc was transfered in Huntington, Virginia.
In 1943 Grace worked in Chicago in a cinematic laboratory but Doc still lived in Virginia; Grace would have left because she had problems with alcohol. Norma Jeane stayed in touch with her and sent her the money she earned at the Radio Plane Munitions Factory, to help her; she would visit her in Chicago and, during this trip, would visit Doc and Bebe in Virginia.
June 15, 1944, Norma Jeane wrote to her. It was 7 weeks that Jim had left to Asia; Norma Jeane seemed satisifed with her soldier's wife role, waiting for his return :
"Of course I know that if it hadn't been for you we might not have ever been married and I know I owe you a lot for that fact alone, besides countless others....I love Jimmie just more than anyone (..) and I know I shall never be happy with anyone else as long as I live and I know he feels the same towards me. So you see we are really very happy together that is of course when we can be together. We both miss each other terribly".
In June 1946, Grace and her family came back to California.
In August 1946, Grace accompanied Norma Jeane to the Fox to sign her contract with her; Grace's signature was essential because Norma Jeane wasn't aged 21.
Then, there were only few meetings.
Between 1949 and 1951, Marilyn visited her but was also very affected by ravages alcohol had caused to Grace.
On July 4, 1953, Grace wrote to Berniece Miracle, Marilyn's sister, with who she kept in touch. In her letter, Grace informed her she had a cancer and she had to have an hysterectomy.
Letter dated August 25, 1953, Grace wrote to Marilyn who was shooting "River of No Return", because Gladys
On September 28, 1953,
Grace was found unconscious on the bed of her small bungalow in Van
Nuys, dead of a phenobarbital overdose (barbiturates), after years
of alcoholism which had weakened her.
Marilyn dealt with the formalities but didn't attend the funeral which took place on October 1, 1953 at the
Marilyn's absence to the funeral wasn't such linked to her shyness than
to the fact that, for years, the 2 women hadn't had much relations.
Grace, who actually had been Marilyn's career initiator, had been
excluded from the magical circle at the time of success, and indeed,
she was never seen in galas and Hollywood glamor events. Over the
years, their contact fraid and their correspondence only concerned
material needs or Gladys housing issues. Marilyn's disaffection was, at
least partly, due to the fact that Grace had plunged in drugs and
alcohol addiction, a view which had terrified Marilyn during her 2
visits in 1949 and in 1951, and made her avoiding any other meeting. In this respect, Grace could only made her remembering Gladys slow decline.
Marilyn and Berniece thought that Grace had died from her uterus cancer, but Berniece would ask for Grace death certificate in 1979, and saw that the cause of death was a suicide by a barbiturate overdose.