Marilyn Monroe lived a strange, secret life that involved wearing disguises.

She also indeed suffered sexual abuse as a child. Those facts and more were confirmed in a thorough new biography by USC history professor Lois Banner, who found that the original blonde bombshell was much more intellectual than history has given her credit for.

The recently released book Marilyn: The Passion and the Paradox bring's L.A.'s late leading lady to life via …

… more than 100 interviews with Monroe's friends and associates, according to USC.

She read Tolstoy, Dostoevsky and Chekov and once took a UCLA course on Renaissance art. Monroe was “completely determined” to be culturally fluent — to be, as USC states, “the best.”

Banner's research found Monroe's claim of having been sexually abused as a child to be true. According to the school:

She also confirmed the childhood sexual abuse that would sometimes manifest itself in aberrant behavior. Later in life, Monroe would speak publicly about that abuse — a bold act for any national celebrity, but particularly for a woman in the conservative 1950s.

The actress' “hidden life,” which involved disguises and aliases, was also revealed in the book. Banner:

She had put together this whole fantasy world for herself in addition to the regular world in which she lived. She liked to do daring and dangerous things.

Banner will be signing The Passion Sunday at 6:30 p.m. at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood, which is marking the 50th anniversary of Monroe's death with a 7:30 screening of River of No Return.

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