Marilyn Monroe, with her instantly recognizable blonde bob and iconic hourglass figure, has captivated the public imagination for decades. The recent premiere of Netflix’s Blonde, a fictionalized account of Marilyn’s life, has sparked renewed interest in the star and raised questions about her untimely death.
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The Tragic Demise of a Cultural Icon
Marilyn Monroe, the mega-sensation and sex symbol of the 1950s, died unexpectedly at the age of 36, leaving everyone wondering what had happened to the beloved actress. The release of Netflix’s documentary, The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe: The Unheard Tapes, in April, further explored the details surrounding her death. Despite her fame, Marilyn led a relatively private life.
Unraveling the Events
On the morning of August 5, 1962, Marilyn was found dead in her modest Los Angeles home. According to the Los Angeles Times, Marilyn had retired to her bedroom around 8 p.m. the previous evening. When a psychiatrist broke into her room at 3:30 a.m., Marilyn was discovered lying face down on her bed, nude, and clutching a telephone receiver. She was estimated to have passed away six to eight hours before being found.
Eunice Murray, Marilyn’s housekeeper, grew concerned when there was no response from Marilyn behind her locked bedroom door. Murray had noticed a light on in Marilyn’s room at around 3:25 a.m. and immediately called Marilyn’s psychiatrist, Ralph Greenson. Greenson arrived and broke a window to gain access to the room. Inside, he discovered Marilyn lifeless with a phone in her hand. Another doctor was called, and Marilyn was pronounced dead. However, the authorities were not notified until an hour later when police were finally called.
Official Cause of Death
Marilyn Monroe’s death was officially attributed to an overdose. The autopsy report revealed that she died from acute combined drug toxicity, resulting from a combination of chloral hydrate (a calming medication) and Nembutal (a sedative and anticonvulsant). Pill bottles were found near her bed. Interestingly, there was no water glass in her room, raising questions about how she could have swallowed so many pills. Forensic pathologist Cyril Wecht suggested that Marilyn might have been injected with the drugs instead. Despite suspicions, tests on Marilyn’s stomach and small intestines were never conducted, leaving certain aspects of her death unresolved.
The Struggles of a Troubled Soul
Marilyn Monroe battled mental health issues leading up to her tragic end. In 1961, Marilyn’s New York-based psychiatrist, Dr. Marianne Kris, convinced her to seek treatment at the Payne Whitney Psychiatric Clinic. However, Marilyn detested her time there and left after three days when her ex-husband, John DiMaggio, came to her rescue. In a letter to her psychiatrist, Marilyn expressed feelings of imprisonment without having committed any crime. DiMaggio subsequently arranged for her to receive treatment for addiction issues in another facility.
Insights into Marilyn’s State of Mind
Dr. Greenson, Marilyn’s therapist, shared recollections of his interactions with her in the summer preceding her death. In an interview with Vanity Fair, he revealed that Marilyn suffered from insomnia and a profound sense of worthlessness. She described herself as a waif, emphasizing that people were only interested in her for what they could gain. Marilyn expressed a bleak outlook on life, confiding that she no longer found it worth living.
Friends Speak Out
Marilyn’s close friends were shocked by her sudden passing and vehemently denied any suggestions of intentional self-harm. Pat Newcomb, Marilyn’s dear friend, believed her death to be an accident, citing that Marilyn was in perfect physical condition and high spirits. Newcomb had plans to go to the movies with Marilyn the following day, and Marilyn had promised to see her attorney that Monday.
New Revelations and Lingering Questions
The documentary sheds light on previously undisclosed details that cast doubt on the official narrative surrounding Marilyn’s death. It suggests that Marilyn may have actually died in the ambulance en route to the hospital, rather than in her bed. Ambulance company owner Walter Schaefer contradicts claims that she was already deceased upon arrival. He recounts that Marilyn was comatose but alive when the ambulance transported her to the emergency room.
According to writer John Sherlock, Dr. Greenson informed him that Marilyn was alive at home but passed away during the ambulance ride. These conflicting accounts, coupled with photographs of Marilyn’s body being wheeled out of her residence, contribute to the confusion surrounding the circumstances of her death. This uncertainty has fueled speculation that there may have been a cover-up.
The Kennedy Connection
Marilyn Monroe’s alleged romantic involvement with Robert F. Kennedy, then the U.S. Attorney General, and his brother, President John F. Kennedy, adds another layer of intrigue to her story. The documentary raises the possibility that RFK was in contact with Marilyn on the day of her death, even suggesting that he may have been present at her house in California. Delays and changes in the timeline allowed him ample time to leave town, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Private detective Fred Otash reveals in the documentary that RFK called Marilyn from his sister’s house on the day of her death, leading to a heated exchange. Conspiracy theories abound, suggesting that the Kennedys sought to cover up Marilyn’s death to protect RFK’s reputation. More outlandish theories propose that the family feared Marilyn had obtained sensitive government information through her relationships with the Kennedy brothers. These theories, though unverified, add to the mysterious circumstances surrounding her demise.
Many questions persist regarding Marilyn Monroe’s death. In a 1983 interview, Murray hinted at a cover-up, acknowledging that Bobby Kennedy was present on August 4 and that he had been involved in an affair with Marilyn. However, the truth remains elusive.