On 5 August  1962 screen icon Marilyn Monroe was found dead in her bedroom. Ever since her death was claimed to be a probable suicide on her death certificate, the probable written hastily in pencil, there has been an air of mystery surrounding her death. No one has ever known what really happened that fatal night Hollywood lost one of their favourite stars. Coco Evennett-Watts investigates the many theories surrounding Marilyn’s alleged suicide.

Born Norma Jean Mortenson in Los Angeles on 1 June 1926, Marilyn endured a horrific childhood, loosing both her parents at the age of three. Her father died in a motorcycle accident and her mother was put in a mental institution. At just eight years old Norma Jean was raped, leaving her with a stutter for the rest of her life. After spending much of her childhood in foster homes, Monroe began a career as a model, which led to a film contract in 1946.

After signing a motion picture deal with Twentieth Century Fox she changed her name to Marilyn Monroe and appeared in her first film Dangerous Years, which unfortunately wasn’t as successful as everybody had hoped it would be and the studio fired her. Some time later Twentieth Century Fox re signed Marilyn and for the next few years she appeared in a number of internationally successful movies including Some Like it Hot. She became a Hollywood star.

However, the Hollywood lifestyle didn’t always suit Marilyn and she slowly became addicted to drugs and champagne, often turning up late or not at all at the studio. At approximately 21.30 that mysterious summers evening in1962, Marilyn’s agent phoned the Monroe household to see if the actress was okay. It was the unanswered phone in her bedroom and the fact that the phone cord was under her door with her bedroom light still on that raised alarm for the housekeeper Eunice Murray, who had been fired earlier that day.

marilyn-monroe-244It was no secret that as her career got bigger, so did Marilyn’s addiction to drugs, which caused her to suffer with insomnia. So, why would it be a shock for Eunice to see the bedroom light on quite late in the evening? After going upstairs to see what was wrong, Eunice became concerned that she couldn’t get into the bedroom as the door had been locked and there was no response from the room. Eunice claimed that she phoned Marilyn’s psychiatrist Dr. Ralph Greenson who arrived minutes later, smashing the bedroom window in to find Hollywood’s most iconic actress dead.

Many of Eunice’s claims about that historic evening don’t add up. For instance, why was Marilyn’s door locked to begin with? After spending some time in Payne Whitney Psychiatric Clinic in 1961, she never locked her bedroom door nor had she been able to that nightm having just had a thick carpet fitted making it extremely hard for the actress to close the door. The glass that Dr. Ralph Greenson smashed was found outside the window. If he had really broken the glass from the outside then surely the glass would be inside.


mmAt 04.25 the first phone call was made to notify police of what had happened. No one appeared to question why a phone call hadn’t been made sooner and what had been going on during those four hours. It was Jack Clemmons who took the phone call from an extremely distressed Dr.Ralph Greenson, in fact Clemmons found it difficult trying to understand him; “Marilyn Monroe is dead, she just committed suicide.”

“Marilyn was lying face down in what I call the soldiers position, her hands were by her side and her legs were stretched out perfectly straight. It was the most obviously staged death scene I have ever seen. The pill bottles on her bedside table had been arranged in neat order and the body deliberately positioned. It all looked too tidy.” Clemmons always believed that Marilyn’s suicide didn’t add up and was certain that she was murdered or at least that there was more to her taking her own life that met the eye. Apart from a grapefruit that she had eaten that morning, nothing else was found in the starlet’s stomach, a bit confusing for someone who had just taken a cocktail of pills.

There have always been a variety of conspiracies surrounding Marilyn’s death, all pointing to the same conclusion that her death was staged to look like suicide. In most written accounts 5 August is given as the anniversary of the day that she passed away. However, this is because the police were called after midnight. In actual fact, she died before midnight. One theory is that the Mafia murdered Marilyn to get revenge against the Kennedy’s. J.F Kennedy had failed to help the mob when he became  US president.

mm3Many have suggested that the Mob ordered that she be killed to involve Bobby Kennedy and cause him a lot of humiliation. The murder would have been planned extremely carefully, with those missing hours spent cleaning and getting rid of any evidence. It was claimed that Marilyn carried on her affair with J.F Kennedy during the presidential campaign in 1960. At his Romanoff’s party in July 1960, she was reportedly spotted with the soon to be president. Often seen coming and going from his penthouse suite at the Carlyle Hotel in New York, their affair was no secret.

The finger has also been pointed towards Robert Kennedy who worked with the secret service and CIA. It has been thought that whilst Bobby didn’t give Marilyn the dose of Nembutal himself, he was the reason that she was killed, sending out the order for her to be murdered. Private eye Milo Speriglio studied Marilyn’s death for 19 years and claims that the mMob and another unknown person were to blame for her death. He maintains that although the Kennedy’s were not completely involved with her death, there is a connection between them and the Mob.

James Hall who says he was the paramedic called to the scene thinks that it was Dr. Ralph Greenson who was responsible for her death. Hall explained, “Just as Marilyn started coming around, the doctor arrived.I believe it was Dr.Greenson (Marilyn’s shrink). He pushed her breast to one side and gave her an injection.” It could however, really been Marilyn herself who was known for attempting suicide as a cry for help. After the death of her good friend Joseph Schenk in 1951, who had been instrumental in her success, Marilyn tried to kill herself. Schenks’ wife blamed Marilyn for his death.

As a final clue, Peter Lawford, who had first introduced Marilyn to the Kennedy’s, received a phone call from her shortly after she went to her bedroom at 20.00. Feeling quite distressed and confused as the phone call had sounded like a goodbye, he phoned up her agent to get him to check on the star. And the rest? Well the rest is mystery.