Marilyn Monroe (born Norma Jeane Mortenson) was and remains to this day, one of the biggest icons of Hollywood. Her natural charm and charisma shone through constantly. When you look at events such as Marilyn performing for soldiers in Korea, it is hard to compare the overwhelming love and adoration the public had for her, to anyone today.
Marilyn was well known for her roles in films such as; Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), The Seven Year Itch (1955), Some Like it Hot (1959), Niagara (1953), and The Misfits (1961). Throughout her career, Monroe became one of the most popular sex symbols of the era and introduced the blonde bombshell trope.
Despite being known for her professional life, Monroe’s dark private life garnered attention over the years. Monroe was said to struggle with substance abuse, depression and anxiety during her life. Notably, Monroe’s untimely death has gained attention and caused public speculation to this day. Considering Marilyn Monroe’s private life, the coroner’s ruling of a suicide seems entirely plausible. However, many conspiracy theorists have called this into question.
Here, we are going to examine the events leading to Monroe’s death and why conspiracy theories persist.
On the day before her death, Monroe had a therapy session with her psychiatrist in the mid-afternoon, who left around 7pm. The psychiatrist had asked Monroe’s housekeeper Eunice Murray to stay overnight to keep her company. Throughout the course of the evening and night, Monroe had various telephone conversations. The last of these was from actor Peter Lawford, who was trying to persuade Marilyn to go to a party. He became alarmed when Monroe sounded like she was under the influence of drugs.
Lawford then sent an agent to Monroe’s residence, who was assured by Murray that Monroe was fine. However, at approximately 3:30am on August 5th, Murray woke up with a bad feeling. She saw some light from under Monroe’s locked bedroom door, but she was not able to get a response. Murray telephoned Monroe’s psychiatrist, and was advised to look in through the window and saw Monroe lying face-down in her bed whilst holding the telephone receiver. The psychiatrist arrived shortly after where he broke a window to access the room. He found Monroe dead, with prescribed empty pill bottles around the room. An autopsy found a fatal number of pills in her system. According to reports at the time, she had taken 40 pills.
Leading up to her death, Monroe was under the constant care of her psychiatrist because of her depression. She’d allegedly become increasingly difficult to work with as she’d forget lines or arrive late to film.
However over recent years, there have been a number of conspiracy theories about her death. Most of these argue that she was murdered by either or both of the Kennedy brothers, both of whom she allegedly had an affair with. These theories suggest that they had her killed because they were concerned that she would make the affairs public or reveal government secrets. Intriguingly, the day before Monroe’s death, Robert Kennedy was in Los Angeles. Later, Murray stated for the first time that the Robert Kennedy had visited Marilyn on the night of her death and argued with her. However, these statements are questionable.
Other pieces of evidence that theorists argue point towards murder include the absence of a suicide note by Monroe. Others also claim that friends of Marilyn had said that she was in high spirits at the time of her death. It was also noted that there were no pill capsules found in her stomach during the autopsy which further casted doubt upon the autopsy report.
Regardless, Monroe’s death was a tragedy, whether that be a suicide, accident or murder. On that day Hollywood and the world lost one of its greatest stars.
Here are some less common photographs of Marilyn Monroe from over the years.