The actual date of Marilyn Monroe’s death has been disputed since she died. Some say it was late at night on August 4, 1962. Others state it was in the very early morning hours of August 5, 1962. Depending on which theory you believe about the circumstances surrounding her death, that date is not difficult to determine.
August 4, 1962
There are documents that state Marilyn Monroe was found dead in her bed on Friday, August 4, 1962. Anthony Summers, in his book Goddess: The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe, wrote that the suicide took place, “the hour before midnight Saturday, August 4, 1962, in Los Angeles.” Dr. Ralph Greenson stated that this was the date that her death occurred and that he arrived at her house to try to save her life at 10:00 p.m. Police were on scene before midnight. Greenson’s story about shattering the glass in Marilyn’s bedroom window from the outside of her house checked out: broken glass from the window was found on the floor inside her bedroom. Had it been shattered from the inside of the bedroom, the glass would have been found on the ground outside the house. Greenson stated he found Marilyn lying on her stomach with the telephone clutched in her hand. A police officer at the scene stated it took them some time to straighten out her nude body because of advanced rigor mortis. He also noted that Marilyn’s hair was “dried and frazzled….all those treatments, you know.” Advanced rigor mortis however throws a monkey wrench into this scene. After a person dies, it takes approximately 2 – 3 hours for rigor to set in. Rigor then dissipates and the body goes limp again for an hour. After this, rigor returns permanently.
If Marilyn’s body was in advanced rigor mortis, this implied that she had already reached rigor mortis at least once. Rigor had left, then returned. This suggests Marilyn died quite sooner than the hour that Greenson arrived at her house in Brentwood. At the very least, Marilyn would have to have died around 7 – 8:00 p.m. However this still doesn’t jibe with the time that Greenson claimed he arrived at her house. He claimed he arrived at 10:00p.m. Marilyn then would have been in the early stage of rigor mortis, not advanced. It is possible however that the police officer was mistaken and Marilyn’s body was indeed only in the early stage of rigor.
The Schaefer Ambulance Company attended the house on August 4 or 5, 1962 depending on which date you believe, some time after Greenson called for emergency assistance. supposedly William Schaefer, who owned the company, denied that his company was at Marilyn’s house. 25 years later, Robert Slatzer claimed Schaefer admitted he had lied and that his ambulance was indeed at Marilyn’s house. Speculation as to why Schaefer lied supposedly points to a cover-up. People who were at the scene on Friday night state that Marilyn died, was placed in the ambulance and brought to Santa Monica Hospital in order to give Robert Kennedy time to leave Peter Lawford’s house during the crisis. After Marilyn reached the hospital Schaefer’s ambulance supposedly returned the body to Brentwood, then left again. The death was again reported on the morning of August 5, 1962.
August 5, 1962
The Schaefer Ambulalnce Company attended Marilyn’s house supposedly twice. The first visit was around the time that Greenson arrived at her house at 10:00 p.m. or soon afterward. If you believe a cover-up took place, then the ambulance collected Marilyn’s body on August 4 around 10:00 p.m. and removed her from her home. Some time later, the ambulance supposedly returned her to Brentwood then left again until it was called a second time later in the day. Indeed, movies from August 5, 1962, show Marilyn’s dead body covered by a blanket, being removed from her house during dayilght hours. However this doesn’t prove that Marilyn was murdered or even that her body was removed from the house then returned. It’s possible that the ambulance simply wasn’t called until early August 5, 1962. Why this would be when Greenson claimed to be at her house on August 4 is open for speculation. Peter Lawford’s ex-wife, Deborah Gould, claimed the delay in finding Marilyn’s body and reporting it to police resulted from getting Bobby Kennedy out of the Lawford home before the press arrived. Gould made the odd statement that “Marilyn took her last big enema,” referring to both the possibility that Marilyn had been given a lethal dose of medication through an enema, and the fact that Marilyn, like many celebrities at the time, took enemas to control her weight.
On this day, Pat Newcomb, Marilyn’s publicist, arrived at her house looking disheveled and screaming hysterically at photographers as they snapped pictures of Marilyn being removed from her home. “Keep filming vultures!” she screamed at the small crowd that jostled one another for pictures and movies of Marilyn.Years later Newcomb claimed she didn’t remember creating such a scene. This type of faulty memory is proof that confusion, muddled memory and the time that has lapsed since Marilyn’s death makes uncovering the truth behind her death very difficult. Several witnesses saw Newcomb’s meltdown and she was photographed looking distraught by photographers, yet she had no recollection of the incident. Newcomb wasn’t denying her behavior, she simply didn’t remember it. Newcomb recovered quickly from her employer’s death. One week later she, JFK and Bobby Kennedy were photographed smiling aboard a yacht. Marilyn was already forgotten.
Ward Wood, Marilyn’s neighbor, told police he saw the mortician, Bobby (irony) Guy Hockett, arrived between 5:20 and 6:20 a.m. Wood estimated she died between 9:30 and 11:30 p.m. on Friday night. He also claimed that Bobby Kennedy entered Marilyn’s house around that time. Riiiight. That has to be too ridiculous to be true. And who’s Ward Wood? I mean, who cares?
Robert Slatzer also claimed that Marilyn called him the night she died (riiight) and told him that Bobby kennedy had been in her house and “he threatened me, screamed at me, and pushed me around!” Of course we know how reliable Slatzer’s testimony is….he claimed he was married to Marilyn Monroe…ridiculous. There is no documentation to prove any such thing, Marilyn has no known involvement with Slatzer in New York City and certainly not at her home in Los Angeles. Slatzer was not among any of the witnesses in Marilyn’s house on the night (or day) she died. Like many people, Slatzer tries to present himself as being a significant person in Marilyn’s life. He was also trying to sell a book about her.
Eunice Murray was still in the house when the police and Schaefer Ambulance Company arrived. Her story about her involvement in the situation hadn’t changed in 23 years. She always stated it was the telephone cord snaking beneath Marilyn’s bedroom door that alarmed her. She was never interrogated by police but she did give an interview soon after Marilyn’s death. The police were satisfied that Murray had nothing to do with Marilyn’s death and didn’t pursue her role that night any further.
Dr. Hyman Engelberg was still present at the house when the police arrived. He too offered a full statement and was released. He has never been considered a suspect in Marilyn’s death.
Marilyn was officially pronounced dead on August 5, 1962 and news of her death reached the public later that morning. If there is an actual discrepancy in the time Marilyn’s body was discovered and the ambulance and police were notified, it has never been resolved. Whether her body was removed from her house then returned hasn’t been proven. There was even a rumor that the star’s remains were placed in a broom closet at Santa Monica Hospital for a time. It has been suggested that Marilyn’s remains were raped by a necrophile. That is quite possible considering she was the most beautiful woman in the world. The rumors keep coming, even now in the 21st Century. Marilyn was one of the most famous women in the world during her lifetime. The rumors will never end.