Of all difficult-to-read characters in Marilyn’s life, Eunice Murray is probably the biggest enigma. This mousy, 60-year-old housekeeper was selected by Dr. Ralph Greenson to keep watch over Marilyn. Marilyn disliked her for this reason but hired her with Greenson’s encouragement. Their relationship was cordial but far from close. Greenson and other psychiatrists had hired Murray as a support worker for some of their most prestigious clients. Murray never identified any psychiatrists for whom she may have worked besides Greenson, nor is it known which prestigious people, if any, she may have helped besides Marilyn. In 1961, it was speculated Dr. Ralph Greenson advised Marilyn, then living in an apartment on North Doheny Drive in Beverly Hills to recruit Murray as a housekeeper/companion, after Marilyn had fired several nurses that had been employed to assist her.Marilyn tolerated Murray’s presence in her home as a live-in maid and kept her confidences to herself, and her friends. Murray worked in Marilyn’s Brentwood, Los Angeles home on Fifth Helena Drive, for one year, from 1961, when Marilyn purchased the house, to 1962, when Marilyn died.When Marilyn decided to buy a house, it was believed that Murray located the small dwelling, which had no closets.
After Monroe moved into it, Murray began spending many nights there, although she kept an apartment in nearby Santa Monica on Ocean Boulevard. Murray began (according to the testimonies of Monroe’s friends) reporting to Greenson on the actress’ daily activities. Part of tabloid speculation was that in an attempt to assert her independence from Dr. Ralph Greenson, Marilyn fired Murray in May 1962 but shortly afterward rehired her. However, in August 1962 when Murray requested a month’s holiday, Marilyn granted it, paid her, and asked her not to return.Earlier in the year, Murray accompanied Monroe on her publicized visit to Mexico in February 1962, even introducing the star to some openly communist people south of the border whose association with Monroe caused the FBI to investigate the actress as a possible risk to national security. One wonders if Marilyn knew of this investigation and this was the reason for her firing Murray.
The reader has probably noticed that the dates I offer around Marilyn’s death differ continually. Sometimes August 4 is Friday and sometimes it is Saturday. This is due to the different accounts of Marilyn’s death and the date of her death. Some “witnesses” state Friday August 4 and others claim Saturday was the 4th and she was discovered by police on Saturday August 5. I believe that Friday was August 3 since I have researched the date of August 4 1962 and received a list of days and dates that confirm Friday was the third and Saturday was the fourth. However, I am reiterating the accounts of Marilyn’s death as they are related in biographies and through interviews and documentaies. After spending Friday night, August 4, 1962 at her apartment, Murray arrived at Marilyn’s house the next day for her last contracted day of work, just hours before Marilyn died. Murray said consistently to police and reporters in 1962 and to author Robert Slatzer in 1973 that she and Marilyn, the only people in the house, retired to their separate rooms late Saturday evening with Monroe aware that she would be spending the night.
When Murray awoke at approximately 3:00 a.m. and knocked on Marilyn’s door, the actress did not answer. In her 1975 memoir, Murray changed her story slightly, recalling that the sight of a telephone extension cord running under Marilyn’s bedroom door caused her, at approximately 3:00 a.m., to use another extension to call Dr. Greenson. (In 1962 she had told police that she had contacted Greenson after becoming alarmed by Monroe’s bedroom light shining through the space under the door.) In 1985 Murray made major changes to her story by claiming that Robert Kennedy was in the house at some point on Saturday and that “the doctor” arrived to help Monroe while she was unconscious but alive. Murray never said, however, that Marilyn might have wanted her out of the house.
Murray never wavered in her claim that during her telephone conversation with Greenson, he instructed her to go outside and look through Monroe’s bedroom window. Murray then supposedly (not verified) saw the actress lying “in an unnatural position,“ reported this to Greenson and he arrived at the house, broke the window and entered Monroe’s room aware that she was dead. Many days later, when Murray attempted to cash her last paycheck from Monroe, it was declined and marked “deceased.” Murray’s definition of an unnatural position must have been curious since Marilyn was found in the fetal position with her telephone receiver still clutched in her right hand.
Murray was accused for decades after Marilyn’s death of assisting in her murder. Living out her life after Marilyn’s overdose must have been traumatic for her and it is little wonder she avoided the press. After Marilyn’s death, Murray lived quietly in various locations in West Los Angeles. From the mid-1960s until the mid-1970s, Murray rented a guest cottage in Santa Monica from relatives of the actor, Richard Cromwell, who had died in 1960. While there in 1973, she was interviewed by Robert Slatzer. In a photograph of them together that is published in his 1974 book The Life and Curious Death of Marilyn Monroe, Murray appears to be laughing. Murray probably communicated many confidences about Marilyn’s behaviour and her friends’ comings and goings to Greenson, but to her credit she said nothing about Marilyn’s personal life for a full decade after the star’s death when she penned the account Marilyn: The Last Months by Eunice Murray. After Slatzer found her and talked with her, Murray published the 1975 memoir, (co-authored by Rose Shade) and later talked with other biographers and journalists, including Anthony Scaduto, about Marilyn. It was not until she met Anthony Summers, however, that she admitted that Marilyn had known the Kennedys or that “the doctor” had been in the star’s house while she was unconscious but alive.
Donald Wolfe, an author who began work on The Last Days of Marilyn Monroe shortly before Murray’s death, theorized that everything in her story was a lie, including her retiring for bed late Saturday evening (with Monroe’s approval) and the 3:00 a.m. awakening and phone call to Dr. Greenson. Wolfe based the theory on an interview he conducted with a man who had been Murray’s son-in-law in 1962 and had participated in the remodeling of Monroe’s home that went on for months. This man, Norman Jeffries was working on the kitchen floor on Saturday morning, August 4, 1962 when Marilyn walked over to him looking as if she were ill or suffering from insomnia according to a story he told Summers in the early 1980s. (Marilyn’s third husband Arthur Miller said about her after her death, “Sleep was her demon.”) Jeffries claimed Murray was innocent of murder but she participated in the cover-up by talking openly to police officials, newspaper reporters and book writers while Jeffries remained silent until Summers located him.
When Murray granted a video interview to Anthony Summers and the BBC television crew in 1985, she initially repeated the same story she had told Robert Slatzer in 1973 and the police in 1962. She apparently noticed the camera crew starting to pack up and then said, “Why, at my age, do I still have to cover this thing?” Unknown to her, the microphone was still on. Murray went on to admit that Monroe had known the Kennedys. She volunteered that on the night of the actress’ death, “When the doctor arrived, she was not dead.” Murray died on March 5, 1994, without revealing further details, such as whether “the doctor” was Ralph Greenson, Hyman Engelberg or someone else, but according to the ex son-in-laws story, it was Greenson. Adding, they, he and Murray had been ordered off the property twice. First by U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and actor Peter Lawford, then later in the evening the same two and a doctor.
Personally I don’t believe Murray was “covering” anything controversial, nor do I believe Marilyn was murdered. As in all things Marilyn, her death has had the same impact on the public as her image and reputation in life. When Murray referred stated “why … do I still have to cover this thing?” I believe she may have referred to a mistake she herself made the night of Marilyn’s death. Consider that Marilyn made a very deliberate phone call to Peter Lawford stating ,”goodbye.” That can only mean one thing: Marilyn had taken an overdose. I don’t believe she wanted to die; hence the phone call looking for help. She probably believed that Lawford would rush to her aid however acquaintances at his dinner party advised him not to attend Marilyn’s home. As a result he contacted her lawyer, Milt Rudin, who then contacted Marilyn’s house.
Murray answered the phone and, confused, informed Rudin that Marilyn was fine. She had no reason to believe Marilyn had taken an overdose. Not long before Rudin’s telephone call, Marilyn had stated to Murray that she was going to bed. Murray expected silence from Marilyn’s room. Why would she be alarmed? I also believe that some time later, Murray may have gotten up to use the washroom, go to the kitchen, or simply to check on Marilyn. Murray told two versions of what happened next. She stated that the phone cord snaking under Marilyn’s door alarmed her. She also stated that when she crouched down, she could see Marilyn’s light was still on beneath her door. This version of events was contradicted by Anthony Summers in his biography Goddess: The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe, who claimed it was impossible to see Marilyn’s light on beneath her door due to thick carpeting.
I think Murray did try to ascertain if Marilyn’s light was on. I also believe Murray knocked at Marilyn’s door, and after a few seconds, her knock became quite loud as she called Marilyn’s name. Receiving no answer she then contacted Greenson who told her to go and look through Marilyn’s window. It was Murray’s guilt over the incident, at not having checked on Marilyn after the lawyer’s phone call that plagued her during the hours, days and decades after Marilyn’s accidental suicide. This is the “cover-up” Murray and Greenson have been accused of sharing. Neither Greenson nor Murray wanted Murray to be held responsible for Marilyn’s death, particularly at not checking on Marilyn after receiving Rudin’s phone call. This is the only piece of information I believe Murray withheld about Marilyn’s death.
If there was any sort of cover-up over Marilyn’s death it is probably that in an attempt to resuscitate Marilyn, either Greenson or Greenson and Murray together made a tragic mistake and this led to Marilyn’s death. The mistake could have been a futile attempt to bring Marilyn back then waiting too long to seek medical help. Or it could have been the admission of further drugs in an effort to reduce the effect of the barbiturates and thereby killing her. Murray of course would have been acting on Greenson’s orders. Former Assistant District Attorney Mike Carroll, who conducted the 1982 investigation, said they found “no evidence of an intentional criminal act,” and indicated that suicide was the most likely cause of death. He stated, “The bottles were there. She was unconscious. She had a history of overdose. In fact, she had a history of not only overdosing, but of being resuscitated.“ I don’t believe there was a homicide. I don’t believe Murray covered up a homicide. In fact there probably wasn’t any cover up at all Murray doesn’t seem like a murderer to me. It can be argued that she was too frightened to reveal the full details of that night for her own personal safety but I believe this is too contrived. It was inevitable that Marilyn’s death would be as controversial as her life. Shock factor, after all, was what Marilyn Monroe was all about.