People who knew Marilyn intimately or from a distance for several years have all expressed their opinion on Marilyn’s death: suicide. Some of these people believe the stories about a murder or a conspiracy. Certainly Dr. Greenson didn’t believe so. He was Marilyn’s psychiatrist and was well aware of both her state of mind and her safety and well-being. In fact he encouraged Marilyn to hire her housekeeper, Eunice Murray, to protect her. Murray was someone Greenson trusted and with her in Marilyn’s Brentwood home in Los Angeles, Greenson didn’t have to be concerned about her safety in terms of her medications. Marilyn had attempted suicide on four previous occasions, twice during 1961 when she was married to Arthur Miller. Her final telephone call was to Peter Lawford where she stated, “say goodbye to the President and say goodbye to you because you’re a nice guy.” The following is a list of people who offer an opinion about Marilyn’s suicide/overdose.
(1) Susan Strasberg – the daughter of Lee and Paula Strasberg, with whom Marilyn studied Method Acting at the Actors Studio in New York City. On Larry King Live, Susan stated bluntly that Marilyn wasn’t a victim anymore than any of us is a victim. ..I feel she wouldn’t have wanted to be remembered as that. She was doing more than surviving when she died. In fact she had bought a house.” In Goddess: The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe, Anthony Summers states that according to a witness as she signed a check for the down payment on her home, Marilyn “burst into tears”… ” I didn’t think I would be buying a house by myself,” was the lament. Susan insists “she was making professional plans that she was excited about, she had loved that she had lost the weight and was in good shape again.” King asked her, “was she bright?” Susan replied “remember that emotional stability has nothing to do with intellectual brightness.” Susan stated, “I think she was looking for something she hadn’t always had.”
Conclusion: Susan doesn’t believe Marilyn committed suicide but leans toward the possibility of accidental overdose.
(2) Jeanne Carmen – Marilyn’s best friend and gorgeous pin-up Queen lived on the other side of town. Carmen was a groupie for Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra. We partied with Jack Kennedy, we partied with Bobby, we always went to the beach house of Peter Lawford. There was no cameras, there was lots of booze, there was a lot of stuff going on, a lot of nudity. Marilyn didnt love JFK. She loved Bobby because he was fun he was cute, he was boyish, he was a prankster, we went skinny dipping together. The night Marilyn died: Marilyn called her and asked Carmen if she could come over with a “bag of pills.” Carmen had been out drinking and was inebriated. She told Marilyn she didn’t want to drive across the city in that state and that “I just can’t do it tonight, Marilyn.” Carmen believed Marilyn was murdered but she “absolutely” won’t say who. (Conveniently for her since she is possibly inventing stories).She did attribute some of Marilyn’s depression to her relationship with John F. Kennedy. “It was a sexual relationship for sure,” she stated. She didn’t suggest Robert Kennedy was also involved with Marilyn, but JFK definitely had an affair with her. Conclusion: Carmen believed her friend was murdered.
(3) Dr. Ralph Greenson – Marilyn’s psychiatrist attended the house on Friday August 4, 1962. He broke a window on the side of her house to get into her bedroom. “I could see from across the room that she was no longer living,” he wrote in his Marilyn memoirs.“She was a precious creature I tried to help and ended up hurting.” Greenson contacted police and ambulance. Conclusion:He believed Marilyn committed suicide.
(4) Eunice Murray – Marlyn’s housekeeper was at the residence on the evening the actress died. She told the same story for 23 years about that evening. “I saw the phone cord snaking under Marilyn’s door and naturally I was alarmed,” she explained since “Marilyn always took the phone and placed it in the next room and covered it with pillows so it couldn’t wake her if it rang.” She claimed she knocked on the door but received no answer. She contacted Dr. Greenson who told her to go around to the side of the house and look inside Marilyn’s bedroom window, which she did. Murray told Greenson Marilyn was lying very still on her bed and Greenson hurried over to the residence. Personally I believe of all witnesses to Marilyn’s suicide Murray is the most reliable. Had someone broken into the house, into Marilyn’s room and murdered her, this surely would not have gone unnoticed by the housekeeper. It is likely she would have called police had she heard anyone attempting to break into the house. Conclusion: Murray supports neither the suicide nor the murder theory.She supports the accidental overdose theory.
(5) Peter Lawford – received the last telephone call Marilyn would ever make. He believed Marilyn died by her own hand for two reasons: her telephone call where she stated goodbye and that Robert Kennedy may have been having dinner at his house, proving the Kennedys had nothing to do with her death. After the telephone call, Lawford alerted Marilyn’s lawyer who contacted Marilyn’s agent. The agent decided to go to Marilyn’s house and telephoned Eunice Murray who assured him Marilyn was fine. The agent then decided not to go to Marilyn’s residence. On his death bed Lawford cried and stated something about how he “failed Marilyn the night she died,” possibly referring to the fact that she lived across the street from him and he could have saved her. However his second, Mary Rowan, claimed he was a pathological liar.Conclusion: Lawford was unclear in his statements about Marilyn. It is possible he believed she overdosed accidentally or committed suicide and he failed her by not going across the street himself to check on her.
(6) Ethel Kennedy – Robert Kennedy’s wife believed Bobby was always “cleaning up his brother’s mess” after he broke off an affair with a woman. Conclusion: She believed Marilyn’s death was by her own hand.
(7) Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy – Marilyn’s rival for JFK’s affections, Jackie was probably quite relieved Marilyn was dead. The only statement she released to the press was “she will go on eternally.” Conclusion: She didn’t seem to believe Marilyn Monroe was murdered and most definitely by her own husband and brother-in-law.
(8) Arthur Miller – in his autobiography “Timebends: a Life” Miller stated Certainly he wrote an autobiography about himself and Marilyn in his play After the Fall although he vehemently denied it. About Marilyn’s death. A critical review suggested: It seems more rewarding to consider what it was he was trying to say regarding the issues of guilt and responsibility – which have been at the centre of all his plays, and as individuals, to reflect upon them and our own responsibility within society. Conclusion: Miller believed Marilyn died by her own hand.
(9) Rose Hoare – a journalist from London, believes that Marilyn took her own life. As a former counsellor, she can see too many psychological risk factors to ignore in Marilyn’s life in general and her final days in particular. During her last marriage to Arthur Miller, who described her as “the saddest girl I’ve ever met”, she miscarried twice. By 1962, the year she died, she had been briefly admitted to a psychiatric clinic and was undergoing five therapy sessions a week. Marilyn passed away with massive amounts of sedatives in her system. Her housekeeper initially said she knocked on Marilyn’s door at midnight, at which point she called Marilyn’s doctors, who said they found her dead. But she later revised the times she asserted in her statement, as did both doctors, although none gave reasons for this. They may have just been trying to protect Marilyn’s reputation, so that the world would never know she took her own life; suicide was simply unacceptable in Hollywood, especially in the early sixties. The truth is, that by the time she died, Marilyn embodied many factors now associated with an increased risk of suicide. She had low self-esteem. She had just been fired. She had recently moved house. She was recently separated. She had a family history of mental illness. She had experienced sexual abuse, domestic violence and parental loss. She had no children and no family to support. She had health problems, including insomnia. She may have been beloved by the world, but she carried a deep and profound sadness. Marilyn had a chronic reliance on painkillers and sleeping pills, and once wrote to her psychiatrist, recalling how she had tried to “do away with” herself: “I did it very carefully with 10 Seconal and 10 Tuinal [barbiturates] and swallowed them with relief (that’s how I felt at the time).”
(10) Ruby Warrington, writer, argues that all the evidence supports the coroner’s verdict of accidental overdose as the most likely explanation for the star’s death. All Marilyn wanted was to feel loved, and the real tragedy of her life was that the more famous she became, the more she was adored, the emptier and more alone she seemed to feel. Ultimately, I believe this is what led to the dependency on dangerous prescription drugs and to her untimely, and accidental, death. Linked to countless men, her love affairs were a shaky bridge across the chasm of loneliness that always threatened to engulf her. But it was in the late fifties, at the height of her fame and acutely aware of the fickle nature of Hollywood’s affections, that she began self-medicating with alcohol and prescription drugs. They say sleep is the closest we come to experiencing the unconditional love of the mother’s womb – and perhaps this is what Marilyn craved, increasingly relying on pills to combat her insomnia, and drinking heavily in pursuit of oblivion. These days, due to the high risks of addiction and the dangers of overdose, Nembutal is rarely prescribed for insomnia – patients like Marilyn were guinea pigs. It’s no wonder that soon she couldn’t get through the day without her pills, and the cracks were beginning to show.
(11) Colin Clark – An excerpt from Clark’s My Week with Marilyn stated: Suddenly a door at the end of the corridor opened and a brilliant light flooded the scene. Marilyn was sitting with her back against the wall. If I had gone on for another few feet I would have fallen right over her. Now she simply sat there wrapped in a pink bedcover staring straight into my eyes. She did not give the slightest sign that she could see me. Had she been sleepwalking? Or was she drugged? There were many rumours floating around the studio of the number of sleeping pills she took. This ravishingly beautiful and vulnerable woman was literally at my feet. What could I do? I couldn’t get Marilyn’s gaze out of my head. I could only dream of somehow saving her but with what, from what, I had no idea. Conclusion: Clark did not believe in the murder theory but he didn’t suggest any other means of death..
(12) Milton and Amy Greene – Marilyn established Marilyn Monroe Productions with Milton Green in New York City and made two movies, Bus Stop and The Prince and the Showgirl, starring Lawrence Olivier. although they were witness to Marilyn’s erratic behaviour on movie sets and knew she could fall into a deep depression now and then, the Greenes didn’t believe Marilyn killed herself. Amy in particular believed it was an accidental overdose. “That doctor should be shot at dawn,” she quipped. “He gave her the pills.” Conclusion: Accidental overdose.
(13) George Barris – writer and photographer – he and Marilyn worked together on her autobiography. Barris reiterated his experience when he first heard that Marilyn, his friend, was dead. His brother went into a diner to get some breakfast and came running out saying “Marilyn is dead!” I said I can’t believe it stop making jokes! He says I swear she’s dead. I froze. I was supposed to see her that Monday I was going to fly out to the coast she wanted me to come out there. She had something very important to tell me. I wish she had told me on the phone but she wouldn’t. She was happy about the book we were going to do together; she was looking forward to great things. She had great offers coming. They were going to start the film again with Dean Martin and had everything to look forward to. Conclusion: I don’t believe she killed herself. Absolutely not.
(14) Dr. Thomas Noguchi – Junior Coroner – released a formal statement on Saturday August 5, 1962 about the autopsy. Noguchi stated,It was a “probable suicide.” the unfortunate use of the word probable opened the door to murder theories that last today. What i believe Noguchi meant by his conclusion was that Marilyn either killed herself deliberately or accidentally, but either way by her own hand. Conclusion: Noguchi doesn’t believe in the murder theory. However he was never clear about the meaning of “probable suicide.”
(15) Det. John Miner – Miner attended the scene on the night of August 4, 1962. For decades, he has been insistent that Marilyn was murdered. “By whom, I don’t know,” he admitted. “I was struck by her beauty. Even dead something emanated from that woman that was compelling.” He doesn’t believe Marilyn swallowed capsules. He feels traces of capsules would have been found inside the remains, which wasn’t the case. “Nembutal, street name is yellow jackets. The capsule container is a dye which would be a yellow stain in the stomach or duodenum, which is the first section of the small intestine. No such dye staining occurred.” Insofar as the theory of a“hot shot” is concerned, Miner objected. “We looked all over her body…no such needle marks occurred.” Another reason to discount the hot shot theory is that the latter would have killed Marilyn instantly and according to the pathologist, that didn’t happen.Miner believes Eunice Murray, acting on someone else’s orders, administered an enema with an overdose of barbiturates. Conclusion: The housekeeper in the bedroom with an enema (an odd new twist on Clue).
(16) Robert Slatzer – “She said I am going to blow the lid off this whole damn thing. And I asked her what she meant by that and she said “my involvement with the Kennedys goes much deeper than what most people think. Slatzer points a finger at Robert Kennedy by way of a “hot shot“, or an injected barbiturate overdose. Clearly he was unaware of the biological implications that ruled out this theory. Slatzer also claimed that Marilyn showed him her “red diary” and he told her it was a “very dangerous book” and to destroy it. Conclusion: Marilyn was murdered.
(17) Dr. Hyman Engleberg – The second doctor on the scene was Marilyn’s medical physician. He had been treating her with choloral hydrate, a drug that Greenson had advised Engleberg not to prescribe for Marilyn anymore. Engleberg claimed he’d never given Marilyn chloral hydrate and that a doctor in Mexico must have prescribed it for her. Engleberg believed Marilyn suddenly became depressed during the evening of August 4, 1962. He stated Marilyn had been in a manic phase and after becoming depressed she “grabbed pills…in that sense it was intentional. Then when she felt herself going under, she called Peter Lawford…I do believe that she changed her mind.” He felt Marilyn was “punishing the SOB’s at Fox who had mistreated her.” Conclusion: Suicide.
Six of the aforementioned people believe Marilyn committed suicide. Three people support the accidental overdose theory. Four people believe Marilyn was murdered. The remaining three people are noncommittal. A sad trend developed after Marilyn’s death. The suicide rate across America increased by 26%. One theory has it that these people were on the brink of suicide and that Marilyn’s death was the catalyst that sent them over the edge. Beauty, sexuality, death, no matter what Marilyn did or had done in her life, people were always imitating her and in this case, in the most macabre manner possible: an attempt to mimic her in death.