The Last Days in the Life of Marilyn Monroe

There is much ongoing speculation as to what exactly happened at Marilyn`s Brentwood hycienda house on Saturday August 4 and Sunday August 5, 1962. In the strange, lost days before her death, Marilyn remained mostly indoors digesting good news, bad news and large quantities of chemicals. The good news was that her career appeared to be back on track, with a satisfying deal frankmarlynto make two new pictures for 20th Century Fox. The bad news was that she was struggling more than ever with the depression, bordering upon despair, that had caused her chemical dependency.Several people have claimed to contact Marilyn by phone, received a phone call from her, visited her house, or heard of various people visiting her house.The countdown to her death began in late July, when Marilyn set off for Lake Tahoe, the Nevada gambling resort, with Peter Lawford and his wife, Pat, the sophisticated, movie-struck younger sister of President John F. Kennedy, on Frank Sinatra’s  private jet. Neither Marilyn nor the Lawfords wanted to go. Marilyn was facing a career crisis having just been fired from the production of Fox’s Something’s Got to Give on the grounds of her chronic unreliability. Lawford, though, was reluctant to turn down Sinatra. The Rat Packers had drifted, and Lawford believed the trip would be a chance to mend fences. Sinatra was his hero and, to some extent, his meal ticket. “If Frank wants us there we have to go,” he told his wife. She reluctantly agreed, as long as their friend Marilyn came, too. 

Sinatra was a lot keener to see Marilyn than he was the Lawfords. The pair had had an affair the previous year and, although Sinatra had realised there was no future in it, he remained, like almost greccoevery other man who had been part of Marilyn’s private world, more than a little in love with her. The reports he had heard of her life disintegrating worried him. He wanted to know more. And, if possible, to help. Accounts of her condition differ. Buddy Greco, the singer, remembered: “When she arrived you’d never believe that she had a care in the world. I was sitting with Frank and Peter Lawford outside Frank’s bungalow when a limousine pulls up and this gorgeous woman in dark glasses steps out. She’s all dressed in green. I thought: ‘My God, what a beautiful woman. No taste in clothes, but a beautiful woman.’”

Others recall it differently. “When Frank saw her he was pretty shocked,” says Joe Langford, Sinatra’s Tahoe security aide. “As soon as he had got her settled in he was on the phone with her psychiatrist and started in on the guy, ‘What the hell kind of treatment are you giving her? She’s a mess. What is she paying you for?’ ” What no one disputes is that by showtime that evening, Marilyn was in a state. Witnesses describe her as angry, confused and clearly under the influence of alcohol or drugs. As tended to happen, everybody wanted to meet her, to share her magic, and as also tended to happen, Marilyn couldn’t cope with it. By now Sinatra was alarmed. According to witnesses he feared she might die at Cal Neva. The embarrassment would be too much. “Get her out of here,” he ordered. So they did. On the Sunday night, Marilyn returned alone to her bungalow in Brentwood. As far as is known, she did not leave it again.

Two days later, Life magazine published a long, sympathetic interview, pulsing with Marilyn’s wit and core intelligence, and conveying the sense of a woman who had triumphed over a lifetime of bad breaks and a heartless Hollywood. “I never quite understood it, this sex symbol,” she mused. “I always thought symbols were those things you clash together! That’s the trouble, a sex symbol becomes a thing. I just hate to be a thing. But if I’m going to be a symbol of something I’d rather have it sex than some other things they’ve got symbols of! These girls who try to be me, I guess the studios put them up to it, or they get the ideas themselves. But gee, they haven’t got it. You can make a lot of gags about it, like they haven’t got the foreground or else they haven’t the background. But I mean the middle, where you live.”

One of the very last people to see her alive was Lawford, The much talked-about relationship between the pair was almost certainly platonic. At least, his wife seemed to have no worries about it, mobsaying that Lawford saw Marilyn as more of a helpless child than a temptress. August 4, the last full day of Marilyn’s life, is almost impossible to decipher. Dozens of people have either claimed or been alleged to have visited her bungalow. Among them are Bobby Kennedy, mob boss Sam Giancana and various FBI men who were investigating her relationships with politicians and organised crime. One person who was definitely there was Eunice Murray. At about midnight, the housekeeper, who had been installed by Dr Greenson as Marilyn’s helper, as it turned out, untrue basis that she had a degree in psychiatric nursing, saw a light under Marilyn’s bedroom door. She says she knocked to check that all was well, and upon receiving no answer called Dr Greenson. He arrived within half an hour and, after seeing the body on the bed, broke in through the French windows.

This day is particularly difficult to trace.Much information is a complete contradiction of another version. Setting the facts straight is the only place to begin and even this is difficult:

Saturday August 4 – morning – sometime in the morning Marilyn received a visit from Dr. Ralph Greenson, as was usual. However Marilyn and Pat Newcomb, her publicist, had argued since Newcomb was able to sleep in, while Marilyn suffered from insomnia. This irritated Marilyn. Greenson advised Newcomb to leave, which she did. He then offered Marilyn her usual counselling. Marilyn began drinking her usual champagne and taking barbiturates.

Mid-morning – Marilyn may or may not have received the strange delivery of a stuffed tiger. If this is true then Marilyn`s reaction was one of melancholy. She clutched the tiger to her chest and sat beside her pool, looking depressed. She continues drinking champagne and talking barbiturates throughout the day.

Mid-afternoon – Robert Slatzer claims Marilyn telephoned him to report that Bobby Kennedy had just been at her house and had pushed her around and yelled at her.

Mid-afternoon – Jeanne Carmen claims Marilyn called her and asked if she would come over to her house with a `bag of pills.“ Carmen refused.

Mid-afternoon – It is rumoured that Robert Kennedy attended Marilyn`s house twice and they argued. However witnesses place him firmly in Hyannis Port, Michigan during that time.

4:00 -.p.m. Marilyn received another delivery of flowers and soil to begin working on her garden.

Early evening – Peter Lawford, the Kennedys`; brother-in-law, invited Marilyn to a dinner party at his home. She refused. if it is to be believed, Marilyn had become quite frantic about both JFK and Robert Kennedy

Later in the evening – Marilyn ordered food for delivery. It was delivered within 45 minutes. Obviously Marilyn didn’t eat it, since the autopsy didn’t find food in her stomach, intestines, or duodenum.

8 – 9:30 p.m. – Marilyn is drugged with barbiturates. She calls Lawford on the telephone and says: Say goodbye to the President. And say goodbye to you too because you`re a nice guy.“ If this is true then Carmen`s account that Marilyn called her between 9 and 10 p.m. to come over has to be false. Marilyn would have fallen unconscious but remained alive for several hours.

8 – 9:30 p.m. – Lawford described Marilyn as ``sounding drugged“. He contacts Marilyn`s publicist Ebbins, who in turn contacts her attorney, Mickey Rudin. They discuss whether he should go to Marilyn`s house to check on her. Rudin contacts Eunice Murray and asks her to check on Marilyn. Murray says Marilyn is fine. No one goes to her aid.

8 – 9:00 p.m. – a ridiculous rumour states that Robert Kennedy attends Marilyn`s house and kills her with the assistance of two men. He uses an enema. The same is said of Sam Giancana and two of his henchmen. There is no evidence to verify these claims.

9 – 10:00 p.m. – Jeanne Carmen makes a false claim years after Marilyn dies that Marilyn called her again, asking her to come over and “bring a bag of pills.`` Carmen again refused, telling Marilyn she “was blasted.“ This time is critical when examining the time of Marilyn`s telephone call to Lawford and the time of her death. If Marilyn was discovered by this time, then clearly Carmen is again lying.

9:30 – 12:00 a.m.. – Murray sees the telephone cord underneath Marilyn`s door. Alarmed she contacts Dr Greenson who tells her to go outside and look inside Marilyn`s window. Murray does and can see Marilyn lying nude and still on her bed.

10:00 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.  This timeline cannot be correct if Murray called Greenson at midnight. Her version of events changes often. Greenson arrives at Marilyn`s house. Her bedroom door is locked. He goes around the house and smashes her window with a fire poker to gain access to her room. Greenson writes in his report days later that from the doorway ``I could see she was no longer living.“ Marilyn is lying on her side, her face turned towards the window Greenson has smashed. She is still holding the phone in her right hand. Two versions of the last hours exist. Either Murray contacted the police at 4:30 a.m.or Greenson did so as soon as he found Marilyn`s body. This calls the rest of the timeline into question.

1030 – 11:00 p.m.Schaefer Ambulance is called. The LAPD is notified. Schaefer Ambulance leaves upon discovering Marilyn is dead. A coroner`s truck arrives to move the body. A police officer claims they had to stretch Marilyn out for a few minutes because rigor mortis had set in. Jack Clemmons has arrived and is conducting an investigation.

11:00 p.m. – Clemmons notices Murray is doing a load of laundry. He interviews Murray and Greenson. No collection of property from the yard where the two stuffed animals lie. Some photographs are taken of the scene, showing Marilyn, a night table full of pill bottles and papers and an empty drinking glass beside her bed with a straw. Clemmons forms an opinion right away that Marilyn was murdered and Greenson and Murray are involved in a cover up. He doesn`t investigate further or speak to witnesses at Lawford`s house.

Clemmons has a different report about the time line. Sometimes he claims it is 4:00 a.m. before he is summoned and sometimes it is 11:00p.m. His speculation is that Greenson waited until he minercontacted Marilyn`s publicity agent and was given the `clear“ to report the incident to police and the hospital. Clemmons has no evidence to support this claim yet he believes the scene has been `cleaned up and that pill bottles have been removed. This is incorrect. Photographs show several pill bottles, a messy scattering of paper and a lamp on the bedside table.. Marilyn`s body is brought to the morgue in the Los Angeles County Hospital. Marilyn`s corpse is assigned to Dr. Thomas Noguchi, a junior Deputy Coroner Aide. Noguchi conducts a thorough investigation of Marilyn, looking for signs of violence, including a needle mark or an enema, or bruising. He finds nothing unusual. Noguchi sends Marilyn`s liver and stomach to toxicology. The results prove barbiturate poisoning and no other poisonous substance. Years later Noguchi will regret that he hadn`t sent all of her internal organs to toxicology because this would have prevented the murder theory. Noguchi is satisfied Marilyn committed suicide.

Sunday August 5th Deputy Coroner Curphey and Dr. Noguchi hold a press conference reading a final report about the cause of death, attributing it to acute barbiturate poisoning. Curphey details Marilyn`s history of suicide attempts with barbiturates before this date. He states Marilyn has a difficult psychiatric history, but doesn`t reveal confidential details. Marilyn`s body is released some time later to Joe DiMaggio to be prepared at a funeral home.

Jack Clemmons argues that Marilyn Monroe had to be murdered because there is no yellow die or capsules in her stomach from the 40 nembutal tables she ingested. Noguchi explains that yellow dye is not secreted from the tablets. He also explains that Marilyn, being a high barbiturate user, would have easily processed the tablets and they would have moved into the intestines. A representative from 20th Century Fox argues that it is possible the scene was `cleaned up“ so it reflected as well as possible on Marilyn. He claims “that is standard Hollywood procedure.“ The press is not to hear anything about the Kennedys. The only information police give the media is that Marilyn is dead and likely died by her own hand. Actually Robert Kennedy was several miles for the entire evening away from Marilyn’s house and several eyewitnesses placed him there. Yet in spite of evidence to the contrary, Clemmons insisted Marilyn was murdered and refused to acknowledge facts that contradicted his theory.

monroe_2291405bFred Otash was one of Hollywood’s most notorious private detectives and the first choice for any celebrity with a potential problem. He was a former Los Angeles detective and had set up his own bureau in Hollywood where he specialized in ‘fact-checking’ for a celebrity gossip magazine called Confidential. Among the stars he bugged was Rock Hudson, whose wife apparently confronted him about his homosexuality decades before the public knew he was gay and told him to ‘grow out of it’. His other files include information on Judy Garland and how in 1963 he cleaned her Beverly Hill apartment out of all the pills and alcohol she had stashed during her bitter split from third husband Sid Luft. 

Otash claimed he bugged Marilyn’s house and in documents that were uncovered after his death he wrote, ‘I listened to Marilyn Monroe die.‘ He recorded that on August 5 1962, she had a violent argument with the Kennedys and that she felt that she had been ‘passed around like a piece of meat’. The notes read: ‘She was really screaming and they were trying to quiet her down. She’s in the bedroom and Bobby gets the pillow and he muffles her on the bed to keep the neighbors from hearing. She finally quieted down and then he was looking to get out of there.‘ Otash only found out she had died later on. The multiple problems with these oddball notes (and who knows why Otash would write anything so bizarre) are that Marilyn didn’t die of suffocation, the autopsy proved she had died of acute barbiturate poisoning. And Robert Kennedy was in Hyannis Port, Michigan.The Otash notes published so far do not reveal what, if anything, the detective discovered when he searched Monroe’s house and the tapes of the Hollywood star’s alleged encounters with the Kennedys have never surfaced.

It would seem that the media uncovers new, “startling” facts about Marilyn’s death every year or two. As always these rumours keep the mystery of Marilyn’s death in the forefront of the public’s recollection of the actress. It would seem to me that people such as Otash, who claim to know information about Marilyn and her death, are publicity-seeking and looking for a quick buck. Nothing else makes any sense.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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