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Did Marilyn Monroe commit suicide?
Or was she murdered because of her political involvement?

Marilyn Monroe had become a well-known actress during the 1950's. She was catapulted into the public view when she posed nude for a calendar in 1952, and made many movies that were well received in the 1950s. She was dead by 1962, at age 36. Although people who knew her were not surprised, the public was shocked.

Newspaper accounts at the time were very clear and everyone seemed sure that she had committed suicide, but rumors sprang up and began to grow, like weeds; then and afterwards, you might heard that the blonde woman had been killed because of her political connections and her unstable personality. Even the assistant autopsy surgeon questioned the validity of the police's conclusion of suicide. He pointed out that a drug overdose normally leaves residue in the stomach, especially the 47 pills she was supposed to have taken, and he had found none. Yet she had died from "acute barbiturate poisoning, ingestion of overdose".1 Books were written that attempted to prove the actress had been killed, usually by someone involved with John or Robert Kennedy, or one of their enemies.

As the years went by, a few people came forward with statements that seemed to increase the support for a theory of murder, yet the official decision that she had killed herself with an overdose of sleeping pills still stands today. Conspiracy advocates have a lot of loosely connected circumstantial evidence that they feel points towards murder. They feel someone stopped her from exposing information that she had learned in 'pillow talk' from the Kennedy brothers. Other researchers theorize that she was killed by Jimmy Hoffa or members of organized crime for other reasons. Perhaps most of the people familiar with her life believe that she killed herself by either purposefully taking a lethal dose of sleeping pills or that she was so distraught that they took more than she realized. In spite of the many theories proposed and books written, the public still supports the official conclusion.

Despite what the official statement says and what most people believe, it was possible that someone killed Marilyn Monroe. There are elements surrounding her death that are suspicious, but they could be nothing more than an attempt to ensure that no intelligence data fell into the wrong hands. It is very probable that she heard things that she should never have been told; however, no one is sure how much she would have understood correctly since she did not have the background knowledge the politicians did. She probably did have enough information to "blow the lid off things" as she said she was about to do just before her death; however, no one really knows if she would have followed through with her threats, and none of that might have had anything to do with her death.

The Person

Born June 1, 1926, Norma Jean Mortenson was actually baptized as Norma Jean Baker. Her mother was Gladys Pearl Baker, and no one can be sure who her father was. It probably not the person listed on her birth certificate, although Gladys' divorce from Martin E. Mortenson was not finalized until October 15, 1928. Norma Jean would end up living in the Los Angeles Orphans Home and many foster homes, and would always search for the type of security in her family life that she never had. During World War II, she started to model, and in the next five years she would begin to get roles in movies while her modeling would begin to make her well known. She changed her name, and built the persona that we are familiar with today.

She married several times, sometimes to well known figures, and found that marriage did not provide the stability that she was looking for. She married strong personalities, and each marriage failed. After them, she was lonely, isolated, and perhaps less confident that she would find that someone special. She valued her success, but she was never able to reconcile her fame with a stable, supportive family life.

The story of what had been happening to Marilyn Monroe in the two years prior to her death has been explored in several books and many articles, and we can be fairly certain about most of the events. Her dreams of fame and fortune seemed to have been legitimized by her relationship with the President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, and what seemed to be a stronger, more long-lasting affair with his brother, Robert F. Kennedy. She probably never fully understood what the true nature of the relationships, but there was never any serious aspect involved in them.

Monroe sang Happy Birthday to President Kennedy at Madison Square Garden in May 1962, and the film made at the time generated a lot of interest and a few rumors. Researchers found later that the President and Monroe had been overnight guests that evening at Bing Crosby's Palm Springs house. That type of detail supports the reports of an affair between Monroe and President Kennedy. However, the best evidence we have now was that her birthday song caused the President to decide to distance himself from the actress. Her attention moved quickly to Robert Kennedy, who was then the US Attorney General. Their affair seems to have continued until just before her death when Kennedy attempted to cut it off.

Many close to Monroe were aware that she seemed to have been becoming less stable, more troubled, and to turn to drugs more often to aleviate the problems. Many were not surprised when the report came in that she had killed herself. The overwhelming thought at the time was the tragedy of it all. It was only later that people outside of her intimate circle became aware that things did not seem to have been exactly as reported.

The Death

Monroe had purchased her house at 12305 5th Helena Drive, Los Angeles, CA, in late 1961. If her house was wire taped, it was probably after her affair with President Kennedy began, and it was probably removed at the time or shortly after she died. Repairmen reported later that they had found what seemed to be installed wires and connections left behind when one or more wire taps had been removed.

Marilyn had called Peter Lawford in the evening of August 4, 1962, and he later noted that her voice had sounded slurred. Her comments made sense if you assume she was intending to commit suicide. She 'said goodbye' through Lawford to Pat, Lawford's wife and President John F. Kennedy's sister, the President, and to Lawford, "Say goodbye to Pat, say goodbye to the president, and say goodbye to yourself, because you're a nice guy."2

There can be no question about Monroe's mental state when she died. She was depressed. Many people were aware of it, and Lawford must have known, yet he attached no special significance to her telephone call at the time. Those close to her were aware that she routinely consumed many drugs, probably because she was having difficulty in coping with her difficulty in handling the public nature of her life. Drug use might have caused her problems with her final film or helped her deal with it. The drugs probably had a great deal to do with her having been fired; however, the underlying reason she took them was the deep depression she could not control Her marriage had failed, again, and she was isolation and very lonely. Her fame had created a barrier between her and the rest of the world, and it probably seemed as though her lovers were always on the other side of it. She was always finding herself alone again, her marriages were always failures, and the breakup always left her hurt, isolated, and depressed. Drugs were probably one of the few things that provided any relief.

Dr. Ralph Greenson, who had been Monroe's personal psychiatrist, had been treating the actress for mental problems since 1960. He said that she had been taking many drugs when he began treatment, including sodium pentothal, Demerol, Phenobarbital, and Nembutal. She had been depressive at that time and had exhibited symptoms of paranoia. The last time he saw her had been the 4th of August and she had seemed to be in a drugged state. He did not know that Monroe had called a local lock company that day and had requested them to change the external locks in her home. He did not know that Monroe had told Robert Slatzar the day before that she felt someone was listening to her telephone calls, and that she was going to expose the contents of her diary in a few days. We know she was depressed at that time. Was she also exhibiting paranoia based on delusions? Because of her mental state, Dr. Greenson had told Monroe's housekeeper to stay overnight at the actress' house to make sure she was okay.

Eunice Murray had been Monroe's housekeeper, a quite, organized person that was thrust into the public view when she reported Monroe's death. She stated she had seen a light coming from under Monroe's bedroom door at about midnight, or 1 AM, or 2 AM, or 3:30 AM, although she gave no good answer as to why she was up at that time. The police finally settled on 2 AM as the official time. She said she had called Dr. Greenson, Monroe's psychologist, and Dr. Hyman Engelberg, Monroe's personal physician at that time. Greenson arrived about 3:40 AM. Engelberg arrived a few minutes later and pronounced Monroe dead. He was the first to label her death as probable suicide. The police were called at 4:25 AM. They arrived within a few minutes. Although police found her body with an outstretched right hand lying close to the phone, Dr. Greenson said the phone had been in her hand when he found the body and he had removed it. The phone cord lay under her nude body. When Dr. Greenson was asked why he had waited to call the police, he answered that he had called the studio first. After all, it was Hollywood. Although overdoses of sleeping pills characteristically cause the victim to vomit and have bowel movements, neither of these occurred in Monroe's case. People overdosing tend to knock things about, but there was no evidence that Monroe had.

Also questionable was how Monroe had taken the pills in the first place. No drinking glasses or cups were found in her bedroom, and there was no water in the bathroom because it was being remodeled. As far as Mrs. Murray knew, she had not left her bedroom after she retired. On of the police officers present later stated that at 5 AM he noted that her back showed evidence of post-mortem lividity, which meant she had died on her back and had been turned over. He noted advanced rigor mortis, probably indicating she had been dead between four and six hours at that point. If correct, midnight plus or minus one hour would be appropriate for her time of death. Morticians Guy & Don Hockett made their own estimation of time of death as having been 8 hours before they saw her body based on how strongly rigor mortis had set in. They had to use force to bend her body to get it on the gurney. Although writers have stated that meant she had died about 8 PM, the Hocketts saw her body just after 5 AM, and that would mean she had died sometime just after 9 PM the previous night. However, it would be quite reasonable for rigor mortis to have developed in three hours and postmortem lividity to develop to the point Sgt. Clemmons saw it in the same timeframe.

If Monroe had died at 2 AM, her body could have had complete rigor mortis by 5 AM; clinical studies have shown that generally rigor mortis is complete in between 3 to 6 hours. It was a warm night, so rigor mortis could have set in sooner than average. However, post-mortem lividity takes a little time to set in, so Monroe's body must have spent some time just after death on its back, probably more than 1 hour since it takes between 30 minutes and an hour for the blood to congeal. Maximum effect usually comes in 6 to 12 hours. Since the autopsy reports says nothing about what Sgt. Clemmons said he saw, we can only guess at the amount of lividity there was, if any. The most logical explanation for that would have been if the doctors turned her over before they called the police, probably intending to hide the nude condition of her body, making photographs more 'presentable'. Of course, they would never admit to having done so.

Dr. Greenson had to break a window to get into Monroe's locked bedroom when he arrived that morning. Norman Jeffries II (Mrs. Murray's son-in-law) was the household handyman, so Mrs. Murray told him to repair the broken window in Monroe's bedroom before the police photographer arrived. Even before the police arrived, Mrs. Murray was cleaning things up, emptying the refrigerator, washing clothes in the washer, drying them in the dryer, packing suitcases and moving them out of the house. Police Officer Clemmons watched while she did it and asked her what she was doing. She told him the coroner was going to seal off the house and she was making sure things were clean and tidy. No one stopped her or seemed to think what she was doing was a bad idea or even abnormal. Mrs. Murray called Pat Newcomb, Monroe's press secretary, at some point.

Unofficially, writers reported accounts by people who said they were involved with events not on the official record. People stated Robert Kennedy had come in very late and found her nearly dead, then called for help. An ambulance driver for Shaeffer Ambulance Service said he had taken a comatose Monroe to the Santa Monica Hospital at about 2 AM, but she had died enroute. She was not naked at the time. He had brought the body back to the house. Other people stated a quick trip to the hospital had been made but she had died on the way. Her body was then brought back and placed in her bedroom where it could be conveniently found later. The main reason for that was supposed to be to cover up the fact the Robert Kennedy had been there. A few people told Stg. Clemmons that Monroe had actually been found comatose at about 10 PM, and doctors had been called. When he attempted to document those facts, the witnesses changed their story to her body having been found around midnight and the doctors called about 3:30 AM. The few witnesses who have made these statements could have been correct, but there should have been several more people involved who would have come forward, including the paramedics who initially came, nurses who worked with her, staff who logged the calls and checked her in, etc. The few people who have made the statements were not enough to prove the events actually happened.

Monroe's press secretary, Pat Newcomb, worked for the public relations firm ran by Arthur R. Jacobs. Years after Monroe's death, Jacobs's wife remembered that her husband had received an urgent telephone call at about 10:30 PM on August 4th, about six hours before Monroe was officially reported dead. It had been memorable because the couple had been at a Hollywood Bowl concert at the time. Natalie Jacobs had stated her husband had said "something was going down at Marilyn's house and that he had to go."3 At 1 AM he had called her and said he would not be returning home that night. He actually had not come home for two days and told his wife he had helped "to fudge the press" to cover-up the Kennedy family involvement.

Investigators were able to piece together the facts surrounding the pills that Monroe had been prescribed, and to calculate how many she had probably taken. Monroe's prescription had been for 50 tabs of Cloral Hydrate, but the bottle found contained 10. The prescription of 50 tabs had been filled on 7/25/1962 and again on 7/31/1962, so 90 pills had disappeared in about 10 days. Had she been using them all, it meant she had went through 50 pills between the 25th and 31st of July, an average of over 8 pills per day. If she maintained that average, it would explain what happened to the forty pills missing from the bottle and why she had appeared so drugged when she had met with Dr. Greenson. If that accounts for the pills, where did the drugs come from that killed her?

Mrs. Murray later stated in an interview that Robert Kennedy had been at Monroe's house the afternoon before her death, but she did not know why. From what people have stated she told them, that would have been the fourth version of her story. The question then would be, why had she remained silent about it before?

The facts that seem to support the theory that she was killed includes:

  • Although the autopsy showed she died from an overdose of sleeping pills, no residue from those pills was found in her stomach. Since it was impossible that she took the pills normally, people have theorized she was given the drugs in an enema or injection that would have left no trace.
  • There was more than four hours between the time she died and the time that police were called (depending on whose story you believe). No satisfactory reason was ever given for that time lag, and rumors have surfaced that agents of Robert Kennedy, and perhaps the Attorney General himself, had come to the house between the time she died and the time that police were called. According to estimates by Guy Hockett and his son, the morticians who moved her body, she had died about 8 hours before they saw the body (just after 5 AM).
  • Evidence was later found that proved her house had been bugged by someone, most probably by two groups. People stated the FBI and Jimmy Hoffa bugged her home at different times for similar reasons. Whether the bugging, what they found in the transcripts they recorded, or the potential loss of information might have led someone to kill her cannot be estimated.
  • Officer Jack Clemmons, who was the first policeman to reach her house, stated, "In my opinion, Marilyn Monroe was murdered that night. In fact, it was the most obvious case of murder I ever saw. Everything was staged. The body was rigid and artificially placed. It was not the sort of position in which you die."6
  • Private investigator Fred Otash has stated that Peter Lawford called him just after midnight, but well before police were informed that Monroe had died, and they had met in Otash's office about 2 AM. Lawford had told him to go through Monroe's house and remove anything that would incriminate Robert Kennedy, although he had already went through everything and thought it was clean. Lawford told Otash that Kennedy and Monroe had fought about their relationship and Monroe had felt 'passed around'. Fred Otash has also stated he had bugged Monroe's house on RFK's orders.
  • Several people said that Bernard Spindel bugged Monroe's house on the orders of Jimmy Hoffa.
  • One of the topics that RFK was supposed to have discussed with Monroe was the highly secret attempts to kill Castro, that involved the CIA, Cuban refugees, and the Mafia.

The facts that seem to support the theory that she died by accident or suicide includes:

  • She seemed to be emotionally unstable, depressed, and could well have taken her life or taken more of the pills than she was aware of. From the amount of pills missing, she must have been taking a great deal and had for at least 10 days before her death.
  • She would have felt isolated and very depressed because of the abortion that had occurred two weeks before, and the changes to her body might have increased the depression.
  • Monroe heard rumors that 20th Century Fox intended to cancel her contract.
The Autopsy

It was labeled coroner's case # 81128. The autopsy report stated she had died from barbiturate poisoning, yet no pill residue was found in her stomach or her duodenum. She might have been injected with drugs, but the report stated no puncture marks were found that would have come from an injection. Dr. Engelberg's bill from the day before her death clearly lists an billed item for giving her an injection. How had the autopsy missing the puncture mark from that injection?

A bruise was found on Monroe's right hip and on her right shoulder. They were made prior to death. People who reported that she had been transported to a hospital the night have stated the bruise was acquired during the transportation. The surgeon noted that there was "some discoloration of the colon"4, along with "marked congestion" in the colon.8 That fit in with the theory that someone had given her the Nembutal in an enema. Monroe had taken enemas for several years, sometimes in order to lose weight faster. The drug can be administered by enema and takes effect in about 60 minutes. Peter Lawford's ex-wife Deborah Gould stated that Lawford had told her that Monroe had "took one last, good enema!"5.

The autopsy report definitely showed that postmortem lividity existed on Monroe's back and the back of her arms and legs. However, the surgeon noted that it was very light and disappeared when he pressed it.

Police took articles of interest to the autopsy to the coroner's office along with the body. Several people remembered that Monroe's 'red diary' had been in that material. Lionel Grandison, the coroner's aide whose signature was on Monroe's death certificate, specifically remembered the item. However, by August 5th, the inventory had been altered and showed no red diary. No red book was found, and Grandison felt the book had been removed from his office. Several people had seen the diary before Monroe's death, and the actress had told Robert Slatzer that she kept it to document what her lovers said so she could remember later. If so, the 'diary' found many years later and said to have been the diary was not the correct item.

John Austin published a statement by a noted New York pathologist in his book More of Hollywood's Unsolved Mysteries, and it says based on the toxicology examination and the stomach having no pill residue, you must consider "the possibility of an injection."7 There should have been new puncture marks from the injection Dr. Engelberg gave Monroe on August 3rd, yet the autopsy report says that there were no puncture marks, so we must consider that other puncture marks could have been missed.

Lionel Grandison waited ten years to state that he had been threatened with dismissal if he did not sign Monroe's death certificate. He had not wanted to. Dr. Thomas Noguchi, who performed the autopsy, did not state he was forced to sign it, however he did later state that he felt that Monroe had not committed suicide.

With a few days of her death, Monroe's body was moved from coroner to Crypt #33 at the county morgue. The second portion of the last trip of her existence was complete.

Murder Part 1: The Motive

Obviously, if you assume a murder, there must have been a reason. As in the case of any murder, the question here must begin with the motive. Was there a motive for someone to kill Monroe? Any foreign intelligence service that might have been mining the relationships that Monroe had with certain men would have had an interest in keeping her alive and interactive. Organized crime or people like Jimmy Hoffa might have been using Monroe in the same way, and so they would have had an interest in keeping her alive. She posed no physical threat. The only thing that might have posed any threat to anyone would have been a misuse of her knowledge or something she might have been going to do.

Many people were aware that Monroe had been the mistress of both John and Robert Kennedy for a time. Anyone involved the watching the executive branch of the US government at the time would have been able to find out about the affairs, and the soviets probably had knowledge of it. The FBI did, and the Secret Service must have known about them. Jimmy Hoffa, who had become a bitter enemy of the Kennedys, probably knew of it, as did many in the FBI and in organized crime. Anyone could reasonably guess that the 'pillow talk' in the affair was not always about the weather, and the possibility existed that Monroe was privy to classified and even highly secret information. The question then becomes, did anyone attempt to capitalize on that? If so, what factors would have become so imperative that any of these individuals or groups would have felt it necessary to kill her?

The only candidate for a motive appears to be Monroe's threat to 'go public' with what she knew about things concerning John and Robert Kennedy. She told people that she was going to disclose 'secrets', a threat that only has any substance to anyone if they know that she has such material and has the propensity to give them away. A few days before her death, She told Robert Slatzer that she might call a press conference if Robert Kennedy continued to avoid her. Since it was 1962, and the presidency of John F. Kennedy was far from secure, a disclosure of things that might anger the American public could have created a huge scandal, destroying the administration's ability to get anything done. Many people probably would not have believed much of what Monroe had to say, but the disclosure of affairs with either the President or the Attorney General would probably have had massive repercussions. However, if you assume that either John or Robert Kennedy had Monroe killed, you must also assume that they would have felt threatened enough to kill and would have been capable of doing so.

Reports have surfaced that state Monroe had an abortion on July 20th at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles only two weeks before her death. That would have been a shocking disclosure since the father would probably have been Robert Kennedy, however, it seems not compelling enough to provide a motive for her murder. However, it would have done nothing for her frame of mind, and it might explain one of the reasons she was so depressed at the time she died. Had an abortion occurred, the physical and mental results could easily have destabilized her emotional state and caused her to do things she normally would not have done. If he had known she was in such a condition, somewhat like a volatile cannon waiting to go off, he might have been compelled to kill her.

In More of Hollywood's Unsolved Mysteries, author John Austin proposed a candidate who might have had a strong motive to kill Marilyn Monroe. People reported that Robert Kennedy was very angry when Monroe confided to close friends that she had had an abortion and that a 'high government official' had been the father. Austin felt that Joseph Kennedy, Robert's father, would have been strongly compelled to kill Monroe because she was endangering the plans he had for Robert Kennedy to succeed John Kennedy as President. It would have been highly probable that Monroe's exposure of an abortion and the claim that Robert Kennedy had been the father would have done just that. In my opinion, Joseph Kennedy was capable of killing Monroe, and he had connections with many underworld figures, close connections, friendly connections. Since some of these friends seem to have supported John Kennedy in the 1960 presidential race on Joseph Kennedy's request, it seems probable that there was some sort of value in it for those people. Joseph Kennedy had been quite friendly with Sam Giancana and Frank Costello, and knew many more who had been bootleggers in the 1920s. Marilyn Monroe was with a group that contained Sam Giancana the weekend prior to her death.

People who were at the Lake Tahoe weekend getaway said that Peter Lawford, Sam Giancana, and others were there, but more importantly that Monroe made a public statement there. She had stated that she was going to hold a press conference soon and announce that she had been involved with John Kennedy and Robert Kennedy. She also stated she had had an abortion, the father had been Robert Kennedy, and she was going to announce that, also. If this report was true, it would have been suicide of a different sort, since the people she was talking to and a strong connection to the Kennedy family, an obligation to keep them in power, and a proven track record that they would and could do whatever was necessary. Had she made such a statement, and it appeared she did, the ambiguity in her death goes away. People there said that Sam Giancana had called her a dangerous woman.

Murder Part 2: The Means

We cannot be sure that Monroe was murdered. We have enough difficulty deciding how she died. Although there was no question that she died from a massive overdose of drugs, the autopsy found no evidence of how it was administered. If we cannot tell how she died, we cannot establish what means would have been necessary for murder. If she took or was given an injection, enema, or suppository that contained the drugs, there were several distinct groups and a few individuals that would have had the means.

The doctors who dealt with Monroe all of the time had the means to kill her. Had Robert Kennedy and/or the Mafia wanted her dead, they could have established the means. Witnesses said that Robert Kennedy told his physician to give her 'a sedative' the night she died. Mafia killers could have easily gained access to the house and forced her to take the drugs. It was possible, even probable that she would have already taken several pills before a killer would have made her take more, so it would have been reasonably easy to do so. It might have been possible for a single person to convince the partially drugged actress to take more pills on her own. As you can see, there are many possibilities and many groups that might have wanted her dead would have had the means to kill her.

As stated in the motive section, Joseph Kennedy, Sam Giancana, and Peter Lawford provide a strong motive base. Peter Lawford interacted with Marilyn Monroe a great deal. Lawford did not seem to like her very much, but he kept her around. Monroe did seem to like Lawford. Lawford was married to Robert and John Kennedy's sister, and considered himself a part of the Kennedy family, at least to some extent. The Kennedys did consider him to be a family confidant. Statements that Monroe made that she intended to get back to Robert's ears, she said to Lawford. From accounts, Lawford was involved at least in sanitizing her house before the police were called. Obviously he had access to Monroe's house, whether Monroe was alive or dead. He also had a friend named Sam Giancana who was capable of doing things.

Sam Giancana seems to have played heavily in politics and was friendly with Joseph Kennedy, shared a mistress with John F. Kennedy, and might have been involved with the president's assassination in some capacity. He was thought to be heavily involved in Mafia operations and a very powerful Mafia leader, having controlled the Chicago syndicate for a time. His friend John Roselli was more involved in Las Vegas and Hollywood than Giancana was, but Roselli kept his friend 'in the loop' and Giancana knew many people in Hollywood.6

Had someone in the Mafia wanted Monroe dead, means was assured. The Mafia had the resources to do any crime and could easily have killed Monroe and made it seem to have been suicide. They could have intimidated Mrs. Murray, Monroe's doctors, and even the local law enforcement with ease, and might have already had paid individuals in places that they could use in the cover-up of some circumstances in Monroe's death. However, the killers in this case would have had a built-in excuse. Monroe was probably exposed to information that fell under the heading of national security, and some individuals might have felt compelled to hide or misrepresent data for that reason.

Murder Part 3: Opportunity

According to reports, Robert Kennedy was staying with Peter Lawford the night that Marilyn Monroe was killed, and rumors place him at Monroe's house before the police were called. Kennedy was supposed to be at a law convention in San Francisco, but people said he actually left the convention and visited Lawford. If Kennedy was at Monroe's house that night, or had his agents visit Monroe's house after her death and before the police arrived, that would be believable, understandable, and even logical. Monroe and Kennedy had an affair, and documents or mementoes that might have been found in her house could have proved quite embarrassing to the Federal Administration, and might have affected US national security.

Monroe's doctors had the opportunity to kill her. It was easy to place them where it would have been possible. If reports are accurate, Robert Kennedy was there late on August 4th and sometime during the night. We cannot be sure that anyone else had the opportunity, but if the Mafia was actively bugging her home at the time, so their agents would have been close enough to kill her if there was a reasonable motive.

There was no evidence to support the theory that someone broke into Monroe's house. However, that would not have been necessary to provide the opportunity to kill her. If the Mafia was involved, they could have gained access through several different people who had access, such as Mrs. Murray, Peter Lawford, Monroe's doctors, even local law enforcement people they might have had induced to work for them. Getting the opportunity to enter Monroe's house would have been easy. Since Monroe seems to have been already partially drugged because of the many pills she was taking, it would have been simple for someone to give her an enema containing a fatal overdose of drugs either with her consent or without. If Monroe had been told a reasonable purpose for the enema, she would have suspected nothing. Whether or not Kennedy had any personal knowledge or involvement with that type of operation would have been impossible to prove and probably is not critically important; just his wanting her out of the way would have been enough to set things in motion.

Murder Part 4: Cover Up

There is also the question of how such a murder would have remained as a mystery. By nature of the amount of people who would have been involved, thus knowing a lot about it, would have been large enough that someone would have disclosed rumors or revelations. Any conspiracy of purpose would be hard to conceal in the long-term. Undoubtedly, there have been some conspiracies that remain unidentified, but it is probably much more common for someone to assume a conspiracy where none existed. The question concerning Marilyn Monroe's death remains whether anyone was involved with her death, either having killed her or in covered up things.

If a cover up occurred, it must have had an association with the executive branch of the US Federal Government, and probably the FBI and portions or individuals within local law enforcement. Although that appears to be far-fetched, it was quite reasonable if national security was involved. If the Mafia had killed her, the US government would have had no reason to cover the fact up. Because the FBI was watching Monroe, it was improbable that they would have let the Mafia get away with her murder. If there was evidence that Robert Kennedy was involved with her death, the FBI probably knew about it.

Some cover-up probably was attempted in events surrounding Monroe's death. We just cannot be sure what the intent of the cover-up was. The motion picture studio she worked for probably attempted to cover-up a few facts and may have attempted to get law enforcement individuals to do things for them. The studios did those things routinely to protect their image and the image of the person who had died. Had the autopsy surgeon made a mistake, it would have been a natural tendency to try to cover it up. As in the case of any such event, we must separate more benign cover-ups from those intended to hide a murder and the person(s) who had committed it.

Although it does nothing to prove murder, it was important that Robert Kennedy ordered the FBI to confiscate Monroe's telephone records the day her body was found. Some reports have surfaced since that Kennedy had several calls to Monroe on that record prior to the day of her death. There must have been a good reason for Kennedy to issue the order to confiscate the records when he knew it was illegal. However, it was also important to note that Robert Kennedy changed his private telephone line at the Justice Department. Monroe's telephone records listed several calls to the number that he changed.

Robert Kennedy seems to have attempted to cover up any personal involvement he had with Monroe, and that was understandable. To some extent, he was successful. If Kennedy and Jimmy Hoffa had bugged Monroe's house, they probably tried to cover that up. Most of the items people have said supported the theory of a cover-up would fit within these categories. No cover-up elements seem to be an attempt to hide or disguise physical evidence of murder.

Los Angeles Police Chief William H. Parker was reported to have destroyed more than 80% of the LAPD file on Monroe's Death´┐Ż after he had showed it to Robert Kennedy. It was never returned to the appropriate inspector in any condition. If true, it shows an attempt to cover something up, but it would appear to have been data that might have shown that Robert Kennedy had some involvement in Monroe's death. That does not prove she was murdered.

All of that said, the cover-up of evidence or factors in Monroe's death could have a more sinister aspect; the cover-up could have been perpetrated to cover up Mafia involvement in her murder just as much as it would have been to keep the Kennedy family out of it. We have nothing definitive that proves a stronger cover-up, but the suspicion of such a cover-up was not misplaced. Just the fact that volatile, powerful people were involved who had a strong motive to get rid of her was enough to make the idea of a cover-up reasonable.

The Conclusion

There was no question that some accounts given of her death were not believable. Many people who were involved at the time brought up elements that did not fit well into a model based her having committed suicide or died accidently. That does not mean the mystery was created because she was murdered. Other possibilities exist. Since Monroe might have had politically dangerous material in her house, someone might have sanitized the spaces, of course, outside of public scrutiny.

Many people regarded Monroe as a loose canon at the time she died. It is probable that the Kennedy brothers regarded her as unstable enough that she might do anything. It is impossible to be sure what price someone in political power would put on a scandal. However, before you judge things based on that alone, you must remember that many reasonable solutions to that sort of problem existed. Attempting to deal with the situation by getting someone to work with Monroe, perhaps finding someone to romance her would have been reasonable. Since her attempts to expose information would have gone through her press agents, Kennedy could easily have throttled anything before it became public up to a certain point. No attempt to handle the situation was made. They must have felt there was no real threat or that the threat was not worth worrying about. Otherwise, they probably would have tried something. If someone killed Marilyn Monroe, it was cold blooded, a conspiracy that must have included several people before she died and several others afterwards. No hint of it has popped up since in any case.

Many writers have said they felt Marilyn Monroe was killed someone, and they have identified candidates who might have done the deed. Usually, it comes down to involve Robert Kennedy or those working for him. Few writers entertain the thought that Robert Kennedy could have ordered her death. It does seem improbable; however, writer and investigator Milo Speriglio sums up the possibilities very well. He said that he did not believe Robert Kennedy or the other Kennedys were directly involved in the murder of Marilyn Monroe; he thinks "the plotters were acting on their behalf."9 That was entirely possible.

Many of the names involved with Monroe's death were familiar ones, and some have been brought up in other conspiracy theories. Sam Giancana and John Roselli have both been suggested to have been involved in the deaths of both US President John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert Kennedy. Sgt. Jack Clemmons, who had been first on the scene at Monroe's house when the police were called, was reported to have had a run-in with Mafia boss Bugsy Siegel when Elizabeth Short was killed (her murder was known as the 'Black Dahlia' murder). Marilyn Monroe moved in a class by herself, and those around her were the famous and powerful. She never understood that many of them considered her to be a sexy plaything rather than a serious actress, and her naivety in the face of near-absolute power could have gotten her killed.

There was no 'smoking gun' found during investigations into the death of Marilyn Monroe. You see suspicious elements or places where people's statements were probably inaccurate or very wrong, but there was nothing that proves she was murdered. Even if she had been given a massive drug overdose enema by someone, it was entirely possible that she wanted it done; she was distraught and depressed, and probably was having difficulty dealing the her abortion and her rejection by Robert Kennedy. In this instance, with the evidence we have, it is possible that she died by her own hand or her own inclination; however, the circumstances seem to point more towards someone having purposely given her an overdose of drugs for some purpose. We cannot be sure that her murder, her relationship with Robert Kennedy, or both necessitated the cover-up that followed. However, the people involved were used to making hard decisions and the life of a single person, especially female, may not have mattered very much. At this point, we remain without a sure answer, and that is where we will have to leave it at present. Perhaps some definitive evidence will pop up in the future, and we will be able to tell if the actress lost her ability to handle life or someone deliberately took it away.

Sgt. Jack Clemmons resigned or was fired. Lionel Grandison resigned his position and went into business. Most of the other players died long ago. John F. Kennedy was assassinated just over a year after Monroe died. Robert Kennedy was assassinated in 1968, six years after Monroe died. Ten years after Monroe's death, Mrs. Murray finally admitted that Robert Kennedy had visited Monroe just before her death with friend Peter Lawford, and that Kennedy and Monroe had had heated words before Kennedy finally left. Murray died not long afterward. Few still alive might have known any secret concerning her death, and the list gets smaller with each year.

Monroe's legacy in film coupled with the soap-opera oriented lifestyle she maintained are her true legacy, passed on without care to the rest of us. Her image today is much, much larger than her life every was, and what we see carried on does not diminish with time. It does not trip or get wrinkled, and it does not die. That was what people wanted of her, and in the end it was what they got; she has become an ageless, sexual goddess that represents something within humanity that she might not have understood but we needed just the same. In the end, her death has not diminished anything, and the answer to whether she was murdered or died by her own hand would not change the image. In this case, the image has become reality.

Joe DiMaggio handled the affairs surrounding her death and arranged her funeral. For 20 years, three times each week, he had six red roses placed at her crypt. The actress entered immortality at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery, Los Angeles, CA, on August 8th, 1962. Her body was placed in a crypt in the Corridor of Memories. How appropriate.

by Sherman A. Meeds, Jr.
Copyright 2009

  • 1. Coroner's Report, 1962.
  • 2. How Did it Really Happen?, by Reader's Digest, page 264, The Death of Marilyn Monroe.
  • 3. The Marilyn Conspiracy, page 86, general text.
  • 4. The Marilyn Conspiracy, page 80, general text.
  • 5. The Marilyn Conspiracy, page 80, general text.
  • 5. The Marilyn Conspiracy, page 74, general text.
  • 6. Sam Giancana and John Roselli were the people the CIA contracted with to get the Mafia to train Cuban refugees to assassinate Fidel Castro in 1960-61. Although the contract work was being performed in Santos Trafficante and Carlos Marcello's areas, the CIA's contract was with Giancana and Roselli. This contract was still going on when Monroe died.
  • 7. More of Hollywood's Unsolved Mysteries, page 150, statement made to author by a noted New York pathologist.
  • 8. More of Hollywood's Unsolved Mysteries, page 142, copy of Marilyn Monroe's autopsy report.
  • 9. More of Hollywood's Unsolved Mysteries, page 154, general text.
  • A. How Did It Really Happen?, by Reader's Digest Editors, Reader's Digest, 2000.
  • B. The Marilyn Conspiracy, by Milo Speriglio, Pocket Books, 1986.
  • C. Hollywood's Unsolved Mysteries: The Raw and Juicy Details Behind Hollywood's Deadliest Scandals, by John Austin, Spi Books, 1992.
  • D. More of Hollywood's Unsolved Mysteries, by John Austin, Shapolsky Publishers, Inc., New York, 1991.
  • Postmortem Changes and the Time of Death, University of Dundee, 1995.
Copyright 2009 by Sherman A. Meeds Jr.
Marilyn Monroe Yank Magazine 1945
In Yank Magazine 1945.

Marilyn Monroe in Some Like It Hot
Some Like It Hot.

Marilyn Monroe in Bus Stop
Bus Stop.

Marilyn Monroe Performing for the Troops
Entertaining Troops.


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